More Than Skin Deep

Dale Archer, M.D. Thursday, December 15, 2016 Comments Off on More Than Skin Deep
More Than Skin Deep

Dear Dr. Archer,

I had a short relationship a few years ago. I was 26, and he was 20. We had different jobs and acquaintances, but our social status was pretty similar.

Initially, he liked me. But he suddenly ended the relationship. He said he wanted his girlfriend with him every night when he went out. I, unfortunately, was working and living in another city, though from his hometown. 

I offered to travel more often to meet him, and told him I didn’t care about having a family for the next few years, until we were settled down more. I really tried to save the relationship, but he broke it off, anyway. To make things worse, even though I’ve previously had boyfriends, he was my first sexual partner.

I did everything in my power to be nice and sweet while we were together. I was nice to his friends, and I didn’t look older than any of them. I tried to convince him to give us another try, but to no avail. 

A few months later, I accidently discovered online that he was dating a girl two years his junior. 

I don’t know if he knew her before me. Maybe they were on a break when he met me. 

I felt terrible, and my self-esteem has suffered because of this. This year, they got married, and the photos were posted all over Facebook.

I asked colleagues and friends about her photographs. They said she is less beautiful than I. She’s less educated than I — she has a minor degree, while I hold a master’s and finished medical school. She comes from a poor rural background, so she’s not rich. She works at the post office, and was only hired with his mother’s help. 

So my question is: Why did he choose her over me? It’s like a girl refusing a Dior dress and choosing a cheap, latex trashy supermarket dress. I know this is an exaggerated comparison, but I just don’t get it.



Dear Arwen,

So, you can’t believe this guy married a woman who’s not as pretty as you, not as smart as you, and is socially inferior to you? Well, the fact that you are even asking this question pretty well sums it up.

None of those things equals true love. These are all superficial features, and can’t serve as the basis for a lasting or happy marriage. No way. Beauty fades with time, and finances can be ruined, no matter what your education level may be. Even a fine Dior dress will fall into rags with enough dry-cleaning and wear.

You’re comparing yourself to another woman to figure out why he chose someone else. You demonstrate how superficially you see all of this by comparing a designer dress to a lowly, supermarket dress. Who is to say which is better? Some guys will prefer the supermarket dress every time.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it’s more than skin deep. And who can say why one man will choose a certain woman? I promise you it’s so much more than looks, education or money.

I wonder if the very way you question all this is what turned him off in the first place? Are you conceited about your looks? Is your ego so exaggerated by a good education that you look down on someone with a “minor degree?” Do you feel that only a rich girl from the city can hold value? It sounds like it, and that means you have much to learn.

You may have advantages over her in many areas, but he fell in love with and married her. Perhaps it was due to her personality, perhaps her younger age — who knows? In reality, it doesn’t matter, except as a way to teach you a lesson.

Love is not about your looks, where you were raised or how much money you have. It’s really that simple. The most meaningful things in life cannot be bought, or sometimes even explained.

Not everyone can wear a Dior dress, and to be honest, who cares? It’s not the dress, but who’s wearing the dress that counts. You’re not truly wealthy until you have something money can’t buy. As Kahlil Gibran said, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”

You are too superficial, and you’re making the mistake of comparing yourself to another, which will never lead to happiness. Instead of proceeding with this silly comparison, focus on being a good person. Be true to who you are, and embrace your character — not the outward, materialistic aspects of your life.

I worry about you and your success in dating. Good luck.

Dr. Dale Archer is a board-certified psychiatrist who founded the Institute for Neuropsychiatry in Southwest Louisiana. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN Headline News and other national TV programs, and is the author of The ADHD Advantage and the New York Times bestselling book Better than Normal. Visit him at

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