By Baila Sebrow


I am dating someone I like a lot as a person, but I am not so attracted to him. Do I keep going out, and convince myself that I’m attracted because I like who he is inside? He likes me back, and he wants us to start thinking of having a life together, but I keep worrying that I am not attracted to him.

I spoke to him about it, and he thinks it’s not that I am not attracted to him, but that I have a lukewarm attraction. How can I date a guy that I have a “lukewarm attraction” to while he wants to get more serious?


The fact that you are thinking about him and your relationship to the extent that it feels important enough to ask for advice is telling me that you are not prepared to give up on him. In fact, from the way you write, it sounds to me like you might be looking for affirmation to continue despite how you presently feel about him.

You make no mention of how long you have been dating this guy or how you came to this juncture in your relationship. However, I will assume that you’ve known him long enough that you are able to hold an open dialogue about getting serious with him. Moreover, that you feel so comfortable expressing your feelings to him–and his receptiveness to it–indicates that you have more of a connection to him than you might realize.

To an outsider looking in, it would appear that there is no problem. You are dating a guy who wants to get serious with you. He is feeling that attraction to you and wants to intensify the relationship, yet you believe that your feelings are not mutual. He knows that, and not only does he want to continue dating you, but he is trying to rationalize what you are saying. That makes it no secret that he cares for you a great deal. So what is actually going on here?

It is possible to like, care for, and even love a person, yet feel no attraction. Physical attraction is often compared to a chemical reaction. A research chemist can mix potent chemicals together, yet not always obtain the reaction he hopes to achieve.

On the flip side, one can feel intense attraction to someone yet share nothing in common. That happens because there is only that chemical reaction. And sadly, that alone is never enough to sustain a relationship in the long term. If you know people who got married because they were so attracted to one another that they couldn’t wait to be husband and wife, and yet they got divorced, you might feel shocked. After all, how could they not want to stay married? They were so in love! It’s because many failed marriages started with intense physical attraction, and even if they recognized flaws or poor character, the beauty they viewed blinded them to everything else that ultimately matters in a life together.

People are attracted to different things. Some desires result from something rooted in childhood experience, while for others it may be in the subconscious. That’s why it sounds silly when a person proclaims his or her attraction to a look that we can’t fathom is important. To that person it is, and you can’t argue with that. The woman who refuses to date men shorter than a certain height, or the guy who only dates women who have a particular hair or eye color–that is  something they really feel they need. But of course, height, hair, eye color, or any other physical trait does not make the personality that is needed for true compatibility.

We live in a time when almost every culture is affected by the theory that you need to feel strongly attracted to a potential spouse. Singles who faithfully subscribe to that notion may end up searching their entire lives for that feeling to occur. And if it does happen, there is a very small chance that the emotional attraction involving good rapport and shared commonality will follow.

That is not to say that those who require physical attraction in a relationship are superficial or shallow. You should never feel forced to date someone to whom you experience any sort of aversion. On the contrary, you undoubtedly need to find the person you are dating pleasing to your eye in order to want to get to know him on a deeper, more meaningful level.

You need a certain amount of attraction to want to date someone more than a few times, but I think you already have that. Furthermore, it sounds like the guy you are dating is sensing that in you too. I believe that is why he is referring to your feelings of attraction as “lukewarm.” Is that enough? Let’s find out.

For a marital relationship to work, you need a solid foundation. Think of the construction of a house. If the foundation is made of weak material, anything built on it will feel shaky. In a relationship, the same holds true.

Couples that have strong marriages will usually find each other attractive even in old age. Haven’t you ever heard of an old person referring to their elderly spouse as the most beautiful being in the world? That person could be old, gray, and wrinkled, yet in the eyes of the beholder all that is perceived of the beloved is beauty. Let’s take it to a time of life that you can relate to. I am sure you know of young men and women who say that their spouse is handsome or beautiful, and in your mind you wonder if the one expressing such sentiments has poor vision. So what’s up with that? The spouse sees in his beloved a soul so beautiful that he can virtually see it on the outside.

How does all this apply to your dilemma? If you were asking whether to continue dating a guy to whom you simply feel no attraction, I would be wary to advise you to continue. But you also make it a point that you like what is inside of him. In addition, you are not saying that you are turned off by him; on the contrary, you state that you not “so” attracted to him. Both of those factors indicate to me that you are somewhat open to the notion that your relationship has more potential.

You have the elements on which to build. But you need to believe that. This guy seems ready to take the plunge and get serious, which fundamentally means a relationship leading toward marriage. You are not there yet, or perhaps you are not ready to accept that notion. Regardless of how long you have been dating, you need more time. From the way you talk about him, this guy appears to be intuitively tuned in to your needs. That is not only an important factor in a relationship, but a blessing as well. It also sounds like you appreciate the way he treats you. I cannot guarantee where this relationship will eventually lead, but I think that what you have together is very special.

If you are hoping to one day see stars or feel butterflies in your stomach when in his presence to prove that you feel more than just “not so attracted,” that rarely happens unless you are following a Hollywood-type script. But if you feel comfortable being in his company and you trust him, you are way ahead.

Give yourself the time to get to know his depth and strengths, and focus on how he deals with any challenges. Those are chief elements in someone’s persona. And please remember that true beauty is more than skin-deep.

Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis. She can be reached at Questions and comments for the Dating Forum can be submitted to



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