I read a column called Quora. People ask questions and anyone who feels qualified can answer. Here is a question and answer that nicely reveals the dynamics of either a style Three or someone rather uncritical of our image-based culture. Notice the preoccupation with not only image, but status based exclusively on image.
A young lady asked:
Is it wrong that I feel insulted when ugly guys ask me out on a date?
A young man answered:
You can certainly feel however you want. It’s not my place to police your feelings.
Well … it wouldn’t be my place, if you hadn’t asked.
Reading the details of your question, I get the impression that you’re “insulted” not so much because these subjectively unattractive men have the nerve to ask you out, but because you’re feeling insecure about your own appearance. You state that during your previous relationship, you felt you didn’t look your best, and at times people said your now-ex looked “too good” to be with you.
I don’t know what you look like. But I can make an educated guess that your problem isn’t that you’re so hideous that your ex was too good for you, or that only grotesque trolls can find you attractive. It’s likely that you lack confidence in your own appearance.
And, yanno what? Predicating your next relationship on the attractiveness of your potential partner will potentially perpetuate this predicament. If you’re set on looking for someone on a level that you already subconsciously believe may be “out of your league”, it’s not going to do anything good for your sense of self-worth. It will only leave you scrambling to live up to a standard you already sorta believe you can’t meet.
It may be that the best thing you can do for yourself is base your next relationship around someone who appreciates you and can express their appreciation for you to you, not someone who your friends will look at and think “oh, she must be attractive if she’s dating him”. Irrespective of the person’s looks.
I’m not suggesting you seek out the first bridge-dwelling troll you can find, but maybe just bear in mind that your friends’ perception of your relationship isn’t going to help you a whole lot if you don’t feel good about yourself. Whereas the perception that someone you care about has of you can make all the difference in the world. Whether they’re model material or not.
I know that all this is easy to say and harder to do, but I promise – promise – from personal experience, that it’s the best path you can take. I’m a fairly attractive guy who’s always had difficulty internalizing the fact that he’s attractive. When I was younger, I IRL had someone from a modeling agency give me their card at an airport. That still didn’t seriously make me believe that I was all that attractive.
At 34, I’ve now taken an extended break from relationships & dating, but experience has taught me that seeking external validation through high appearance-value partners is the junk food of romantic life. Except it rots your soul instead of your teeth.