My boyfriend's family is upset he's dating someone obese. How do I deal with this hurt?
September 6, 2012 6:00 AM Subscribe
My boyfriend's family is "concerned" he's dating a Fatty (me, yay!) How do I deal?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (50 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. It's a great relationship, the best I've ever been in. He's kind, smart, thoughtful, and he adores me. He's in his mid 40s and I'm in my late 30s. He is divorced with 2 kids and I'm childless. The relationship has so far weathered some conflict mostly due to the challenges of having a relationship with kids involved.
This Labor Day we (two of us and his kids) spent the weekend at his family's annual get together. I have met the parents on several occasions and from all accounts they previously had only good things to say about me. Until this weekend. Despite their previous remarks that I'm bright, witty, kind, and helpful, his father expressed that "the family" is concerned that I'm obese. This was a phone conversation my bf had with dad last night to inform him that we arrived home safely. I was in the room and heard bf's response of "she can be healthy at any weight" and I knew what was being discussed. His dad (a retired doctor) went on to mention that there are health ramifications of being overweight (I'm a size 20 U.S.), and even asked if I was required to undergo a physical when I was employed at a university in an administrative position. Wtf!?his father also commented that I took a lot of photos (I do) and he wondered specifically if I was taking them to show my family. I like photography and had been thinking of putting together some pics for his parents of the weekend, which is why I took a lot of photos.
Here's some background - his parents are quite wealthy and WASPY. I grew up very Catholic and blue-collar. I don't quite understand their lifestyle and I'm not interested in grand houses or material possessions. I already felt uncomfortable going there for the weekend because I felt like an outsider. I've struggled for half of my life with disordered eating and truly believe in the Health at Every Size movement. Clearly I'm overweight, but I try not to equate that with a value judgment about my worth as a human.
I've tried to reframe it as "oh, maybe they are just concerned for my well-being" even though I reject the notion that every overweight person is unhealthy, but I don't believe that's where they were coming from. I feel like it's a statement that I am not good enough, I don't fit their image of what is acceptable, and I am not a good match for their son. We don't need his parents' approval, but it hurts an awful lot, particularly since my father consistently attached a value to being thin and constantly belittled me for my weight.
I am angry and hurt to say the least. I was disappointed that my bf didn't tell his dad that his comments were irrelevant and he did not care to hear them. When he saw how upset I was he called his dad back to tell him that he loves me no matter what size I am and that he needed him to know that. Dad's response was "I know, and we won't try to undermine you."
I'm 39 and this still gets to me, and it still gets to the bf. I'd love to be able to say "who cares", but I'm not there yet. I'm seething about this and right now I never want to see them again. How do I deal with this?