Each season in our lives can have an effect on how we define and appreciate beauty. Often, our relationship status can weigh heavily on beauty concepts and self-love.
I definitely had moments in my past where my definition of beauty was tweaked and called into question due to my interactions with the opposite sex and my relationship status. I had many moments where I thought “what’s wrong with me?” Or “am I not pretty enough?” When I found myself continuously being in a single season or a rejection season. It took some growth for me to change my outlook on relationships from being negative to being expectant and patient. I had to recognize the beauty in me first.
Story time: Almost 2.5 years ago, my ex said the best words that could ever change my life. In the midst of an argument where I was wanting him to define the status of our relationship and say he “wanted” to be with me, his response was “You need to go love yourself.” A light switch went off, first one of outrage, then one of acceptance/realization. He was right. I did need to go do just that. And my life hasn’t been the same since, but in an amazing way.
I spent time appreciating my value and not waiting on someone to confirm that I was “worth it.” I found beauty in singleness and solitude and enjoyed every minute of my time spent with me and with God. I spent time rethinking and reevaluating what beauty meant to me. I still experienced the shortcomings of the dating world but those shortcomings didn’t phase me or make me second guess who I was or what I had to offer.
Those shortcomings just came with the territory and helped me better cultivate what I wanted from a partner and what kind of partner I wanted to be. I upped my self-care and affirmation game. I took on journaling, learned to enjoy trying new restaurants alone, found new hobbies, and just spent time finding things I enjoyed on my own.
I’ve also tried to not let the opinions of society influence how I conduct myself while single or in a relationship.
Your singleness journey is a beautiful time. I had a friend tell me that I “had a lot going on” and “I was going through” when I was dating prior to meeting my boyfriend. At first, her words stung and set me aback because that wasn’t how I defined my dating period prior to meeting my boyfriend. Then I remembered that how I define that period of my life is the only one that matters. It was an experience and I learned from it and I learned about myself in the process, which was something I needed in order to be the woman and partner that I am today to my boyfriend. I embraced my singleness for all that it was and I learned from my own journey.
But, that’s enough about what I think about beauty and relationships. That’s just my story and my transformation. Not everyone will share the same opinions nor have a similar story. We are here on this blog to unite over topics and experiences. So, I took some time to ask 8 women, who fall in the categories of single, dating and married, what they think about beauty, relationships, and self-love. Here’s what these beautiful women had to say.
First, do you think there is a correlation between beauty standards and relationships? If so, what is the correlation to you?
(Not everyone believed there was a correlation between the two, but most of the women felt that there was some type of connection between beauty and relationships.)
“Yes, I feel like there is a correlation. Traditional society sets beauty standards and they are mostly superficial, but in a relationship, I feel like the couple sets their own standards of what beauty is to them.”
“I think so. Especially when you are younger and you are in your first serious relationship. You are trying to do all the right things, say all the right things, and you want to give your significant other a pretty presentation every time you see each other. More often than not we are styling ourselves to their liking and not our own, which once we get older we realize is not worth losing yourself to please another person.”
“To some people, both men & women may find a correlation between beauty standards & relationships. As for me, to a certain degree; for me, it would be in the presentation of myself to a significant other, as well as his presentation to me. I know most people are showing their best in the dating stage before officiating a relationship, & I’ve done so as well. I’ve also gotten laxed or either had the same upkeep from the jump. It all depends on how this person may make one feel in a relationship. Or even being sure that we keep things spicy & surprising in the relationship to not get boring to one another.”
Has your definition of beauty ever been affected by your relationship status? If so how?
(Not everyone experienced this and answered no or not applicable.)
“In a previous relationship, I felt I needed to look more sophisticated when that truly wasn’t me. I’m more of a trendy-edgy type of girl. I like to have fun with my style and hair. Constantly switching it up. Later on, when I found out that person wasn’t for me I also realized that I should always be true to myself and the right person will love me just the way I am. Fast forward to now. I’m in relationship with a guy who loves my switch-ups and encourages them.”
Britney, In a committed relationship
“My last relationship left me many times feeling like I wasn’t pretty enough. The relationship was very toxic and my ex made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for him more often than not and I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know how to let my inner beauty shine through because it was being dimmed. Granted I’ve always thought and believed I was beautiful, but when it came to his opinion of how I looked, his opinion for some strange reason outweighed mine. “
Yes. I wouldn’t call it a “relationship”, more of a “situationship”. I questioned my beauty and felt that I was lacking something, because of his mixed signals and unclear intentions
“Yes, my definition of beauty has been affected by my relationship. But in a great way; I’ve had a man to help me dig into my sex appeal more than any other man has ever done before. He made me comfortable to be sexy & to explore my sensual side outside as well as inside the bedroom. That in turn helped me turn to certain things that I wore that I may not have possibly worn without encouragement from him. I think that was one thing I loved about this guy particularly, he helped me to feel sexy, bold, & content with it.
I think any man who has a woman that he finds beautiful & sexy, as well as others finding this woman attractive, should help to encourage her to always feel as such, it helps with her self esteem as well as to always make sure that she’s sexy for you. And when your man is secure in who he is within your relationship, he’s quite happy when you turn heads out in public too, because he has the prize personally.”
How do you maintain self-love and self-care regardless of your relationship status?
I make sure to take time out for myself, and do the things that I personally enjoy. I think it’s important to remain true to myself even though I am married. I really value my alone time, as well as time just working on my own interests. The more I’m able to take care of myself, the better a wife I can be to my partner.”
“I maintain self-love by reiterating affirmations I have taped to my bathroom mirror. I constantly remind myself that I seek validation from myself and God. I maintain self-care by doing all things that relax me such as watching my fav tv show or reading fiction, praying, journaling, and exercise. Those are things I do daily.”
“I try to always take some alone time even if it’s just a walk or bubble bath.”
“For me taking time to do my hair weekly, keeping my skin as clear as possible, and working on my health is vital. I listen to a lot of sermons to help keep my mental status in check as this life is hard, yet it can be rewarding. I think for me encouraging other women and helping when I can lets me know that I’m walking in my purpose and that makes me happy. I love days alone as well. This helps me to regroup and be creative.”
Britney, In a Committed Relationship
“”Love yourself girl or nobody will” -J. Cole
Whether single or in a relationship, pampering and quality time with self is a must. Find a hobby that you love. Date yourself, learn yourself, be satisfied with yourself. I personally love cooking, reading, and Zumba. Those are my hobbies and things I like to do for “me”! Things that make me feel good. Things I plan to continue, regardless of my relationship status.”
Do you have beauty positive and/or self-love affirmations that you use throughout your stages of singleness, dating, and/or marriage that you would like to share?
“I always tell myself that I am beautiful and that I’m a total package.”
“You are beautiful! You are strong! You are capable of receiving the love that you give! You are worthy! Even if someone else doesn’t see it, don’t let that someone be you!”
Do societal pressures for women to be in relationships/married have any effect on how you define beauty for yourself?
“Societal pressures for women to be in relationships or married have not had any effect on how I define beauty for myself. It has however had an effect on my timing on when to be in a relationship or wanting to be married, I would say. Society has definitely pressured women into believing that happiness or the “dream” of being a woman is not fulfilled without having a man be a part of that. And I believe that to not be true nor true happiness is always found in a relationship.”
“No. Not for me. I’m creeping up on my 30th birthday, and technically by societal standards I should be married with a kid or two by now however, that’s not my reality. I’m blessed because no one is pressuring me to be in a relationship or get married and I know that it’s not because I’m not beautiful. It’s simply not my time yet. I feel like I’ve learned more about my beauty inside and out in my singleness. I’ve learned who I am and I think that’s the most beautiful thing of all.”
Does how you take care of yourself change with your relationship status?
“That’s funny you say that as I think when you’re happy in a relationship you kind of let your hair down. Your significant other gets to see the real you before you started dating. You know the bonnet you took off before you hopped on FaceTime. lol
I do believe that you should still maintain your beauty when in a relationship as that’s how they met you.”
Britney, In A Committed Relationship
“Currently, I’m single but if I was in a relationship, I would ensure to maintain the same routine.”
“I would say no. I might throw on a little make up a bit more frequently, but that’s about it. If you start changing how you care for yourself in the beginning, you are going to have to keep it up. “Start out how you can hold out”!”
Do you consider your partner’s beauty preferences before making a change in your daily beauty routine? Ex: haircuts, color, no makeup vs. makeup, fashion options, etc.
“I do consider his preferences but I do not STRICTLY abide by them. I always try to find the balance of following beauty trends that he finds attractive but also staying true to myself.”
How does your definition of beauty impact how you move forward in relationships?
“Honestly I don’t think it affects me as I dig deeper beyond the outside. I look for what’s in the heart, mind, and soul of my significant other. I do believe we both should hold ourselves to a standard physically when it comes to grooming, but as long as I’m initially attracted to you from there on out it’s what’s beyond the physical that moves us forward.”
Britney, In a Committed Relationship
“This may sound cliche, but beauty truly starts from within. If you feel beautiful on the inside it will radiate outwardly. When I am spiritually, emotionally, and mentally in a great place, I feel better about myself in every aspect. I have more confidence, I’m more optimistic, and I’m more accepting of my flaws and imperfections. I believe this will impact how I move forward in a relationship because I know that self-care will have to be a priority for me in order to be my best self in a relationship.”
What’s been the biggest lesson that you have learned about beauty and relationships?
“My biggest lesson about beauty & relationships is to never let someone dim your light or what you’re used to that makes you happy & comfortable with yourself. Simply put, don’t let anyone try to change you or how you feel about yourself, because once & if they leave, you’ll still have you, but you’ll have to build yourself back up from that level if it happened to damage or dwindle your self-esteem, & there’s nothing wrong with renovating yourself, just let it be because YOU want too!”
“The biggest lesson that I’ve learned about beauty and relationships is that my confidence and self-esteem should not be tied to how a man, whether he’s mine or not, sees me. I have to love me first and know that I am beautiful. The last relationship I was in I had very little self-confidence. I was still trying to figure myself out and be comfortable with myself while being in a relationship and it was all bad. I’ve been single for four years now and I love everything about me and I definitely express that through how I dress, how I style my hair, and how I do my makeup.”
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to always put yourself first.”
“The biggest lesson for me is that if a man truly loves, cares, and cherishes you then he will see past your physical flaws and still make you feel beautiful inside and out. You don’t have to try and hide those flaws for the right person to see you.”
Britney, In a Committed Relationship
“You have to be able to recognize your own beauty and love yourself whole heartedly, before looking for someone else to.”
“Communication and self care.”
“The biggest lesson I have learned about beauty and relationships is that self-care is important. Outside of your physical appearance, it’s important to make sure you take care of yourself.”
“I think its i’ve learned most that I appreciate that my partner appreciates me whether I’m in my bum mode 97% of the time or when I’m really on point that 3% of the time. I also appreciate that he doesn’t have much of an opinion on my fashion/beauty choices so he allows me that freedom to dress and look however makes me feel good. Even when I don’t feel as confident trying out a new style/look he always supports me venturing out and that is something I really value!”
These ladies provided transparent and honest answers on what beauty and relationships mean to them. I enjoyed reading their perspectives on relationships and singleness and I felt their beauty beaming through their answers. I felt that I could identify with each of them.
Here are some takeaways from their answers:
~When it comes to relationships it is good to make sure you have chosen a partner who is secure in themselves and in the relationship.
~Men see past physical appearances.
~Beauty is only skin deep.
~Do the things you love.
~ Self-love is a journey. Some women felt they had to compromise on their true definition of beauty depending on the relationship but later learned that that wasn’t true beauty or the right person.
~Don’t lose you in your relationship.
~Don’t put your value in someone else’s hands
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