How does a gorgeous non-bimbo counteract the fact that most guys are interested only to validate themselves?
A person may seek another's validation of his or her physical attractiveness, intellect, social status, sexuality, wealth, or some other attribute. Sex and money are especially common validators. In response to a sexually unsatisfying relationship, a person may choose a new partner with whom sexuality is central: "I was afraid it was me, that I was frigid or something, but my new lover and I have wonderful sex." Many teenagers and young adults who are looking for a sense of identity form relationships based on physical or sexual validation. The packaging tends to be very important: physical beauty, sharp clothes, a cool car--the package of romantic images which fit the reference group the person wants to be a part of.
These relationships are always a little insecure: "Does she like me, or not?" There are theatrics and acting-out designed to get the other person to pursue you. Since the partners are immature, there is enormous tension and constant testing: "Do you really love me?" One small act can be everything, a source of tears and anguish, despite everything else the partner has done all week. (This element can also occur in other types of relationships.) Each partner can be looking for a different kind of validation. An older professor who takes up with an attractive young student may want physical and sexual validation, while the student wants intellectual validation.
As the relationship continues, one person may continue to require validation while the other starts
wanting something deeper. When this happens, both partners are apt to feel betrayed, empty, and angry. For example, the man may discover that the beautiful woman doesn't give him what he thinks she's going to. He grows hungry for real contact, while she still wants to be the queen and have endless large parties. One of the sources of validation they originally had in common has broken. Or the woman who wants security marries money and discovers that even though she's rich, she still feels anxious and threatened. The money doesn't do what she thought it would.
A validation relationship can further the valuable goal of shoring up a person's self-esteem in areas where he or she has felt inadequate or doubtful. When that has been done, and the partners begin to be able to give themselves some of the validation they relied on the other person for, the question which begins to emerge is, "How much do we have in common besides the validating item? Where else can we go in the relationship? Can we find other sources of connection besides the surface personality traits and social roles that originally brought us together?" When an older man marries a beautiful trinket, if that's all she is, the relationship may not have a promising future. But if she's a thinking person beneath the facade, the relationship may develop. If, for example, she was raised in a family with "the beauty" as her role, but is intelligent as well, there are possibilities. She may begin to play an important role in his business, or develop her own abilities in a way which makes her a more broadly interesting or useful partner.
If no deeper basis for connecting materializes and the partners drift apart, there is a strong chance that the needs for validation have been met and the partners have begun seeking something different. At that point, the relationship has done its work. The partners have learned to validate in themselves the qualities they were insecure about and they are ready to connect along other dimensions.