He said I'm chubby, but now he says he didn't mean it...
August 5, 2009 6:58 PM   Subscribe

A week ago, my boyfriend of three years said that I was chubby. I am hurt, and having trouble moving on. Am I overreacting?

Mefites, am I completely overreacting? A week ago, my boyfriend of three years said that I was chubby, and "I won't lie to you and say you're skinny." This was said in the context of us cuddling in bed, after I'd gotten out of the shower at our hotel and said "The mirror in there made me feel huuuugee."

For the record, I am 5'7" and 130lbs. But in a way, I feel like it's irrelevant how much I weigh. I have female friends who are overweight, and if one of their boyfriends called them chubby I'd be mad for them. It's just a demeaning word. Like most girls, I feel a lot of pressure to be very thin, and the last person I need pressure from is him.

In his defense:
-He has apologized repeatedly, and feels genuinely bad about it.
-He insists he was only saying what he thought I wanted to hear... that he thought I wanted motivation to lose some extra pounds.
-I am my mother's daughter, meaning thin arms and legs, and a round belly no matter what (my mom used to be much skinnier than I ever have been, but never lost the belly).
-He is 19, and I am 21. He is 6'2" and 130 pounds. So maybe he has a skewed idea of normal weight?

In my defense,
-We've already had many issues with me not feeling like he's attracted to me. I do not have low self-esteem. I'm really confident, with lots of friends, abilities, and interest from other guys. I think I'm a good lookin' girl. But he never seems that... excited about me. He says he loves my personality, my brain, my face... but I'm always the one to initiate sex, and his compliments always seem forced and unnatural. We've talked about his, no change. This has left my very sensitive to his comments.

So, I have two main questions, I guess.
1. I am still very, very hurt, to the point that I don't want to be around him. I've asked for at least a few days to myself to sort this out. Am I being ridiculous? Am I overreacting?

2. How can we move past this? If you've been in a similar situation, how did you get through it?

My boyfriend is loving and supportive, which is why this has caught me so off guard. He's never said anything mean or harsh about me. He is a great boyfriend, a really sweet person, and we've gotten through much bigger problems than this. So why does the word chubby now feel like the third person in our relationship? What scares me is people I've confided this in have expressed doubts that it will go away, and that we can work it out.

Aaggh, any words of wisdom, advice, and perspective would be so, so appreciated.
posted by BusyBusyBusy to Human Relations (85 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
when a girl says "this mirror makes me look fat" "does my ass look fat in this" "if i eat this cake i'm going to be sooo fat" they are more often than not trying to get their partner to go overboard with compliments and soothing words. this often means the partner has to lie or fib or obscure some of the truth. even if you're totally skinny, saying things like that isn't a road to happiness. you were (possibly subconsciously) manipulating your boyfriend into complimenting and validating you by insulting yourself. this is a trait you should work on.
posted by nadawi at 7:08 PM on August 5, 2009 [8 favorites]

"But he never seems that... excited about me. He says he loves my personality, my brain, my face... but I'm always the one to initiate sex, and his compliments always seem forced and unnatural. We've talked about his, no change. This has left my very sensitive to his comments."

This is what concerns me. It sounds like maybe he has some of his own hang-ups about sex in general or that he isn't that attracted to you from the beginning. Maybe his saying the word "chubby" was the first time he's verbalized something that you've been picking up on and it's freaking you out for that reason.

I can't imagine that you'd be all that chubby based on your stats. I'm 5'8", 140lbs and not even remotely chubby.
posted by crunchtopmuffin at 7:09 PM on August 5, 2009 [8 favorites]

also: you need to build your self confidence. you already feel like he doesn't find you attractive - why is this? has he done anything to make you feel like that before this instance or is it something you've constructed in your brain, possibly due to the difference in your waist sizes?

i don't think your relationship is doomed - but i do think for it to work, your boyfriend needs to stop groveling and you need to stop being so hard on him for not knowing the magical words you wanted to hear. you need to forgive him and not play girl games with his head.
posted by nadawi at 7:10 PM on August 5, 2009

It's unlikely you're chubby, given your height and your weight.

So why feel insulted? He was just wrong. If he called you a redhead, even though your hair is blonde, would you be insulted? If he called you short, even though you're 5'7", would you be insulted? No, because you think there's something wrong with being chubby.

As a chubby person myself, let me suggest that there's nothing wrong with being chubby and that your life will be immensely better once you figure that out. That said, you're probably not actually chubby. But why prioritize "thin" or "skinny" as good?

If he said it to insult you, as he might have (I'm a fat-accepting fat person, so no partner's ever called me fat as an insult; it would be like calling me "brunette" as an insult; on the other hand, I have a dear friend who has a history of anorexia and asshole men were always calling her fat, despite her 18.5 BMI), it's worth thinking about why he would do that and why you would react to it.

Like most girls, I feel a lot of pressure to be very thin

The sooner you let that go, the happier you will be. Focusing on health rather than arbitrary measurements is a hugely empowering step to take.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:11 PM on August 5, 2009 [12 favorites]

I don't think you're moving past chubby. I don't say this to be critical but I think you have answered your own question. You need several days to recover, you're incredibly hurt and that's okay but I think a lot of people would have dropped it within five minutes.

You're so young and not chubby. Chubby or not you don't paint a very nice picture when describing your boyfriend. I'm not suggesting you break up but I don't know if I would waste time with a 19-year-old that wasn't hot for me. If you don't think he is excited by you, and he never initiates sex at 19, why do you think things will change?
posted by Fairchild at 7:14 PM on August 5, 2009 [14 favorites]

Your shock and hurt may be an overreaction to the word "chubby" itself (though FWIW I don't think it applies to you, given your weight/height, though certainly "flabby" could apply to anyone -- like me!), but I don't think that's what you're reacting to. I think you are reacting to his apparent lack of sexual attraction to you. It does sound to me that if you're always the one to initiate sex, after all this time together, and if he doesn't seem that sexually excited by you ... then he's probably not that sexually excited by you.

And in that context, the word "chubby" seemed like a window onto his true feelings, and so no amount of apologizing will fix it. It's not like he did something wrong and can make it better by apologizing; he seems not to be sufficiently sexually attracted to you, which is not wrong or right, it just is, and you have to decide whether everything else about the relationship is good enough that it's worth holding on to despite this.
posted by palliser at 7:14 PM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh ouch. Sorry to hear about that. You're definitely not wrong and not overreacting for wanting a few days away from the person who made you feel like crap. And at that height and weight there is no way you're chubby. He, however, is deathly skinny as I can imagine.

Have you gained weight recently? If yes then maybe that's why he said that. Either way you're not chubby at this height and weight though. At first I was reading your post and thinking "guys say stupid stuff, if you're the same as you were a year ago and he was attracted to you then then it doesn't matter what he says - just see how he acts in a couple of days." But if he's never been that excited about you then that's a tough one. Maybe in his head he does think girls have to be skinnier than him? Maybe once this whole thing blows over and you guys are good and happy again talk to him about how you want him to 'pounce' on you more and to make "RAWR" noises when you get out of the shower in a towel and to not be able to walk by you without wanting to touch your ass, or whatever you want that will show you that he's attracted to you.

I don't think you were subconsciously manipulating him or fishing for compliments by saying that - it's more like thinking outloud and saying that the mirror sucked. "If I eat this cake I'll be fat" is more a comment that requires the guy to say "no, you're not fat" which is kind of awkward, but saying "I feel like these pants make my ass big" just to have the guy say "no, your ass is AWESOME" and have him want to grab it immediately isn't bad in my opinion.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 7:17 PM on August 5, 2009

someone not initiating sex doesn't have to be a sexual attraction problem. it could be about a million other things - for instance, he could be sexually inexperienced, he could be sexually shy, he could have male guilt issues about sexuality (thinking he's pressuring a girl if he initiates or that it shows he's only interested in sex). you have decided that he's not sexually attracted to you and that's why he doesn't initiate sex, but it doesn't actually mean it's the reason.

has he actually said why he doesn't initiate sex? (of course, if expressing himself honestly gets you angry and questioning the relationship, he might be gunshy to discuss any problems that surround physicality for a while)
posted by nadawi at 7:18 PM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

He insists he was only saying what he thought I wanted to hear... that he thought I wanted motivation to lose some extra pounds.


I've been there; please trust me when I say that there are other guys that will not only *not* make you feel like shit, but will think you are the coolest, smartest, prettiest girl in the room even when you're not.
posted by lalex at 7:19 PM on August 5, 2009 [37 favorites]

You're so young and not chubby. Chubby or not you don't paint a very nice picture when describing your boyfriend. I'm not suggesting you break up but I don't know if I would waste time with a 19-year-old that wasn't hot for me. If you don't think he is excited by you, and he never initiates sex at 19, why do you think things will change?

Amen to that. My first BF said similar things and they really upset me, but later on I realized that it wasn't the things he said that were so bad, it was a general feeling of not being desired. I now have a boyfriend that doesn't lie to me and tell me I'm the most beautiful woman in the world, but he does make me feel like I'm the one he really really wants.

You don't have to be a supermodel to have a guy go gaga about you...I didn't know that back then though.
posted by melissam at 7:21 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I agree with the others: On the one hand, those compliment fishing statements like "These pants make me feel fat!" or "This mirror makes me feel fat!" are passive aggressive nonsense. On the other hand, your boyfriend saying you are chubby in response when you're 5'7" and 130 pounds is crazy bad. I mean, he probably shouldn't respond to those sorts of statements even if you were chubby (there's a reason it's a cliche that "do these pants make me look fat" is a real minefield) but if he does feel compelled to respond telling a thin-side-of-normal woman that she is chubby is just ick.

I'd recommend stopping with the fishing expeditions for you and addressing why he thinks a relatively skinny person is chubby AND why he felt compelled to point it out for him.
posted by Justinian at 7:22 PM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yeah. You two are young and shouldn't be wasting your time with each other since you obviously aren't that into each other.
posted by Perplexity at 7:23 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

He is 6'2" and 130 pounds. So maybe he has a skewed idea of normal weight?

I think there could be something to this. He's really underweight. Maybe he's the one with eating/weight issues and he's taking them out on you.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:31 PM on August 5, 2009 [8 favorites]

tell him, "Adios, stickboy!"
posted by notsnot at 7:33 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

The big picture, in terms of the men you will be dating in your lifetime, is that as men get older, they become more considerate. (Of course, there are inconsiderate louts at any age, but I digress.) My memory of 19-year-olds is that they really have no clue about how to be nice to a girl. So I would say DTMFA and start meeting men with a few years up on Mr. Chubby, and ones that make you feel sexy and loved and desired. Not all, "Oh, you're here and naked? Ok."
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:34 PM on August 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

If you don't want someone's honest opinion, don't passive-aggressively talk about how huge you look. The boyfriend doesn't have anything to "address" here; he's entitled to think whatever he wants. It's your job to decide whether his opinion bothers you enough to a) get skinnier or b) dump him.
posted by downing street memo at 7:34 PM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Someone said it above, but a 19 year old not initiating sex w/ a hottie 21 year old? He's not that in to it.

In answer to your original question, are you overreacting? Yes, you are.
posted by RajahKing at 7:35 PM on August 5, 2009

Let the chubby thing go — he's a nice guy, sweet person, great boyfriend, &c., so presumably if he actually thought you were fat enough to be hurt by it, he would never have casually called you "chubby" — but use it as an opportunity to discuss the sex thing. If he was making you feel sexy you wouldn't care a bit about this.
posted by nicwolff at 7:37 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

Maybe he felt badly for you because you seemed upset about the mirror and the hugeeeennnnessss, so he said something that he thought was supportive. You used the word 'supportive' to describe him. If this is an isolated incident, give the guy the benefit of the doubt. My son is a complete sweetheart and a total love but he's also 19, and moronic comments come out of his mouth with alarming regularity. The mouth is in motion long before the brain has become engaged.

Should you stop spending time with your bf because he said this, if this is truly an isolated incident and not indicative of his personality? I don't know. If you need to take a few days, take them. If he thinks you're overweight, ok, he thinks you're overweight, and has probably thought you were overweight since he met you, and yet, there he is, still there. It's just his perception, and you can't change that. So maybe try to just accept that he sees you differently than you see yourself. To tell the truth, he sounds underweight, and that may be an issue for him.
posted by iconomy at 7:38 PM on August 5, 2009

I would be pissed too. It's insensitive. But with the right guy, I could get over it, especially if I felt sexy around him most of the time. Could to word "chubby" have triggered other things really wrong with the relationship, like how he doesn't really see you for who you are? Or was it just kind of a slip?
posted by Rocket26 at 7:40 PM on August 5, 2009

First, I don't think you sound chubby. (Because boy, if you are then I'm in trouble...) Not that the BMI is the best indicator, but you're well within normal range. He sounds absurdly thin.

Second, I think he's in the wrong here -- you were making a throwaway comment and he misjudged the situation. That sort of criticism, no matter how well-intentioned, can be very painful when it's unexpected, and he should know to tread lightly in conversations about one's weight. Boo on him.

If you don't want to DTMFA just yet then you two need to have a big conversation about expectations. It seems to me like you expect a boyfriend should show how much he likes you by showing you how attractive you are -- compliments, initiating sex, etc. Maybe that's not how he thinks to express affection and doesn't understand how important it really is to you. In an ideal world, how would he like to express affection? How affectionate does he think a couple should be? Are his answers acceptable for you? It could be that he's genuinely not concerned with physical things (unlikely for a 19 year old guy, but possible) so he doesn't think to compliment them and didn't think about why telling someone they're chubby could be bad because it wouldn't bother him.
posted by lilac girl at 7:44 PM on August 5, 2009

I, just like all the other mefites on here, cannot determine whether you are chubby or not regardless of the weight/height you provided.

Chubby is an opinion, unlike "obese" or "overweight".

Personally, I think Kate Moss looks trashy. "Trashy" is an opinion. Kate Moss is underweight (105 lbs, 66 inches) "underweight" is an objective statement like "obese" or "overweight".

So thats the language.

Now on to your relationship:

1. Your boyfriend is a dude. Dudes are notorious for not viewing weight/beauty like the fairer sex. They aren't as sensitive.

2. You seem to be very sensitive to the fact that your boyfriend called you chubby. I can understand being offended. But you said that you asked for a few days without him to sort this out.

You need to do one of the below:
-- he needs to change 100% on #1
--you need to change 100% on #2
--you both need to change somewhat on your own #s.

...if you want to continue on this relationship.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:49 PM on August 5, 2009

It's your job to decide whether his opinion bothers you enough to a) get skinnier or b) dump him.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, try to "get skinnier" because this guy said you were chubby.

Seriously, that would be ridiculous. Your goal should be to have a healthy and sustainable pattern of eating and exercise, not to meet some other person's random ideas of what your body mass should be.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:49 PM on August 5, 2009 [7 favorites]

A week ago, my boyfriend of three years said that I was chubby, and "I won't lie to you and say you're skinny."

Did you ASK him whether he thought you were "huuuugee"? Because "I won't lie to you and say you're skinny" sounds like a weird thing to say unless you asked him if he thought you were huge.

Did he say something like "You're not huuuuugee, you're just a little chubby is all." Because while not the smartest thing he could have said, to some people all chubby means is someone who has a little bit of a belly, which you yourself said you have.

You and him should have a talk where you tell him why you're so upset over the word chubby and what you think him using the word to describe you says about him. And he should explain to you what the word means to him.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:50 PM on August 5, 2009

He insists he was only saying what he thought I wanted to hear... that he thought I wanted motivation to lose some extra pounds.

This sounds to me like something a really young guy would say -- a guy who has very little experience with women. (I'm not talking about sexual experience.)

Almost all men in relationships with women are confused about what to do when the women say, "I feel fat" or "such and such makes me look fat." Young women tend to be much more subtle and nuanced than young men, and women find comfort in words more easily than men do. (Many men find more comfort in activities -- sex, games, etc. -- than in talking).

Men often feel put on the spot. Like if they say the wrong thing, they'll get into trouble or make their girlfriends feel worse. So they panic and blurt out dumb shit.

This tends to get better with age, as men become better at understanding women and more confident with words.

This is a long-winded way of saying that you should try not to put too much stock into your boyfriend's words. He was probably groping for something to say and just blurted out something. It isn't necessarily what he thinks. However, like others here, I'm more concerned that he doesn't seem attracted to you in general.

I think the charges of "passive-aggressive" are a bit harsh. Yes, sometimes women (and men) complain to get attention. It's not the best way to act, but not everyone is always secure enough to flat out ask for reassurance. If a friend uses passive-aggressive tactics to make me do something I really don't want to do, I get pissed. If someone just needs a little love, I don't think they're evil for asking for it indirectly.
posted by grumblebee at 7:54 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

If your boyfriend is 7 inches taller than you, and weighs the same amount, he probably thinks of himself as skinny and you as less than skinny. It's reasonable to talk with him about using another term besides chubby, and choosing a better time to bring up what he thinks of your body. It's not reasonable to be upset with him because he thinks you are chubby, your partner is entitled to their own opinions.

Women gain and loose weight in relationships, men are sometimes unhappy about it. If he has no opportunity to express these concerns with you, they're going to leak out from time to time, particularly when a boyfriend has to lie when asked "am i/does this make me look fat", or censor their true feelings when exposed to statements like "the mirror in there made me feel huge".

Is there any way he could have told you he thinks you are not skinny or have gained weight that would have resulted in you being significantly less upset?

Healthy relationships generally involve open communication about opinions, feelings, desires etc. Taking a few days off from him over being called chubby is probably going to be a significant deterrent to any honest discussion of your body in this relationship. The goal now is going to be avoiding making you so upset you take a few days off.

Sounds like narcissim to me.
"I feel a lot of pressure to be very thin"
"We've I already had many issues with me not feeling like he's attracted to me"
"I think I'm a good lookin' girl."
You expect him to always think you as skinny and attractive, and when he doesn't validate your world view you fly off into a rage.
posted by zentrification at 7:54 PM on August 5, 2009

One thing that occurred to me when I was reading this question is that he's 19, you've been together 3 years... are you the only person he's ever been naked with? It's possible that as an underweight teenage guy (aka a knobbly sack of bones) he just doesn't know what female bodies are like- namely, with more fat by nature than a guy's body. He doesn't know what a chubby woman's body is really like, so he thinks your totally normal and healthy fat deposits = chubby.

That, honestly, is about the most charitable answer I can come up with. This dude sounds like he's taking you for granted, and doesn't feel like he needs to be considerate or kind to you. Talk to him about it, and maybe do some re-evaluation.
posted by MadamM at 7:55 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

5'7" 130 lbs

As you can see, unless you have a small frame (which would put you in the normal category) you are actually underweight.
posted by Groovytimes at 7:57 PM on August 5, 2009

At 6' 2" and 130, your boyfriend's body mass index (BMI) is 16.7. Not only is he underweight, the clinical definition of anorexia is a BMI under 17.5.

Did you catch that?
Your boyfriend is clinically anorexic.

Anyone with a 16.7 BMI needs professional help. Don't get caught up in the madness.
posted by aquafortis at 7:59 PM on August 5, 2009 [11 favorites]

This is relationship 101 fail, he needs to go back to boyfriend school.
posted by The Straightener at 8:01 PM on August 5, 2009 [6 favorites]

First 5'7" and 130 is not chubby in my book. But you say he is 6'2" and 130! That is crazy skinny.
Nobody really likes to be told negative things about how they look in the eyes of another. So it is understandable at first to be hurt a bit - especially if the comment was just out of the blue.

However, after three years in a relationship truth has to touch down at some point. You ought to be able to be completely honest with your boyfriend. And he should be able to be honest with you. If you are not comfortable enough to talk about how he sees you and how you see him then that tells me you are either too sensitive or their is a communication issue [deeper than this] going on.
I mean, do you ever fight with him? People say far worse things in fights and life goes on.

I'd say discuss it and set parameters about what you will accept and not accept from him - but don't overdue it since honesty is not always a bad thing. Otherwise, just let his comment roll off of you like rain - don't let them seep in.
posted by Rashomon at 8:01 PM on August 5, 2009

Provided that there are some fixable imperfections about your body that bother you, there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking someone else's nasty comment as a jumping off point to fix those things. After struggling with poor eating and weight gain since puberty, I finally got the motivation to lose weight and keep it off after getting dumped explicitly for being too fat. I'm healthier and happier for it. That doesn't make those comments right, but to arbitrarily decide that others' opinions shouldn't "count" is silly.

Anyway, no one really knows how "chubby" the OP is. BMI-wise you sound normal, but just as the fat-acceptance folks trash BMI for imperfectly representing body mass, it also sometimes does a poor job for people in the normal range, especially when fat is concentrated in certain areas. I can certainly imagine someone with your measurements being "chubby" - although that by no means means you are.

My point was - try to look at what your boyfriend said objectively. If he's laughably wrong, laugh at him, and maybe dump him for saying such a ridiculous thing if you're so inclined. If he's got a point, maybe think about doing something about it, and maybe dump him anyway for being an insensitive clod. But hopefully you won't go fishing for compliments like that anymore; that's just weak sauce.
posted by downing street memo at 8:06 PM on August 5, 2009

I think you're having trouble getting past this because it exemplifies the nagging suspicion you have that he isn't attracted to you. Leaving the chubby bad vs. chubby a-ok debate aside, it's clear that you both consider the comment to be shorthand for "unattractive," which means it was in the least pretty insensitive of him.

I would guess you will find that things like this keep happening until you resolve the underlying problem. Since you say you've already talked about it, I'm not sure what else to suggest - if you've been direct with him ("I need you to initiate sex sometimes" "I need you to show affection more often" etc.) it could be that this is something he just can't do yet. 19 is really young. He just might not have developed that part of his relationship brain.

Also, FWIW, I don't know if we can really extrapolate one comment to the effect of "whooboy that is one unflattering mirror" into OMG OP FISHES FOR COMPLIMENTS LIKE ALL THE TIME. Everyone gets these "yikes" moments every once in awhile. Mentioning it to one's partner (with whom one presumably shares everything) isn't beyond the pale.
posted by AV at 8:10 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

That doesn't make those comments right, but to arbitrarily decide that others' opinions shouldn't "count" is silly.

They shouldn't count.

If you are healthy and happy at your current weight, that is a great weight for you, and I applaud you. But making personal health decisions based on random people's uninformed ideas about what your body mass "should" be seems ridiculous, as does using other people's insults as "motivation".
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:11 PM on August 5, 2009

Whatever he said sounds passive aggressive to me.

You'll want to wean yourself from a relationship where you don't feel attractive. There's no point to staying. He's young and inexperienced, and probably not very confident himself.

(You should find yourself an older man who's had some experience with women.)
posted by anniecat at 8:11 PM on August 5, 2009

When I started reading your question I thought, "Wow, that was the Mega Bonehead Idiot of the Century thing to say, but if the relationship is otherwise cool, this is a thing they should be able to move past and be wiser and more caring because of."

Then I got to the bit about how he's not that into your body generally and doesn't initiate sex and said aloud, "Well hell no, then." That's a much bigger issue than a 19 year old guy saying a dumb, unloving thing. You deserve a man who makes you feel like the sexiest, funniest, most fascinating, marvelous, and delicious woman in any room. Loving someone shouldn't make you suffer and feel insecure; it should help your grow.

Speaking from experience (I just had my 11th anniversary with the guy I started dating when I was 16), it's a big job to transition a teenage relationship into an adult one. If you feel like he isn't excited by you now, imagine how much more awful that could feel in three more years.

Sidenote: As a big girl working on loving my own body more, I do think you can take this as a starting point for your own journey toward more confidence and self acceptance. It's very, very hard to break oneself of the self defeatist, passive aggressive "Does this make me look fat?" thing; I'm only moderately successful at this so far myself. But it's a symptom of needing the kind of validation that no one else will ever be give you.
posted by mostlymartha at 8:11 PM on August 5, 2009

And I don't see this as compliment fishing, at all. I think you were having a moment of vulnerability, where you were letting yourself be insecure in front of him in a way that was making light of your insecurity while simultaneously asking him as your partner to help you regain your confidence. That's what these moments are. Which is exactly why a guy, if he is truly a woman's partner, would never capitalize on such a moment to inform his lover that she is not insecure, she is delusional because she normally feels good about her weight when she should not be because she is in fact fat.
posted by The Straightener at 8:14 PM on August 5, 2009 [17 favorites]

My 5'8", 189-pound ass thinks comments like that aren't motivation, they're insults.

You'll be happier moving on to someone with a bit more maturity and experience under his belt.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:21 PM on August 5, 2009

to me it sounds like the issue is that you feel like he's not attracted to you. being with someone who doesn't express their attraction to you can really do a number on your self esteem. the sooner you get yourself out of this situation the better. for a long term relationship you need to be with someone who makes you feel awesome about yourself all the time. the guy you date should make you feel sexy all the time, no matter what your body is like.

this isn't a weight issue. this is a relationship issue. i'm sure your boyfriend is sweet, kind, thoughtful, loving, etc. but unless he's initiating sex with you at least some of the time and making you feel like the superfox you are, it just sounds like you guys are friends without benefits.

you're 21, you're sexy. there is someone out there for you who will make you feel sexy, who will want to have sex with you, and in front of whom you'll never feel compelled to say something like "this mirror makes me feel huge." you've already spent three years in a relationship that doesn't allow you to feel the extent of your sexuality. to paraphrase a friend of mine, "don't throw good money after bad."

about a year ago, i got out of a (very, very, very) long relationship where i was basically best friends with the person i was dating. several months ago i started dating someone who makes me feel amazing -- hot -- who initiates sex with me -- who tells me i'm a perfect 10 -- all the time, and it's like night and day. i've grown so much as a person and as an adult being in a relationship with someone who clearly desires me. i'd never go back.
posted by MaddyRex at 8:34 PM on August 5, 2009 [5 favorites]

He is 6'2" and 130 pounds.

1. You could break him in half if you wanted to. He should know that.
2. You are not overweight by any definition that matters.
posted by Danf at 8:51 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cockeyed.com has a great page of pictures of people sorted by height and weight.
Here's 5'7" and 130 lbs(all very attractive and well proportioned - not 'chubby') and you'll see that they couldn't even find anyone skinny enough for 6'2" when you look at the top page.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:59 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is there a possibility he has Aspberger's?
posted by brujita at 9:01 PM on August 5, 2009

I think it's odd that you're getting so bent out of shape over being called chubby, because it indicates you have deeply negative feelings about the idea of being chubby. Not trying to say your feelings don't matter or that your boyfriend was right in what he said. But consider that society tends to rank female bodies based on perceived value for sex or child rearing or a number of other things that overlook the full value of the person. By getting so upset over being called chubby, you feed into that. Perhaps a better response would be one that embraces the beauty of the human body in all its various shapes and sizes. That way when someone calls you chubby or makes some other remark about your body that they intend (whether they realize it or not) to be negative, you shrug it off with a grin and say "Whatever, size 6 or size 16, I'm damn hawt. If the size bothers you, that's a personal issue you need to deal with and oh look, there's the door, you can go deal with it right now ."

People can only hurt your feelings if you buy into the crap they're selling.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:03 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

But making personal health decisions based on random people's uninformed ideas about what your body mass "should" be seems ridiculous, as does using other people's insults as "motivation".

First of all, the OP is upset because this isn't "random people", it's her boyfriend, so of course she is taking it personally.

I agree that you shouldn't worry about whether anyone on AskMe thinks you are chubby or not, though. That's not really the issue here anyway. Though I think your boyfriend has weird weight issues (yes, I'm extrapolating, but given his weight and his reaction to yours, I can't even begin to image how he'd feel if you gained a few pounds), the reason you are freaking out about this is because there's a history of him making you feel less than attractive, and this latest comment of his just brought it all to the surface.

I think you would be happier with someone who loves you, makes you feel hot and doesn't sound so clueless as this guy. I'd suggest taking a break and seeing other people; it's possible that, since you're both young, he just doesn't realize how lucky he is, having no concept of what a real woman wants in a relationship.
posted by misha at 9:04 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

You're right; it doesn't really matter what you weigh. Talking about weight is really, really tricky, and it often feels like there's no "right" answer - that anything has potential to hurt someone's feelings.

I'm for-real chubby, and I do have self-esteem issues and eating weirdness that's sort of entangled up in that. (I don't mean to imply a direct correlation between overweightness and self-esteem/eating issues, for they can exist separately; this is just where I'm coming from.) To me, "fat" is often a scapegoat, a stand-in for whatever I don't like about myself or my environment. When I'm feeling upset or down on myself, sometimes I can't really articulate what's bugging me, but my body is always there, so hey, maybe it's that; therefore, I feel fat.

It's so easy to complain about feeling fat, and it's an easy habit to fall into. It's the kind of thing I say as soon as I think it, without necessarily expecting a response or rebuttal: "I'm so tired;" "this weather sucks;" "I feel fat."

The problem is that "I feel fat" is the kind of statement people feel compelled to respond to. Any response that isn't an outright "oh no, you're not fat!" can be easily interpreted as confirmation of fatness, but the "you're not fat" response feels insincere and forced.

When you voice dissatisfaction with your weight or size, what do you want to hear in response? Do you want your ego stroked, do you want a pep talk, do you want the subject of your weight addressed at all? Do you want to turn it into a conversation, or do you just want to vent and move on? If it is a sensitive subject, and if you do habitually talk about your weight, then you and your boyfriend (current, or any future ones) should talk about why this is, and how you both can talk about it when it comes up without feeling like you're walking on eggshells.

On preview, I realize I wrote the above under the assumption that your "I felt huge" moment wasn't an isolated incident, but AV is right - we can't assume that based on what you've written. Even if that was the only time you've ever voiced any negative feelings about your size, it's still worth talking about.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:06 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I hear you saying you feel like YOU have to change because of his stupid comment. You are worth so much more than that, and you are beautiful and worthwhile however you are, whatever weight you are. It's not your job to change; it's his, and you deserve to feel gorgeous and amazing when your boyfriend looks at you. A guy who tells you IN BED that you're CHUBBY is not the guy who is going to be there holding your hand on the way to being the happiest, greatest BusyBusyBusy you can be--he is going to be the one pulling you down. You are not "too sensitive"--you are dating a guy who did not consider the damage that that comment was going to do before he spoke it.
posted by so_gracefully at 9:21 PM on August 5, 2009

I get that you're hurt. It would sting to have someone say that.

I could say something about him being young, or male, but the truth is this: Sometimes people say the wrong things. People, of all ages, male and female. I bet it's true for you, too. Haven't you ever blurted something out, that was totally wrong and not what you meant at all, and made you cringe and maybe hurt someone else?

He loves your mind and your personality. That, really, is so very important; it's much more important than a one-off mistake of words about your body. I promise you, if you found someone who adored your body but didn't like YOU, it would sting quite a bit more.

It's really hard work to forgive someone of a mistake. He's apologized. He feels bad. Now's time for your hard work: Let it go, move on. Begin by really thinking about why it bothered you. If it's because deep down, you don't feel attractive, work on believing that you are attractive. If it's because you don't feel he desires you physically, work on focusing on all the ways he shows you that he does.

And a side note about initiating sex: At 19, people usually are pretty into sex. I bet this is true for him too. But sometimes people are shy about initiating sex, because they fear rejection or feel like they are not supposed to initiate, or whatever. This is true for all people (men and women) of all ages.

If you aren't ready for the hard work of forgiving him, then you might as well let the relationship go. You two are young, and it's a rare couple that meets at 16 and 18 and stays together forever. However, I'd urge that you take this as an opportunity to grow and learn how to forgive another person, and accept yourself.
posted by Houstonian at 9:40 PM on August 5, 2009

Wow, what a epic way for a guy to get in the doghouse! You can't write it much better than that! This guy must have missed that stock "does this make me look fat" scene that appears all the time! He forgot his lines. . .

The good news is that he's going to learn the not-so-elusive "Nah, honey, you look great!" line. Does this mean he's going to think of you as skinner just because he mouths lines he obviously doesn't believe? Yeah, probably not. That's the problem with other-validation. . . depend on others to validate you instead of yourself, and you just get the world's table scraps or bribes. . .

To be less hard on you though, yeah, it does suck. I don't know if I'd go so far as to call you passive-aggressive, but I do think you might have been fishing.

The intervention, I'd go for, on your part is: Take the "when you do/say X, I feel Y" form:

"When you told me I was chubby, I felt ______. I value your thoughts and opinions, and in this case, I really was feeling vulnerable and maybe wanted support more than the truth. I know you feel bad now, and that's not my goal-- it's not productive and not good for us. I can assure you there there's already a lot of pressure on me from the outside to be thinner than I am. My goal is to be healthier and exercise, and the best thing I can have from you is support."

Wow, now you're not trying to injure him back, talking with a sense of agency, and not being sucked into his view of what is right for you. Might be a good direction for the relationship.
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 9:46 PM on August 5, 2009

"You're right. I wonder if it's because I've been eating more to compensate for feeling unfulfilled in other areas of my life? You know, like the bedroom?"
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:18 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

Well I'm hardly adding anything new here at this point but if he's groveling for forgiveness I'd say just give it to him.

1. He's really skinny. Maybe he perceives most of the world as chubby?
2. He's young... I can remember some misperceptions I had (at more like 15 though) about women's bodies.
3. He's young... when I was 19 I was being forgiven at an absurdly high rate by my female friends & associates. I can't be sure I deserved it but I probably wasn't entirely worthless. Based on your other comments he seems like maybe he is worth it.

The other issues with attraction certainly feel like they could be considerably more important. I don't know what to suggest except that you have to consider whether you'd rather be with a guy who is more physically demonstrative. I couldn't deal with always being the initiator of sex; that's just tough on the confidence and other feelings.
posted by Wood at 10:26 PM on August 5, 2009

At 6' 2" and 130, your boyfriend's body mass index (BMI) is 16.7. Not only is he underweight, the clinical definition of anorexia is a BMI under 17.5.

Aquafortis, where are you getting this "clinical definition" from? The DSM-IV criteria do not mention any BMI that automatically triggers a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa:

* Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height: Weight loss leading to maintenance of body weight <8> * Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though under weight.
* Disturbance in the way one's body weight or shape are experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.
* Amenorrhea (at least three consecutive cycles) in postmenarchal girls and women. Amenorrhea is defined as periods occurring only following hormone (e.g., estrogen) administration.

A BMI of 18.5 is the low end of "normal", so 85% of normal is a BMI of 15.7. And even if an individual is less than 85% of their expected normal body weight, the criteria also require intense fear of weight gain and disturbed self image. I'm curious what definition you're referring to, because BusyBusyBusy's boyfriend is skinny, but under the DSM-IV, we certainly do not have enough information to diagnose him with anorexia.
posted by ootsocsid at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2009 [5 favorites]

That first criteria should be "Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height: Weight loss leading to maintenance of body weight <85% of that expected or failure to make expected weight gain during period of growth, leading to body weight less than 85% of that expected."
posted by ootsocsid at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2009

This is less a you-and-him thing than a boy-girl thing.

OP: "I am attractive to you, right?"
OP's BF: "Here are the nine specific steps you can take to get closer to ideal attractiveness..."

During the teenage years, boys usually (painfully) figure out that "Am I fat/ Do I look X" isn't a literal request for a how-to-fix-this critique and a 21-point inspection checklist, but an indirect request for validation and encouragement.

Sometimes boys have to figure this out later, leading to incidents like this.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2009

Good lord if I were 21 and my boyfriend was 19 and I had to initiate sex every time we had sex...I would have concerns with THAT.
Normal 19 year old guys are insatiable. You have some sort of "supportive" lemon. Trade in.
posted by naplesyellow at 11:20 PM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Maybe we could make this thread not be about calling OP's boyfriend "stickboy" and internet-diagnosing him with anorexia? There are plenty of people with low BMI that are actually healthy, just like there are plenty of people with high BMI that are actually healthy. For all the bitching about double standards and sexism, you can sure get away with a lot when it comes to skinny guys that you'd get insta-deleted for if you did the same for a larger woman.
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:13 AM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

I think you did a bit of a bait and switch there. He sounds like a linear thinker, and when you said that the mirror made you look huge he didn't pick up on the subtext that you were looking for reassurance.

It wasn't really good communication, but then again, why do you want to be with someone who isn't really into you, thinks you're hot and tells it to you all the time? I think there are bigger problems here.

You're young. Don't settle into this relationship for too long. Years down the road, when you're with someone who loves you for you, you may look back on this one and wonder 'what the hell was I thinking??'
posted by Flying Squirrel at 1:49 AM on August 6, 2009

Listen to lalex.
I wouldn't dump him for saying something stupid (it sounds like he's seriously apologetic about it) but it does sound like he is not helping your self-esteem. You say you're generally a confident person, which is a good thing! And the last thing you need is a boyfriend who takes that wind out of your sail. This is not DTMFA advice though, but just suggesting you examine if this incident is the real issue or a symptom of something bigger.
posted by like_neon at 1:59 AM on August 6, 2009

Sorry, but I have zero sympathy with this. The act of even posting this question (with stats about height and weight!) is the online equivalent of the passive-aggressive, needy, insecure classic question, "Am I fat? Do I look fat in this?"

Your boyfriend already apologized to you a million times, after his (what seems to me) offhanded remark. He was thoughtless, he said sorry, now get over it.

He may be a total dickhead and is unconsciously trying to make you insecure about your body, but he can only make you insecure about your body only, and only if you give him permission to.

For the record, I'm a female in my early twenties, and if someone (friend, boyfriend, whoever) were to call me fat/ chubby, I'll be like... whatever. It's not their problem.

Also, underlying problems with sexual chemistry has not very much to do with physical appearances, and a lot to do with self esteem and confidence.
posted by moiraine at 1:59 AM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

This is not about the chubby comment. It's about the long series of no change issues in your relationship. Your reaction here is a big neon sign pointing to the fact that your relationship has fundamental problems that are doing a number on your self-esteem. Your mutual dynamic is not healthy and is clearly not working for you.

You may love and like your boyfriend, but welcome to adulthood where that is not a good enough reason to stay with someone. When you are a grown-up who prioritises your self-worth and the importance of getting your needs met, you often have to make sad decisions because as much as you like someone, they do not fulfill your needs.

And frankly, being with someone who makes you feel like a fucking goddess when you take your clothes off is a 100% okay criteria to have in a relationship. Being wanted with a trembling, urgent passion is a 100% okay criteria to have in a relationship.

Please find another relationship.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:28 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

A week ago, my boyfriend of three years said that I was chubby. I am hurt, and having trouble moving on. Am I overreacting?

OP, I would like to share with you a quote that has saved my sanity many times over:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." --Eleanor Roosevelt
posted by Lush at 2:40 AM on August 6, 2009

For the record, I am 5'7" and 130lbs. But in a way, I feel like it's irrelevant how much I weigh. I have female friends who are overweight, and if one of their boyfriends called them chubby I'd be mad for them. It's just a demeaning word. Like most girls, I feel a lot of pressure to be very thin, and the last person I need pressure from is him.

That's not overweight, according to this BMI calculator You could try toning up maybe, but weight wise you're fine.

-He is 19, and I am 21. He is 6'2" and 130 pounds. So maybe he has a skewed idea of normal weight?

Yikes. That sounds dangerously underweight to me. He probably doesn't initiate sex because of a depressed libido due to being malnourished. Dump this anorexic loser (I mean, or you could try to get him some help for his problem)
posted by delmoi at 3:27 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think some people are being pretty harsh on your boyfriend but sometimes these little incidents really crystalise a bigger issue in the relationship you have been ruminating over.
posted by saucysault at 4:42 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

You guys should read Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand. The problem here is mainly that he assumed you need or want to be "fixed" when you complain, when you were just looking for reassurance or a sounding board. You should tell him that you don't need to be called chubby to be motivated about taking care of your body, and that it's ineffective motivation because it made you feel crappy. He needs to know that if actually getting you to feel good about losing weight was his goal, then he's failed utterly.

I'm all into body-loving, but I think you're absolutely right about the pressure placed on women to be thin. I also agree that it's difficult to hear comments about your weight and not feel cruddy about them (a few months ago, I wore an empire waistline dress out and a male friend called me "preggers"--had to throw out the dress. Was that rational? No. But it made me feel better.) I'd guess as a tall, underweight teenaged boy, with (I assume) the metabolism of a hummingbird, he just doesn't get that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:57 AM on August 6, 2009

Wow. Puts something I said once - to an overweight girlfriend - in perspective (this was a long time ago). "So, have you always been fat?". Swear to god, I thought she was not that sensitive, I meant it in a logical, matter of fact pov. That was my first ever girlfriend, I've learnt and moved on since then.

It has however left me - in a probably mild aspy way - confused as to why she didnt appreciate that I was only being truthful. She herself often referred to herself as fat - in a downbeat manner. I was working in that context...anyway, i'm a logical person and probably described a chubby, it bothers me a little. I do a little more exercise when I can and concentrate on the aspects of my life that actually matter at this stage of it.

aaaaanyway. Only you know what you are - chubby, whatever. The pressure on women is insane. I've been at a 5 year olds birthday party where the girls were bitching about another 'large' 5 year old girl - who was still baby-fat really - and what she was wearing ("did you see the dress on that...?"). Its horrendous what some parents have now instilled in their daughters. Whats with the whole 'princess' thing - as seems to be the norm for little girls. They grow up thinking they are so entitled, its going to be disastrous in generations to come.

So something is bothering you, and its probably not whether youre chubby or not. Are you looking for an excuse to do something else? What are you REALLY worried about?
posted by daveyt at 5:30 AM on August 6, 2009

He's 19!
posted by everythings_interrelated at 6:46 AM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

When I was 19, I turned my GF down all the time. I was only having sex b/c it was what 19 year old red-blooded dudes did. In truth, I was scared shitless that I was going to be a dad. I'd spend hours trying to figure out what-the-fuck job I could get to pay for an unwanted kid. Home depot? Road crew? Ain't much out there, folks. Also, what would my grandma say?

For all you idiots with this 19-year-old insatiable shit: stuff it.
posted by everythings_interrelated at 6:50 AM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Also, OP, date guys in their mid 20's. They will be ready for you and know how to treat you the way you deserve to be treated, and they will know themselves much more thoroughly.
posted by everythings_interrelated at 6:51 AM on August 6, 2009

I find it fascinating that so many people seem to feel it is just fine to find one's confidence and sense of worth from the opinions of others. What a steaming pile of crap.

Your boyfriend doesn't make you feel 'sexy'? Why don't you make yourself feel sexy? Why is "feeling sexy" so important to your sense of self-worth, anyway? Are you only good for your sexual qualities or something?

I don't feel sexy, nor do I feel a need to feel that way. My partner is happy, I'm happy. What more could I ask? Now, it is clear that I make him feel sexy, and it is clear that he loves that. He is 16 years my junior, and has a better body (no surprise). I, on the other hand, have a handsome face, and that's about all I've ever had to bolster my opinion of my own appearance (except that came with maturity!).

You say he doesn't initiate sex. I can relate to that, I've had that problem with some boyfriends, although none ever had that problem with me (lecherous grin). I wonder whether he has the libido for it, there seems to be something odd going on with his metabolism or something. Or is your cooking too 'healthy' for an underweight teenager? Try feeding him icecream, see what happens!

But you've had him since he was a youngster, and frankly, what he is, is in large part, what you made him, at least in the boy/girl relationship part. I relate to that, my partner never had a boyfriend before. I've trained him well. Apparently, you can't say the same thing. Of course, I'm sure no one ever suggested you had to do that. Cultural baggage of the heterosexual universe, I'd say. Maybe a bit of difficulty due to the age difference, and that the relationship started at a point when a couple years difference is rather more significant than now. Seriously difficult territory, to be sure!

But truly, as has been noted, at his age, it would be normal for him to be insatiable and demanding. But also, all guys aren't as hot to trot as would be expected, others are more. He's nice and considerate, generally. Let's see, what kind of guy is all nice and considerate towards a woman, and not all about having sex with her? Oh, yea, gay men. We make such wonderful boyfriends, except for the sex part. Is your guy marching in the wrong parade? Maybe he has no idea at all. Maybe he's straight as a post, and just a nice guy without a lot of libido.

But here's the other side of that issue: Some guys just don't view relationships and sex that way. They honestly are in to personality and life, and sex is not something that takes a front and center for them. For whatever reason, their libido doesn't have that much an affect on their life. I've seen it, else I'd not believe it. I'm a walking, talking hormone with a brain, myself, the queer bastard offspring of a satyr and a succubus. Some guys actually have minds that do more than find the next opportunity for sex. I know, hard to believe, but there it is.
posted by Goofyy at 7:00 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

6'2 and 130......look I am 6'2 and 185 and people say I am very skinny (and I actually have muscles because of a lot of working out).....I think you are either confused about his weight, mean to exact some revenge on your post or he actually looks like Christian Bale in "The Machinist" .....look at the end of the day if you are 5'7 with a 130 pounds most likely you look "GREAT" and if he doesnt want you other people will.....if this is is HIS ONLY FAULT and he only has said this once then I think you should look closely within yourself and decide one little word was worth all of your thinking....I mean from being a guy who was once 19 he probably didnt think it was offensive, hell he probably didnt think......Trust me the solution is not dating other guys (what you think at 25 man are masters of the universe?) but just let it go and focuse more on the who starting sex part.
posted by The1andonly at 7:06 AM on August 6, 2009

I find it fascinating that so many people seem to feel it is just fine to find one's confidence and sense of worth from the opinions of others. What a steaming pile of crap.

I'm not sure if you're referencing my comment or not, but what I said was that it's perfectly normal and healthy for partners to share moments of insecurity and self-doubt with each other, and at least for me being a good partner means having my girl's back in these moments because we're team like that. I know she would do the same for me if I had a moment where I was feeling fucked up, or weak, or lesser than.

Also, a lot of people aren't interested in "training" their partners, I don't think letting my partner be who she is and naturally grow and evolve on her own terms is part of my "heterosexual baggage."
posted by The Straightener at 7:16 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you end up breaking up with the guy over this, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease for the love of god tell him what he did wrong. He's a clueless, skinny, nice 19-year-old guy. He's might never become one of these guys in their 20's who know how to treat a lady if you don't spell it out. Tell him about societal weight issues, and how (many) women don't like the word chubby, especially from someone she's dating, how calling someone chubby as opposed to huuuuge isn't really an improvement, and how when you ask a question about your weight, you're not looking for a clinical diagnosis from a stranger, you're looking for a reassurance from someone who you (should) know likes your body. All that crap. Because if all he learns from this is "Don't call women chubby. I don't know why, but just don't" you've lost a teachable moment here.

Also, if you end up breaking up with the guy, take some time and figure out exactly what your dealbreaker shit is, and then don't put up with it. Don't ignore it, because then you end up in a sticky situation like this one where you have something that's very important to you, but you're in a relationship with a person who doesn't do that something. And the longer you continue the relationship, the longer you send the message "I know I've mentioned things I'd like you to change, but I keep on dating you, so I must not be all that serious about it."
posted by 23skidoo at 8:07 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ask yourself what you'd tell your best girlfriend in this situation. To me, the chubby - not chubby thing is just... yeah, he's young and a guy and the clueless factor comes up. Because you're not. But my thought is that you're dating, not married, and it's supposed to be fun. And when you've got a guy you spend time with and hang out with, who isn't particularly interested in having sex with you? That's a friend, not a boyfriend.
posted by lemniskate at 8:14 AM on August 6, 2009

Sounds like everyone covered a lot of points about your boyfriend. I just wanted to give you some advice on how to handle stuff like this in the future.

Like every human being on earth (including, GASP, men) I have moments when I'm not feeling so awesome about my body. I have moments when I'd like my boyfriend to reassure me that he thinks I'm hot shit. My theory is, I don't have to be the hottest, greased-up fake tanned airbrushed big-titted twig girl all lounging by the pool to be happy. I just have to think I'm pretty hot shit, and have a boyfriend who agrees. Who gives a fuck what anyone else thinks? The whole world is never going to be attracted to me, I just want the person I'm having sex with to be.

And if someone wasn't attracted to me, I certainly wouldn't be wasting my sexual talents on their worthless, skinny ass.

So, when I need reassurance, I'm honest about it. I'm not passive agressive. I have honestly just said before, "I feel really shitty about how I look today, can you please just tell me you think I'm pretty?" because while it sounds kind of needy, I think you can pull that shit in a trusting relationship and I guaran-fucking-tee you most men would prefer it over "I'm so ugly. Do you think I'm ugly?"

Here are some sample conversations I've had with my boyfriend. I'm not saying we're the most model couple on earth or anything; I'm just saying, I think this is how these sort of conversations should go in a healthy relationship where both people are happy with each other.

GIRL: (squeezing biceps) Jesus, you're arms are so fucking hot.
BOY: Really? They're kind of squishy.
GIRL: Well, you're not flexing. When you flex they are like ROCK HARD IRON. Besides, I want someone who's strong, not someone who's all bulgy and lumpy. If you had squishy arms I doubt you could pick me up and throw me on the bed like you always do.

BOY: Girl, you as hot as shit.

The reoccuring themes? We can take a compliment without arguing with it. We are confident enough to have things we like about our bodies. We know what the other person is sensitive about because we're close enough to be honest about vulnerable shit like that. We pay compliments without lying to anyone. Your boyfriend isn't going to lie to you and say you're skinny. I'm not going to lie to my boyfriend and say he's got massive guns and could probably beat up Henry Rollins. But I focus on the positive, you know? And it's kind of dickish to assume that focusing on the negative is the right thing to do for someone whose feelings you care about.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:20 AM on August 6, 2009 [14 favorites]

Ew. I dated a really thin, tall guy (six foot two and 145 or so) and he said he had to "ignore" my belly. I'm about 150 lbs and almost six feet tall - not chubby, but flabby due to being previously overweight. Got a belly that won't go away unless I got rail thin, which I don't want to do. Current BF loves all of me, and is a much more normal weight himself for his height, compared to past BF. Past BF had some weight issues which is why he was stick thin (not to mention control issues generally but that's a whole different topic).

To the previous people who have said you can find someone who's going to be totally focused on how hot you are and who will desire you, they're right. To feeling subtly unwanted or insufficient all the time, I can completely relate, and it's not healthy and puts a huge strain on you that you don't need. Are there ways, other than in terms of attractiveness/sexuality, in which you feel like you're not up to snuff, too? I'd consider that question as you recover from the "chubby" comment - just try to distance yourself and really consider if you think that he thinks of you as someone who really makes him happy.

Oh, and past BF also once said he had said something only because he thought I wanted to hear it. Big red flag that I let slide at the time - but wouldn't again. Honesty is paramount.

Also seconding what like_neon said. And I'm not sure I believe that older guys would necessarily be better, but good signs include a guy who has a healthy relationship with parents (especially his mom) and who has a significant number of friends who are girls.
posted by lorrer at 8:38 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

up to snuff in his eyes, that is.
posted by lorrer at 8:43 AM on August 6, 2009

I don't buy that 'dudes' don't know this stuff. I've put weight on recently, and sometimes me and my SO talk about it, but he would never put it like the OP's guy has. However, my OH isn't 19.

When I was 20 I was dating someone who said to me, in bed, 'You're built like a brick shithouse'. (For the record, I'm 5' 10" and was a UK size 14 then, no idea what weight.) He said it admiringly, but he wasn't experienced with women, and didn't know it was a hugely unflattering thing to say. I wasn't offended because it was so bizarre, but 'chubby' has clearly pushed your buttons. It sounds like this guy is a bit young and inexperienced and either doesn't know how to phrase things right or is trying to get a rise out of you. The first is fine, though doesn't necessarily have to be your problem. The second is not.
posted by mippy at 9:38 AM on August 6, 2009

i am totally chubby -- i'll be the first to admit.

i have been chubby since i left college.

in all that time (8 years) i have been with many guys, and been hit on by many more -- who not only don't have a problem with my weight, but think i'm beautiful. they don't deny my chubbiness, but they find be hot, and they tell me so. the guy i'm currently with doesn't let a day go by without letting me know.

and they ALL initiated sex.

i think you might have a bit of an immature asshole of a boyfriend on your hands. you are by no means the slightest bit chubby, based on what you've told us. it's just not humanly (mathematically?) possible. i would be hurt too, and you have every right to be.

the fact that he rarely initiates sex is another problem altogether. i think it's time for 1) a very frank talk with him about what is going on in your relationship, and 2) be prepared to dump him, because if he doesn't find you beautiful all around, there will always be something lacking.
posted by unlucky.lisp at 10:05 AM on August 6, 2009

"Let's see, what kind of guy is all nice and considerate towards a woman, and not all about having sex with her? Oh, yea, gay men."

My thoughs too. Also, most straight men are not than into very skinny women. That's why the models in Playboy and Maxim have more curves than the models in Vogue.

From mippy's post:
When I was 20 I was dating someone who said to me, in bed, 'You're built like a brick shithouse'. (...) He said it admiringly, but he wasn't experienced with women, and didn't know it was a hugely unflattering thing to say.

Blame Lionel Richie.
posted by iviken at 10:18 AM on August 6, 2009

In grade eight, I told my best friend she was fat.

She was actually skinny as fuck, but I was really tired of answering the question "Am I fat?"
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:51 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

You seem to be reading a lot into what he said, and that the things you are reading into his statement might not have been there. (Such as that he was demeaning you, or pressuring you to be thinner, etc etc).

As others have suggested, it sounds like you guys are not all that into each other and might be better off just moving along, but if I were the next person you dated, and you projected your insecurities into my words, and then attributed the distorted message to me, as might have happened here, you'd soon be back in the dating pool. This is not uncommon behavior, but I find few things more obnoxious and self-destructive.

With guys, there is often less speaking between the lines than with girls, and if you habitually read between the lines when there isn't anything there, you're going to have a rough time communicating with a lot of guys, and either annoy or hurt people, or both.

As to #1, I think you're over-reacting, but that this is unfortunately commonplace. You will do better in life with a thicker skin, because acting on criticism is useful (critical even), but taking things too hard or as a personal attack has a paralyzing effect instead. Also, it means one stupid or ignorant comment has you obsessed and miserable for days. That's no way to live.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:58 AM on August 6, 2009

You claim that your weight doesn't matter in this situation, but it does. If you ARE chubby, and he says that you're chubby, that's perfectly reasonable and you'd have no reason to be offended. Your weight is, after all, entirely under your control (barring serious health issues).

On the other hand, at 5'7" and 130 lbs., you are NOT chubby. So yes, he's being a douche. His reasoning is as ridiculous as his statement.

Personal note: I spent most of my 20's being 6' tall and 135 pounds. I was so skinny that strangers would sometimes offer me food. Your bf needs to eat and get his ass to the gym, or at least recognize that to most of the world he looks abnormally thin.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:43 PM on August 6, 2009

I read responses from other posters that say that the OP's boyfriend is acting immature. Like, what?!

It seems to me that the OP boyfriend has:

1) Made a thoughtless comment
2) Genuinely tried to make it up.

The OP on the other hand,

1) Has real issues of insecurity, needing someone to constantly reaffirm her self worth.
2) Cannot forgive a careless remark despite the other person's genuine attempts to make up for it.
posted by moiraine at 1:42 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

As far as all this rot about 'chubby' goes, HELLO! The skinny stereotype is a magazine thing, has nothing to do with reality, beyond making women feel bad about themselves. No relation to beauty, sexiness, or general attractiveness, which are all subjective, and plenty of guys realize that healthy happy women generally aren't rail thin, nor are they supposed to be.
posted by Goofyy at 10:22 AM on August 7, 2009

6'2" and 130 pounds? Stop dating him. He's made entirely of feathers and bullshit.
posted by happysurge at 7:29 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I know this is an old thread, but I can't favorite Sidhedevil's comment hard enough.

Your boyfriend said that you're chubby. That may be an accurate or an inaccurate observation. But he didn't say that you're unattractive. He didn't say that you were too chubby. He didn't say that chubby is a bad thing. You're the one bringing that to the conversation. There are women who I would unhesitatingly describe as "chubby" who I would also unhesitatingly describe as "smoking hot". And I'm not some weird BBW fetishist; I'm just a fairly typical dude. It might have been a clumsy choice of words on his part (especially if he's aware that you're this sensitive about your weight), but it sounds like a genuine mistake.

Anyway, are you sure you guys are using the same definition of the word "chubby"? I've heard people use it to describe skinnier-than-average women who I would never, in a million years, call chubby. On the other hand, some people seem to think "chubby" means "obese".

"Not skinny" is not a slight or a put-down.

I can't believe some of the people in this thread who are telling you to DTMFA. Only you can judge your boyfriend's motivations and sincerity, but it sounds like he really regrets his words, genuinely didn't know that you would be hurt by them, and wants to make things right. Yes, I think you are overreacting. It sounds like there may be other, more pertinent issues at the core of this. If this is important to you, than it's important to you, and you need to discuss it with him—but please don't dump a loving boyfriend of three years over this.
posted by ixohoxi at 3:46 PM on August 30, 2009

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