I know, right? You would think that this is the kind of topic that doesn't even warrant a full-on article. Yet, the more I thought about my own personal experiences, the kind of conversations that I've had with married couples about it, and a video that I recently watched, it is my personal belief that the answer isn't quite as black-and-white or cut-and-dried as it might appear on the surface. But before I get into all of that, because I know that a lot of people will process, "Should you consider dating someone you're not attracted to?" as "Should you settle for less than what you really want in a relationship?", when it comes to that second question, the answer is "no". Mostly because, as my favorite quote on settling (by writer Maureen Dowd) states, "The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for."
Still, I don't really believe that it's an automatic that you should never consider someone that you aren't attracted to. One reason is because initial attraction can lean a bit on the shallow side of things (more on that in a sec). Another reason is because, as a very wise man said in his video entitled, "Attraction vs. Connection: 'Bro, you 'Wifed' the wrong one!'", a lot of us find ourselves in relationships that don't truly satisfy us; it's because we've believed that attraction and connection are one in the same when they absolutely are not (according to him, most men only truly connect with three women over the course of their lifetime, by the way). I tend to agree with him (we'll explore a bit more of his commentary in a moment as well).
Even if you're someone who just read those two paragraphs and still think that if you aren't attracted to a dude, a potential relationship can't go any further, while I'm not trying to change your mind, humor me for a few minutes, will you? At least allow me to offer up a few points that could possibly open up your perspective, just a bit—so that you can know if a lack of initial attraction could be hindering you from establishing a truly powerful and lasting connection with someone.
What Is Attraction Initially All About, Anyway?Giphy
Attraction is powerful. There's no questioning that. When I think of all of the men who I've been physically attracted to over the course of my lifetime, this definition of attraction definitely applies—"to draw by a physical force causing or tending to cause to approach, adhere, or unite". That's why it made so much sense to me, what a particular article shared. It was based on research about what men and women are most (initially) attracted to. Reportedly men are drawn to (shocker of all shockers), women who have a nice body while women like men who are taller than they are (I concur). However, the article also stated that when it comes to attributes like intelligence and kindness, those weren't much of a factor. That's because this particular study surveyed almost 70,000 individuals on what they look for in a casual partner not a committed one.
Y'all can check out my piece on casual sex to see that the word "casual" isn't exactly my favorite word in the world. That's because it means things like "without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing", "seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned" and "without emotional intimacy or commitment". When something is casual, serious intention is not a factor. When something is casual, it's OK to be indifferent or apathetic towards it. When something is casual, there is no real intimacy or commitment involved. Casual kind of reminds me of a man who I am very physically attracted to who is also very physically attracted to me. One time, he asked me what I thought about us having a homie-lover-friend relationship. He's one of those guys who isn't really what I would consider to be a "f—kboy" yet he is a chronic commitment-phobe. Every few years, he gets an exclusive sex partner who he doesn't commit to, even though he only has sex with them. He likes the exclusivity of the sex while still keeping up emotional walls. A ton of people are just like him. It's an epidemic, to tell you the truth.
So yeah, if you're entering into something with someone and your intention is for it to be on the casual tip, of course looks are what's going to matter most to you. You're not trying to establish anything more than physical gratification and maybe a few dates and laughs.
That's why, to me, attraction is like icing on the cake. It's definitely what initially draws two people to one another, but it shouldn't hold a ton of merit. I mean, do you know how many attractive people get blindsided, cheated on and dumped? Tons. Just check out your favorite gossip blog; you'll see all sorts of examples.
So, why does it seem like so many of us put so much stock in attraction? I think that it's because a lot of us put attraction and connection into the same boat when they shouldn't be. This where the video that I referenced earlier comes in. As I was listening to a man who goes by the name Soul Immortal talk about the differences between attraction and connection, here is a part of what he shared:
"So, before we even get into it, there are two things that I want my brothers to understand, right? And the first thing is this—Sex is a byproduct. It's a byproduct of energies that are exchanged. You know what I'm sayin'?
It's just like when gasoline is made. You know, they take crude oil, they take several chemicals, they put it together and they make gasoline. Now when this gasoline is extracted, what's left is diesel fuel. Now diesel fuel is a beautiful thing. But this diesel fuel wouldn't have came to be if it wasn't for the creation of this gasoline, know what I'm sayin'?
So, sex is a byproduct, know what I'm sayin'? And the second thing is, we need to redefine intimacy. Intimacy is not the physical act. Intimacy is the fuel. The physical act is the byproduct…we have to understand that the physical body is only a catalyst. We have to understand that the physical act is only a primer."
So true, so true. A great example that Soul Immortal provided in the video is a friend of his and his wife. Soul Immortal said that when he initially saw the wife for himself, while his friend was what he knew many women would consider to be attractive, to him, the wife was around a six out of 10. But the more he watched his friend and his friend's wife interact with one another, she became a 10 out of 10. It was because they had such a beautiful connection.
I can relate to this. There have been many times when I've looked at a couple and, purely based on looks, I've wondered how one ended up with the other. But that's just based on appearance—the surface of things. I had to open myself up to the fact that clearly there is a connection there. But what makes a connection different from an attraction?
Is Attraction Costing You a True Connection?
A simple way to explain a connection is it's a link with or bond to another individual. I like the word "bond" because it refers to something that holds two people together. Shared principles and values can create a bond. Trust and reliability can create a bond. Individuals who are emotionally present and available for one another can create a bond. Folks who complement one another's lifestyle can create a bond. An article on Psychology Today's website on emotional connections shared that a "yes" to questions like, "When I ask for your attention, can you be available to me?", "Can you comfort me when I am anxious, sad, lonely, or afraid?" and "I need to know that you care about my joys, hurts, and fears. Will you care about me consistently and reliably?" also signifies a real bond. But here's the thing—how can you get to know someone long enough to discover if you are bonded, if all that you're caught up in is physical attraction?
When I reflect on my own relational past, there were two men, specifically, who I most definitely were not attracted to. They were also two of the best men that I've ever known to this day. Kind. Attentive. Patient. Thoughtful. Forgiving. The only reason why I know this about them, though, is because I pushed past the initial lack of physical attraction and got to know them as people. What it ultimately taught me was that there was a connection—it just wasn't meant to be romantic or sexual.
Yeah, that's what a lot of us miss when we're not being open to considering someone who we're not attracted to—we miss that our connection may serve a different purpose than a romantic relationship, if we'd simply give things a chance.
So, what exactly are you saying, Shellie? That you do think that it's important to consider dating someone I'm not attracted to? Kinda. I think what I'm saying more is that, when it comes to someone who is interested in you who you are not attracted to, you should ask yourself the following questions before totally shooting them down:
1. Have you been told that you’re addicted to a specific “type”?Giphy
As cliché as it might sound, I really do like men who are tall, dark and handsome. The taller and darker, the better. But you know what? The man I have probably had the healthiest connection with is my late fiancé who was probably around 6'-6'1" (which is kinda short to me) and lighter than I am. When he first let me know that he was interested, I was like, "Yeah…naw." Not because he wasn't attractive, but because I was so hung up on what my type was. Hmph. My first love was "my type" and that negro got me arrested, made another baby while I was pregnant with his child and is one of the biggest commitment-phobes on the planet to this day.
The moral to the story is this. We all have preferences. It's perfectly fine to like what you like. But if you're not open to dating someone because you're not attracted to him, is it because you don't find him appealing at all? Or, is it simply because he's not what you are used to? If it's Column B, well…if all you eat is pizza how would you ever know if you like Thai food? Feel me?
2. Does the way a man looks validate you in some way?
There is a woman I used to know who had the ultimate form of low self-esteem. It's not that she isn't attractive; it's that she didn't feel that she was. And how that revealed itself was pretty cryptic. She would turn down perfectly nice guys who treated her well for the ones who, at least in her mind, were fine as hell—and treated her like dirt. The cycle got to be so much of a hamster wheel in her life that one time I asked her what her deal was. She said that she wanted to be the kind of woman who, whenever she walked into a room with a man, women would envy her. She said it would make her feel more attractive to be with someone who others thought was physically desirable.
If a lot of us were honest with ourselves, we've adopted this warped way of thinking before. Somewhere deep down, we think a good-looking man validates our own beauty. But looks really can be deceiving. Someone who immediately comes to my mind to prove this fact is ex-NFL player Darren Sharper. He's attractive. He's also currently in jail right now for drugging and raping women in various states. And the women I just told you about? The fine men dogged her, the nice men got married, and she's still single.
If you're rejecting someone simply because you don't think they are good enough to "validate" you, that really has very little to do with them and their appearance and more to do with you and your own self-image. And if that's the case, it would be best to be single and get your own self together for a while; to not be out here dating anyone—your type or otherwise.
3. Have you considered that ole’ boy serves a purpose that you can’t see—yet?
It's kind of interesting that, when we're not physically attracted to someone, sometimes we can repel them as if they've got some sort of plague or something. You like me, I'm not interested. Please stop talking to me. But y'all, one of my closest friends is someone who used to be attracted to me, although I was never attracted to him. Had I left it at that, I wouldn't have the blessings in my life that come as the direct result of him being a part of my world.
Not everyone is meant to be "the one". But there are a lot of people who do serve a purpose in our life. If a guy is interested in you and the only reason that you're considering not going out with him is because you're not physically attracted, you could be missing out on him becoming a part of your life for other reasons. But hey, you won't ever know this if all you're thinking about is attraction without factoring in connection. This brings me to my final question and point.
4. C’mon. What would just one date hurt?
If you check out "My Eureka Moment For Why I'm Not Into 'Nice Guys'", you'll see that I get what it's like for someone to like you, for others to like that person for you, only for you to convince yourself to go against your better judgment and then later regret it. So, please hear me when I say that I am not like the church ladies who say, "Who cares if he repulses you? Chile, you might be missing out on your husband." Look, I am a huge fan of sex, marital coitus more than anything, and you can't enjoy that if you're not attracted to your partner. I would scream that point at the top of my lungs if I could.
At the same time, happily married people tell me all of the time that, while their spouse is not someone who initially caught their eye, by going on a few dates and getting to know them better, they ended up becoming the most beautiful, interesting and sexy person they've ever known. They wouldn't have found this out without going on a first date.
It took a hot minute to get us here, but the title of the article is a question, right? My answer is this—in my opinion, should you consider dating someone you aren't attracted to? If we can change "dating" for "going on a date", the answer is a firm "yes". One date is just that…one date. And who knows? By stepping out and spending quality time with that individual, you just might discover that you're more attracted to them than you thought. That they are someone you could be connected to. All because you went past the surface and looked for something deeper. Good for you, girl. Good. For. You.
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Feature image by Giphy
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images