I Know It’s For Better or Worse, But Damn: Are You Getting Too Comfortable In Your Relationship When It Comes To Your Looks?

December 13, 2012  |  

Does your husband still look like the same man you married years ago?  Have the washboard abs turned into a gut load of laundry? “For better or for worse” isn’t always fair, in fact it can get a little lazy (and not the good kind of lazy love Ne-Yo croons about). In her single “Dance For You” Beyoncé chants, “I wanna keep it how it is, so you can never say how it used to be,” but some women believe that once that vow is made, commitment and love should overcome any change in physical appearances.  It’s one thing when a serious illness occurs or the natural life-changing moments like pregnancy and childbirth happen, but just because you’ve snagged yourself a husband or wife, doesn’t mean it’s cool to speed past comfortable all the way to “I don’t care.”

Attraction and sexual chemistry take priority to me in a relationship.  I’m not being shallow, just honest.  I need to look at my man and feel butterflies like I did the first day we met. Some might call that immature and make excuses like “passion fades blah, blah, blah” but I think that’s a cop-out for becoming way too comfortable, and way too much comfort kills relationships.

There’s a balance that must be maintained.  It’s one thing for your man to wake up to you in a head full of flexi rods with pre-mascara and moisturizer.  You shouldn’t have to keep up appearances like Whitley on A Different World where she’d wake up 15 minutes before Dwayne so she could apply some makeup and comb her hair so he wouldn’t wake up to bed head and morning breath.  Still, it’s not fair to become accustomed to making zero effort just because your man SHOULD love you regardless.  Did he meet you in a ponytail and sweatpants?  I laugh remembering when I first met my boyfriend and refused to let him see me in any shoe with a heel less than four inches.  Fast forward to six years later and he’s waking up to me with one eyebrow filled in at least a week out of the month.  But the point is, whenever I have a little bit of extra energy and time, I make the effort.  I do it because a watered down version of me is not what he signed up for, and he does the same for me.  I make a note to avoid slipping into routines where we only talk about annoying co-workers and grocery lists; I remind him how hot he is when he least expects it.  Now I haven’t been married for 20+ years, but I truly believe that passion doesn’t have to fade.  Couples allow it to because they’ve been told that’s what’s supposed to happen.  I’ve seen couples who have been married for months who can’t stand the sight of each other, and couples who have been married for decades who can’t keep their hands off one another.

The problem starts when women and men use marriage as an invitation to stop keeping themselves up as soon as the “I Dos” are done.  You should want to preserve your sexiness for you, not just to snag a man.  A little bit of weight gain or the decision to go natural after years of hair weaves is not out of the ordinary, but every once in a while, try to look like that woman that made his eyes pop out of his head and his palms sweat.  Find that girl who was dancing to Beyoncé’s “Beautiful Nightmare” in the mirror Friday night while squeezing into her skinny jeans.  I’d say about 25 percent of that passion is in your appearance, but 75 percent of it is your attitude.  Would you be attracted to someone who clearly carried themselves like they don’t care?

In long-term relationships that little thing called life happens that slowly steals away the energy you may have once put into looking like a video vixen every day.  Slowly your “beauty is pain” endurance is overwhelmed by your want to just be comfortable so you can actually enjoy yourself and get your daily tasks completed instead of struggling through painful arches that 5 inch heels can bring.  But just because heel-less wedges kind of make you cringe doesn’t mean you have to bust out the cross trainers every day.  Riding boots and flats can be cute too without looking lazy.   Maybe you don’t feel like sitting in the salon for six hours so you can get flawless Kerry Washington waves, but that doesn’t mean you have to subject your man to rubbing his fingers over your silky satin bonnet every day.  No one expects you to look 23 at 32, but making that vow also means that you vow to be the best wife you can be, which includes not taking his loyalty for granted–and vice versa.

When you’re in a long-term relationship with someone, it’s expected that body parts will start to hang a little lower, weight that used to melt from your frame will make itself comfortable across your waistline, and stretch marks will magically appear if you even reach for something the wrong way.  It’s easy to let yourself go, but like any good relationship, your appearance deserves a little maintenance every now and then.  A lingering look from another man can ignite a spark into a lukewarm relationship, but more importantly you’ll be surprised what a little extra effort can do for your own self-confidence. Before you wave the white flag of familiarity, make some effort to keep up appearances because although looks aren’t everything, love isn’t always enough.

What are some signs that you’ve gotten too comfortable in your relationship?

Toya Sharee is a community health  educator  and   parenting education coordinator who has a passion  for helping  young women  build  their self-esteem and make  well-informed choices  about their sexual  health. She  also  advocates for women’s  reproductive rights and blogs about  everything  from  beauty to love  and relationships. Follow her on Twitter   @TheTrueTSharee or visit  her blog Bullets  and  Blessings .

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  • pickneychile

    This is so true! You should still make the effort that you made in the early days because it shows that you are invested in yourself and the relationship. This reminds me of a couple I met who supposedly is in love, but the girl admitted she wasn’t even attracted to the guy. Now that, I don’t understand. It’s definitely an important aspect of any romantic relationship.

  • chanela

    i totally agree with this! i don’t even want to let myself go! i want my man to always be attracted to me. i have a cousin who looks raggedy as hell around her boyfriend and it makes me cringe. “im not like you trying to dress all fancy all the time. i like to be comfortable” ok but really? unflattering sweatpants and big t shirts all the time? you can’t look presentable for once? you can’t at least TRY to be the beautiful strong catch that he has on his arm?

    it’s not even about changing yourself. he can see you in sweats and big t shirt when you’re a home, but out in public too? that’s embarrassing. i can’t stand when folks take “i don’t care what people think of me” too seriously. look presentable dammit! lol

  • Numero Uno

    I totally agree with this article. I can speak for myself and admit that at a certain point during a long term relationship, I had started to let myself go, mainly weight wise. And even though he would always reassure me that it wasn’t an issue for him, I personally wasn’t comfortable and wanted to get back to the chick I was when we first met. I think it’s important to at least want to maintain yourself and try to look the best you can without going overboard of course. It makes your partner feel like you care and not just saying to hell with it. lol.

  • fb

    My wife is always quick to point out my lower belly fat which is a bit harder to lose. In my opinion, it is a perfect 6 pack in the morning and before dinner. Then, she’ll get mad when I talk about her arm and water bed booty, lol.

  • for real now?

    I totally agree with this article. Keeping yourself together is also about self respect.

  • Gye Nyame

    As much as I want to find a reason to disagree with the author I can’t. Marriage is supposed to be unconditional love on display, however, some people let themselves GO once they say I do. I gained 70 lbs when I was pregnant with my 2nd child, but by her 1st birthday I was back into my old clothes and feeling good. It was hard work but I was not comfortable with the weight, and I refused to let myself go. Now when people see me they can’t believe i have 2 kids, my husband loves it, but I did it for me.

  • darleen

    Yeah I do need to tighten up. The fact that I know I need to and don’t is causing a strain in the relationship bcuz its making me self conscious.

  • Nope

    Ladies, perfume or those girly mist sprays and sit ups both go a long way.

    • pretty1908

      I agree ! Yes I am sure your husband will love if you gain a little weight after kids and over the years, but there is nothing wrong with going the extra mile to feel and look good for your family. I hear older women say all of the time …whatever it took to hook em it will take that and then some to keep em. If you don’t want to look good for him …do it for yourself.

  • some women do…my ex wife stopped shaving her legs, pits and “down there” 1 month into the marriage. lol

    • Oh my GOD.. that is cause for divorce..lol

    • Drew Smith

      Yeah. SMH. She’s outta there on that note.