Ask Evie: Should I Date My Compatible But Unattractive Coworker?

By Evie··  4 min read
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Welcome to Ask Evie, our advice column. Readers can submit their questions, and our editors will dish out their best advice!

READER’S QUESTION: “I recently moved to a new state, and met a great coworker who I really get along with. I could tell he really liked me, and we just click together. On paper, we're perfect. We have most of the same values, the same religion, and tons in common so conversation just flows (which is very important, as I am fairly introverted and struggle with any sort of small talk). BUT, I don't find him attractive at all.

The guy is also just super sweet, and frankly, the entire workplace has been trying to get us together. Including his sister, one of my managers. Long story short, he very nervously asked me out on a movie theater date, and I accepted. I thought I might as well give him a chance and see if things work out, and if there's any chemistry.

What I'm really worried about is, what do I do if things don't work out on my end? I may risk hurting a good friend of mine, and make things incredibly awkward at my workplace, especially with my manager. I leave for college in a month, as does he. Do I go on a date and keep things non-exclusive until then, and hope things die out? Or do I risk hurting one of the sweetest guys I've met by being totally truthful? And to what extent does attraction really matter in a relationship?"

EVIE’S ADVICE: We feel for you, girl! It can be a tough situation when you feel like everyone around you is rooting for you to give this guy a chance and he’s got everything going for him aside from looks, but unfortunately, that doesn’t change the facts. No matter how kind and sweet he is, if you’re not physically attracted to him, you shouldn’t lead him on. 

Although it may sound shallow, physical attraction really is a necessary component of a healthy, long-lasting relationship. If he’s young, you may have just caught him during an awkward stage of his life, where he hasn’t quite grown into his own yet. But in any case, if you’re already aware that your attraction to him is lacking, despite him checking off all of your other boxes, it’s most likely not going to work. The guy you’re with doesn’t need to be Hemsworth-level hot or have six-pack abs and a perfect, glowing smile, but if you wind up dating or marrying someone that you’re not remotely attracted to, your relationship is going to feel more like roommates as opposed to lovers. 

Finding a man you’re compatible with and you desire to be held by is important, so don’t feel guilty for wanting both. 

That being said, leading him on is only going to cause him more hurt, and if he’s as sweet as you say he is, he deserves better than that. It’s important to be responsible with other people’s feelings. Put yourself in his shoes: Wouldn’t you rather know if the guy you were pursuing wasn’t interested in dating you rather than him stringing you along and wasting your time and energy? Be honest about wanting to remain friends, but be clear about your boundaries and intentions to remain so. You don’t need to tell him that you’re not physically attracted to him, as that will only cause him unnecessary hurt, and is just plain mean to say to someone (case in point: Shake and Deepti from Love Is Blind). 

Since you’re leaving for college in a month, that’s the perfect excuse to use as a reason to not get into a relationship. The conversation may feel awkward and his ego will likely be bruised no matter how kindly you handle the situation, but ultimately it will free him up to date someone who genuinely wants to be with him. Chances are, he’ll understand and it will be far less hurtful than dragging it out and hoping his feelings disappear on their own.

In time, you’ll find a guy who aligns with you on your values and that you feel butterflies with when you see him lean in for a kiss. Keep your standards high and your priorities in the right place. Finding a man you desire to be held by is important and you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting that. Don’t settle for less out of fear that the man you’re meant to be with won’t eventually come along.

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