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The Greener Grass

On dating and the truth in insecurities

By SariahPublished about a month ago 6 min read
Top Story - March 2024
14
The Greener Grass
Photo by Rodion Kutsaiev on Unsplash

“I wonder if the people that were never fully able to commit to me would have loved me more if I was prettier.”

It was earlier this morning I saw this anonymous note posted on an edgy, introspective page on instagram. I’m sad to say that the message resonated with me immediately when I saw it.

As someone who just recently began dipping their toes in the dating pool, I quickly learned it’s a complete mind-game. One that, no matter how much learning through observation I did beforehand, or living vicariously through my friends experiences, holds a lot of common lessons (and heartaches) that I’ve had to experience just like everyone else.

There’s the minefield of the talking stage. The inevitable emotionally-unavailable guy you come across who masked it well enough by saying all the right things to the vetting questions you asked him. Having to rebuild your confidence from scratch over and over again after every time you let your guard down only for things to not work out. And through it all, not allowing yourself to become jaded or hardened to the possibility of love, just because there are so many people who, evidently, haven’t done the same work as you to be the best version of themselves before entering the dating scene.

Yep. There aren’t any cuts or special treatment for those of us who took our time before deciding to pursue love.

But the most recent thing I find myself wondering goes back to the anonymous note at the beginning of this letter.

Would they have loved me more if I was prettier?

I think about this a lot. Sometimes in a self-deprecating way. Sometimes through a completely objective lens. I think about it more often after having some unexplainable falling out with a guy I was seeing for a month.

It opens up a whole world of discussion. It begs the question that a lot of people—even the most confident people—asks themselves. Only nobody says it out loud. Because if we say it, we’re admitting to our insecurities. We’re admitting that we may also see ourselves the same way that society as we know it sees us. More embarrassingly, we’re admitting that we’re hurt by this singular worry that no person ever wants to experience when it comes to dating and connecting with others.

Appearances matter. This was one of the first and most prevalent lessons my father taught me. And when you live in a world surrounded by people who are objectively more beautiful than you, you have to take stock in the fact that you might face more challenges in life because of it. In this case, dating, intimacy and heartache.

On paper, I like to believe that I would be the perfect partner.

I’m affectionate and extremely giving. I’m funny, charismatic and an excellent conversationalist. I’m kind, emotionally mature, overtly understanding and an honest communicator. More importantly, I’m a committed person. Once I make up my mind about someone, and they’ve shown me they want me the same way I want them, I’m ready pour all of my love into them and the relationship. An endless waterfall of love.

All of these things never leave me with any doubt that I could make someone happy. The only thing is—of course—I’m not a conventionally attractive woman.

I have a big nose. It was the first feature pointed out to me in a negative way at a young age. My smile is slightly crooked with a small open bite. My skin could be a lot smoother and even-toned. My glasses are often a shield for hiding the asymmetry of my face as much as they are a necessity. And no matter how much I love myself or intellectualize how dwelling on insecurities I don’t plan on changing is a waste of time, I’m aware of how others consider me when they see my flaws.

I think it’s worth adding that I don’t think I’m ugly, by any means. I’ve grown fond of the shape of my lips, the roundness of my eyes, the fluffy curls on my head and the brown sugar-like shade of my skin. But I’m not blind, nor am I naive to how the real world works. Therefore, I can look around and acknowledge that I’m not the most beautiful woman in the room. Which is okay.

But it seems like every time the person I’m seeing gets close to me, they also realize I’m not the most beautiful woman either. Then, just like that (I assume), they may grow wary of their feelings for me. They may shy away from our growing connection and what it would mean if we continued towards exclusivity. I can only imagine what may go through their head.

Am I the kind of woman they can proudly show off to their friends? Do I turn heads? Or inspire the friendly “good for you” pat on the back once I leave the room?

Can they see themselves being with me long-term? Having children with me? Having children who look like me?

Can they find my inner-qualities in another person who looks better?

And of course, the more important question: Will they regret not trying to find that other person before choosing to be with me?

Maybe these are all shallow assumptions that come from my own past hurts and deep-rooted insecurities. But there’s some truth to it, no? Because in my darkest moments when I’m alone in my room and can finally be honest with myself, I find myself unable to shake away the doubt. The many questions. The first question.

Would they have loved me more if I was prettier?

Would they have allowed themselves to love me more?

No matter how much logical sense I try to make out of the illogical, the truth is, I will never know why the potential lovers I had pushed me away so suddenly. And only after touching me so deeply. And it’s entirely possible that my looks have nothing to do with their reasons. But, again, only they will know.

I’m not going to be upset about it. Nor will I be bitter or hold a grudge or curse the fantasy woman they may or may not be chasing by telling myself ‘she’s not all that anyway’ in order to make myself feel better. Just because someone is more beautiful doesn’t automatically mean they have less personality than me. It doesn’t mean I should assume they’re less kind than me. Or less funny and charismatic. Or any less capable of being a loving “perfect partner” for the ones who decided not to stay in my life.

Some people are truly beautiful in every way. And sometimes, the ones who can’t fully commit to me, may be looking for those people. The infamous, envied, greener grass on the other side.

It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me. It doesn’t mean their decision to let me go (whether it was amicable or not) is my problem or burden to figure out. And it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person either.

At the end of the day, there’s no way of truly knowing how much greener the grass will be on the other side for them. All I can do is tend to mine, and know that no matter what, it’s valuable and enough as it is.

Someday, someone may stop by to appreciate it.

-Sariah

***

[This article is a cross-post from my "Late Spring Bloomer" Substack. Feel free to check it out!]

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About the Creator

Sariah

Another creative soul with a few half-written books on the way.

I’m here to find inspiration, grow as a writer and see what happens :)

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (7)

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  • Ameer Bibi17 days ago

    Congratulations for top story "Your humanity infuses your writing with authenticity, empathy, and depth. Embrace your unique voice, for it holds the power to connect, resonate, and inspire others in ways only you can. Keep penning your truth, and watch as your words illuminate the path for others to follow."

  • Rosie Clifford20 days ago

    I want to say a very big thanks to Dr Jumba for the wonderful work he did for me in helping me to save my marriage, my husband filed for divorce because of the little misunderstanding we had in the past few month, And i never wanted this because i love my husband so much and all our investment was a joint business and i don't want to be far away from my family and my two lovely kids. My friend told me about Dr Jumba and how he also helped her with her marital issues, so i had to contact him because i want to stop my husband from completing the divorce letter and i want to keep my family together and after contacting him, i was told what i needed to do and when i was going to start seeing the result, I did as Dr Jumba has instructed and after 3 days my Husband call me and start asking for my forgiveness and it was all like a dream to me and we are all living happily together again all thanks to Dr Jumba . wiccalovespelltools@gmail. com. via website : drjumbaspellhome.wordpress. com

  • Rachel Deeming25 days ago

    I feel for you. Be confident in who you are, in who you know you are. Looks are fleeting and they are about attraction more than anything. I have been attracted to good-looking men but found them boring or unappealing on other levels once I've delved deeper. And likewise, I have been attracted to men who are not conventionally good-looking but found them a lot more stimulating and more attractive as a result. I thought that this was a great article - the honesty and the thought in it was so clearly written. Thanks for sharing and you know, don't compromise yourself for the sake of love because that's not love.

  • Abdul Qayyum26 days ago

    The narrative evoked intense feelings within me. https://vocal.media/fiction/the-starving-shadow

  • Anna 26 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Margaret Brennan26 days ago

    if people can only love what they see on the outside, they're not worth any time and effort put into a relationship. it's the inner beauty that counts.

  • "Would they have loved me more if I was prettier?" To answer your question in the simplest of terms, "No, absolutely not." It's true that outward appearances are the first thing we usually notice about someone (unless we hear or hear of them first), but that's nothing more than physical attraction. They may have desired you more initially if you were a more conventional fit to their stereotype of beauty, but that kind of desire fades quickly. If there is no deeper interpersonal connection & growing appreciation for who the person is, there will be no fertile soil to nurture those early seeds of attraction. That having been said, I resonate with your struggles & insecurities. I had become thoroughly convinced I would never find anyone who would share that kind of love with me before I met the woman I married. And our first date she stood me up. My insecurity & depression was so severe I waited outside of her dormitory room for two hours just to determine how completely unlovable I was until she returned from an evening out with her friends. Yep, she'd completely forgotten about me. Small wonder my favorite word & the one I feel best defines me is evanescent. Still, reflecting upon how I relate to others, I have to say that I've met women who objectively speaking fit that stereotype we have of exquisitely beautiful who completely lose all their initial charm within moments of actually getting to know them. Conversely, I've met more women than I can count who initially strike me as somewhat awkward, odd or unattractive who shortly after I get to know them become some of the most beautiful people I know. Looking at your profile picture & assuming that you are as personable as you describe yourself, my guess is that the problem is not yours but rather theirs--that they are initially drawn to you because your are both physically attractive & charismatic, only to discover they have no idea how to move beyond their initial desire into a deeper & more intimate relationship. They don't know what to do, become frightened, & jump ship. All of that having been said, at the age of 64 this guy is still the guy who constantly finds himself asking, "Would they have loved me more if I was more handsome, cool, buff?" I feel your pain, Sariah. I definitely feel your pain.

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