My husband is not attracted to me because I gained weight

A friend was telling me of her new diet and plans to lose 20 lbs. “I told Jack (her husband of 10 years), ‘I’m so sorry I got fat since we married!’” From everything I can tell, their relationship is thriving, but my friend has a deep-rooted sense that she has an obligation to make efforts in her appearance and weight.

This is no 50s housewife. This is a progressive, fabulous professional woman who enjoyed an adventurous love life for years before marrying a wonderful (also progressive and fabulous) man. I admit I was a bit taken aback by her commitment to maintaining her figure for her husband. The partyline progressive and feminist (is that redundant?) stance is that it doesn’t matter what you look like! He should love you/be committed no matter what! Conforming appearances for your partner’s sexual desire is degrading! It’s what’s inside that matters.

Like many progressive and feminist issues, this one does not take into account the very human nature of dudes and chicks. There is no arguing with the fact that men are more visually inclined. Sure, there have been a couple of recent studies that challenge this stereotype, but suffice it to say that an MSNBC poll a few years ago revealed that half of men would dump his female partner if she got fat (just 20 percent of women said the same of their husbands and boyfriends). According to my own scientific research (dating a bunch of divorced guys), I can tell you that if his wife got fat, it bugged him. Even the really progressive and feminist guys. And, I might add, especially the professionally successful ones.

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Fat wife skinny husband

Admit it, you are like me. When I see a handsome man accompanied by a heavy wife (no matter how pretty or wonderful or professionally accomplished), I wonder: Is he faithful? Do they still have sex? Does her weight bug him? Why did she let herself go? The more successful he is, the more questions arise. Yes, the same questions are evoked when a gorgeous, brilliant woman is partnered with an overweight and unattractive man. But that is just different, and you know it. It is that old, old supposedly anthropologically based social norm that a man’s value in the mating marketplace is dictated by his professional and financial success, and a woman’s value by her physical beauty and ability to charm at the company holiday party. But we can make our own money now. That is both awesome and the source of much grief in our personal lives, including that balancing work and family leaves less time to exercise, which makes us fat and more vulnerable to being dumped for it.

I get this, and I respect it.

I’ve also lived it.

I’ve written here about one post-divorce affair in which my boyfriend went out of his way to let me know I was not attractive enough for him – including being too fat. This was particularly devastating because he was not better looking or more successful than l was. WTF? I’d think time and again as I nursed my self esteem.

I did date a very handsome and successful man when I was in my early 20s (about 20 lbs ago) and as the relationship went on and his career exploded, my physical appearance came into question in subtle but painful ways. Eventually he left me for his very pretty and petite co-anchor on the national evening news, where he was a rising star in his Eastern European country. I google him every now and again and he is just as good-looking as I remember and is incredibly successful—and according to the gossip sites in that country, he has consistently upgraded to increasingly, devastatingly beautiful (and thin) women as his career skyrockets.

On the one hand, what can you do? On the other: Ouch!

He says: “My wife got fat.”

A few months ago I heard from a reader who felt guilty because he wasn’t attracted to his after she gained weight.

“I used to think guys were assholes who cheated on their wives and blamed their weight as the reasons. Well, my was really fit and hot for the first 5 years of our relationship.

“But she wife pigged out like crazy when she was pregnant with our twins, and would tell everyone that she was ‘treating’ herself. Well, now the kids are 5 years old, and she doesn’t work, the kids are in kindergarden all day, she has tons of free time, and has made no effort to get back into shape. I go the gym or jog 4-5 days per week, and have offered to help her find a routine (with me taking care of the kids, etc.) so she can go to the gym, but she ignores me. I’ve taken over cooking so we all eat healthier, but she eats chips and ice cream all evening.

“I am in good shape, and I see that women check me out. She is overweight by at least 30 lbs and does not otherwise care for her appearance. When we do have sex, it is hard for me to really be into it. I’ll be honest: I feel like is unfair that she gets to have sex with someone who goes to the gym, and I don’t.

“There is a woman at work who is my age, also has kids, and takes care of herself. She is not even my type, but I find myself so attracted to her, her body, and fantasizing about her all the time. I feel guilty, that this superficial thing makes me feel like such a bad dad and husband.

“But at the end of the day, I feel like I give my wife the gift of my own health and attractiveness, and she does not return the favor.”

Why do wives get fat?

The reasons wives get fat are the same reasons everyone else gets fat:

  • Not prioritizing health
  • Too little time to exercise and/or cook healthy foods
  • Childbirth and nursing tend to be connected with weight gain
  • Emotional issues involving food, self-image and connection to our physical selves, which can stem from deep and old wounds
  • She is pushing him away. Whether consciously or consciously, she may really be unhappy in the marriage, and knows that her weight is an easy way for him to blame her for the end of the relationships—and for her to label him a superficial jerk for not loving her no matter what.
  • People are complicated and complex.
  • Marriages are complicated and complex.

This Cornell University study found some interesting takeaways about marriage and weight gain:

  • Married people are heavier than single people
  • Obese women are happier than other women in their marriages. Researchers suspect this is because they appreciate that their value on the singles market is low, and therefore are contented with their marriages than thinner women.
  • Obese men were less happy with their wives than other men, because, the paper proposes, their wives nag them about their weight, which causes marital conflict, and because men do not internalize societal fat-shaming as much as women.

“My husband left me because I gained weight”

Does your divorce story start and end with, “My husband left me because I got fat”?

Maybe a boyfriend broke up with you because you gained weight.

Maybe he had an affair with a thinner woman, or started dating a smaller girlfriend shortly after you divorced. Maybe he told you: “I’m not attracted to you anymore because you are overweight, and I want a divorce.”

I imagine that hurts like hell. After all my own, related shame around my body in romantic relationships hurt really badly, even though it was not a full marriage at stake.

But I am not going to let you off that easily. Two big points:

1. It takes two people to make a marriage work, and it takes two people to end it. If your weight were the single deal-breaker in keeping the marriage together (which it never is, keep reading), then why wouldn’t you just lose the weight?

2. It is never just about the weight. Fat people stay happily married all the time. So do couples in which one is fit and the other is not. Weight is like money in a marriage: It does not help or hurt a marriage in and of itself. What the thing does is highlight other, deeper, more human parts of the people involved, and the inner workings of the relationship itself.

As psychiatrist Gail Saltz told the Today Show:

“Your turned-off feelings likely have to do with a lot more than weight. I suspect there are other issues that are harder to pinpoint: You are angry at your wife, you feel awkward being honest with her, you have let your lives become dominated by workday things, you have trouble communicating.

“I’m not saying that having an overweight spouse has no impact on your sex life. Sure, your wife might be less attractive to you in the physical sense. And being overweight sends a negative message — that your wife doesn’t care enough about herself, the marriage or whether you have sex. Now, you fear saying anything and she feels you are pulling away, so you are wary around each other, setting off a vicious circle of avoidance and annoyance.”

What to do if your spouse or significant other gains weight and you want to leave him/her

First of all, just be honest with your partner. Maybe you sit down and tell them:

“I really love you, and I want desperately to make this relationship to work. For me, that includes each of us taking care of our health and physical appearance. That includes weight.”

If things have gotten this far without this level of honesty (which is likely a sign of your kindness!), then bring in a professional.

15 signs your husband or wife wants a divorce

Relationship/marriage counseling when a husband or wife gets fat

A skilled couples therapist—whether you are married or not—can be instrumental in helping your communicate your needs and stresses in the relationship. A good relationship counselor will also help you and your husband or wife uncover the deeper reasons that you are not connecting any more—and help you realign once again.

Couples counseling can be very challenging for reasons that include practical ones:

  • It is hard to schedule a time that works for both of you—including location and driving to and from the session
  • Cost, since insurance rarely pays for therapy any more
  • Finding a couples counselor that you both like, which is especially hard in smaller communities that have fewer mental health professionals

Online therapy is a great option. Sites like BetterHelp, which has an A Better Business Bureau rating, allow you to choose from thousands of certified and licensed therapists around the country. With prices starting at $40 per week for unlimited text, voice, email or video sessions, BetterHelp is extremely convenient and efficient.

Check out BetterHelp now >>

Or, research reviews of the top online therapy sites to find the help you need, now.

If your marriage or relationship is really headed for divorce, be smart and start planning. Here is what every mom should ask for in divorce negotiations.

Here is my female counter-anecdote: My husband was mostly fit, though he put on a few pounds after we married, which bothered him, and made him worry it bothered me. It didn’t (though his self-consciousness did). I have always taken care of myself, though I could stand to lose a good 10-15 lbs. People often remark that I always look nice and wear makeup every day, even though I almost always work from home. During one marriage counseling session, in a plea for more appreciation, I mentioned that I freshened up my makeup before my husband came home. “Wow, that is really something—women hardly ever do that,” the therapist said (cue gloating).

On the other hand, my current boyfriend has a really killer body. Seriously, I cannot get enough of his broad shoulders and muscular ass. We recently went to the theater and I spent the whole two hours clawing at his huge arms. His back is so rock-solid I sometimes wonder if I’m not sleeping with David, looted from Florence. His physique is not the main attraction, but it is an important one. As our relationship develops—and our bodies deteriorate as bodies are prone to do—I would hope that our intellectual and emotional rapport would deepen, and replace to a degree my focus on being ravished by his man-body. But, of course, if in years to come, the socks-on-the-floor and other minor and major grievances mushroom into serious relationship friction, I can imagine piling onto the list a flabby tummy or swinging triceps. In other words: If the relationship is solid, bodies matter less. But when things go south—drooping boobs and a sagging ass seem that much more egregious—especially if we’re talking about something within the person’s control, like weight gain.

But this all comes down to expectations from the very beginning. I can imagine my boyfriend’s inevitable physical decline bugging me more than my ex-husband’s because his is better to start with. His bod plays a larger role in our story, and—should things head that way—the expectations for the long-term. Marriage, after all, is an agreement and a business deal based on current expectations. You expect going forward what you sign up for today. It’s not reasonable for a man to be be surprised his wife doesn’t acquire a string-bikini-worthy body 20 years into their relationship if she was plump when they met.

This post was originally published Nov. 9, 2014.

Emma Johnson

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker,” her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma’s Top Single Mom Resources.

QA When Your Spouse’s Weight Turns You Off

Go Back To All Romance and Sex Articles

Dealing with a large weight gain in your spouse.

By Dennis and Barbara Rainey

How do you deal with a large weight gain in your spouse?

My husband has gained a very unattractive amount of weight. It really turns me off. Before we were married, he was real committed to losing weight and keeping it off, but at some point he gave up. What do you do when you have absolutely no attraction to your husband?

Dennis: There are a couple sides to this issue. On one hand, it’s not wrong for a woman to want her husband to look attractive. For that matter, both husbands or wives ought not to feel guilty for being “jealous” in the best sense of that word that their spouse continue to cultivate the sense of attractiveness that helped create the romance in their relationship to begin with.

Barbara: This is a difficult problem because weight is an important issue for physical health and for healthy relationships. An important ingredient of any marriage is the need for husbands and wives to please each other. They should learn what pleases the other person, and then seek to do it. Obviously a husband can’t lose weight overnight, but if he is seeking to please his wife, then he can make an effort to look sharp and attractive.

At the same time, we live in a very image-oriented culture, where sexual attraction is so often tied to physical appearance. Weight does matter, but there are other issues more important in a person’s life than the external appearance.

I would pray that God would help you focus on the things that matter most-your husband’s spiritual maturity and his leadership of the family and the marriage, character, faithfulness at work and at home-all those kinds of issues. If the relationship is healthy and he is meeting your needs and encouraging you and loving you and you are focusing on what is most important, I think the old statement, “Love is blind” is true. This doesn’t have to get in the way.

Then, I would pray that the Lord would grant you opportunities to express how you feel in a gentle and supportive way. Ask if there is anything you can do to help.

Dennis: Find a way to communicate this value to your husband-whether by letter, over a cup of coffee, a date night, etc., and let him know how important this is to you as a person. I would also challenge you with Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Ask God to not let you become embittered toward your husband. Don’t become preoccupied with the negative, but give him some grace, and love him. One of the things that I fear for any relationship is a critical spirit. It will destroy romance; a marriage; and a family.

Barbara: A similar problem occurs when a wife gains weight, especially from childbirth. She may feel unattractive or even rejected because her husband may not be initiating romance as he was before.

Dennis: Often it can take a year to work that weight off, and with each child the weight comes off slower each time. A husband needs to be patient and verbally express his love and affection for his wife.

Barbara: The husband needs to follow the same advice we just gave the wife. He needs to look at his attitude, at what is most important.

Dennis: Husbands and wives both need to step out as an act of their will and seek to meet each other’s needs. A husband needs to care for his wife and live with her in an understanding way.

My final thought is that there are a number of weight loss programs available, most of which don’t work in the long run-a person loses weight but then ends up putting it back on, plus more. To me, if you are serious about losing weight and keeping it off for the long haul, something has to be changed at the very core about the way you think about food. Find a weight loss program that takes people through a biblical process of committing that aspect of your life to the Lord and ask Him to give you strength and wisdom.

A man candidly shares his feelings about his wife’s weight gain and asks for advice

This is one of those topics that is incredibly difficult to approach. Naturally, in relationships, there are highs and lows and times when things get fairly muddy.

A recently married man has taken to Reddit to share the story of his relationship and how his wife’s sudden weight gain is impacting both their lives.

User packageturtle writes today:

“My wife Jenna and I met in college. We dated for a bit and then got married 2 years ago. When we met, Jenna was 5’9 and 160-165 pounds. It’s the upper range of ‘healthy’ for her height, but she carried it well and had a lovely figure.”

He writes that during their time in college, they both frequently worked out and due to their low incomes, infrequently ate out.

Now 27, he explains that they moved to a nice area, got married and have good jobs.

“But now, we started eating out all the time and could afford to make big, fancy dinners at home whenever we felt like it,” he says.

Continuing, the poster explains that 6 months into that lifestyle, he quickly realized it was having negative effects on his appearance and decided to opt for a healthier way of living. He says that while his wife was keen to change in the beginning, she soon fell into her old patterns of eating.

Unsure of how to approach the topic, the man bought a scales and left it in their bathroom.

“I noticed the weight creeping on for her but didn’t want to say anything because I know it’s a very sensitive topic, and I was hoping she would snap out of it like I did. It didn’t happen for a few months, but I could see her starting to dress a little more modestly and not be so eager to go to social events where dressing up was expected. I eventually just bought a scale and left it on the bathroom floor. Literally the next morning my wife comes to me in tears saying that she stepped on the scale and it said ‘192 lbs.’ She was very upset and I saw it as a sign that she was going to buckle down and change her lifestyle,” he writes.

Again his wife bought healthy foods, renewed her gym membership and made valiant attempts at a healthier lifestyle. But again, she quite after a few days.

Now it has gotten to the stage where a year has passed and she is still putting off her healthy diet.

He continues to say that her weight gain has made her reluctant to socialize.

“A lot of our college friends live in the same city and my wife is often too embarrassed to see them,” he reveals. He also states her opinion about her body has lessened their sex life.

“We went from sex 5 nights a week (during dating, engagement, and first few months of marriage) to lights-off sex once a week because she’s so embarrassed of her body,” he writes.

Sadly, he concludes by revealing that her change has out a huge strain on their marriage and that he has started thinking of her as a friend rather than a wife.

“I tell her I love her and it’s beautiful, but it’s reached the point where I don’t feel like initiating because I’m no longer attracted to her. I really don’t know where to go from here. Otherwise, she’s a really sweet, funny, smart, wonderful woman but she’s becoming more of a best friend than a wife.”

The poster asked anonymous users for their advice and how he can best approach the subject with his wife.

Most commenters agree that the man is justified to feel the way he does.

Some commenters even share their own experiences and reveal that while the truth is harsh, it is necessary to promote a better lifestyle.

“Believe me, she knows she’s fat and needs to lose weight. But right now, she’s still self-medicating. She feels hopeless right now. She’s reached a point where she’s saying, “Fuck it, I’m already fat. Might as well get a burrito.” It’s easier right now to eat than to exert self-control,” writes whenifeellikeit.

“I’m saying all of this because I’ve gone through it. My husband brought me through to the other side, though. He simply kept being concerned for my health. He voiced concern for my health regularly, but not while I was eating or doing something unhealthy. He reserved those conversations for later, when we were in a neutral situation spending time together, and not when I was actively eating or balking at going to the gym. But we had conversations roughly once a week about it for a few weeks, until I understood that this would become a dealbreaker for him unless I did something,” she continues.

“And all his points were very valid. I was on a fast track to diabetes, heart disease, and other very serious health consequences. But not only was I jeopardizing my own health, I was jeopardizing the health of my relationship. He didn’t want to spend his weekends indoors. He wanted to go out and experience the world. He was getting healthy and he was full of energy. He wanted a real partner, not just a wife. And he wanted me to be that partner. While he could easily hike and bike and swim by himself, or with a friend but he wanted most to do those things with me. He told me I was his favorite person in the world.”

Do you think it’s fair for a partner to feel troubled by their significant others weight gain? Let us know what you think.

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What to Do When Your Spouse Is Overweight but You’re Not

Having an overweight spouse when you’re not is a tricky situation. While you want to be there for your spouse and support them, you don’t want to come across as being too controlling or “holier than thou.” Whether they want to shed the pounds or don’t plan on making changes anytime soon, here are 7 ways to be your spouse’s support system without overstepping any boundaries.

1. Ask how you can help

There may be ways you can help your partner. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Don’t take it upon yourself to do what you think is right. Every person is different, and what works for you might not work for them. Hiding snacks from your spouse or nagging at them to work out more will inevitably result in failure. Karen R. Koenig, an expert on the psychology of eating, suggests, “tell that you want to make sure you’re being helpful and ask to alert you if you’re not.”

Regular communication and check-ins are definitely key in making sure your help is on both of your terms.

2. Reach for your own goals

You should still stick to your own goals. | iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd

Even if your partner has no interest in living a healthier lifestyle, it doesn’t mean you can’t. Koenig advises against eating badly out of guilt, which is a situation she’s seen before. She explained, “I’ve known of cases where a partner is at a healthy weight, but feels so uncomfortable about it that she ends up eating more like her unhealthy spouse and packing on pounds.”

You can have your own goals, and they may even inspire your partner to focus more on their health. However, Koenig also advises not to deem yourself a role model for your spouse. This could come across as you thinking you’re better than your spouse, and might result in resentment.

3. Keep an eye out for underlying problems

There may be underlying issues that cause your partner to be overweight. | iStock.com/AnnaPustynnikova

Unhealthy habits could be the result of underlying problems. Depression or anxiety are common links to people who are overweight, as food is often used as a coping mechanism. Koenig suggests keeping an eye out for signs of depression, such as “isolation, irritability, poor daily living habits, sleep difficulties, hopelessness, lack of interest in activities that previously sparked interest.”

If you do recognize any of these symptoms, Koenig advises “ the subject gently and compassionately.”

4. Practice patience and positivity

Help keep them motivated. | Getty Images

No matter how motivated your partner may be to lose weight, it takes serious time to shed those pounds. They might feel like giving up or only focusing on the negatives (such as a “food failure” or if their weight loss stalls). Your patience and positivity could be their guiding light, so Koenig suggests celebrating their successes but empathizing with their frustrations.

5. Address any insecurities you may have

Always remain on your spouses side. | iStock.com

According to Koenig, “Many husbands and wives end up sabotaging the weight loss efforts of their spouses because it triggers their own unconscious issues.” Maybe they think their spouse could become more desirable to others once they’re in better shape, and wonder if their spouse would act on that attention.

If you feel threatened or personally insecure in anyway about your spouse losing weight, it’s better to address those feelings yourself before they damage your relationship.

6. Maintain intimacy

Don’t let the intimacy fall between the cracks. | iStock.com

Communication is key in making sure to keep your intimacy alive, but Koenig suggests treading lightly. It’s possible that your spouse who is overweight may not feel completely comfortable with themselves during sex, so having a conversation about both of your needs or preferences will likely ensure a better experience.

Koenig thinks the best way to go about intimacy is trying to “understand how your partner feels about body and how attitude may be affecting sexual dynamics between you.”

7. Remind your spouse of all the reasons you love them

Don’t let your spouse forget why you fell in love in the first place. | iStock/Getty Images

With so much focus on weight in today’s society, it’s easy to make it feel like the only important factor in life. If your spouse seems to be focusing too much on the way they look, remind them of all the reasons you married them in the first place — such as their talents, sense of humor, or drive.

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Q. I am not physically attracted to my wife. Her physical appearance has always been an issue and it only gets worse. She has put on a considerable amount of weight. This is very unattractive to me.

I’ve tried to hint to her — tactfully; I’m not insensitive — that it bothers me, but she only gets offended. It seems like it’s not my place to say so anymore. Instead, there’s this gnawing silence and growing indifference to sex.

I’d like to say that she is so beautiful inside that the outside doesn’t matter. But that’s not true. In many ways — children, finances, practical things — we communicate well. I respect her and she’s a good mom. But this is a wall between us and an increasing source of emotional distress, anguish, loss of intimacy and hormonal hell. What do you suggest?

A. I get this question often from both men and women: What should they do when their spouse has grown heavier and is no longer physically appealing?

First of all, if you are not especially attracted to your partner from the beginning, as you mentioned, this will not likely change. You should have considered from the start whether this is the right spouse for you, keeping in mind that physical attraction does matter. Over time, people rarely get thinner or better-looking.

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You haven’t really done your wife any favors. Put yourself in your wife’s shoes: Think how horrible it must feel to be married to someone who doesn’t find you physically attractive.

Healthy couples often become more attractive to each other over time because of their fond feelings and shared history. Plenty of couples continue to have wonderful sex lives despite growing plump and even obese (although obesity should still be avoided, since it can cause health problems).

Your turned-off feelings likely have to do with a lot more than weight. I suspect there are other issues that are harder to pinpoint: You are angry at your wife, you feel awkward being honest with her, you have let your lives become dominated by workday things, you have trouble communicating.

I’m not saying that having an overweight spouse has no impact on your sex life. Sure, your wife might be less attractive to you in the physical sense. And being overweight sends a negative message — that your wife doesn’t care enough about herself, the marriage or whether you have sex. Now, you fear saying anything and she feels you are pulling away, so you are wary around each other, setting off a vicious circle of avoidance and annoyance.

I think you should figure out what the real problem in your marriage is — in other words, confront the emotional issues. Explore why she has put on the weight, what food is replacing for her emotionally and why she isn’t tuned in to or sympathetic to how this is making you feel. Be supportive of your wife rather than critical or distant.

There is little downside to broaching the subject directly rather than hinting around. Start not by talking about her weight but about your marriage, your feelings, your sex life. Then ask how she feels her weight affects those important things.

If she wants to lose weight, work on that with her. You can exercise and cook healthy meals together. Do things other than eat. Don’t sabotage her efforts by stocking the pantry with junk food. Be her teammate in solving this problem because plenty of studies have shown that a partner can easily keep their spouse from losing weight, consciously or unconsciously. Some women will keep weight on in an attempt to avoid having sex in the first place. If this is the case, then the solution must go toward the sexual problem first, because the weight is simply the symptom.

Dr. Gail’s Bottom Line: If you’re turned off by an overweight spouse, the fix is in confronting the emotional issues behind the weight issue.

Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to TODAY. Her latest book is “Anatomy of a Secret Life: The Psychology of Living a Lie.” She is also the author of “Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts,” which helps parents deal with preschoolers’ questions about sex and reproduction. Her first book, “Becoming Real: Overcoming the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back,” was published in 2004 by Riverhead Books. It is now available in a paperback version. For more information, you can visit her Web site, www.drgailsaltz.com.

How to Deal When Your Husband (or Boyfriend) is Overweight

Stop ignoring the problem and start fixing it! Read on for tips from the pros.

Ditch the denial. If you’ve been silently steaming about his beer belly or buffalo wing addiction, now is the time to change your ways. Studies show more conflict and relationship problems among mixed-weight couples—when one partner is overweight and the other isn’t—than in couples who are in similar shape.

Be supportive. If pinching your partner’s love handles or saying, “You’re going to eat that?!” is your idea of getting them to lose weight, think again. “You can’t force, coerce or guilt your partner into losing weight,” says relationship expert Julia de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW. “The best thing you can do is be supportive.”

End the food fights. Instead of battling it out every time he eats a Philly cheesesteak, slowly integrate some new healthy dishes and ingredients into meals to help change his eating habits. Also, help him lighten up some of his favorites (think mustard instead of mayo on that turkey sandwich) so he doesn’t feel deprived, suggests Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, author of Feed the Belly.

Take care of yourself. Focus on what you can do to improve your own health so you can be a source of inspiration, says Hanks. Instead of nagging your partner to exercise, just go do it yourself. Invite your guy to join you but don’t fuss if he doesn’t. Suggest outings that are active and fun instead of just “exercise”—go to a ballgame instead of watching one on TV, do a charity walk or bike to a concert in the park.

Play the sex card. Couples who exercise together have better sex lives—a fact you can use to help motivate him. If he can start linking that sweaty spinning workout with steamy sex later, chances are he’ll be more enthusiastic about getting healthy, says Largeman-Roth. And you’ll be more excited about helping him get there!

When Your Partner Is Obese

I recall my mother look at an obese person who we happened to pass on the street and say, “Isn’t that terrible that your problems are visible for everyone to see.”

I met my partner—let’s call him Aaron—about a year ago, several years after she died. Although I am sure she would have liked Aaron—everybody does—I know she would have urged me anxiously to push him to lose weight. Fat looked ugly to her and when she referred to “problems,” she didn’t just mean health issues. She meant problems.

To her, obesity made you a walking announcement of being out of order.

She was right about the health problems. Maybe because I live in a time when more and more people are fat—several of my thin friends from childhood are now obese—I don’t believe that people who are overweight have more emotional problems than thin people. But my mother did have it right that it is a particular burden for your problem to be visible to every stranger.

The nation’s obesity epidemic may have lessened the stigma, but challenging beliefs still persist. I know a woman who told me she’d threatened to leave her husband because he had become obese and diabetic in the last five years, and she didn’t believe he cared about losing weight. This especially irked her because he was unemployed. It’s historically been true that obese people are less likely to be hired than thin people with equivalent qualifications. They are less likely to be promoted, and more likely to have lower wages.

When I met him, he was happy and seemed oblivious to her tension. That obliviousness, I believe, will help them stay together. If he becomes insecure in the relationship, I believe it will deteriorate. No one wants to lose power and feel at a disadvantage. He may have been less anxious because he’s male. An obese woman may believe that if her husband leaves her he could more easily replace her than she could him. Men do tend to be more weight-biased when dating than women, some research suggests, maybe because they tend to focus more on looks overall. An obese woman will have more trouble dating than an obese man, all else being equal.

But confidence carries the day, in both men and women. I’ve known obese women who did just fine—they were highly gregarious and attracted many admirers. Aaron makes an excellent impression, too; when my friends first met him, they expressed how well he “carried his weight” and urged me to take him seriously.

I’d never dated anyone close to Aaron’s size. But he is warm, smart and outgoing, and—key for me—athletic. My shortlist of requirements included wanting to hike, ski, and generally spend time outdoors. This was all true of him. Aaron is an obese person who is fit, fitter than almost anyone else I know.

I admired that and the way he projected confidence. I knew I couldn’t count on him to lose weight—I would have to accept him.

You’d think that accepting Aaron would have meant I became more accepting of obesity generally. Sadly, not so. For the first few months, I was in love and found his body magical and sexy and endearing. But I had critical thoughts about larger people I saw, the way my mother did. I looked at obese people with contempt. I also began fretting about the 15 pounds I needed to lose, which hadn’t bothered me much before. Even though I thought I wasn’t feeling critical of him, I made jokes about his weight. Aaron was noble about it: He saw that I was “dealing with the issue” in this way, but he did keep me in line when I went too far.

Obesity does affect your sex life. Things go well when we’re going well, and less well when we’re not. Emotional dynamics trump all.

After those first few months, I settled into feeling less judgmental of obesity. I don’t see a fat guy—I see someone I love.

Hence my advice: If your partner has become heavier, and you find yourself less attracted, I believe that the solution lies in the quality of your interactions. Work on the relationship—which might mean apologizing for past mistakes, being more candid, taking an interest in areas of your partner’s life you tend to ignore, or finding new ways to have fun. Start by demonstrating the value of your relationship, and the person you love may respond by trying to please you, which may or may not mean losing weight. But if you’re pleased, that’s the goal.

A version of this piece appeared on Your Care Everywhere.

My Husband Is Obese and Refuses To Lose Weight: How To Deal With Overweight Spouse

My Husband Is Obese and Refuses To Lose Weight: How To Deal With Overweight Spouse

I really didn’t mean to be devious. I was worried about his health and mine. I finally went cold turkey and gave up my two pack-a-day cigarette habit and put on 40 lbs. He weighed 241 lbs. and tried every diet in creation. After being on that famous high-protein diet, bacon and eggs every morning and steak for dinner, he wound up having a triple bypass. I’m usually not a nagging wife, but I knew this kind of eating couldn’t be right. He would tell anyone who would listen how he was losing weight and I wouldn’t leave him alone.

Not being a motivated person, I knew I needed help from a support group. How ridiculous to think my husband would join with me. Do you know how hard it is to find men at these meetings? I couldn’t imagine him getting on a scale every week in front of all these women, so there I was on my own.

The most important fact I learned from my group leader that day is that (we hope not intentionally), husbands, friends and family will try to sabotage you. “Have another helping, it’s good for you!” Sound familiar? I realized this was true when I got home and with renewed excitement I rambled on about my meeting, the interesting diet plan and how they all laughed when I said my goal was to find my cheekbones again. He had this blank stare that said I’m happy for you but if you’re going to do this, I don’t really want to hear about it. He’s not usually the kind that tunes me out like that so I was a bit upset but I knew he really meant it.

At the next weekly meeting, I thumbed through the cookbooks for sale. I purchased the one that had quick and easy menus and lots of comfort food. My thought was that it wouldn’t be necessary to cook something different for the two of us. He would love things like Creamy Broccoli-Topped Pasta, Chicken or Veal with Creamy Mustard Sauce, and luscious sounding soups like Cauliflower au Gratin and Vegetable-Cheddar Soup.

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That’s where it all began. The first meal I served was the Chicken with the Creamy Mustard Sauce. We thought we died and went to heaven! When Chubby Hubby raved I just played it cool and told him I purchased a new cookbook. No talk about healthy cooking, not a word about low fat and heaven help me if I mentioned the dreaded word ‘diet’.

Two weeks passed. I noticed my husband was depressed and seemed worried about something. He’s not one to pour his problems out easily. It took time to finally get it out of him. “I’m really concerned about something” he said very seriously. “I’ve lost a lot of weight for no reason and I think there must be something terribly wrong with me.”

Now I know it was cruel for me to laugh, but I had to. When I told him those meals that he was raving about nightly were low in fat and portioned correctly, it took a while to sink in. His plate was as full as always. The difference was that now it was filled with normal portions of meat and more with deliciously seasoned vegetables plus either rice, potatoes or pasta.

We continued to eat well. No gimmicks, no pills, no cabbage soup or grapefruit diets. I relearned the art of cooking and we both have a new respect for food. We’re both looking great. I lost my 40 lbs and more, he now weighs 178 lbs. Please understand that unlike the diet ads on TV, we did not do this in 6 weeks. It’s unhealthy to yo-yo diet. Have patience! After a while we realized that we would also have to change our lifestyle so my svelte husband is out on the treadmill almost every day and I take aerobic classes twice a week and instruct line dancing three times a week. By the way, we’re in our 70’s still eating right and still going strong.

Thinking about regaining the status of “Happily Married”? It is possible, and is not difficult if you think it is not. But exactly how you do so? If you would like the source most couples used to revive their relationship, strengthened their marriage, regain trust and love in the marriage and not giving up then visit this .

To learn how to save your marriage even if alone at first, then check out this plan of actions that is 100% guaranteed. Over 60,000 couples were able to save their marriages by doing the very same series of steps that you could be doing. If they saved their marriages then you can too! to see how it’s done…

The first thing you must do in order to save your marriage is to stop doing the things that are harming your marriage. Easier said than done, right? Yes, but you’ve got to try. If it annoys your spouse, hurts your spouse, angers your spouse or alienates your spouse you’ve got to stop it. Obviously that doesn’t mean you put up with being mistreated, but it means that whatever is in your power to do to stop the negatives you do with all your might.

The second thing you must do is start doing the things that build and strengthen your relationship. Speak kindly, but don’t grovel. Compliment, but only when you can be sincere. Be appreciative and supportive. Improving the frequency of love making is often helpful unless that is a source of your problems. If that is a source of your problems, the quantity likely should not be increased until the emotional state of the overall relationship improves.

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Third you must learn how to negotiate a win/win situation. Compromise should be the goal as long as what is being compromised is not your convictions or safety. Figure out how to get as close to a situation where you each get what you want as possible. Take your time and make as many decisions together as possible.

There will and should be time for you to request changes in your spouse and express frustrations but now is not the time. Now you are seeking stability and a turn around. Requesting changes and expressing frustrations should be done in a professional environment with someone who can help you be constructive in this process instead of simply griping at each other.

There are professional organizations that can help you through this process and in the complex areas of learning about conflict management, bringing back passion, constructive communication, recovering from affairs and other areas of importance. Seek their guidance along with marriage counselors who share your values. But please don’t give up unless you have no contact with your spouse or are in physical danger.

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It’s sad but divorce is occurring more frequently these days. When a marriage begins to turn sour most married couples look at a divorce as the best solution. There are some couples out there that are ready to fight for their marriage but don’t know where to begin.

So how do you save your marriage before it becomes worse and falls victim to a divorce? It’s gong to take some time and effort but you can still save your marriage even if it seems like it can’t get any better.

You have problems in your marriage which is why it needs to be saved. To save your marriage you must identify these problems that are damaging your marriage and try to fix them. There are a number of things that can cause problems in a marriage, but the common and biggest problems are usually a lack of communication and respect.

Good communication comes from being patient and listening. When you and your spouse first got married the two of you put a lot of effort and willingness into listening to each other and trying to understand each other better.

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Good communication also involves trying to see things from your spouse’s point of view. Before the two of you got married your communication skills were high which is one of the biggest reasons why the two of you ended up tying the knot. If you want to save your marriage you have to get back to the way things were.

Respect is important in a marriage because everyone likes having respect and your spouse is no different. If you treat your spouse with respect then you will be treated with the same.

Constant disrespect and arguing will make a bad marriage situation worse. Just because you don’t agree with something about your spouse doesn’t mean you should be negative about it.

There a number of things that can make a marriage bad but if you don’t start respecting and communication with your spouse then your situation will only become worse. You have to take immediate action towards repairing your marriage or you will never be able to save it.

Couples can love one another and yet find themselves drifting apart and headed for a divorce. There are steps you can take, with or without the aid of your spouse to get your marriage back into the loving place it once was.

to save your marriage and rebuild it into a more connected, satisfying relationship.

What men want is a woman who learns that some problems can’t be solved in marriage. There are a lot of issues in marriage that you only come to learn about after you get married. It’s not that you were never aware of them in the first place, it’s just that neither of you realised them until you got married. Gottman, a respected leader in marriage relationship research say that’s 40% of problems in marriages are unsolvable. Though this sounds like a high number, remember that it’s backed by 30 years of scientific research. He wouldn’t go around throwing this figure at people if he didn’t know what he was talking about. Ladies, if you keep pushing the issue with your husband and he’s not changing, have you considered that maybe he can’t? Here’s two ways to realize you have to stop what you’re doing before you destroy your marriage.

1. It’s Not You, It’s Me

A lot of people don’t realize this, but when they have a problem with someone, the problem starts with themselves, not with the other person. For example, some people find that they can’t handle someone’s irritability when they get home. Some people don’t like it when people close off. In response to seeing this in their husbands, they either get scared or they get frustrated, respectively.

What do you think is worse? The person who’s not doing anything to the other person or the person who’s reacting negatively to the person who’s simply behaving in a certain way? It all comes down to being self-aware and learning that reactions and responses are what cause fights to occur.

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You can’t change how people behave. That’s what makes them who they are. All the stuff that you perceive as negative usually also impacts on their positive traits. Get rid of the negative trait, and you could be getting rid of what you love about them as well.

2. Escalating Negative Response

If your husband is simply being lazy, remind him to clean up around the house, or do whatever he has to do so that he’ll stop being lazy. If you become more and more critical, the other person tends to become less and less responsive. Interesting, isn’t it?

“But how will I ever get my man to actually listen to me, Jack? If I don’t put him down, he won’t even notice me!” That’s where you’re wrong. We don’t respect someone who doesn’t respect us. If you start off neutral and polite and we don’t listen, we’ll tend to listen more if you get more polite. It shows you respect us. We will eventually listen and respect you.

Don’t go the other way. You’ve got to quit the negative mentality, because it really rubs us the wrong way.

Try these two ways to quit what you’re doing that might be impacting negatively on your relationship. If you can, you could be doing yourself and your man a favour. He’ll definitely love you all the more for it.

Now Listen Carefully-

Take 2 minutes to visit the next page and you’ll discover a stunning trick which will make your spouse love you for the rest of their lives even if they are this close to walking out the door. Yes, you can indeed save your marriage no matter how hopeless the situation seems. Take the right step now and live to enjoy a blissful marriage. I strongly urge you to visit the next page-

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Divorce does not have to be your only option. Even if it feels as though your relationship can’t be saved because of the ongoing conflicts between you and your spouse, it can be. There are techniques that you can begin using today that will not only stop a divorce, but will help also you build a stronger and more loving marriage.

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How do I come to terms with my husband’s morbid obesity?

I’ve been trying for well over a decade. We have now not had sex in over 2 years, and it affects everything about his personality. I find him literally revolting to look at, which I told him as calmly and sincerely as possible- even in tears. (And yes there was much positive encouragement as well.) I cannot even buy him shoes because his feet are so swollen and mishapen. In addition to this, he has been very narcissistic for the almost 20 years of our marriage. I used to beg him to lose weight even before it got to that point (he was always overweight- but not to this level- and I believed back in my under-developed frontal lobe 19 year old brain that it was wrong and shallow to care about his outward appearance, to the point that I ignored the inward too, because I did admire the faux-confidence). At one point – though this was some time ago- he said that if I didn’t like him how he was, “there’s the door.” But aren’t we supposed to be willing to grow and change as people for one another? Isn’t that what love is and does? I have. I’m within one size of what I was when I was first married, even with multiple children. I’ve better myself in significant ways educationally, socially, and so on. He has actually gotten worse (to the point that I’ve wondered if it was my fault for not being the type of wife who was able to manage to give him some kind of inner inspiration).

I tried to go out on walks and runs with him- he hated running he said. I tried to go vegan- in fact I did it myself – but he hated it and said he always felt hungry (even though for a very short time his feet almost looked normal)! When we go out to eat, or anywhere there are very strange looks now. No matter the size of his shirt, it rides up severely when he sits down and everything spills out, his underwear show, etc. it’s humiliating. Maybe God is teaching me humility, loyalty despite revulsion and sadness and an absolutely vacuous lack, and to rely only on Him for companionship, etc.? I don’t know. It’s even made me doubt God because if that’s how God teaches us those things He cannot be loving, and I think He is.

I wish there was even some level of companionship- but there is absolutely none at all- no common ground on even the basic things. I’ve stayed this long because we have kids, and he’s a good (aka: fun) father… Watches movies and plays video games with them, even if 95% of what comes out of his mouth is nonsense. He’s also held a steady job finally, which didn’t happen in the first half of our marriage.

To be perfectly honest, it has been a living hell- emotionally, mentally, and physically. If he was a wonderful emotional support or there was any level of mental compatibility or real companionship, then ok- but aside from being unable to go anywhere really, travel together, do real things together, etc., none of that exists either. When I’ve gone through horrific times he has literally said nothing, turned away, been absent in every possible manner. He’s talked about gastric surgery for a few years- and I’ve supported it and told him I’d do whatever it took to make it happen, but alas, that is something I cannot actually do for him.

As I’m writing this I think “my word, if I was reading this is tell the writer to get out of that relationship pronto… But I feel nothing but guilt (largely religiously imposed I believe) for doing so. But the kids…, but “for better or worse…”Despite feeling like I’ve been abandoned in a living hell.

So that is my experience.

My Wife Gained Weight and Isn’t Sexy Anymore!

His wife gained 50 lbs since their marriage and he’s not physically or sexually attracted to her anymore. What should he do?

Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Get Real! Today’s episode is about Sexual Attraction.

Tony from Rohnert Park writes: I’m an active, fit guy and when I married my wife she was too. But over time she lost interest in fitness and has gained 50 pounds. She’s the same woman I fell in love with but I’m no longer physically or sexually attracted to her. What should I do?

Tony, all husbands have to deal with their wives’ changing body. You have kids. Pregnancy is a big deal on a woman’s body, you know, us guys don’t have to go through that. Now, aging, everybody gets older. Our body changes as we age. Illness, hormones, so our bodies do change. So just as you, and all husbands, have to deal with your wife’s changing body, all wives have to deal with their husbands’ changing body as well. So, you may be sad that you lost your fitness buddy, but the reality is that over time your lifestyle changes.

So Tony, let’s get real. In the beginning when a relationship is young, desire and attraction comes easy. But over time you really need to work at it.

It’s normal for desire to wane and decrease. The change in attraction to your wife, it might not be just about the weight. It just might be that when you’re with the same person over time, the level of attraction and level of desire just naturally starts to decrease. You habituate to each other. You get used to each other. It’s the same woman in your bed over and over and over again. It’s a wonder we stay with the same woman for as long that we do, but there’s a reason that we do and we’ll get into that. So it is normal for desire to decrease and not be as easy and as strong as it was in the beginning, so it might not necessarily be about her weight or just about her weight.

But the good news is, desire isn’t always correlated with arousal. So you can still have a great sex life even if the desire isn’t there.

So, just think about this, even though your wife is 50 pounds heavier, if she were to touch you in a certain way or approach you in a certain way, you’ll get aroused. Chances are, even if you’re not feeling attracted to her in one minute, you would be quite aroused and ready to have a good time with her the next minute. So, that’s what we mean by desire is not correlated with arousal. You can feel zero desire and still have a great sex life, and still have great arousal and great sexual experiences and great climax and all that good stuff. It also goes the other way, in fact it’s even more important for most men the other way, is that even when the wife doesn’t feel in the mood, doesn’t feel the desire, she, with a little bit of effort on the guy’s part, can become aroused, and we talk about that on our Radical Sex program. Desire and arousal are not correlated. I know, ’cause I’m a guy, you can be quite aroused with just about any woman including your wife. What?! Well, I’m just making a point! We’ll have to talk about that later.

So, here’s some strategies to consider: first is adopt an attitude that you choose to focus on what does attract you to your wife, not what doesn’t.

And increase the level of intimacy in your relationship. Here’s the thing, the more emotional intimacy, the more desire. The closeness you feel emotionally, the more attracted, the closer, the stronger the bond that you guys have, it won’t matter what her weight is. Trust us with that.

So we have a couple of resources that you might be interested in, and the first is our Radical Intimacy program.

Radical Intimacy is about developing the closeness with your partner that you really want. Sometimes the relationship can work and be close and it seems effortless, you don’t have to work at it at all. Most of the time you need to put a little effort into a relationship working well. Radical Intimacy is about going as deep and as far as you want to have the closeness and intimate relationship that you want.

The Radical Sex program; same thing, sex happens in relationships quite naturally. However, to create a sexual relationship that you really want, chances are it will take a little bit of effort and a little bit of strategy and some ideas, and we can all learn a few things; that’s actually the fun of a long-term, committed relationship, is learning those things and practicing them together over time.

So, please take a look at Radical Intimacy and Radical Sex and if you’re watching this video, if you have an idea or suggestion or comment for Tony, please put it in the comment box below and let’s help him regain his desire for his wife.

And please do remember that telling the truth has consequences. It’s the only way to have a really fulfilling relationship, but not all relationships can handle the truth. So if this is your situation, please do get the support you need from a qualified therapist, counselor, or coach. No one is successful alone and just a little bit of support can go a long way in helping you live happily ever after.

Thanks for watching and bye for now!

Like this? Please comment and share!

Help, my wife has become obese

However, getting some sort of medical check-up together might not be such a bad idea. That only requires a bit of money and a one-off trip to a clinic – not daily exertions and deprivations. Perhaps Richard could say to his wife: “I’m terribly worried about your health. And mine, come to that. It’s starting to worry me at night so I can’t sleep. Could you bear it if I made an appointment for us both to go have one of those major medical check-ups just to check we’re okay? It would really put my mind at rest.”

Hopefully, then his wife would be told bluntly that she’s obese and a check-up for Richard is unlikely to be a complete waste of time.

Another way of addressing the problem would be to say that he is worried about his own sex-drive. He could suggest seeing a sexual counsellor together. Then the subject could be opened up in front of a third party, which, although hurtful, would not be as painful as saying it all directly to his wife at home.

Obviously, if there is a female friend who is keen to lose weight who Richard could confide in and who could drag his wife along to Weight Watchers with her, then that would be great. But I think the subject of lack of sexual attraction is too dangerous a topic to share with anyone else – and if it ever turned out that his wife got to hear about it, her sexual self could be truly damaged. And then not only would Richard not fancy her, but she wouldn’t fancy him. Disaster.

Readers say

Appreciate her

Richard should try an experiment. For a month, he should appreciate the things he likes about his wife, take her out to films, theatre and so on that she enjoys, compliment her on the things she does that he likes, encourage her to cook the things he likes, cook something for her, etc. He should bring her flowers, buy something for the house, plan a weekend away they will both enjoy, do some DIY or something similar he has been putting off for years

When appropriate, he can say he is doing it because he feels he has failed to pull his weight in making the relationship fun and worthwhile, and, if necessary, that her putting on weight has made him realise that she doesn’t think their relationship is worth the effort, which is largely his fault. It sounds as though he may have confused cause and effect – he can’t be bothered with her so she can’t be bothered with him.

Jenny Phillips, London W11

Tell her…Then drop it

My husband and I were in this exact situation last year. I was blissfully ignorant. You have no choice but to tell her. Say that you have noticed the change, it bothers you and how much you loved her figure when she was slimmer. Then drop it. There’s no need to say a word more, even if pressed. If she is anything like me, she’ll be initially mortified and tearful, and finally will come around to realising that you’ve done her a favour. Every time that she looks good from then on, praise her, tell her she is beautiful and you think she’s fantastic. Don’t suggest diets – just quietly whip up delicious healthy food, and lots of it. Don’t taunt her by bringing home cakes, curries or lots of beer, however much you enjoy them yourself. And why not take up sports together? My husband introduced me to badminton, encouraged me to blow some of the household budget on a gym, and we also took up long country rambles together. I now know that he fancies the pants off me (he tells me all the time), and I look and feel a hundred times better. For God’s sake, don’t mention the other women at work.

Name and address supplied

Squeak up

Are you a man or a mouse? Tell her. I’ll bet that she’ll have a list of things that are crap about you, too. Work with each other, not against each other

Tracy Baker, Abertillery, Gwent

Boost her ego

Start by paying you wife a few compliments (if you can’t think of any, lie) and buy her some sexy underwear. This should boost your wife’s ego, which will lead to an increase in your sex life. If done on a daily basis, it should lead to extreme weight loss. When treating your wife, don’t buy her flowers and chocolates – treat her to strawberries and Champagne. This will aid the weight loss and help get her in the mood for today’s passion session. If you keep this up, it will help your wife lose all the extra weight whilst keeping fit and eating a healthy diet – thus returning to the attractive woman you married.

If all else fails, move the fridge to the bottom of the garden – enforced exercise to reach food. Or drink 10 pints and take your glasses off before sex – your wife will become a goddess.

Name and address supplied

Tackle it together

Tell your wife how much you love her and that you are worried about the long-term health effects of bad diet and lack of exercise. Exercise together: dancing, walks, swimming, cycling and join her on a healthier eating plan.

Jo Haigh, Redruth, Cornwall

Belfast Telegraph

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