The internet erupted when the singer Lorde posted a photo of her and her boyfriend. The selfie went viral – and for a terrible reason. People believed that Lorde was dating someone seemingly less attractive than her.

"Was this supposed to make me feel something?" Lorde classily responded to her relationship haters. But while she asked it rhetorically, it begs a real answer. Why as a society are we so obsessed with couples in which one partner is significantly attractive than the other?

While the most universal measure of attractiveness is a symmetrical face, there are lots of other factors at play. From your mood at the time to the color someone's wearing, a lot of attractiveness is contextual and not set in stone.

Despite knowing this, being in a relationship where your partner is more attractive than you can be pretty difficult to navigate. It might affect your self-esteem negatively, and cause strain on your relationship.

There are some truths about attractiveness in partners you need to hear that will help you be more confident.

Is it affecting your partner negatively?

You might be completely undervaluing yourself, and you could be alienating your partner in the process. No one enjoys being with someone who has low self-esteem, and if you continue to self-deprecate yourself and presetting yourself as sub-par material, your partner might began to believe it too.

Stop tearing yourself down, especially in front of them. That person likes you, you like that person - that's all that you need to know. Do not overthink it, do not plunge into "Am I worthy?" questions - by doing so, you disrespect that person as if they had made a bad decision. You would not want it, would you?

Are they actually more attractive?

There are two distinct reasons you might find your partner to be more attractive than you. First, you might be dating a person that is objectively attractive to other people as well (someone that is considered a “hot commodity”). Alternatively, you might be dating someone that seems overly attractive to you personally (due to being in love with them, their personality, etc.).

In the second case, because you are infatuated with the person you find them to be better looking than they really are. All the while, no one else is giving your relationship a second thought. To you, the person is heaven on earth. Two studies from University of Texas at Austin have supported the idea that we become more attracted to people once we like their personality — and less attracted to hot people if they turn out to be jerks.

Have you asked your partner for emotional support?

If you believe that your partner truly loves you, despite whatever negative feelings you have about yourself, you will feel more confident in the relationship. Figure out what specific things they do that make you feel wanted, loved and appreciated. Then let them know you desire more of it! Maybe cuddling makes you feel very secure with your partner, so ask them if you can set aside 10 minutes each day specifically for more snuggles. Spending just 15 to 20 minutes of quality time with your partner each day can instantly improve your feelings of self-worth because it reconnects you with your partner, emotionally and physically.

Do you continue to talk negatively about yourself?

Pay attention to what you're saying to yourself within your mind. Every time you think something like "I am not worthy of him," replace it with something positive such as "I'm blessed to have them in my life." The key is to step out of yourself and look at your self-talk as an outsider. How would it make you feel to hear someone sitting next to you say "I'm so ugly compared to my partner?" You would feel horrible that they felt so bad about themselves. Nurture yourself within your thought life, just as you would with someone else. One smart rule of thumb – never say something to yourself you wouldn’t want your best friend to say to themselves. In addition, tell your partner you want to work on being so harsh on yourself. They can help call you out when you say something self-deprecating, and watch you grow!

Hopefully you know what your insecurities are and you’ve reflected on how they developed. From here, you can take the steps to keep your insecurities in check and work on improving your self-esteem. This will help you feel stronger about yourself, so that you can shake off the haters that say something about your attractiveness difference.

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