Do You "Let Yourself Go" When You're in a Serious Relationship?

Once you settle down, there's not as much urgency because you've got someone, right?

Couple watching movie
(Image credit: Wendy Carrig/Taxi)

Last Friday, one of my friends in my office announced she was "getting ready to go out" for happy hour. "Getting ready" consisted of one change: donning these gigantic cork wedges in place of her regular old flip-flops that she wore to work.

I asked her: She had a boyfriend, so why did she have to lookthat good going out?

"Once you have a boyfriend," I said, "you can just let yourself go. I mean, I plan to let myself go after I have a girlfriend, just like my guy friends in serious relationships."

After this discussion, I realized I had a whole host of thoughts on this subject from guys and girls. I always figured people let themselves go to an extent once they achieve a serious relationship.

When you're out looking for a mate, you do your best to look good and be at the top of your game. Once you settle down, there's not as much urgency because you've got someone. It's the physical version of revealing your bad personality traits once you're settled down.

There is a certain "natural dilapidation" that occurs to our bodies as we get older. And, in addition to this, our lifestyles change:

- We devote more energy to our children and less energy to ourselves.

- We advance in work and spend more time in the "office."

- We are on the go more often, so we grab something quick to eat because we don't have time to cook something or shop for healthy ingredients.

But, in addition to this lifestyle change and natural process of aging, do we shift our mentality once we settle down with someone, or do we always feel pressure to be attractive?

Here are a few examples of how we may or may not "give up" on ourselves after settling down:


Women: In my experience, women don't ever want to stop looking fashionable and beautiful. But, once a woman is comfortably in a relationship with her boyfriend, she may lounge around in sweats more often. Also, the "audience" she's dressing for may change. Frankly, her boyfriend probably doesn't know or have much of an opinion on her fashion outside of what makes her look "hot." Women seem to dress for other women.

Men: I want to go casual anytime I can. But, in my misguided thinking, I believe that certain looks make me more attractive to women. While I'm single, I try to dress well. Once I'm settled down with a girlfriend, the pressure is gone. Honestly, if I wasn't trying to get laid or get a girlfriend, I wouldn't care what I was wearing half the time.


Women: Again, women seem to take care of their hair until the day they die, regardless of their marital status.

Men: I get my hair cut with the following percentages in mind: 30% for confidence, 70% for what I think women will like. Once I settle down, I will be very lazy about getting my hair cut.


The other day I was driving with my recently married friend and he told me: "It's pretty simple. If I go to the gym consistently, I expect my wife to be in the gym too."

Women: The gym is a tough part of the day to keep intact when you're working and raising kids. And a woman is the one who has to deliver the child, and that takes a toll on her body. Every time my friends and I spot a hot older woman with a great figure, we assume she's got a rich husband and she's not working (her only "work" is to stay in the gym all day).

Men: I will, hopefully, go to the gym until the day I die...or keel over in the gym, leading the doctors to tell me to stop going to the gym. I want to stay healthy, and look attractive to women. I wonder if my gym commitment will change once I'm actually in a relationship and I don't have so much "gym time." Maybe I can just marry a rich woman and stay in the gym to be a trophy husband.

Perhaps it doesn't matter, as long as we don't let ourselves go mentally. I hear the biggest thing people ask for when they are older is just somebody to talk to.