My husband is fat

Dear Jennifer: My husband’s weight problem turns me off

123RF Sex is important to me but I can’t desire my husband in his current state.

DEAR JENNIFER: I’m onto my third marriage with the nicest guy I’ve ever been with. He’s kind, funny, a great dad and stepdad to our kid (and my daughter). He has a good job, nice friends, no addictions and he loves me. So many boxes ticked! Except one: his weight, which was a minor problem when we met, continues to increase and I simply cannot find a fat man attractive. It’s no mystery as to why he’s packing it on – he subsidises the healthy meals I cook with a steady stream of junk food and beer. Our sex life is dying and yet he won’t curb this behaviour – what do I do? I am not interested in having a sexless marriage.

Dear Jennifer: My friend is flirting with my husband
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* Dear Jennifer: I feel guilty that I enjoy male attention

Victoria Birkinshaw Talk to your guy, says Jennifer. Overeating is usually a sign of unhappiness.

JENNIFER SAYS: “So many boxes ticked?” What are you looking for, a butler? I wonder if your first two husbands met their demise by falling short on “ticks”?

Relationships are not Hollywood movies, they’re hard work. They need open and honest communication, a willingness to listen and genuine empathy to survive – and that goes for both of you, you too have to work at ticking his boxes.

You say his weight was already a minor problem when you met. Unhealthy behaviours, of any kind, are usually manifestations of some kind of underlying unhappiness. Have you tried to talk to him about this?

You also say you’re not interested in a sexless marriage, but what are you doing to circumvent it? I would imagine your husband’s finding it increasingly difficult to muster desire for a wife he knows doesn’t find him attractive, so perhaps you could start by losing the negative attitude towards his body. Instead, try showing some empathy and opening the lines of communication.

You obviously care about him (and he for you), so educating yourself about what causes over-eating will help you to understand the bigger picture and start a (gentle) dialogue about the issues he may be trying to hide/avoid/fix with food.

His cravings for sugar, salt and fat, (the main ingredients in all junk food) and, of course, beer won’t be placated by plates of tofu and quinoa every night – that’s like asking a junkie to swap their daily fix for a cup of herbal tea. It will take time, patience and a lot of stops and starts before you can change his eating habits – together.

Food and beverage companies spend billions developing and advertising these synthetic foods, finding the perfect combinations that will trigger massive spikes of the feel good chemical (dopamine) in our brains, and creating desire for more. These spikes are so much more powerful than those experienced when eating whole foods (ever woken up hungover and craved brocolli?) and stimulate the same reward system in the brain as cocaine.
My point is, don’t under-estimate what your man is battling. Talk to him about it, show him that you understand and that you’re prepared to help him find ways to resist the omnipresent triggers. How about an evening walk together every evening or morning – or some other physical activity that you enjoy?

Of course, ultimately, it’s up to him to find the motivation and the willpower to change, but that will be easier with you on his side. Let him know how important he is to you and the children, that the need to look after his health is not just for him – you all want him around for as long as possible. And be patient – sustained weight loss is very slow and steady and he may never get down to the size that, in your mind, would be ideal.
Jennifer Souness has had an unusual life. You can learn more about her here. To send Jennifer a question, email [email protected] with Dear Jennifer in the subject line.

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Liz and Danny* have been in a committed relationship for more than a decade after a serendipitous meeting at a Mexican restaurant while both were seated at different tables. At the time they met, she was a sprite-like redhead with a quirky sense of humor; he was tall and thin with a mop of curly black hair. Physically attracted from the moment they locked eyes, emotional intimacy came later and grew over time.

Fast-forward 10 years. At 41, Liz remains slender. But Danny, 46, is no longer the lean, dark, handsome type she fell for. Now, she says, his 6-ft.-1-inch frame is “more than a little fleshy and mushy” and the weight gain is a turnoff. So much so, she’s found herself uninterested in sleeping with him. She’s unhappy; he’s growing more resentful.

“It’s hard to admit but he’s simply not attractive to me anymore,” she says. “I’m turned off by his belly fat and love handles.”

While the couple is talking about the problem, Liz concedes that she’s thinking about leaving the relationship if Danny doesn’t, literally, shape up. She feels he’s become so complacent and entitled that he has little motivation to change.

“It’s kind of symbolic of the way he feels about our relationship,” Liz says. “I have refused to have sex with him on several occasions.”

We’ve all heard of men who pressure their wives, partners or girlfriends to lose weight, and often female fears of losing a man will prompt a major overhaul. On the flip side, experts say women often withhold sex as a weapon of last resort when their partners refuse to or don’t lose weight.

Dr. Laura Triplett, an assistant professor at California State University-Fullerton, conducts research on body image and the social implications of physical appearance. She has found that women in their 20s in particular stop having sex with their partners when they don’t meet their idealized notion of what a man should look like.

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“They usually give an ultimatum: ‘We’re going on a vacation and you have until June to look this good,’ and they give him a picture that they want him to mold himself to. They buy him gift certificates to trainers and gym memberships as incentives,” Triplett explains.

It’s no secret that obesity is a national epidemic: The number of obese American adults outweighs the number of those who are merely overweight, according to data released in January 2009, by the National Center for Health Statistics. The data reveals that more than 34 percent of Americans are obese, compared to 32.7 percent who are overweight; nearly six percent of Americans are “extremely” obese.

‘He was growing man boobs’Sabine* says Kurt* began piling on the pounds 18 months into their three-year relationship.

“I’m not sure if it was because he was getting too comfortable or because his adolescent skinny boy metabolism was just growing into middle-aged fat man metabolism. Regardless, he was getting bigger and not in a good way … he was growing man boobs,” Sabine recalls. “I was getting really grossed out.”

Sabine, now 37, is a size two and argued with herself about the passive-aggressive comments she made to Kurt, 40. Still, she stopped sleeping over at his house as often and turned off the lights when they had sex; ultimately, they stopped having sex altogether.

When men gain weight and become physically unattractive to their partner, “what usually happens is the woman takes it much more as a sign that he doesn’t love her. Women tend to personalize things,” Mary Jo Rapini, a psychotherapist who specializes in intimacy and sexuality at the Methodist Weight Management Center in Houston, observes.

When Sabine finally confronted Kurt, “he was shocked. He said he hadn’t noticed. He said he would try to take better care of himself. But at that point it was too late.” A year after that conversation, Sabine left the relationship.

“It’s great that women are realizing that we are also visual creatures and that we are sexually stimulated by what we see and that we have a right to ask our partners to gift us with the benefit of good grooming and a regular visit to the gym,” Veronica Monet, a certified sexologist who specializes in relationship dynamics, says. But “any time we threaten our partners by withholding sex or love whether we’re male or female, we take the relationship in a negative direction.”

Monet suggests talking frankly about your feelings with your partner. For example, “‘This thing isn’t working for me, would you be willing to change it?’ ‘I would be so turned on if you lost 20 pounds.’ The big reward any man gets is female approval.”

“Share your true feelings, while requesting a specific course of action from your partner,” Monet advises. “It’s extremely important to avoid any negative statements, name-calling or accusations. Instead, begin sentences with ‘I feel’ followed by descriptors such as ‘sad,’ ‘afraid’ or ‘angry’.” She says this technique encourages compassion while simultaneously expressing negative information and requesting new behavior.

Ultimately, Monet says: “You have to realize that your overweight husband is only going to lose weight when he wants to, which sometimes leaves you out of the equation.”

Which is exactly what happened in Sabine’s case, though it was too late for the relationship. After the breakup, Kurt was accepted into a graduate business program, became motivated to shape up and started dropping pounds.

*Names have been changed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Question

My husband and I have been married for 30-plus years. In the beginning, I tried to “change” him, and ultimately discovered that I can only change myself. I realize that his life’s experiences are a part of who he is; and as we have different opinions regarding many things, we have agreed that on some topics we will just disagree. He is a good husband and father.

My problem is that my husband has become very overweight. Even some of our children have mentioned their concern about his weight to me. He doesn’t like to exercise, is always tired, and hasn’t been to a doctor in over 10 years. In the past I have voiced my concern to him that he stops breathing for short periods of time at night, but now I just don’t say anything. His family has a history of diabetes and cancer, but these diseases don’t seem to be a concern to him. My problem is that being intimate with him is not appealing to me.

What can I do to voice my concerns to him without him feeling he is being criticized? Is there anything I can do or say that can help him want to be healthier? What can I do to change my own thoughts about him being overweight?

Answer

You’re right that addressing this topic is going to be a difficult experience for both of you. You’re also correct that you can’t change his behavior. However, it doesn’t mean that you should stay silent.

You have legitimate concerns about his health, but none of that will matter to him if you don’t have the kind of relationship that can handle something that loaded. The quality of your relationship with your husband will determine how he hears your concerns. Before you figure out what words you’ll use to communicate your concerns, I recommend you take in these considerations.

One of my mentors, Dr. Wally Goddard, once told me that he didn’t feel permission to correct anyone he didn’t love. He said the great surprise was that once he truly felt love for them, he modified the way he approached them. He shared that the motivation came from a place of love instead of irritation. Since you’ve got difficult things to discuss with him, it’s wise to check your motives and make sure you’re approaching him from a place of love and compassion.

I have received feedback from loved ones over the years on a variety of topics. The difference between how I received the feedback from them usually came down the strength of our relationship and how I believed they saw me as a person. When I’ve been able to feel their deep love and concern for me, it’s been much easier to hear.

The fact that he’s ignoring his health and is obese signals a potential addiction to food or an underlying depression. Individuals who struggle with these conditions usually have no idea what kind of impact they’re having on their loved ones and live in a deep state of denial to keep them from their painful reality.

While minor irritations with your spouse’s physical self-care might require more patience and flexibility on your part, a true addiction or severe depression requires something more direct. It is possible to be direct with love and compassion. In fact, not saying something to spare his feelings isn’t love. It’s fear and it may keep him from getting the help he needs.

Cicero, a Roman philosopher, taught the powerful truth that we should “criticize by creation, not by finding fault.” Bringing up your concerns isn’t finding fault. Instead, your inviting him to create a new reality where he isn’t trapped in his self-defeating patterns of neglecting his health and his relationships.

Instead of dancing around the issue by gently suggesting you exercise together or eat healthier meals, I encourage you to go straight to the point and let him know that his behavior and lack of self-respect and self-care is not only causing concern for you and the children, but it’s also creating distance between the two of you. Let him know how important he is to everyone and this is an attempt to create more closeness between the two of you.

Even though you recognize he gets to be in charge of his own body, you can still let him know that you would like to be taken seriously and understood. This isn’t criticism about how he should live his life. This is you describing your fears and concerns about the stability and longevity of your most important relationship. Building a relationship strong enough to hear our partner’s deepest fears and worries takes work and time.

These experiences can be jolting to both you and him as you start to discuss the real issue of him numbing and avoiding dealing with difficult emotions or stressors. Encourage him to get into some couples counseling so he can hear and understand what you need to feel close to him again. My guess is that you aren’t pulling away from him just because you’re superficial. You most likely feel ignored and unimportant as he continues to self-destruct. There are bigger issues here to discuss than just his physical size.

Remember to double-check your motives so you can stay with him in love through his denial, ignoring, and rejection. Your desire to see him thrive and connect with you and his family has to be motivated by your loyalty and commitment him. Hopefully he can hear you this time.

Stay connected!

Geoff will be holding a 2-day couples workshop on April 25-26 to help couples deepen their connection and strengthen their marriages in a fun and interactive setting. This workshop is limited to 10 couples.

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: [email protected]

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Geoff Steurer is the co-author of “Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity” and is the founding director of LifeSTAR of St. George, a three phase treatment program for individuals and couples healing from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, UT. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. He also specializes in working with individuals and couples dealing with any form of sexual betrayal. He has been married to his wife, Jody, since 1996 and they are the parents of four children. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. The opinions stated in this article are Steurer’s own and may not be representative of St. George News.

For Obese, Intimate Lives Often Suffer

In the CBS series Mike & Molly, Molly Flynn (Melissa McCarthy) and Mike Biggs (Billy Gardell) show a healthy intimate relationship. While many obese people lead happy and healthy sex lives, therapists are seeing more obese people who say their intimate lives are suffering because of their weight. Richard Cartwright/AP hide caption

toggle caption Richard Cartwright/AP

In the CBS series Mike & Molly, Molly Flynn (Melissa McCarthy) and Mike Biggs (Billy Gardell) show a healthy intimate relationship. While many obese people lead happy and healthy sex lives, therapists are seeing more obese people who say their intimate lives are suffering because of their weight.

Richard Cartwright/AP

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America

It’s well known that obesity can lead to a lot of health problems, but what’s rarely talked about is the impact on people’s sexual health. As the obesity rate has soared in the U.S., more and more marriage and family therapists are getting questions from obese clients about problems in the bedroom.

It’s an issue that Dana Englehardt and her husband, Larry Boynton, of Belmont, Calif., know well.

When Englehardt met Boynton more than a decade ago, she was quite heavy. She was a straight-talking nurse, widowed with three kids. He was a local contractor looking to end his swinging bachelor days and get serious. Boynton says he didn’t focus on Englehardt’s size.

“Once I decided to put that out of my mind and allow the relationship to grow with the person I was falling in love with — her personality and how much fun we had together — it just really wasn’t an issue,” Boynton says.

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After they married, Englehardt gained another 60 pounds. Her joints ached. She could barely stand during her nursing shifts. Grocery shopping and gardening left her winded. She had terrible sleep apnea and was exhausted all the time. And then there was the sex. The thought of making love to her husband felt like a chore.

“I suffered a lot of guilt because I knew that I wasn’t meeting my husband’s needs. That was the worst part — the guilt,” Englehardt says.

In all this, Englehardt came to see her body as something separate from herself. She wouldn’t look at her reflection in storefront windows. She raised her makeup mirror so she could see only from her nose on up. And when she settled in for the night, she didn’t want Boynton to touch her.

“I just felt kind of hideous. I didn’t like when he would touch me because it reminded me of all the bulk there. And then I just kind of avoided sex for a long time,” Englehardt says.

“At one point it was six months. And I was almost climbing the walls. She would get intimate, kissing and everything, but then it wouldn’t go anywhere, and that makes a guy very frustrated. And so I didn’t want to get frustrated, so therefore, I just shut down,” Boynton says.

All of this went unsaid. The pair didn’t talk about it. They did what so many couples do: They retreated.

A Pattern Emerges

Clearly, there are obese people who are happy, fulfilled and feel deeply connected in their relationships — emotionally and sexually. But in the interviews done for this story with marriage therapists, sexual health doctors and weight researchers, a pattern emerges: Obese people — especially those trying to lose weight — are more dissatisfied with their sexual lives, and obese women seem to suffer the most.

“Instead of enjoying their sexual intimacy, they’re worried about the size of their stomach or, ‘Oh my god, he’s going to touch my stomach. What’s he going to think about my stomach?’ ” says Ronnie Kolotkin, a psychologist at Duke University Medical Center who designed a widely used survey that measures how obesity affects quality of life.

“Women reported many more problems with sexual functioning than men. And in fact, women’s scores were even lower than a reference group of cancer survivors,” she says. Kolotkin says the problems for men and women are different.

“Women often talk about difficulties with enjoyment, low sexual desire, avoidance of sexual intimacy, as well as some difficulty with sexual performance; whereas men are more apt to tell me in private practice or in group therapy about performance difficulties and embarrassment related to that,” she says. Some of this is biological: As men’s weight increases, testosterone production can plummet, leading to erectile dysfunction. Weight-related diabetes, too, can result in sexual problems.

But sex is not simply desire and arousal. For many long-term couples, emotional closeness and physical intimacy hinge on trust. Eric Leckbee, a tall and friendly 42-year-old software engineer, knows all too well what happens when that trust is broken. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, who didn’t want to be interviewed. At times, he’s reached 300 pounds. But it was when Leckbee’s wife caught him hiding food that his sex life really took a nosedive.

“It causes the question of what else are you hiding? I’m not being honest with her. To be really, truly intimate with someone, sexually and emotionally, you have to be able to trust them. So she puts barriers up, and then I feel defensive and I put barriers up, and then it causes more of a chasm to occur between us,” Leckbee says. “When you start feeling more emotionally distanced from each other, then you’re less likely to want to have sex or even enjoy the sex that you have.”

Leckbee has done a lot of therapy just to talk about all this. Still, he’s often repulsed by his body and has had a hard time imagining that his wife finds him attractive.

“I felt it nearly impossible, not impossible, but very, very hard to approach my wife for sex, to hit on my wife, and then I would think, ‘God, you’re a loser, you don’t know how to hit on your wife, the one woman in the world who should be open to your sexual advances,’ and yet, I would have that fear,” he says.

Finding A Path To Openness

All of this would crawl around in his head. It still does. When he feels confident, he’s able to maintain his diet, even go on a bike ride. But those periods give way to darker ones when he becomes quiet and distant.

“When I’m feeling fat and depressed, I’m not communicating very well, and that breaks down the intimacy, which breaks down the amount of sex and the frequency of sexual intimacy,” Leckbee says.

Leckbee’s weight still fluctuates. But he and his wife are now trying a new approach: to separate his weight from their sex life.

“My wife, saying to me, ‘I love you and I’m attracted to you regardless of your weight.’ That was something I needed to hear and something I needed to believe, though I still struggle with it,” Leckbee says. “But it’s, now I’m more self-aware, now I understand it, now I’m able to look at it and go, ‘My libido is really low right now because I’ve been eating too much and I’m feeling bad about myself.’ I can express it to my wife and let her know I’m feeling this way.”

This process of recovery — both physical and psychological — is messy and seemingly unending. For Englehardt, her health had become so bad she took the drastic step of getting bariatric surgery.

Post-surgery, Englehardt says she fantasized about a renewed sex life with her husband.

“I think I did have unrealistic expectations that after I got this new body that he was going to suddenly be all over me, and that didn’t happen. And I think he went so long with me being uninterested that when I was interested again, I don’t know if you have trouble believing it, that I was interested again, but you … it took a while for you come around,” she says.

“It took a while for me to realize what the signs were again,” Boynton says.

The couple went to counseling and started figuring out how to communicate — about a lot of things, including sex. Now, Boynton says, he knows the signs.

“I know it now, and it’s nice. It’s very, very nice,” he says.

Englehardt sought her own counseling to exorcise her deeply held belief that she was an unlikable fat girl. “It’s kind of nice ’cause I can just kind of lose myself in the moment and not be thinking about, you know, ‘Oh God, he’s touching my belly fat again,’ ” she says.

It’s been several years now of hard discipline to keep the weight off and of painful therapy, but finally Englehardt is able to fall into that fugue state — that dreamy abandon — that lovers often inhabit.

If obesity has touched your life, share your story with NPR and the Public Insight Network.

When Your Husband Gets Fat

The man I love has put on a little weight.

I shouldn’t be shocked. Keeping the pounds off is one of the challenges of middle age. It’s a challenge that many of us don’t meet. Next time you’re hanging with a crowd of your peers, look around. Plump is the new normal.

When we met, 20 years ago, Mark was just my type. Tall, lean and muscular. Like Batman, without the bulk. (Or the crazy vigilante attitude.) But recently, he’s begun to look less like Batman and more like Buddha.

Mark, of course, isn’t a crime-fighting superhero. When we were introduced, he owned a small used bookstore. But he always looked like, if necessary, he could shed his glasses and spring into action.

So what happens when you fall for sexy young Marlon Brando and, years later, find yourself living with mammoth middle-aged Marlon Brando? Or you wed young Elvis, but it looks as if you’ll be celebrating your 30th wedding anniversary with Fat Elvis?

Weight happens. But, if you really love your partner, don’t you owe it to them to stay in shape?

Perhaps. But be reasonable. Maybe your wife was slim and lithe when you married. But after a couple of decades and a couple of kids, should you really expect a Jennifer Aniston look-a-like when the clothes come off?

I have a pal whose wife has put on weight since they tied the knot two decades ago. Occasionally, lean, health-conscious Jerry fusses at Greta to drop the pounds (ostensibly for health reasons) even though she’s amassed a weight (HA!) of scientific evidence to the effect that incremental middle-aged weight gain may actually be, health-wise, slightly protective.

“Greta asked what I wanted for our anniversary,“ he confided recently, “So I asked if she’d consider dropping a dress size.”

“How did that work out for you?”

A grimace. “She didn’t speak to me for 3 days.”

I’m with Greta. She’s happy and healthy. Jerry just has to adjust. But when it comes to my own relationship? Suddenly I’m not so reasonable.

For years, Mark and I both stayed lean and fit. Then, three years ago, for family reasons, he moved to West Virginia. While I’ve adapted to the long distance relationship, I now think of West Virginia as “The Weight Gain State” because, soon after becoming a resident, my man became stout.

A better woman would respond with, “Not a problem! Now there’s more of you to love!”

Unfortunately, I’m not that wonderful. And though there are plenty of women who really go for pot-bellied guys, I’ve never been one of them.

When my beloved first turned up with a tummy, I gently expressed my feelings. “I know that I’m being superficial,” I said, “but dudes who look like Santa in the sack are a great big turn-off for me.”

“I’ll lose the weight,“ he promised. He confessed that he didn‘t feel so good about being portly himself.

“Thanks, honey,” I said, relieved.

He dropped a few pounds. Then… nothing. That tummy, it seems, is here to stay.

I still suggest that he lose weight from time to time, and he assures me that he’s trying. When it comes to dieting, though, I ascribe to the Yoda School of Weight Loss: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Have I adjusted to this new reality in a mature, responsible way, relying on the wisdom I’ve accumulated over nearly six decades of life, resolving that my sweetie is such a wonderful guy that I can overlook a few extra pounds?

I wish. Instead, I’ve learned that it’s far too easy for this particular 59-year-old to get in touch with her inner kindergartener. Those playground taunts are still there, decades later. I don’t yell “Fatso!” when my beloved enters the room. And I never would. But I can’t deny that a part of me — infantile, outraged, frustrated, and unhappy — wants to.

So what are you supposed to do when your partner changes?

Turn and face the strange changes a la David Bowie? Kick him to the curb and slap a new profile up on Match.com? Shut your eyes and think of Brad Pitt?

Trolling for AARP-aged dudes with hot bodies on Craigslist, is, of course, totally out of the question.

Relationship Guru Dan Savage has opined that we owe it to our partners to stay in shape. If you let yourself go, you’re signaling that you just don’t care. “I know what you want,“ you’re telling your beloved, “But you won’t get it from me.“

I’ve kept trim and fit. It’s only fair that he, too, keep trim and fit. Yeah, but what if he can’t?

Should I overlook the fact that a dude who once looked like a superhero now looks like Winnie the Pooh? Let our relationship revert to the intense but platonic friendship it was when it began?

Shut my eyes and think of Batman?

I’m well aware of the fact that my inability to tolerate a few extra pounds on an otherwise delightful guy says a lot more about my own shortcomings than about his. (And God knows I’m far from flawless myself.) And yet, as Emily Dickinson wrote and Woody Allen famously repeated, “the heart knows what it wants.”

Of course, as anyone in an enduring relationship knows, the heart doesn’t always get what it wants.

Sometimes the heart has to settle.

(This essay first appeared on www.purpleclover.com)

When Your Husband Gets Fat was last modified: December 3rd, 2018 by Roz Warren

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Stuart McClymont/Getty Images I have been in a lifelong war with my body, one that was raging even before the day when Brian, my fifth-grade crush, poked a finger into the underarm fat puffing over the elastic of my sundress and said, “You’ve got blabber.”

My too, too solid flesh and I temporarily reached détente seven years ago, however, when I lost enough weight to make me not thin, but on the juicy side of average. I met a man. We were having the best sex of our lives. And once we were happily ensconced together, life intervened, and I got reacquainted with my friends Little Debbie and Jose Cuervo.

Twenty-five pounds later, our sex life was in the toilet, where I wish I had flushed all those pesto lasagnas I made for us. Sex happened less frequently, and often it would happen only halfway before Alex’s erection shrank or skulked away entirely, sending us into a maelstrom of tears (mine) and recriminations (first mine, then his). Sometimes when we did have sex, I thought he was just phoning it in, and I was sure of it when we were engaged in sexual congress, a jet flew overhead, and he wondered dreamily, “Maybe that’s President Obama in Air Force One.”

Then one night when we were sparring about our difficulties, he finally said what I knew he’d been thinking all along: that he’d been more excited by me in bed before I’d gained the weight.

I was sitting there in a flowered wraparound housedress that came from a Ukrainian bazaar, frozen in a still from my new biopic, The Castrating Hindenburg. Alex pounded his pubic bone. “I feel your fat here,” he said. “I used to feel muscle.”

This was one of the worst nights of my life. He knew how much shame I had about my body, how much disappointment I felt that our sex life was turning out so miserably, and he had dropped a smart bomb right on my heart.

And yet? And yet. The truth was, I thought my body was sexier 25 pounds ago too. In the dark days that ensued, I could not wholeheartedly agree with the friends who said that if this asshole really loved me, he should be ripping off that housedress to get to my (no matter how) ample rear end. Of course I expect to be loved no matter what I look like, but sexual desire just is, isn’t it?

Before Alex and I got together, I had ended a marriage, in part because that ephemeral “it” had just never been there. And it never would be there, I felt certain, no matter how many counseling sessions and earnest exercises in which we’d rub each other with scented oils and leave notes on the dresser.

It’s not that my husband wasn’t a good-looking guy. Women who saw his picture in my office would say how handsome he was, and I would beam back my agreement, but in a way that felt almost theoretical. No burn in the gut, because I had never chosen him with my body. I had married him because he wanted me, and because he was a wonderful man, and because he wanted me. Was I really going to pass him up? So I put on a wedding dress with sleeves that covered up the blabber, and I entered an arranged marriage of sorts, brokered by my fat.

We were married until I was brave (or reckless) enough not to be married anymore. The heart doesn’t want what it doesn’t want, I thought, and neither do the genitals. (By the way, there’s more sustenance in this philosophy for the one who’s leaving than for the one who’s being left.)

When Alex said he didn’t want me as much as he used to, I felt betrayed. He’d gone for my soft underbelly, so to speak, hitting me below the belt. But I also felt bitten, as a friend of mine likes to say, by the tooth of truth. How could I expect Alex to groove on my body more than I did? And I understood how it was to look at somebody who deserved your desire but be unable to manufacture it. Now I knew how it felt to be on the other side of the equation. And it felt like shit.

The next day I had an anxiety attack in which my body went numb; my tingling hands drew up into claws. (When the EMT hooked me to the heart-monitor leads, he congratulated me on having shaved my legs. I had recovered somewhat by then and felt grateful that he was exposing only my left breast, which was less droopy than the right.) I called Alex from a gurney in the ER and sobbed, “You need to be more careful with me!”

Even at my fattest, I was cute. If you ask the women in my life, I bet they’ll say so too: nice skin, flattering outfits, immaculate eyeliner. But these aren’t the things that matter most to men, are they? It has always seemed to me that most straight men just sort of fly over you and take an aerial reconnaissance photo: how short your skirt, how long your hair, the rounds and mounds and hillocks of you. Major land formations. It’s women who zoom in on your carefully primped details. Carefully primped details were my joy and my specialty, and what I had to offer.

It should also be said that I’d probably spent an inordinate amount of time fretting over what men liked, because when I was a teenager, a therapist told me my major problem was this: I wasn’t sexy. I think we can all agree that this guy was as crazy as a latrine rat. (Dr. Latrine Rat also told me he was in love with his college girlfriend, not his wife, and that I should write for TV when I grew up.) But at 17, you have so little context. So many things you hear about the world seem not quite right. How to sort them all?

It would take me a few years to get good and outraged about what Dr. Latrine Rat had said, and it would take me a few more to prove to myself that he had been wrong. Even a fat girl could be sexy. She just had to build it, and they would come.

Until they didn’t—and said it was your fault.

Friends told me that their husbands found them sexy no matter what they looked like: in their zit medicine, in glasses, on the bathroom floor with stomach flu. I hoped so, but did they? Did we spend our dating lives striving to attract each other on this purely physical plane, only to couple up and deny that plane had ever existed? That it had evaporated, like Brigadoon?

Uncharitably, uncomfortably, I found myself thinking of Alex’s wart. He has a wart on the underside of his chin, and when we met I tried hard not to see it. Then he grew some facial hair, and I was thrilled. It suited him, and it covered the wart. When he had a shaving accident last year and had to go bare-faced, I begged him to grow back the beard. “You don’t look like you anymore!” I said. But really, I couldn’t look at the wart. I’d never say so, though. It would hurt his feelings.

One woman did tell me this: Once she wished out loud to have her pre-baby body back, and her husband said, “Me too.” At the time she was wounded. Now she says she’s gained another 30 pounds, but it’s her body, she’s made peace with it, so whatever.

My inner fat feminist wants to throw her a cold Sam Adams. My inner sexual self feels sad. We give ourselves to each other soul and body, after all. If I had some kind of soul sickness that was affecting our lives—alcoholism, uncontrollable rage—then I’d expect Alex to tell me he loves me but he’s unhappy. So why does it feel so different when it’s my body we’re talking about?

No sex therapist I called would touch these turgid ideas with a 10-foot pole. No one would even entertain the idea that losing weight should, would, or could improve our sex life in any way. “Alex made a dickless move,” quipped David Schnarch, PhD, author of Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships. “He was drowning, and he dumped it on his girlfriend.” Schnarch went on to give me an hour of free phone therapy in which he encouraged me—quite sincerely and generously—to let go of my “reflected sense of self,” a phrase that will make sense if you read Passionate Marriage. Also, kindly, he said, “I bet you are hot.”

Lou Paget, author of The Great Lover Playbook, said, “You are doing the classic female routine. When there are issues, men blame the women, and then the women blame themselves.”

I know that classic females blame themselves, and I don’t doubt that I’m a classic female, but I wasn’t entirely sure I was blaming myself. I know it does not follow that a man necessarily has potency problems or loses interest in sex if his woman gains weight. (If that were true, the human race would’ve died out a long time ago.) I never thought Alex’s hydraulic efficiency and my jeans size were inversely proportional, and he never tried to claim it.

But this is what I wanted someone to tell me: Must any relationship be, in part, a folie à deux in which we overlook a little jiggle and pretend that we long for each other only in the celestial sense? Would Schnarch and Paget still be raring to go if their own partners had gained 25 pounds? What do sexual life partners have the right to say to each other? Was this fissure between Alex and me going to turn into a crack?

“This is a minefield that once you enter, it’s a little difficult to get out of,” Paget had said. “So chances are, there are going to be some missing limbs by the time you leave.”

Alex and I were hobbling along on stumps. We’d been having these squabbles before he’d fired the shot heard round the world, but they’d been limited to the bedroom, and there had been so much tenderness, too. Now we were both circling warily, waiting to see whether I would commit mutiny. One day we played badminton, and I put the racquet over his face and gave it a playful shove. Maybe I shoved a little harder than could strictly be considered playful. It felt good.

Another day, I just didn’t get out of bed. I lay there watching back-to-back episodes of a TV show about women in search of the perfect wedding dress. A groom admired the beautiful back of his lithe Nigerian bride. I sobbed. Alex brought me lilacs and laid them on the mattress next to my head.

But if our relationship with each other was in a downswing, my relationship with my body got, unaccountably, better. It felt the way it feels when you insult your own family to the rafters and then someone else tries it and you think, How dare they? I got on my own side in a way that I had never been able to before. I lay in bed with my hand in the curve of my waist and thought, So this doesn’t do it for you? Really?

Classic female that I am, I sought refuge in hot yoga. The teachers told us to communicate with our bodies when we took the poses to see which tension might bring clarity if we could tolerate it and which tension just plain hurts. My body and I had never talked to each other, though we had been leaving each other abusive messages for many years: Fuck you! Well, fuck you, too! But as I was sandwiched sweatily on the mat with my heel wedged into my crotch, it seemed like a good time to say something to my body, and to my surprise, it was this: I am so sorry.

Ironically, the yoga—and the fact that I was too depressed to eat much—meant that I dropped a couple of pounds, and the stuff that was left shifted around in aesthetically pleasing ways. I felt better. I also felt a little guilty for feeling better, as if I had sold out and let my man send me to a fat camp for the mind. I also found that I wasn’t thinking anymore of how my new body could please Alex. I was thinking about how it would please my new boyfriend, the one who’d look like Javier Bardem and be irresistibly attracted to my hotness but man enough to love my stretch marks.

And then one day Alex cupped my rear end, called me a pet name, and said, “You’re getting more toned. I can really feel the difference.”

I had wanted him to admire me, to want me, to love to love me, baby. But it felt so conditional now. If desire was fundamentally lawless, then I wanted to drive him out of his senses with lust. Instead, I felt we were standing at the square corner of logic, trapped in some syllogism that was breaking my heart: A firm ass is the only one worth wanting. This ass I’m cupping is firmer. And so it’s worth wanting again, and isn’t it convenient that this ass happens to be attached to you?

I still desired him, though I tried to pretend I didn’t. After he insulted my body, I tried lobbing physical cracks back at him: He was short. Sometimes he didn’t even smell too fresh. And could he not do something about that hideous foot fungus he picked up in the army?

But that tactic just couldn’t bruise him the way it had bruised me. If Alex tallied up his worth, the value of his currency as a sex object would be low on the spreadsheet. To him a beer belly is no more and no less than what happens when you put beer in a belly. And truthfully, the mean things I said to him had never really mattered. If I had to dream up some ideal sex partner, he’d be less like an image on a page than a character in a movie: sober, droll, funny, resilient, weirdly naive at times, kind of unknowable. Somebody like Alex, with his stinky T-shirts and ruined feet.

I’m still working on my body, so it’s impossible to tell whether rock-hard abs would really have any effect on our sex life. (If I ever get them, I’ll report back.) Alex is still working on his impotence issues, which we both agree have less to do with my weight than with a complicated stew of job-related nerves, a grueling long-distance commute, age, biology, performance anxiety. And who knows what else—sleep quality, alcohol intake, thread count, barometric pressure, a reflected sense of self, an incomplete gestalt? He saw a doctor, is trying pharmaceuticals, got one of those Leg Magic exercisers to increase blood flow to his thigh area. (Like I said—weirdly naive at times.)

Certainly, we are more careful with each other. There is so much that is still good between us. (Really, Dr. Schnarch.) Sometimes I think all our free-floating honesty exacted too high a price, but there are other times when it seems we’re at a place that may be more raw but also somehow truer. One night I climbed on top of him and could almost feel us the way we used to be—except I couldn’t quite let go anymore, could I? Because there between us was the fat of my belly, which I tried, gamely but awkwardly, to hold back with one curled arm. Alex gently pulled it away and said he wanted to feel all of me. I just had to trust that this, too, was honesty. I let myself be felt.

Sex can seem like everything and nothing at the same time. If we measure our hours with someone, so few of them are spent rolling around in bed. Yet sex is the one thing that distinguishes our relationship with our partner from all others. It’s the most intimate way to know another person but thrives in mystery. It’s like that optical illusion: See it one way, and two people are staring into each other’s eyes. See it the other, and all you have is an empty vessel.

The one thing I have come to know is that if I give my body to someone else, it’s possible only because my body is mine to give. And it’s mine to take back. But it is, in marrow and heart and heft, undeniably mine.

Amy Maclin Amy Maclin is O’s executive editor.

Wife considers leaving her husband because he refuses to lose weight

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  • Instagram star Celeste Barber takes to centre court with ‘hot husband’ Api Robin at the Australian Open… after raising a record-breaking $52million for bushfire relief efforts
  • Prince William ‘is angry over all-white Bafta nominations and is set to raise the issue in his awards speech’
  • It’s a nice day for a selfie! Rock legend Billy Idol beams as he takes photos with fans at Sydney Airport… hours before he wraps up his first Australian tour in five years
  • Princess Beatrice will not get married at Windsor – but the Queen offers a reception at Buckingham Palace in morale boost amid Prince Andrew scandal
  • Cheryl gets to work alongside her fellow Greatest Dancer captains as they rehearse for show opener
  • ‘I wasn’t loving singing anymore’: Jack Vidgen admits he never thought he’d perform again after moving to Los Angeles and ‘falling out of love’ with music
  • MAFS star Martha Kalifatidis flaunts her chic hair transformation as she relocates from Melbourne to Sydney New city, new hair
  • Solange Knowles cuts an edgy figure at Sydney Airport in a black silk pyjama style ensemble… as she jets back to LA following final performance at the Opera House
  • Bill Skarsgard says he’s tempted to play Pennywise for a third time
  • Alexa Chung steps out for a cheeky cigarette as she takes a break from blazing the promo trail for new Netflix fashion series in NYC
  • Best-selling author of more than 50 mystery novels and ‘queen of suspense’ Mary Higgins Clark dies at 92
  • Elon Musk’s girlfriend Grimes confirms pregnancy as she admits to having ‘complications’ and struggling through her second trimester in candid message

My Husband Is Fat—And I’m Not Happy About It

My husband at his heaviest.

I read Yael Armstrong’s piece, “I’m Not Going To Make My Kids Weight Crazy,” with great interest, as weight is a frequent topic of conversation in our house.

Not my weight. I’ve never had much interest in my weight. Due to a variety of chronic problems and food intolerances, I grew up a skinny kid whom every Jewish grandmother was constantly trying to fatten up. As I got older, I never even owned a scale. The only relationship I had with eating was, does this make me feel sick, or does this not make me feel sick? I stick to a pretty strict diet for health reasons, but it’s not a hardship as early conditioning has made it so I recoil from most foods. (Yes, stand-up comedians, I am that very special brand of stupid that I sometimes forget to eat. The only time I ever felt hungry was the three times I was pregnant, and the new sensation took me by surprise every single time.)

My husband, on the other hand, loves to eat. He is a broad-shouldered, though not tall man (about five feet, eight inches), and when we first met 15 years ago, he weighed about 190 lbs. He was not thin, by any stretch of the imagination. But, it didn’t matter to me. Within a few years of our marriage, however, he started to put on more and more weight, insisting, “It’s because you make me so happy!” By the time our third child was born, he’d ballooned up to 230 lbs. Even he realized it was too much. So he went on a diet. As an engineer, he turned the entire endeavor into a math and science problem, limiting himself to 100 calories of anything he wanted every hour. That meant he didn’t have to deprive himself of the food he loved, he just had to control his portion size. Within a year, he’d gone down to 170 lbs, the skinniest I ever knew him.

Everything was going well until, as documented earlier, we left our corporate jobs for more fulfilling ones. While he sat at a desk all day, my husband could stick to his diet. Once he started teaching again and couldn’t eat his required 100 calories every hour on the hour, the diet went out the window. He started dining in the school cafeteria and on the run. And he started putting on weight. Now he tips the scale (which he bought, not me) at 200 lbs. And I’m not happy about it.

My husband at his lightest.

This is not an issue of aesthetics. It is a matter of health. Because he is overweight (obese, by some standards, but my brother, the certified personal trainer, says those scales are ridiculously out of whack and shouldn’t be considered), his cholesterol is dangerously high. So is his blood-pressure. He takes medication for both. As an asthmatic, he now snores and suffers from sleep apnea, which means he doesn’t get adequate rest at night (and keeps me awake, which I’m not thrilled about, either). He’s putting extra pressure on his joints, leaving the door wide open for arthritis and probably replacement surgery down the road.

These are not trivial issues. They are life-threatening ones. If my husband were smoking himself to death or doing drugs or even driving without a seatbelt, I’d be allowed to raise my objections to the practice. So why should weight be any different? (My grandfather drank. Growing up, my mother always lectured us: Don’t drink, your genetics are bad.)

I try to cook healthy meals at home (we’ve gone mostly no-fat and no-salt, plus we’ve never had sugary sodas or candy in the house much to begin with). But, I can’t watch him every moment (nor do I want to). When I see a receipt for a fast food joint, I get upset. Because I don’t care to be a widow raising three kids by myself.

So yes, we do talk about weight in our house. And in front of the kids, too. Because here’s something else: When he was growing up, my husband was skinny. I don’t mean he wasn’t fat, I mean he was actually, genuinely skinny. And then he went to college. And the Freshman Fifteen turned into the Freshman Fifty–plus. Weight he’s never been able to get rid of since.

So do I use him as an example for our kids? Of course, I do. I urge them to run around and eat healthy and I keep them away from sedentary activities like video games (and reading). Because the genetic lottery says, obesity is coming for them if they’re not careful.

Do I tell them that I won’t love them if they’re fat? Do I even suggest such a thing? Maybe they’d beg to differ (my kids love to read my Kveller pieces, maybe they’ll answer in the comments), but I think the fact that I married their father when he was already heavy proves it’s not the outside package that concerns me, but what’s inside a person–you know, like clogged arteries, pulverized joints, and stray blood clots looking for a comfortable place to lodge.

It seems to me that ever since the pendulum swung the other way and we were told to embrace our bodies and accept that everyone is perfect just the way God made them, it has become taboo to speak of excess weight in a disapproving manner. As if the only people who could have a problem with unwanted pounds are shallow and superficial, who judge others based on their appearances rather than character.

Well, that doesn’t work for me. I want my husband to be healthy and I want him to be here. With his family. I will not bury my head in the sand and pretend that we don’t have a problem. Because we do.

My husband is overweight. And I’m afraid it will kill him. Sooner rather than later. You’re damn right I’m going to talk about it.

Ask Ammanda: My cheating husband is fat shaming me

I have been with my husband for several years now and married for two. We have a beautiful life together.

But my world came crashing down a few months back, when he started a friendship with a young woman at work. Instinctively, I knew something was wrong. A week later, he confessed he’d gone for a drink with her. One night I came back to find he wasn’t home – he’d gone to her house after work. I was devastated.

Eventually I plucked up the courage to tell him he should stop contact with her and told him how it made me feel. He deleted her on social media.

Then one night, he came home and told me the reason he’s been so down is partly because I’ve put on weight. I was so upset went on a health kick and initially lost some weight, but after a while, I lost the will and quickly returned to normal.

Then recently, on what was meant to be a special weekend away for us both, he did a disappearing act. He went out with his workmates to a party and didn’t come back. I couldn’t get hold of him. Turns out he’d stayed ‘in the spare room’ at this woman’s house where the party was. When he finally came back, I didn’t shout, I just explained how I felt and we talked.

But my gut told me something was wrong. I checked his phone, which I’ve never done. He had messages from this woman saying ‘she didn’t think anything happened’. We had a massive argument, he cried and we agreed he’d leave for the night.

When he came back, he confessed he had been gutted when he had to stop messaging this other woman and if he’d had a few drinks they would have slept together. He then said he can only give me 70% and it’s only a matter of time before he fucks up and cheats.

But the real kicker came when he said he had never had the spark with me in the first place. He cared for me, but never felt that connection and that he did with this girl. I asked why he married me and he said because of all my ‘other qualities’. He said I love him more than he loves me.

I’m in pieces. I’ve done so much for him. I just don’t know what to do.

Ammanda says …

The bottom line here is whether you’re curvy, obese or thin as a bean pole, this man’s approach is disrespectful, uncaring and he’s playing you for a fool.

It sounds like he’s saying that you need to wait and see what he decides to do – stay with you and see if the ‘spark’ between you actually exists or leave and be with whoever because he fancies her. Now, trouble happens in relationships. That’s not a reason to end things and very often by each person acknowledging that something isn’t working, partners can start to sort things out, make changes and move forward together emotionally richer and wiser. But in this case, it sounds like you feel he holds all the cards. So, while this may sound very challenging, I think you are forgetting that you too, have choices. The main choice you face is to decide whether in the light of what’s been happening, you want you stay with him. It’s as simple as that – and yet it isn’t.

When we are ‘invested’ in a relationship, the thought of letting it go is very painful. We tend to focus on all the good stuff and make excuses or allowances for behaviour that is categorically not ok. From what you tell me, he says he needs time to decide if he wants to hook up with another woman (which he’s already told you he would already have done, had he been sufficiently drunk) and you’ve never been enough for him and indeed may never be. These are truly painful and cruel things to hear. Occasionally in committed relationships, there are times when it’s appropriate to say it like it is. If something’s not right or feels uncomfortable, then telling a partner how you’re feeling is very important and usually, in my experience, this can open the door to finding a way through it together. But that’s not happening here. What your husband is doing is emotionally abusive. You truly don’t need that. While he should definitely be sharing with you any concerns he may have about your relationship, behaving in the way you describe is absolutely not ok.

Again, at the risk of being challenging, when you tell me you adore him and have done so much for him, I found myself wondering if, when you really think about it, you may always have had to get his attention by ‘doing’ things for him. If this resonates with you even slightly, then you really might want to think about stopping this. Sometimes we grow up thinking that the only worth we have is to be everything to someone else. But actually, one of the signs of a healthy relationship is that we can be ourselves and still be loveable to a partner, warts and all. Sounds to me like he’s really saying ‘I’ve broken your heart, but let’s carry on as normal’. I think you’re right to question whether or not to go.

So, what to do now? From what you say, I think you’re struggling with finding your own strength in all this. I get a real sense that you feel unable to make decisions because if you did, you’d make things worse. You get increasingly worried that if you took a stand over what’s happened, he’d definitely walk out – simultaneously telling you that you’d given him no choice. I can reassure you here: such thinking would not only be unfair but actually abusive. Behaving in a disrespectful, uncaring way that causes genuine pain and anguish to a partner and then telling them that, if they can’t bear it any longer and put their own wellbeing first, they’ve caused the breakdown of the relationship is – well – emotionally abusive.

I wonder if it would be helpful to get some counselling to help you focus on what you want to do now. It will support you in discovering what has made taking a stand so difficult. There are many very good reasons why people find it difficult to be clear about what the bottom line is and actually mean it. Some of them arise from when we were children. Feeling unloved or uncared for sometimes makes us vulnerable to getting together with someone who lets us down. Likewise, if we’ve always experienced criticism, then our self-belief gets eroded and it can get to the point where we don’t actually believe we deserve to be treated well. There are many other reasons why someone might endure uncaring or dismissive behaviour. It’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of – just something that can be useful to acknowledge and find a way through.

It’s not for me to tell you to end this marriage – far from it, but you’re worth much more than you’re currently getting. Seeing a counsellor might help you to develop that belief and feel more empowered to invite your husband to consider his position. Don’t rule out couple counselling as a possibility either. It can be so effective in helping each partner to hear themselves and each other differently but firstly, perhaps get to know yourself a bit better, because that will help you to stay firm about what is and isn’t ok for you.

Ammanda Major is a Relationship Counsellor and Sex Therapist and Head of Clinical Practice at Relate.

If you have a relationship worry you would like some help with, please send it to [email protected]* Your problem will be posted online, but all communications will maintain anonymity and confidentiality.

*Ammanda is not able to reply individually to every email we receive, so please see our relationship help pages for further support.

We’re here for you.

My husband has been bothering me for the past year about my weight gain. I have gained thirty pounds since I met him. I have asked him to stop bothering me about it but two days ago he told me that I was no longer sexually attractive. He said that because of my obesity he has not wanted to be with me. Plenty of men still like the way I look. I wear a size 14 for my height of 5’3. I am so angry at him that I have not spoken to him. I don’t want to see, touch, hear, or be near him because of what he said. I am seriously thinking of getting out of this marriage. Maybe if we got counseling I would reconsider trying to work things out but right now I do not want to. We have had large arguments before, but he said that if I keep gaining weight he will leave me.

Answer:

The number one New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. It is also the one that many of us find most difficult to keep. There is a reason for that. Today, food is readily available, and much of it is the not-so-healthy, calorie and fat-laden kind. So, if you are gaining weight, you are far from alone.

1. Explore the Intent of His Comments

One of the first things you can do to try to improve your marriage is to sit down with your husband and have a long talk about why your weight is so important to him.

Do any of the following reasons apply?

  • Some men want their wives to be attractive so that other men will be jealous of them. This could be a sign of insecurity or of a lack of self-esteem on his part that he might need to reflect on.

  • Perhaps he has bought into the media’s image of what a woman should be and needs his focus adjusted so he once again sees beyond your physical appearance to who you are as a person.

  • Has he been viewing porn, which portrays women in an unrealistic way? If so, he might be trying to have you measure up to the standards portrayed there, maybe without even realizing it. Porn is so prevalent today, and although most men consider it harmless, it can slowly alter their perception of women, even their wives.

  • Of course, he might be genuinely concerned about your health, rather than your looks, and is simply not communicating that well.

Find out what he is thinking. Avoid accusing him of anything, since that will only cause him to put up defenses. Instead, honestly express how his comments have hurt you, and why.

Then, together as a couple, explore what you can do together to improve your relationship. Try to come to an agreement about how you can both adopt a healthier lifestyle as a couple.

If you approach the issue as a team and work toward a positive solution together, it will not only benefit your health but your marriage. If you seek to better understand how your emotions and decisions are affecting one another, that is two-thirds the battle.

If you need the guidance of a professional counselor to get you to that point, make the appointment together. Sometimes an objective third party can help you both see what the real issues are.

2. Decide What’s Best for You

Ask yourself whether or not you are happy with your state of health. Does your weight interfere with your health? Do you have trouble doing the things that make life fun for you? Are you not able to function as well on the job or in your free time?

The truth is that being overweight stresses your body. The longer it takes you to get that 30 pounds off, the more it will affect your gallbladder, knees, lower back, etc. Unfortunately, being 20 to 30 pounds overweight is not what is best for the heart, digestive organs, or lungs. Long term weight gain can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea. Are you willing to do what it takes to improve your overall health level?

3. Establish A Realistic Plan

Analyze your lifestyle habits. What caused you to gain the weight? Stress? Inactivity? Fast foods that are easier to prepare than nutritious meals? Hormonal changes? It might be wise to request a check up with your family doctor to see if there are physical reasons for the gain in weight. Usually, all it takes is simple blood tests.

4. Move Forward One Step at a Time

Once you have identified the obstacles to optimal health, you can begin to overcome them one step at a time. Adopt one or two realistic health goals and share them with your husband. Let him see how much you are enjoying life while accomplishing positive steps toward self-improvement. He may gain more respect for you; but more importantly, you will feel better about yourself.

If you need someone to help you, please contact one of our free and confidential mentors through the “Connect” tab below. They will listen to your concerns and encourage you towards wholeness in your life.

Talk To A Mentor

This article was written by: Julie Cosgrove

Photo Credit: Katie D

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