Question: My situation is complicated. We met online and had planned to meet for the first time next month. But from the start I noticed that she kept putting herself down about her “looks”. At first I thought she was trying not to raise my expectations too high, but then she kept doing it constantly. I tried to ignore it but the more she talks about it, the more I’m concerned about how she looks. I’ve even found myself criticizing my own looks just to make her feel good about herself. Now she wants to delay the face-to-face meeting because according to her she does not think that I’ll find her attractive physically. Any advice on how to deal with this?
The Love Doctor’s Answer: I am all for not judging a person by their looks, but I also know that if someone does not feel good about herself (especially her looks) there is nothing you say or do will change how she feels. And as you are finding out, trying to make her feel good about herself does not work especially that you have not really seen how she looks in person.
I am assuming you’ve at least exchanged photos. People still post photos with online ads, don’t they? Whether you’ve seen how she looks in a photo or not, for now, and until you meet her and feel an emotional and physical connection on “real-time” zone, please clear way from talking about “looks”. Concentrate on the “non-superficial” positive things that you like about her and things you have in common. If you find yourselves dwelling on how she looks or how you look, then you ought to ask yourself “why you’re attracted this particular person” in the first place, and if this is the kind of relationship (and life) you want for yourself.
If she brings it up again, I suggest that you take a more light-humour and even flirtatious approach. Something along the lines, “Don’t we all have concerns about our looks?” or “I am yet to meet a woman who doesn’t think she is not pretty enough” or “Has it ever occurred to you that just may be there are men who look more on the inside of a woman”…or something to that effect. That reassures her that she is not alone and you can relate to how she feels without indulging her in self-depreciation and self-pity. It doesn’t say you think she is physically attractive (which right now if you are honest with yourself, you really don’t know if you’ll find her physically attractive or not). It doesn’t raise any hopes or illusions. You just want to get to know the person inside and you want the opportunity to meet in person.
And stop criticizing your own looks. Best case scenario, she’ll just dismiss your attempts to make her feel good. Worst case scenario, she might actually believe you and lose the attraction.