I hear often from both men and women who say that they have abandoned their sex lives as a result of the loss of attraction to a mate who has gained significant amounts of weight. Weight gain can, in certain instances, be a result of a medical problem, but more often than not it is an emotional or psychological issue that keeps a person unable to either diet or exercise enough to keep weight off.
The issue of attraction to one’s partner is very complicated and rarely is it simply a reaction only to weight gain. Spouses not making the effort to lose weight may be doing so because they are already unhappy in the relationship, they are avoiding sex and intimacy, they are depressed for other reasons or they really have no idea how their mate feels because it has not been discussed. A partner can make a huge difference in one’s ability to lose weight, as well as getting in the way of dieting. That does not mean it is the partner’s fault if the mate doesn’t lose weight, but it does mean the partner can act as an ally and help the situation, or they can be a saboteur and block dieting. Bringing junk food into the house, encouraging indulgence, eating high calorie foods in front of your partner and being inactive together are methods of inhibiting weight loss for your partner.
I got a huge amount of email from readers on this topic with responses ranging from:
- Marriage is for better or worse and it is unacceptable to leave a partner due to lack of attraction or sex.
- Beauty comes from within and it shouldn’t matter what you weigh.
- Men are visual creatures and can’t be expected to be attracted to an obese woman; he should leave her.
- If you care about your partner and yourself you should lose the weight.
The responses ranged from one end of the spectrum all the way to the other BUT the anger for almost all responses was quite palpable. Both “sides” were actually quite enraged, at each other for their opinion, and at me for not voicing their opinion. The problem was that you readers are not able to see my email and therefore you don’t know about the other side of the argument.
So, I am posting this today because it seems to me this is both a common and heated problem and perhaps it would be helpful for each of you to talk about and hear the other side.
Post your comments here and try to be constructive, because it is helping your mate to understand how each side feels that creates empathy. It is empathy that allows one to feel understood and allows one to make real headway in communicating. It is real communication that makes change possible.