overweight and insecure
July 9, 2012 8:12 AM Subscribe
My wife is overweight, insecure, and unhappy. Help her. And me.
posted by st starseed to human relations (86 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I met in college and have been together for the last 12.5 years, 5.5 of which we've been married. She's a good person with a huge heart, and most people who meet her like her.
Ever since I've known her, she's been a heavy person. I didn't care much at the beginning of our relationship, what with the initial lovey-doveys and butterflies. As time and the relationship progressed, she tried to shed pounds, succeeding somewhat in 2004 with Weight Watchers and then in 2010 with a shake diet and while training to run a half-marathon. Other attempts have been made but have been sporadic and unsuccessful, including a Wii Fit phase and a BeachBody phase.
She's now well over 200 pounds (at 5'3") and noticeably larger than at any time since I've known her. She knows it, and she doesn't like it. She'll often say "I'm fat" or "Uh, the fat rolls!" at least once a day.
Her weight has always been a problem for her, and a source of general unhappiness...sort of a dark cloud over her life. She clearly has some willpower, but I'm concerned that she's on the verge of just letting herself go. The continual weight gain has added to her insecurities, which I'll detail more below. And she's clearly unhappier and more stressed than at any time I've known her.
A bit about me, to put this in context: I'm a healthy 180 pounds (at 5'11). I get some version of exercise at least once a day...at minimum, I do 80 push-ups in the morning. I eat well (although not as well as I'd like to) and in moderation.
Bringing up the topic of weight loss is pointless; any discussion ends in tears. She feels bad enough; me pointing it out or offering to help just reminds her of the work, and it makes her more upset. I've exhaused the ways to help:
1. We've tried cooking new meals together. That didn't really work out; unfortunately, neither of us really likes cooking...the food was never satisfying.
2. I've enlisted the help of her best friend (who is not physically proximate) to call her and ask her if she's okay and bring up the topic. That went nowhere.
3. Unfortunately, she doesn't have any close girlfriends who can help her or drive down the weight-loss road with.
4. I've tried to get her to exercise with me...go running together, for example. Unfortunately, this just has the same effect as me bringing up the topic of losing weight and just ends in unhappiness. I signed up for a triathlon in August and hoped that might spur her to some activity (train with me, encourage each other), but no dice.
5. I do my best to set a good example by ordering small portions in restaurants and not eating a lot of snacks at home. She does not follow my lead.
6. We bought an elliptical back in January of 2011. It's easy to access...right in our great room with a view of the TV, so using it is a cinch. She's used it maybe 15 times.
7. We have a gym membership that she does not use.
The weight has made her more insecure than I can ever remember. She asks me "Do you love me?" at least twice a day, which sounds cute, but it isn't, as she's genuniely afraid I'm falling out of love with her. Also, about once a week, she reminds me "If you're going to have an affair, you have to let me know." For the record, I have never, ever given her a reason to believe that might happen, and I have no intent of being unfaithful. This used to be sort of funny, but now I'm sad she has to ask. She's convinced my parents don't like her (they do), and she's even shy about opening the front door on the rare occasion we order pizza delivery.
Her insecurity has greatly affected our sex life; I can count on one hand the amount of times we've had physical intimacy in the last 12 months. I also cannot bring up this problem with her; the principle is the same as the weight problem. In this department, I bought her some items that might help her enjoy sex more (with or without me), but she doesn't use them.
Her unhappiness is making me unhappy; she used to just have small spurts of unhappiness, but her current attitude has been in place for over a few months now. I am not falling out of love her, as she fears, but at the same time, much of our time together is a long way from what anyone might consider "fun" or even healthy.
What ideas do you have on how we can get over this hump?