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Boyfriend gained weight and I don't like it
November 13, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I have been dating for a little over a year. All things considered, I'm quite happy with him. Problem is, he's gained a ton of weight, more than 50lbs since we've been together. He doesn't look like the person I started dating, and it really upsets me. In his current state I don't find him attractive and I'm really at a loss for what to do. Any advice?

I work hard to keep in shape and he just keeps getting bigger and rounder. He acknowledges that his weight is a problem and states he would like to do something about it...but as far as I can tell he isn't actively doing anything. He just keeps saying he is stressed or busy (he's trying to start a business) and gets depressed whenever I bring the subject up.
posted by mariisoul to Human Relations (40 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ultimatum. It is the only way. You tell him what you want and what you're not willing to compromise and then you present a plan. However, caveat emptor: when a pub chum started losing weight after being fat for most of his adult life, his wife put on more than 20 pounds.
posted by parmanparman at 12:49 PM on November 13, 2012


I think he gets depressed because he, too, knows it's an issue and feels attacked or belittled, though I believe you are honestly trying to express concern and help.

Come at it another way. Suggest you do something active together - take a walk, go for a bide ride, play frisbee. Repeat, often. He'll start to feel better AND less stressed, and that was all the motivation I needed to keep at it.

You might also cook healthy meals together - find a website or cookbook devoted to such and go through things you'd like to try together. Make it fun, it being a healthy lifestyle, instead of a chore.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:50 PM on November 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Has he seen a doctor about this? 50lbs is a ton of weight to gain in that period of time.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:51 PM on November 13, 2012 [56 favorites]


If you really don't find him attractive at all (literal reading of your question), and you have discussed this issue with him, then it would not be unreasonable to breakup.

However, you really should see if he considers his weight and your feelings about it to be an issue that he is willing to work on, before you go all DTMFA on him.
posted by Shouraku at 12:52 PM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, if he can't or won't do anything about it, you have to decide if this is a dealbreaker for you. You can't control if you're attracted to someone or not...and that's a huge aspect of how we relate to each other. Some people would call it shallow, I call it being honest with yourself.

That said, I'm not particularly attracted to old people, but I know when I grow old with someone, they'll be old and they can't do anything about it...and I hope my love could survive that.

It's okay to break up with him for this. It's not okay to be with someone you're not attracted to if you tell him otherwise. I think if you do stay, you kind of have to tell him.
posted by inturnaround at 12:53 PM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


50 pounds in a year is an extreme weight swing, especially if he hasn't had a history of big gains/losses. Are you and he sure there is not something more than stress/workload going on here? Maybe a trip to his GP would be a good first step to rule out underlying issues.
posted by handful of rain at 12:53 PM on November 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


You could include him in your fitness routine, or develop one that you can share as a couple.
posted by rhizome at 12:54 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


And to add to what I suggested above, if that doesn't work, there seems to be little recourse left. Nagging will never do it, and if positive reinforcement fails, well, that'd be a deal breaker for me too.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:54 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you deal with him being heavier? If not, break it off now, it doesn't get easier as we grow older.

Taking weight off and keeping it off is the great American past-time and the sick fact of the matter is once you've gained it, it takes Herculian efforts to lose it and keep it off.

Your boyfriend may be overweight forever, and if this doesn't work for you, end it.

I'm overweight and I'm very blessed to have found a husband who loves me as I am, where ever I am. We support each other in working out and watching what we eat, but we're also realistic, it is what it is.

You can't make him lose weight and if it's a deal breaker for you, get out now.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:54 PM on November 13, 2012 [26 favorites]


Come at it another way. Suggest you do something active together - take a walk, go for a bide ride, play frisbee. Repeat, often.

Don't do this, unless it's the type of thing you do for fun already. It's transparent and patronizing.

You've told him it's an issue for you and he doesn't seem interested in changing. That's his prerogative, of course, but it's your prerogative to decide who you want to be with.

My policy is "will I be happy indefinitely if my SO doesn't change a thing about themself?" If I can't say yes then I know it's probably time to end it. You can't nag him into losing weight unless that's a precedent you want to set for the rest of your relationship.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 12:58 PM on November 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


I will agree that 50 lbs. in a year is in the worth-a-checkup category. Has he been eating in a manner that would be consistent with him gaining that weight?

Either way, if you get him to the doctor, the doctor will say "dude, you need to stop doing whatever it is you are doing and eat right and exercise" and then you can just work with him on this from the "health" angle rather than the "looks" angle, which is better for everyone involved. And if, god forbid, the worst case scenario happens, you can be confident that you left a dude who refuses to mind his health rather than a dude who let his appearance go to pot.
posted by griphus at 12:59 PM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I dealt with this issue.

My ex put on a lot of weight after we started dating. I knew at the outset that he had had weight problems in the past, as had I. So we had that shared understanding of how difficult it can be to lose weight. Over time, we both put on a fair bit of weight, him more than me and tried to lose it together. I don't think he ever stopped being attracted to me but at some point I stopped feeling attracted to him.

The thing is, it's not easy to lose weight. People who have always been thin may not understand this, but losing weight is not something you can just up and decide to do one day. Further, most of the mainstream advice you get (exercise more, eat less) may not actually help you that much. Exercise is good for building muscle and stamina but is endless amounts of cardio have been shown to have negligible effects on weight. Similarly for the usual advice to just eat less. The only thing that has worked for me personally, as well as my boyfriend is eating a low carb diet, leading to less insulin production and hence less fat storage. So if your boyfriend has struggled with his weight in the past, he may know how futile the usual strategies doled out by experts are.

Anyway in my ex-boyfriend's case, our relationship was doomed anyway, from a combination of my lack of attraction for him and another unrelated issue. Decide whether this is a dealbreaker for you or not. You're completely entitled to be attracted to your partner. But remember that it's unlikely that it's because he's lazy or eating badly that he's putting on weight. Bodies are complicated and what works for you will not necessarily work for him, so treat him with compassion, whatever you decide to do.
posted by peacheater at 12:59 PM on November 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


I was once in your boyfriend's position - not in the sense that I was fat, but in the sense that I was doing something that bothered my girlfriend and didn't stop. The reason I engaged in this behavior was not out of malice, but simply because every time she mentioned this, it was in a playful and affectionate way that completely obscured how deeply it bothered her. So I basically just thought that this was an "adorable quirk" of mine, whereas in fact she was continually getting more and more resentful. By the time she exploded and told me how upset she really was, it was too late for me to engage in corrective behavior because she had emotionally checked out of the relationship. I suspect this may be happening with you and your boyfriend, and that your feelings for him are leading you to dance lightly around the subject in order to avoid hurting him emotionally.

Having experienced this, I want to speak out on behalf of your boyfriend and tell you that you would be much more considerate of his feelings if you simply tell him now how much this bothers you, rather than stewing in your frustration until the pot boils over. I know that it can be tough to criticize a loved one in a direct way, but you need to sit him down and have a Come-to-Jesus conversation where you express - very directly - that having a fat boyfriend is not an option for you and if he doesn't start getting back in shape, you're going to break up with him. I know he's depressed and it may be still more depressing to be told something like this while he's struggling with his job, but you know what's most depressing of all? Having somebody break up with you totally out of the blue.

Have the conversation now, before you reach a decision about whether to dump or not. It's the fair thing to do, and you'll be doing him a favor.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:17 PM on November 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


50 pounds is quite a bit of weight to gain in a year.

I would absolutely find my partner attractive if he gained 50 pounds. I would, however, be concerned for his health if he gained 50 pounds in a year, especially if he was feeling stressed and depressed. You could express concern about his physical and mental health and suggest a checkup.

Also, as people mentioned above me, losing weight is hard work, and it is a slow process. Even if he decides all on his own to lose the weight, it's not unreasonable to anticipate it will take at least a year of hard work.

And if he starts to make an effort to lose the weight, be supportive of him and his hard work, and not the weight loss. I think one of the nicest things my partner said to me after I lost a significant amount of weight was that he was proud of me, not because I had lost weight and was thinner now, but because he saw all the hard work that had gone into it.
posted by inertia at 1:18 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


People who have always been thin may not understand this, but losing weight is not something you can just up and decide to do one day.

However, you *can* wake up one morning, decide to get active and start eating healthy, nutritious meals. Personally, after I started paying attention to those things, the number on the scale slowly went down without much intervention on my part. I know I'm not everyone, but barring those with certain health issues, most people can make small changes in habits (say, quitting sugary soda) and experience big results.

You should ask yourself whether you're turned off by your boyfriend's appearance or by habits of his that don't match yours. How would you feel if he was fat but ate good foods and worked out with you on occasion? Your partner's appearance may or may not change over the years and you must accept that in any relationship. But you don't necessarily have to accept habits that seriously mismatch your own (that's dealbreaker territory for lots of people).
posted by theraflu at 1:21 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


How would you feel if he was fat but ate good foods and worked out with you on occasion? Your partner's appearance may or may not change over the years and you must accept that in any relationship.

I will offer that there's a significant difference between "dude who gained 50 lbs and is just sitting around eating shit food and getting heavier" and "dude who gained 50 lbs and is now genuinely working his ass off to to at least stay as healthy as he can, regardless of any result." It is a lot easier to look at a guy and say "eh, 50 lbs, whatever" to the latter because it is no longer a visual reminder that he has effectively given up on himself and rather just some extra poundage on a guy who cares about his health.
posted by griphus at 1:28 PM on November 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


One of my relatives was always bugged and annoyed by his wife's weight. He continually pestered her, set goals for her, gave her ultimatums, 'we can do X if you lose Y by date Z', and all that crap.

In fact, it's not just that he 'was always bugged'--he still is. They are still married and he still does all this.

All I can say is that:

- It never made her lose any weight (well, maybe temporarily but it certainly never made any permanent change as she has been gaining the usual U.S. one pound per year if not more like 2-3X times that, on average over the course of their marriage)

- Meanwhile it has driven her batty and made her feel continually nagged, ugly, and unloved

- Also due to his persistent nagging she ended up on fen/phen, ended up having the heart valve problems related to fen/phen use, and basically ended up having FAR worse health problems as a result of his nagging than if he'd just let her eat, eat, eat as much as she wanted until she was fat as a pig. And also (did I mention this enough times already?) she is now just exactly as fat as she would have been if he had just kept his mouth shut and let her do whatever she wanted to--or probably even more so because since the problems with the fen/phen popped up they have more less cascaded making it difficult for her to even walk much. Which of course makes it easier to gain more weight than ever. (Have I mentioned enough times that she would have been far better off, and undoubtedly thinner, to boot, if he had just kept his nagging mouth shut?)

- It hasn't helped him any, either. He could have had a pleasant, beautiful (though possibly a bit plump), intelligent, creative wife all these years and instead (as near as I can tell from afar) the whole tug-of-war over her weight has come to dominate their relationship.

I can see these potential solutions:

- You have a heart-to-hear with your SO, this leads to visits with doctors, SO thinking things over and making some decisions and plans on his own or together with you, and ultimately, SO adopts healthy habits blah-blah-blah and actually does lose some weight over the next year or two and makes you feel happier at least for now (but realistically expect the SO to gain 1 lb/yr MINIMUM for the rest of his life, maybe 2-3 lb/yr more realistically, and set your expectations based on that)

- The two of you talk and work it out and work together on developing more healthy habits together for exercise, eating, and all the rest. You make it like a 'thing' that the two of you like to work on together. Note that this will undoubtedly bring better health and can bring you together as a couple around common goals--but may or may not have any effect whatsoever on SO's **weight**. But if this becomes a positive common goal that you can work together on, and you can accept this and not worry about SO's weight per se, then it could become an overall plus for your relationship.

- You work on yourself to accept SO's weight for what it is (I mean, **actually** accept it 100%, not just bite your tongue most of the time) so that you don't become my nagging relative.*

All that is background and here is my point: I'm with the folks above who say this is not a 'dump him immediately' type event. But if you work on a solution like the one of the suggestions above, or perhaps a combination of more than one of them, and after a period of some months you still cannot within yourself accept your boyfriend's weight for what it is (and what it is going to become, which is much more than it is now), then, at that point, I really would suggest giving some serious, serious thought to moving along to a different boyfriend.

Because neither you nor your boyfriend will love life if you spend the next 5-50 years as a carbon copy of my nagging relative, continually riding your SO about his weight. In that situation, dumping him will be doing him, as well as you, a favor. When and if the time comes, if it helps, think of it not as "I'm dumping bf because he is too fat" but "I'm dumping bf because I can't deal with him as he actually is."

/rant

*TLDR of the above, which I learned from a psychologist friend of mine: If you don't like circumstances, you have two choices: Change the circumstances OR change yourself to accept circumstances as they are.
posted by flug at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2012 [14 favorites]


I would like it if I had a better answer than this, but I don't:

You need to tell him that this is starting to be the kind of problem that he needs to get working on before he loses you. Be willing to talk about plans to handle this, and be generous with them, but be brutally honest that his weight is affecting your attraction to him.

Be prepared to be called shallow or whatever. Understand that it is never easy to hear that your partner isn't attracted to you anymore, but also understand that this is essentially transactional: You're not in any way obligated to stay with someone you don't want to have sex with. You are not making a moral judgment on him for getting heavier, you are simply no longer attracted to him and you're offering him the chance to decide which is more important to him: having you in his life, or continued procrastination.

See, there are a million things he could be doing different - he could stop being in denial about it, he could change his habits, he could attack the issue seriously, whatever. But you can't make him do any of that. You can't even make him want to. If he did, you could help him plan healthy meals and go to the gym with him or whatever. That decision has to be his. The only thing you can do is try to get through the wall of procrastination and denial and make him realize exactly what's at stake here.

Sucks, I know, but I really can't think of anything else that even has a chance of working.

A caveat, though: Kindly be loving and patient with him if he does decide to make a go of it. It's much, much harder to lose fifty pounds than it is to gain it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


If it is really true that he is under a lot of stress, this may be the underlying reason for his weight gain. A lot of people gain weight when they're unhappy or stressed out because they don't have healthier ways of coping. I think the question you might want to ask yourself is whether he's interested in trying to figure out if that's what is going on and if so, then you can support him in trying to change his coping strategies (with that as a goal, and losing weight would basically be a side effect of this improvement). And if not, the question becomes whether you can be happy with a guy who deals with his stress this particular way.
posted by gubenuj at 1:42 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I can't deal with your poor eating and exercise choices. It makes a big difference in how I feel about you."

People can change behaviors more quickly than they can change weight.

Also, nth-ing the "this is an unusual weight change and one I would encourage him to see a doctor about."
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:46 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you make an ultimatum, I suggest you take it seriously. I spent 10 years waiting for my (ex now) husband to make a change to his lifestyle, to improve his health, and weight. It never happened. Oh, sure, every 4th Monday or so he'd say he was going hardcore, which lasted about 3 hours (skipping breakfast, followed by some disgustingly fatty food). It was too long to wait.
posted by b33j at 1:51 PM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


If he really did gain this much weight in a year because of eating and exercise changes alone, it is likely to take two years minimum for him to lose it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:52 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't phrase it as being about his choices. He's starting a business and telling him that prioritizing his dream is "disappointing" is going to alienate him. Come at the problem honestly but with empathy. You're worried because you care about him and your relationship but you are not finding yourself attracted to him right now. You also want to make sure he goes to the doctor. Give him the information ASAP and see what solutions he comes up with. Give it some time for the initial shock to wear off. If nothing happens it's time to move on.

Sorry--losing attraction to someone you care for is awful and there might be no good way to handle it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:59 PM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gaining 50 pounds has had way more impact on his life than making his girlfriend less attracted to him. He can't fit into his old clothes anymore, right? There must have been a point where they were tight, then they didn't fit at all, then he had to acquire new ones.

He lives inside his body. He knew what was happening. He could have changed his habits at ten pounds, or twenty, or thirty. But he didn't. That indicates that either he doesn't mind being bigger, or he could not stop himself from becoming bigger. Either way, he doesn't sound like the guy for you if you find fat sexually repulsive.

He can't take care of his body because he's trying to start a business, he says. Does he think he's going to have more free hours in the day once it gets off the ground? Of course not. Then he'll be running a startup, which is the most time-consuming thing a human being can do that does not involve having a baby. If he's not making weight loss a priority now, you can assume it's not going to happen later, either.
posted by cirocco at 1:59 PM on November 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Weight is a delicate topic, and I'd suggest taking a bit of time to break down what it is about the weight that disgusts you.

If it's purely physical, I don't think asking him to change is particularly feasible. Losing 50 pounds in a healthy way is a 6-12 month process, at minimum. You're already on the breaking point of not being attracted to him. Can the relationship really handle the stress of you both waiting for your attraction to come back?

And even if you are successful, could he really handle the long term stress of knowing that his relationship hinges on winning a losing battle against age and metabolism? Because most diets fail. That's a statistic that doesn't bode well for your requirement to date someone who isn't fat. I agree with other posters that 50lbs/yr is definitely in the Doctor category. But that doesn't mean that it's in the easily treatable category.

Alternatively, it could be that his wardrobe doesn't flatter his new size. Or that he's so busy with his work, he isn't putting an effort into being attractive at any size. Or his non-nonchalance attitude about his health ruins your fantasies of your long term relationship. Or the weight is an unpleasant reminder that aging is rarely a pretty process.

All of those are things that you can work to come to grips with. And it might be that taking an interest in his looks and his health will lead to weight loss. But weight is a perpetual struggle for most people. It's an ultimatum that will never go away, even if he keeps it under wraps for years. And unlike "take the time to look sexy for me", his weight will only partially be something that he is capable of controlling.

As a person who has struggled with my weight all my life, I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with that over my head.
posted by politikitty at 2:00 PM on November 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ultimatums are mean and don't work long term. Don't do that.

Try two things, if you want to give this relationship all you have before you end it.
* Change the food that's in the house. Stop buying processed food. No cookies, no ice cream, no chips, no soda, no beer. (Maybe a little beer). No ordering pizza. Go out to eat a LOT less. Eat more vegetables and less meat. Cut your portion sizes down. Eat until you're satisfied and not until you're stuffed. Yes, it's the same old advice, but that's because it works for the great majority of people.
* Include him in your exercise plans, or take up a sport you can play or do together. Enroll in a couch to 5K and then in a half marathon. Play tennis or racketball or badminton or something really aerobic 3-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes. Go hiking. Do 10 mile-plus hikes, not easy 3-4 milers.

If this 50 pounds is new, he likely won't have as hard a time as some people taking it off. If you both help and push (instead of just putting it all on him and writing him off, as some suggest), he'll either get there, or you can move on knowing you did everything you could.
posted by cnc at 2:02 PM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Something you should also consider: you have been dating for little more than a year, but how long have you known him for? It's quite possible that he was always heavier, but lost weight for the dating process. This would make the fifty pound gain much more natural if his equilibrium is higher.

If he has always been much thinner, then this is maybe an aberration that can be dealt with, but if not, you have to accept that this may not change, and figure out what you need to do about it.

Weight loss is possible, but often you need to be the gatekeeper for it - is this a role you can see yourself as comfortable playing?
posted by corb at 2:03 PM on November 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why has he gained so much weight? Is he eating to console himself, quiet his nerves? Does he have a candy bar stash? Empty calories from alcohol? If you could find the cause, you would be a lot closer to a cure.
posted by Cranberry at 2:31 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


This sounds like a medical problem. Get him to a doctor!

Really, that's an abnormal amount of weight to gain in a short time if he doesn't have an eating disorder. So get him to the doctor.

If he does have an eating disorder, then he needs a different type of doctor, but he should be seeking medical care, either way.

Treat it like the medical issue that it is.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 2:37 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Losing weight is truly a journey and can be a lengthy process. Yes, it varies since everyone loses weight at a different pace, but even if he lost 2/lb per week it would take him 25+ weeks to lose the weight that he's gained.

So, you need to figure out not just what to do about lack of attraction, but how long are you willing to wait while he works on losing weight.
posted by livinglearning at 2:42 PM on November 13, 2012


Tell him exactly how you feel. Do not sugar coat it. Most men (myself included) will not pick up on little hints. Even if he is picking up on them, he may not realize how big a deal this is to you.

The best thing you can do right now is be honest. He needs to know that at this point in his life, he needs to make a choice. He can continue the way things are and lose you, or he can make a change. If he feels like your relationship is important enough, he will at least put in an effort, and if he is doing that, there is a lot you can do to help him out.

Losing weight is amazingly hard, especially if you don't have someone to support you when the going gets tough. It looks like he might have that support in you, which is great, but that doesn't make it easy. You have to accept that things may not change. If you don't tell him how important this is, however, things are not likely to change.

Talk to him, and if he says he wants to change, than ask how you can help. Some people like constant reminders, some people like competitions, some people like to be left mostly alone with it. If you try to help in the wrong way, than you won't be helping at all.

Once he says he is going to make some changes, and you've talked about how best to help, than you need to stick to that and be supportive. If you love fitness and healthy stuff than that won't be too hard, but if you're the type of person to go out to eat whenever you want, and have candy stashed around the house, you are going to have to make changes as well.

If he is nerdy at all, Nerd Fitness is great. If inspiring stories help him, Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead is a very inspiring film.

In the short term, confronting him on this will be hard, but in the long term, it is the best thing that you can do.

I also would like to say that 50 pounds in a year is a fairly staggering amount, and he should definitely talk to a doctor about that. You don't put on 50 pounds without having some sort of issue, be it physical or mental. If his doctor can't find a medical issue, than talking to a therapist may be a good idea.
posted by markblasco at 2:58 PM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seconding a visit to a doctor, that amount of weight gain in around 12 months doesn't seem right. He could actually have problems with his thyroid or maybe something else is going on. If there is no medical reason for it, then he's likely depressed and over-eating.

You could be his motivator and aim for a gradual approach. If it was me I'd start by having daily walks together in the afternoon after work, its a time to relax and chat. A half hour walk is a great breather for people who get stressed / work from home. Once he is beginning to enjoy the walks in the first 2 weeks then go on slightly longer walks for an hour and at a faster pace. Once you do that for a few more weeks then suggest you mix it up with going swimming and bike-riding 1 midweek eve and 1 weekend (the other 5 days keep walking), once you are managing that into your routine for 3+ weeks then suggest you go to the gym on saturday / sunday and 1 weeknight to an exercise class , etc etc, until you are doing the cardio / weights etc 3-4 times a week (when he's comfortable, visit the gyms personal trainer with him for more support). All of this will build back into structuring a healthy diet at home. I think it's important to enjoy the process with exercise and strength-building until one can achieve more intense workouts. Especially if you enjoy looking after yourself why not do it together, the question is do you have the commitment to the relationship long-term to work at it and slowly convince someone you love, who may be depressed right now, to feel good about himself too?
posted by Under the Sea at 3:05 PM on November 13, 2012


You should break up with him. If his weight bothers you that much, then it's probably better that you just date someone who isn't dealing with weight issues. And I say that as a life-long fat person. Because even if you do tell him how you feel, and he does manage to finally find a way to lose the weight, it's very likely that he will regain part, all, or even more of the weight back eventually. And it would suck to be in a relationship one person is always feeling disappointed and the other is always feeling guilty. He needs a partner who can find him attractive no matter what he weighs.

In the eight years I've been with my partner, my weight has fluctuated between 200lbs and 300lbs for various medical and non-medical reasons. I can't imagine how awful it would have been to think that my partner was more or less attracted to me based on my weight (whether or not there was anything I could do about it at the time). This isn't a criticism of you. We all have preferences, and yours is for thinner body type that your bf has now. So find that person.
posted by kimdog at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


You have to be brave enough to have conversations that might end your relationship to have a healthy relationship.

This is one of those conversations.
posted by French Fry at 3:53 PM on November 13, 2012 [18 favorites]


50 pounds in a year is a LOT. Nthing the suggestion that he see a doctor, and soon.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:55 PM on November 13, 2012


He lives inside his body. He knew what was happening.

Ever heard of dissociating from one's body? Sometimes in response to trauma, stress, or depression? It is actually possible to go through body changes and not really "realize" that they're happening until it's too late.

OP, it may be true that your boyfriend needs to hear that he's "sexually repulsive" to you now. But I'd wager that, given that having discussions about his weight already depress him, being cruel is not exactly the way to go.

Gaining 50 pounds in a year can be a sign of significant health issues, not to mention that stress can make the human body gain weight easily and hold onto it like a dog with a frisbee. (I say this as someone with lifelong weight struggles... the less stress I have in my life, the easier it is to keep my weight down.)

I'd seriously recommend encouraging him to see a doctor and rule out any health issues that could be contributing to his weight gain, before you start laying down conversations about how he grosses you out.
posted by palomar at 5:00 PM on November 13, 2012


[This is a reply from an anonymous commenter.]
I think the kindest thing to do, in the long run, would be to break up with him. I've been with my partner for about 2.5 years, and during that time I've gained about 60 pounds (not sure because I don't weigh myself). I was underweight to start, and I'm a little bit overweight now. I am recovering from an eating disorder and re-learning to eat, so it's a little bit different, but it's also not that different - emotional issues are contributing to weight gain.

I am very, very unhappy with my body, but my partner thinks my body is beautiful and perfect, and loves me exactly as I am. It's one of the few things that makes me feel beautiful. It would be absolutely devastating to find out that my partner didn't find me attractive. Your boyfriend deserves to be with someone who loves all the parts of him, and you deserve to be with someone who you think is very attractive.
posted by cortex at 6:20 PM on November 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


I think you need to tell him that it's important to you that he stay healthy. If he is stressed about his job, working out will help. If you're at the point where it looks like it may end the relationship for you, you should tell him and give him a chance to turn it around. You deserve to be with someone you're attracted to and he deserves to be with someone who is attracted to him.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:02 PM on November 13, 2012


He just keeps saying he is stressed or busy (he's trying to start a business) and gets depressed whenever I bring the subject up.

This sentence makes it sound to me like a lot is going on for him, like he is putting a lot of pressure on himself and feeling very overwhelmed. The thing is that, if that's the case, he can't really care about managing your level of attraction to him. He doesn't have the time or energy to take care of himself. If you think about it, that's pretty severely stressed and overwhelmed.
posted by salvia at 9:51 PM on November 13, 2012


I've managed to put on a good amount of weight in a year - but then I started out underweight and went on a contraceptive method that is well known for fast weight gain. It was not nice as a 19yr old to have my partner point this out (albeit in a snarky way, along with 'you're hot now, but if you lost your tummy, you'd be really hot') and it isn't fun to contemplate the idea that your partner thinks you're too fat to be hot.

As your partner is male, we can rule out the contraceptive factor - why is he gaining weight? Is he too stressed or busy to eat properly (it's very easy to eat very badly when broke or stressed) or is he doing all the things that he did when you met but is gaining weight anyway? I think a doctor is a good starting point to work out whether gaining a lot of weight in a year is a medical issue.
posted by mippy at 6:12 AM on November 14, 2012


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