The newer the relationship, the more concerned people usually are about looking as attractive as possible to make the best impression. And we all know it’s common for those who are dating to spend considerable time combing the closet for the perfect outfit or shopping for something new before a date. Women might consult girlfriends about the perfect shoes or jewelry; men might seek out date-night advice from their buddies.
So what changes once the relationship goes past the “just dating” stage? If you get married, move in together or otherwise become an established couple, it’s natural for the pressure to always put your best foot forward to dissipate with regards to how you dress for date night or what you wear around the house. It is also not uncommon to become less conscientious about keeping yourself in the best dating-stage physical shape as we become more comfortable and secure in a relationship.
In fact, a study last year conducted by Southern Methodist University showed that the more comfortable and happy people were in their relationships, the more likely they were to gain weight.
But as important as it is for couples to look beyond each other’s looks into a deeper relationship based on mutual support, shared values and respect, the ideal is for physical attraction to remain a high priority as well. In other words, there’s no reason you can’t—or shouldn’t—continue to make an effort to look your best well into even the most comfortable of relationships.
So before you relegate sexy haircuts, a body that both looks and feels great, and stylish clothes to the “Sex in the City” set, consider a few ways that taking time to pamper yourself and stay fit is as important in married life as it is while dating:
- You deserve it. Have kids? A stressful job? Household chores that never seem to be done? Making time for a manicure or yoga class are ways of grabbing some much-needed “me” time and reminding yourself that you’re not just a partner, parent, worker and housecleaning machine. You’re also someone who deserves to indulge in a little self-care for your own sanity. (As an added bonus, it rarely fails for one partner’s sanity to have a calming effect on the rest of the household.)
- It reignites the spark. When you go out of your way to look good—whether it’s wearing a new, sexy scent, a well-put-together-outfit or even new lingerie—you’re bound to catch your partner’s attention in a way that reminds them you’re not just their best buddy but their romantic partner, too.
- It’s flattering—to both of you. Looking great boosts your own self-esteem while showing your partner you still care about looking good for them, even if they swear up and down they love you just as much in sweatpants.
- It’s healthy. When it comes to staying fit, if it’s true that people are more likely to put on extra pounds when they feel secure in their relationships, that may be small comfort if it undermines their health and makes them more vulnerable to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions. So if one or both of you find the numbers on the bathroom scale are climbing, work to get back to a healthier weight for the best reason of all: to enjoy a happy, healthy life together for years to come.