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I feel like its my fault that my former lover has given up and gotten so heavy. I love her but know I couldn't take care of her

Tagged as: Health, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (12 March 2018) 5 Answers - (Newest, 14 March 2018)
A male United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

This is kind of complicated and weird, so please bear with me. I will say up front that I have a fetish - I'm attracted to very fat girls. Please don't judge me for that - it's something that's always been with me and I can't do anything about it. I'm attracted to girls ranging from moderately obese, up to about 32 stone, with a preference for girls in the 21-28 stone range. I appreciate that obesity is unhealthy, and don't encourage partners to gain weight even though I find it extremely arousing - some things should just remain a fantasy. The help I need is to do with my relationship with one specific very fat girl. I won't give her name here, so I'll call her A. She's never told me her weight, so any numbers I mention here are my own estimates - after a lifetime of being obsessed with fat girls, I'm pretty good at guessing their weight.

I've known A. since we were 5 years old and she was one of my first friends when we started school. She was always chubby, but didn't become seriously obese until college. I think she was attracted to me first - in retrospect, some of the things she said when we were 14-15 sound to me now like she was hinting at a possible relationship, but I was a very late developer and didn't start thinking about girls or sex at all until I was 17. I'd always been obsessed with fat and weight gain, but before I was 17 I mostly fantasized about getting fat myself (I never did, and have always been very skinny). A. and I hooked up after that, and were together through our last year in school. That was about as happy as my love life has ever been. As well as being cute and fat, she was the loveliest person I've ever met. The only problem was that I could never shake the feeling that I was only with her because of my fetish, and that I was somehow wrong for her. I tried helping her lose weight once, by going for long walks and cycling, but it didn't have much effect.

We went to uni at opposite ends of the country, and decided to break our relationship off rather than try to carry on long distance (one of the worst decisions I ever made). It seemed like a good idea at the time. I thought about her a lot, but apart from occasional online conversations, I didn't actually see her again until a few years after finishing uni. A mutual friend was getting married, and we met at the wedding. She had gained a lot of weight, probably weighing around 25 stone, and I was super attracted to her. We got a bit drunk at the party and ended up going back to her place and having sex. That was by far the best sex I've ever had - her body was the perfect size and shape and she was still the same wonderful person I remembered.

We both still had feelings for each other, and I found her incredibly attractive, and we talked about hooking up again, but I didn't want to leave my job and she didn't want to move away from her parents. I made a few trips to visit her over the next few months, but then she met a guy closer to home, and I stopped seeing her. When that happened, I knew for certain that I still loved her, and I'd made a terrible mistake by putting my job first and staying away.

She was with this guy for about eight years, and from what I've heard, he was an abusive, possessive asshole who encouraged her to gain weight. After he left her a few months ago, we started having more regular contact online. She moved back in with her parents and is really depressed. I recently went to visit her, and was shocked at how huge she was - over 42 stone by my guess. She has skin problems on her legs, serious mobility issues, and her parents pretty much have to wash her and care for her, because she can't work. I can see she's given up on life, and it breaks my heart. We're only in our early 30s. She's still eating way too much and her parents pretty much enable her.

The problem now is that I'm no longer physically attracted to her - she's too big even for me - but I'm still very much in love with her. None of the other relationships I've been in have worked out or lasted longer than a few months. I still want to be with A., but I can't bear the thought of watching her eat herself to death, and I don't think I could cope with caring for someone her size (I can barely look after myself). I feel terrible, like her condition is my fault, because I should have been there for her. I feel terrible for being attracted to her when she was already morbidly obese and urgently needed to lose weight. I feel terrible that I'm chickening out on caring for her.

What should I do?

View related questions: depressed, drunk, long distance, lose weight, wedding

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (14 March 2018):

Honeypie agony auntI think you should encourage her to become healthier BEFORE you commit to giving up a job and moving. And I think she NEEDS to WANT to be healthy more than she WANTS to be with you. If that makes sense. Same for you. You should WANT her to be healthy more than you should WANT to "rescue" her from her illness.

While I get living with her parents (who enable this unhealthy relationship with food) she NEEDS to want to become healthy.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/treatment/

If the fetish is an issue for you, I'd also consider talking to a therapist.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (13 March 2018):

Thank you for your replies. I don't think I can just cut off contact - she's not just a former lover, she's also a childhood friend, someone who's been in my life for nearly 30 years, even though distance has kept us apart for most of the last 15. I really care about her, and since I last saw her I've been worrying about her constantly, as she won't live to 40 if something doesn't change. I had no idea it had gotten so bad, because her ex basically pushed everyone else in her life away and she never talked about her problems until after he was gone. But I don't know what I can do from such a distance, and it's complicated by my feelings for her which I can't seem to put aside. I love her, but that doesn't necessarily mean I should be in a relationship with her.

I know I shouldn't feel guilty, and you can say she's made her choices, but they weren't made in a vacuum. Her family are all obese and have a culture of bad eating habits, so I can't say it's all her own fault. I deeply regret choosing my job when we had our last chance 8 or 9 years ago, and even if she would have gained weight anyway if I moved to be with her, at least she wouldn't have been with this guy who basically destroyed her confidence, convinced her she needed him and would never get another chance with anyone else, and then left when caring for her got too much like hard work. It really makes me angry to think about that.

Everything has been complicated by this stupid fetish. I hate it and have long wished I could be rid of it. It makes me feel morally contemptible to be attracted to something that is basically a major health problem for the person concerned. It's basically ruined my love life, because I'm always looking for very obese women, and it's not easy to meet potential partners that size, so when I do meet someone, it always turns out we don't have enough in common to make a relationship work. I'm attracted to their weight when they need to lose it, and I have trouble with the feeling that my fetish therefore makes me bad for whoever I'm with. I also have rather dorky and obscure interests, and A. was the only person I've ever met who shared them (mainly because we grew up together) and was also attractive to me.

We're talking a lot on skype, and I managed to bring up the subject of her health and seeing a doctor. She also needs to see a dentist, but is too embarrassed about her size. She said she wants me to visit again. I want to see her, and sit on the couch with her playing old Nintendo games like when we were kids, and I want to help her, but I don't know what I can do. I've been successful enough in my career (software engineer), and I have better options now than I did last time, so I can afford to move and get a new job to be closer, but that's a big thing to consider when I don't even know if I can make a difference. I know that if I spend time with her, I could end up falling for her again even with her current health problems, and I don't know if I can go through that again. Or maybe this is my last chance to do what I should have done years ago, before I lose her forever?

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (13 March 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntNone of this was your fault so you need to stop beating yourself up. It is obvious she has had issues with food from a young age if she was always chubby so anything you done wouldn't have made a difference. It is her issue with food and you are only feeling bad because you have a fetish. If you want to help her then talk to her and tell her she should try and loose some weight and go to a doctor. It is not your fault she has given up on herself.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (12 March 2018):

Honeypie agony auntFirst off, I want to say her WEIGHT is not your doing. She might have some medical issues that lead her to gain more weight ( like thyroid issues, diabetes, hormonal imbalance etc. etc.) THOSE are not your doing.

If you add her being with an abusive man who encouraged her gaining even more weight (probably more out of control than a sexual fetish) she might have also become depressed which again can lead to serious weight-gain. And again, NOT your doing. She made the choice to date that guy, and to stick with him for 8 years.

That aside, if you can I'd talk to her about seeing a GP ASAP. Obesity leads down a road with so many health issue, but she might still be able to stem that and work on getting back to a happier and healthier self.

If you can't do that, you might want to wish her well and let her go.

Having loved her doesn't mean you now OWE her to not move on with your life.

For whatever reasons, you two didn't work out. It happens and it doesn't mean you can't still care.

BUT... you need to stop feeling guilty FOR her choices and HER medical issues.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (12 March 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntBe there as a friend, but not as anything more. If you're close enough to her, discuss doctors and surgeries, ways to reduce what she eats, etc.

If you can't be there as a friend because of your feelings for her, then you need to accept that and stop contact.

Having a fat fetish is okay, provided you can tell when you actually love them, not just their body, and that you're with someone who still eats fairly healthily, even if they're overweight. For example, many overweight people eat crap and keep gaining - like your friend. Choosing someone like her is very unwise.

However, some overweight people struggle to lose weight, but eat healthily and do some exercise that maintains their weight or it fluctuates a little. It's better to choose someone like that.

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