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How do you tell someone to lose weight without crushing them?

Tagged as: Dating, Health<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (28 November 2008) 14 Answers - (Newest, 30 November 2008)
A male United States age 36-40, *spartame90 writes:

I've been with my girlfriend for over 6 years now. We're going through a number of problems, which I addressed in another question, but in thinking about the possibility of us getting back together, there is one issue i just don't know how to deal with.

When we met, my girlfriend was slightly overweight. This bothered me a little, but I liked her personality, so I tried to overlook it. After the initial rush, sex became a bit of a chore because of it, but I loved her and I didn't want to hurt her feelings, so I didn't say anything about it. I *never* asked her to lose weight or made comments about her appearance. I instead tried to inspire her by doing - I went to the gym 4 days a week, and kept myself well within the "normal" weight range for my height.

6 years on, though, and the problem has gotten worse. She is a good deal heavier, to the point where I have to admit, I'm not attracted to her. I feel awful and shallow for saying this, but I have to admit it's the truth. My lack of interest stems not only from her appearance, but also a disgust/disappointment with her unwillingness to do anything about it (she complains about her appearance often).

I guess my question is: what do I do? How do you tell someone to lose weight without crushing them? How do I let her know I'm not attracted to her anymore?

View related questions: crush, lose weight, overweight

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A male reader, aspartame90 United States +, writes (30 November 2008):

aspartame90 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

THANK YOU, Shandy! That was a very helpful answer, and I appreciate your willingness to understand all sides of it. Believe me, I don't *WANT* to have to tell someone I love to lose weight! I am taking your advice to heart, and thank you for your help (same to Serenity!)

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A female reader, shandy88 United Kingdom +, writes (29 November 2008):

Now here is a subject i feel i have ample experience in... Now you may be able to see it from the other point of view. My boyfriend and i have been together for 4 and a half years, and i am ashamed to admit, that within that time i let myself go, its just so easy to do as im sure you can understand! Now although i knew this myself, i was secretly hoping that it wouldnt bother him so much.... it did. So he openly said to me, you have put on weight, and whilst i love you, i want to have that feeling of apsolute pride whenever i look at you and we go out. At first, this chrushed me! you go through the whole, how dare he! He obviously doesnt love me, if he did he would concentrate on my personality.... but, after crying it out, you suddenly realise that this is what you've been thinking all along to yourself... so why cant he tell you, the woman that he loves, that you need to do it for yourself, aswell as him. My advice would be to just tell her, dont beat around the bush, its heartbreaking at first, but, i honestly believe, 1 and a half stone lighter... that i can take pride in myself. When she starts to lose weight for herself ( because she may decide not to listen to you....) she will never look back. I hope that she takes it well, because you really are having her best interests at heart as well as yours... because lets not forget the possible health problems aswell, because if what you have said is true, there are no buts about it, she is overweight. before anybody says anything negative.... i am not a stick insect, a healthy size 12 and i'm sure she feels she can only dream of that, but with your support, you can do it together! i would really love to hear how you get on.x.x.x

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A male reader, aspartame90 United States +, writes (28 November 2008):

aspartame90 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

"Maybe you are the one with the problem not her. Why dont you just leave her if your not attracted to her instead of making her life a misery and then sit back and watch her find someone much better."

Sigh. This comment is ridiculous, for a number of reasons. First, you're reacting as if I'm henpecking her into losing weight when, in fact, I have not brought it up even once. Over the entire course of our relationship, I have been nothing but supportive, encouraging, loving -- in fact, we're in counseling now and the counselor actually said that it was *because* I was so supportive/non-confrontational that she actually developed bad habits. So please don't think I've been laying around the house calling her "fat" or mocking her. I am *constantly* putting her needs and priorities above my own, whereas she never expresses interest in doing things that interest me, and has actually recently run up a shocking credit card debt (close to six figures) that has severely hampered our ability to move forward. So to imagine me as some beery tyrant who's mocking my poor, sensitive girlfriend is absurd.

To answer your original question -- she's around 100kg.

And, again I ask all of you who are getting so upset: by your argument, then, would it be just fine for me to lay around the house, eat to my heart's content and drink endless amounts of beer until I bloated up? Or is it only unfair when the tables are turned?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2008):

Hi

Maybe start salsa dance classes together...great way to loose weight or tone up. I agree with you if she is unhappy about her weight then she should attempt to do something. If it were the other way round ,way too skinny..many wouldn't think twice about saying put a bit of fat on...but it is always taboo when its taking it off?

If this carries on, you wont be able to fit in the same bed!

Try using HUMOUR....rather than serious.

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A male reader, aspartame90 United States +, writes (28 November 2008):

aspartame90 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

See, here's what troubles me about the few people who have said "She'll lose weight and leave you." Following that to it's logical conclusion, what you're essentially saying is:

Once two people get together, either party has the right to totally let themselves go, regardless of how it will affect the other person's attraction to them. If that other partner has the nerve to suggest that behavior is damaging to the relationship, the partner who has let themselves go has the right to behave spitefully (ie: lose weight and leave), because the other person had the gall to suggest they weren't completely satisfied with their partner's behavior.

I guess I don't understand where the line is. I treat my body as if it is not just mine, but my partner's as well, and I try to keep myself trim and in shape not just for me, but for HER. Isn't *she* the one being selfish by not extending me the same consideration?

And, yes, I am aware that love is not only skin deep. And -- god forbid -- this was a situation beyond her control (an accident, say), I would *absolutely* stand by her (and I have stood by her through an awful lot). I guess I just feel like this is something she *can* change, but has absolutely no motivation to change.

I should add that their are a host of other problems in our relationship, most of them due to my partner's negligence. But this issue, in particular, is interesting to me, and I'd like to discuss it a little more.

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A female reader, petina1 United Kingdom +, writes (28 November 2008):

petina1 agony auntyou could buy her a walking machine or some kind of keep fit thingy for christmas. Or buy yourself one and say she can use it if she likes. You never know, if she can excersice in the privacy of her own home it may work. I lost a stone on one of those 'walk n glides', i used to listen to my music as i walked in rythm it was great fun. hope this helps.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2008):

Wow, I just went through a similar situation. I'll tell you, Im 5'8 and was 172 pounds (not too much) over weight but my bf was use to pettite girls. He definitely gave me motivation i'll tell you that. He told me everything your thinking. He said he was getting to the point where he's not attracted to me anymore, he said he doesn't even want to have sex AND that sometimes when he see's me walking around the house I disgust him.He said that he really wanted to stay with me and didnt want to leave me over it thats why he wanted me to lose gthe weight. It still hurt like hell! Well i started going to the gym monday through saturday for a month and a half and lost 15 pounds. Stayed with him just so He could see me lose the weight and that I can do it, then I left his ass! Only because he IS shallow. He always wanted me to change something about myself. Your situation is somewhat different I think. But I know if he never would have said anything I wouldn't have touched a gym so In a way Im kind of glad.

Maybe if asking her to join the gym with did not do the trick. Maybe you need to come out and say what "serenity" said. I love you but your gaining too much weight and it is interfering with our relationship. She'll really want to do something about it then. GOOD LUCK!

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A male reader, aspartame90 United States +, writes (28 November 2008):

aspartame90 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

"Trust me no girl would chose being fat over thin if given a choice."

I guess that's what bothers me - she *does* have a choice. Some background: I was *massively* overweight when I was in my 20s -- like, 250+ pounds -- but I put in the work and the dedication to change it. It's the indifference that bothers me.

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A female reader, SugarCookie United States +, writes (28 November 2008):

I think that this will ruin your relationship. You knew when you got with her that you weren't physically attracted to her and you knew that she was struggling with weight. Trust me no girl would chose being fat over thin if given a choice. I think that you will get her to lose weight because he self-esteem will be shatter but really dont be surprised if after she loses weight and other men start hitting on her and making her feel good their is a pretty good chance she will leave you because she wont feel stuck with you because of her weight and after hurtting her self-esteem by telling her shes fat I'm sure she will love having it boosted by another man.

I know that all sounds harsh but it is a very good chance your not her husband just her boyfriend.

Good luck though.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2008):

It's normal to feel this way as we can't help with what we are attracted to, especially due to weight. It's only shallow to complain however when her weight and health is fine.

As for how to bring this up... well, this is tricky.

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A female reader, Serenity1 United States +, writes (28 November 2008):

Serenity1 agony auntwell...i hate to say but you may have to tell her...just say baby, i love you but...i feel as though you're gaining too much weight...and WE need to do something about...because it's hendering our relationship...you never know something may be bothering her about you and that could be why she overeating for self gratification/satisfaction...this is what some people don't realize about eating disorders...it's just like any other bad habit...drugs, sex, alcohol, gambling, porn, etc...

communication is everything...you need to talk to her...sometimes you have to hurt a person to get a point across...as long as you tell her i don't want to hurt your feelings blah, blah, blah....that's what love is about...lastly, the TRUTH will set both of free...

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2008):

I had the exact story with my husband. I was and am in GYM 5-6 days a week, watch what i eat and how much. cook all the time, so this part was covered, not ever he was alowed to have junk food. But he is sitting all day at work, and he ate big portions. It doesn't matter how healthy your food is you still have to watch the amount.

I was trying to get him in GYM for 3 years. he kept telling me, that I stay home and have all this time to do what I want, and he has to be at work all day. But the fact is he got to almost 200lb, belly was like he was carying a baby. I was disgusted.

I know it sounds horrible, but that's what I told him. I said, it's not only the way he looks but his health I worry about, and also I added that if he wants to stay attractive to me, he has todo some work. It's not fair to expect from your partner to keep staying attracted to you physically, if you appearance degrades due to bad eating habits and lack of exercise. I told him that I know it takes an effort, but that's what he has to do if he wants me to find him sexually attractive.

2 years ago he finally gave up wnd went to GYM. Now he is healthy 160 lb, buffed and looks great. He is 50, looks 40 and very proud of himself. Good luck.

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A male reader, aspartame90 United States +, writes (28 November 2008):

aspartame90 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Actually, I already did try that -- I encouraged her quite a few times to join me at the gym to no avail.

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A female reader, Serenity1 United States +, writes (28 November 2008):

Serenity1 agony auntmaybe invite her to gym with you...take evening walks together...the question here is would you still want to be with her if she lost weight????...if so like i mentioned above invite her to do exercise with you...im over weight and my husband was kind of bothered by this...and promised that he would make me a exercise regimen and never did...he's military and knows all about how to lose/maintain weight...all he ever actually done was suggest subway instead of cheeseburgers and fries...which i caught on to after it was too late...

once you try to encourage/invite her to come exercise with you she'll get the hint trust me...

Best Hopes

TF

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