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Too much weight

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  April 30, 2009 10:42 AM

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Two letters for the price of one!

These two share something in common (pounds), so let’s help them out, shall we?

Letter 1:

Q: I love your column and would love to get some opinions on this. I don't know how to say this without sounding shallow, so here goes. I am no longer attracted to my husband because he has gained quite a bit of weight in the 6 years that we've been married (I would guess 40 lbs) and he was already short and on the big side when we started (which was fine with me, that's how I loved him), but this gain takes him from overweight to, well, obese. I am not slender either and have gained weight myself in the past few years (mostly due to having kids) but I do watch what I eat, go to the gym, jog, and am losing the pounds, albeit slowly - so I'm not expecting perfection. He, on the other hand, is just getting worse and worse and it disgusts me - won't go to the gym, use our treadmill or weights or boxing equipment and snacks on chips, soda, and greasy foods even thought I shop for and cook healthy meals.

The weight exacerbates other health issues such as his depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. so it's more than just how he looks. We talk about the health issues but he doesn't actually DO ANYTHING to get started on the road to weight loss and better health. Anyway, this is affecting our sex life because he repulses me to the point where I flinch when he comes near me. Lately it hasn't been an issue because his antidepressants kill his libido but even hugging, kissing, cuddling etc. make me recoil. I don't see him changing any time soon and we aren't splitting up, so how can I change my reaction to him so that we can maintain at least some minimal contact and not grow even further apart? Would it be cruel to just lay it on the line and let him know that his weight is coming between us? Would that perhaps motivate him to get moving or just make him hate me for being mean and critical? I've tried the soft-sell (let's go biking, let's go for a walk, hey wasn't this dinner great it was only 300 calories!), we've been to couples counseling and individual counseling, he has had life coaches and career coaches, and I've tried ignoring the problem and no approach has gotten any results so I'm trying to shift the focus on how I can change my own reaction to him and find a way around the un-attraction.

Thank you,
Turned-off wife, Danvers

A: Turned-off wife – I don’t think it’s your responsibility to change your reaction to him. He’s putting his physical health at risk. His emotional health is already suffering. You have every right to demand a change. You ask if it’s cruel to put it on the line and tell him his obesity is killing your relationship. My answer is: no, it’s not cruel, it’s necessary.

I think you should go back to counseling, both as a couple -- and alone. Coping with a marriage that puts you in the position of having to love someone who is depressed must be overwhelming.

When you go to therapy as a couple, be frank. Be clear. Say everything you said in this letter – even the part about recoiling. And then tell him what you’ve also said in this letter – which is that despite all of these horrible feelings, at no point have you thought about leaving. He’s a lucky guy for that. And it means you love him.

I get the whole clinical depression thing, but he should want to keep you around and to keep himself alive.

-- Meredith

Letter 2:

Q: My girlfriend recently gained a lot of weight, which is causing me to feel less and less attracted to her, and more attracted to other females in my surroundings. I deeply care about her, but I am afraid that the sexual attraction will wear off and, and I plan to settle down and propose sometime soon. I hope that she can drop some pounds, at which point I will boast about her looking great, which might entice her to start getting in better shape. The only problem is, she has not lost weight yet. Any advice on how to communicate this without coming across as a total jerk.
-- Weight Issues, Boston

A: WI, has she acknowledged the weight gain? Does it seem to bother her?

If the weight gain is rapid and severe, you’re allowed to ask her if she’s OK. As we learned from the letter above, sometimes weight gain has something to do with depression. If you are concerned about her mental health, you’re allowed to acknowledge the physical change.

If “a lot” of weight is in the range of 10 to 20 pounds, this might just be the way it is. People age. Occasionally, they beef up. If you can’t love her as much with a few extra pounds on her, that’s something for you to consider. She might have kids one day. She’ll get older. Can you love her then -- provided she’s taking good care of herself? Just something to think about.

As for how to communicate, see paragraph one – tell her you're concerned. I think that might be easier than trying to manipulate her with the withholding or giving of compliments.

-- Meredith

Readers? We have many pounds to deal with here, and miles to go before we sleep. Tell Turned-off and Weight Issues what you think they should do. Share here.

Oh – and before I forget, the letter writers of Strictly Physical and Military Guy Loves Video Games posted comments their own comments at the end of the day thanking everyone for the advice. I love it when people check back in. It's good closure.

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146 comments so far...
  1. I'll never forget - I gained 10 pounds and my 5'10", 220 pound (now ex) husband stopped having sex with me. When I finally asked what was going on, he told me I was fat. Just before I left him, I had shed over 10 pounds during a 6-week military training event - and he said, "You're all hot and stuff now. How can you leave?"

    Like I needed any more incentive after that statement.

    Just putting that out there as food for thought.

    Posted by the perennial fatty April 30, 09 11:05 AM
  1. In response to Letter 1, I think he needs to be evaluated by the Dr who gave him the antidepressants. I had to try many to find the "right" one. If his libido is down, he's probably turning to food for comfort. Also, the medicine may not be working properly, so perhaps the eating is a symptom of of that and he feels hopeless to request a change of meds. Believe me, I finally found one that didn't affect my libido and I've been dropping pounds since.

    Posted by kmira April 30, 09 11:17 AM
  1. food for thought... haha - that's funny! ya know, considering the letters...

    Posted by enjoysirony April 30, 09 11:21 AM
  1. For me, it's less about the weight and more about the health, activity level and good mood. If these three things are positive and present, than the one you love is less likely to gain alot of weight (unless they have another health problem or are taking a medication that makes it happen -- in which case, I would focus on helping them cope and adjust). But ten pounds is really not that much--20 even. If you love someone and they are getting bigger and bigger, there is usually some depression or fatigue or illness present...isn't it better to focus on helping the person? At least as a friend? If your attraction is that limited, you will have a harder time staying in a relationship as you age...

    Posted by Ellen April 30, 09 11:27 AM
  1. Get ready for a hallmark moment here -- I think truly loving someone means looking beyond the physical and cherishing that person for who they are...

    That being said, of course you need to have a physical attraction and sexual satisfaction as well. Don't get me wrong, my boyfriend is far from having 6 pack abs, as am I -- but we are still very much attracted to each other.

    I think this is clearly about more than just the appearance part of it...I think you should use your concern as his physical and mental well being as a springboard to broach the subject.

    Posted by SEM April 30, 09 11:28 AM
  1. Telling someone you're dating that they have gained weight, never goes over well. So be prepared for hurt feelings.

    My advice for Letter Writer 1 is to take a more aggressive role with your husband regarding his poor health situation. He is your husband and supposed life-long partner. He sounds like he is on a fast track to a heart attack. He can't have the option any longer of being such a lazy bum. As to your complete lack of attraction to him, maybe you can learn to be affectionate with him while imagining you are with someone else or get really drunk to help with the nausea.

    My advice for Letter Writer 2 is that i'm sure your girlfriend is well aware of her weight gain and do not for one second let the words "fat" or "gained some weight" exit your lips. Also do not compare her body to other more slim girls. If so, she will feel completely dejected and it will take a long to time for her to overcome your comments. Playfully mention that she could "tone up a bit" and see how that goes over. Regardless, make her feel secure about your relationship and tell her that you want to marry her - it will help with her insecurities. Once she starts working out, do as you say and compliment her progress. Maybe you could propose to her and pay her to go to a bridal bootcamp.

    Posted by truelove4eva April 30, 09 11:28 AM
  1. Chicks should definitely stay thin...AND pregnancy is NO EXCUSE! As for guys it should be the same way but hey most guys are slobs. Women should realize this going in. Anybody who is overweight is really a disgrace....same with smokers

    Posted by nash April 30, 09 11:29 AM
  1. I have to say that Turned Off seems to have a genuine concern for her partner and it isn't just about the weight, its also about his overall health. I can get behind her on that. It may be time for some straight talk with him and to make an appointment with a nutritionist.

    As for Weight Issues, I have to agree with Meredith and ask that you please think before you make any long term commitment. If you think 10 or 20 lbs is hard to take, I think you would have a very hard time with the type of weight gain and slow weight loss associated should you and your partner ever decide to have children. You mentioned not wanting to come off as a rude jerk, hate to tell you but you already have! Its rude to say things like that to someone you supposedly love for purely superficial reasons. You mention nothing about a change in her health status which leads me to believe that you are only concerned about how she looks on the outside.Shame on you ! As a side note, I have been in her shoes and had my husband tell me I needed to lose weight for looks . It only made me mad and I probably gained another 10lbs snacking out of spite! Think about that one .

    Posted by Miranda April 30, 09 11:29 AM
  1. #2: Meredith has good advice here. Also: it is possible that she just kept her weight down "in order to snag you" and then, once she had you, let herself go? That's deceitful on her part, because she was pretending to be someone she's not. Not good.

    Meredith is absolutely right in that you should first approach her by looking into medical problems, depression, etc. But even if there's nothing behind it and it's only a few pounds and you're being a "jerk" about it, it's still your feelings, and you're entitled to them, and it's important to be honest with her regardless. You can't help being who you are.

    Posted by dottie April 30, 09 11:31 AM
  1. I gained 100 pounds over the course of a 13 year relationship that eventually ended in divorce. Do I think my ex left me because of my weight? No - he was attracted to me up until the end.

    It is 3 years later, I am 30 pounds lighter and still working through what was 'eating me' during that time. I watch my diet and exercise and am confident that eventually I will be back to my pre marraige weight.

    So - my advice to turned off wife in Danvers. Please view the weight as a symptom of a larger issue. I think you are turned off because for whatever reason you husband has lost the ability to self nuture. I would learn whatever I can about self nuturing techniques that work for your husband and encourage those behaviors (and be sure to be open to the idea that what works for you might not work for him). What does he have in his life that energizes him and gets him excited?

    When he feels better about himself, he will want to make choices that make him feel good. Bad food does exacerbate depression - but instead of pushing the 300 calorie meals, I would instead encourage him to listen to his body. It was a big aha moment for me when I realized that overeating on chips or sweets made me feel terrible. It was an even bigger aha moment to realize that a vigorous workout doesn't always make me feel good today, but I always feel better the day after a workout.

    I also do much better when I am focused in the moment - losing a significant amount of weight can be overwhelming.

    I agree that you need to find a good counselor both for you (you are a caregiver of someone with a mental health issue - you need the support) and for the two of you as a couple.

    Posted by older and wiser April 30, 09 11:32 AM
  1. For the second letter -- how much is "a lot" of weight? And what was her weight before? I have no sense whether she is still healthy but just not your ideal, whether she is overweight, or whether she is obese. No sense of her lifestyle -- have her eating habits and activity level changed, hence the weight? Or is there no discernable change?
    The last part is very important, because it could be a medical issue that needs looking into (thyroid trouble/tumor/some other issue). It could be simple aging -- metabolism slows down as we age. Or it could be a lifestyle change. All of that affects how I would answer at and look at this situation. You might be a shallow jerk: everyone's weight will fluctuate a few pounds, especially with medical issues or age, and so your inability to deal with your partner as a person in that way is troubling. It is your issue, and not hers. ON THE OTHER HAND: if she has changed her lifestyle, if she is very overweight, then this is her issue. All you can do is be honest. It may not work, and she may be angry, but if her weight is a medical issue or a health issue, as a loving partner you have a right and in fact responsibility to speak up!

    Posted by j-len April 30, 09 11:32 AM
  1. What the heck is up in Danvers. Second letter from there in a couple of weeks. Love is not lovelier in Danvers I guess.

    Posted by Dtowngirl April 30, 09 11:36 AM
  1. Also, exercise helps with depression. So, getting him out walking would be a double benefit.

    Posted by Anonymous April 30, 09 11:39 AM
  1. Oh man, I promise - that was a totally unintended pun. [facepalm]

    Posted by the perennial fatty April 30, 09 11:39 AM
  1. For Letter 2, I was recently in a relationship where I was the girl who gained the weight and felt unattractive/nonsexual. I realized I was depressed and ended up breaking up to focus on getting healthier mentally and physically. Your GF might need to be gently told that her weight gain might be a sign of other life problems. There's only so much you can do and it seems like you're offering support. I agree with Meredith, looks will fade on both sides as you age and you should be able to handle that with any partner you choose.

    Posted by little steps at a time April 30, 09 11:41 AM
  1. I went into a deep depression after my first child was born, and I had to take antidepressants for a few years. While I did eat to "numb" myself from the pain, the anti-depressants had a huge part in my weight gain. When I recently went off of them, I lost 10 pounds in a month without even noticing. Certain anti-depressants cause what is called "carb-craving". I was a crazed person looking for sugary foods all the time. It had a huge impact on my diet, and I didn't realize it until after I stopped taking them. I beg you not to overlook that . While you husband may love you, he can't help feeling depressed, and he will have to work thourhg it. If he is in thereapy and taking medication, join him in couples therapy to work through this. This is a disease like all others, and the "cure" takes much longer than most and requires a lot of work. Would you like him to give up on you if you had cancer and was bald?

    Posted by No longer depressed April 30, 09 11:42 AM
  1. Views on handling obese spouses seems sexist to me. Albeit there are differences in the severity of these letters, it seems that men are expected to approach it with much more tact than females.

    A woman may tell a man the she recoils and is disgusted by his weight. I have to wonder what people would think if a husband said that to his wife....

    Posted by Brad April 30, 09 11:43 AM
  1. to Turned-Off Wife, I agree with Meredith. Nothing more to say.

    To Weight Issues, Meredith made a lot of good points. I want to also ask, how long have you been going out? Our attraction to someone always fizzles out after a while, and I wonder how much of the fizzle is do to weight and how much is just due to time.

    People tend to get lazy once they are in a relationship a while. They don't do all the nice things for each other anymore, and they don't bother with their appearances as much. It perhaps isn't fair of her to let herself go after she's reeled you in, so to speak. But, that's what most people do, both men and women in their own ways.

    Posted by two sheds April 30, 09 11:43 AM
  1. Letter one: What motivates your husband? Sex? Money? Recognition? Goals? Deadlines? Challenges? You've been married for six years, and have likely known him longer. Harness whatever motivates him and use it to get him interested in losing weight. I'd also suggest that YOU also get on the weight-loss wagon, too, since you admit to putting on some pounds. When you both commit to sensible eating and exercise, it's much easier -- you can commit to kick out the chips, cookies and ice cream, and motivate each other. My wife and I are doing WeightWatchers together and she tells me it's much easier when we are both on the plan rather then when she tried to do it alone.

    Once the weight starts dropping off, hubby will likely also find less need for the antidepressants and will find the sex drive coming back. Not to mention he'll likely corrolate more action in the bedroom with losing weight and looking better, and having a higher energy level.

    The bottom line, though, is that the motivation has to come from within and no amount of life coaching, counseling or so on is going to make it happen if he's not willing to do it.

    Letter two: Maybe you and her should start motivating each other to exercise and eat right. I'm guessing you put on some pounds, too. Too often I see a fatty guy telling his girlfriend she's getting fat while he's pounding beers in front of the teevee while playing XBox and eating Chinese and wearing strechy pants to hold in his gut. Clean up your own act first. Maybe you could commit to a shared goal like a running race of big active vacation that will require you to train for it.

    Posted by K April 30, 09 11:43 AM
  1. kmira, can you let me know the meds that didn't affect your libido? My boyfriend finally agreed to see a therapist and I'm terrified that he's going to find a " quick fix" in the wrong meds that will kill our sex life.
    In terms of these two couples, I do have some advice. I've been carrying around a good 10-20 pounds ( more like ten these days) my adult life. My boyfriend, who was with me at my heaviest finally did speak to me about it. It hurts to hear b/c weight issues are so sensitive but he's right. He wasn't mean or insulting, just honest about how he feels about my health and steps that I needed to take to get healtiehr. I, in turn, let him know what he could to do better support a healthier lifestyle. We are btoh so much better for it and the pink elephant in the room is finally gone. The person you are with should make you a better person all- around not make you feel bad. Trying to justify too much wight doesn't really make sense. " Love me no matter" what is kind of a cop-out.

    Posted by thedemocraddict April 30, 09 11:45 AM
  1. Ah. It'll be interesting to read different responses to the two letters, and whether sexism rears its head. :)

    Posted by The Dude April 30, 09 11:52 AM
  1. Where is Rico?

    Posted by ash April 30, 09 11:53 AM
  1. I think that the overall tenor of your advice to both people is good, but I do want to point out something important.

    There is an EXTREMELY common misperception in this country that being large automatically means you are unhealthy. Even some doctors share this bias (though there is sometimes some personal projection going on there). And it is a bias...there have been studies in the last 10 years showing that a bigger issue than size is being sedentary...thin people who are not active are measureably less healthy than heavy people who move a lot. I don't recall the names of these studies offhand, but I am certain one can find them fairly easily using google, as I have seen them reported even on boston.com. It's worth noting that even when I weighed 350 pounds I had excellent blood pressure etc; the problem I had was with my joints, which have been a problem all my life due to the structure of my body (hyper-extended knees, shallow grooves on the knee joints, etc. I have friends who are 350, extremely active, and have no health problems at all. So it's important to separate the individual health issues of an obese person from the general bias and misconception.

    The other thing has to do with how we define attractive. We are conditioned to value the appearance of thin people only in this culture (and this in particular is especially prevalent in the US - when my sister was in Guatemala and showed pictures of her family to her host family, they all commented on how beautiful and healthy I looked, and I was 350 at that time). One thing that results is that people who do find healthy heavier people attractive can be embarrassed about admitting it. Some people go so far as to consider it as a fetish, but as I once heard someone say, which sounds more like a fetish? Only finding people who weigh between 115 and 135 pounds attractive, or finding people who weigh between 130 and 350 pounds attractive? One is clearly much more restrictive and narrow than the other.

    Regardless, the latter point is clearly not the issue for these writers, as their lack of attraction is real. It is possible, though, that part of what is turning them off is the sloth and depression...if their partners weighed the same, but were happy and vibrant, they would probably look and feel much more attractive.

    Posted by etcetera5 April 30, 09 11:54 AM
  1. I think harping on your husband will only make him feel bad, and it sounds like his self-esteem is already low. He has to make the change himself. If you can't deal with him and the "thick and thin" of marriage, then you shouldn't be married to him.

    I think people let themselves go bec. they get comfortable, and in a way don't even realize it's happening.

    Posted by RC April 30, 09 11:56 AM
  1. Both of them should immediately have a sit down, direct conversation with their spouse / girlfriend in which they lay out their concerns about their “general, overall well-being”. Do not directly mention weight gain, pounds, specific junk foods, specific sloth-like habits, foul odor, repulsive fat rolls, etc. Speak in general terms. Stress that you are concerned about them. Mention something along the lines of “we are all getting older” and “we all should be willing to keep an eye on each other”. Again, nothing specific about weight. Provide relevant examples such as, if your sister was coughing a lot or getting dizzy, you would have a responsibility to encourage her to go to the doctor. That type of thing.

    Then steer the conversation away from any potential defensive reaction (i.e. “I’m glad you’re perfect!” or “I can’t believe you’re picking on my muffin-top!”) by pointing out that this includes you. You have to work on your own health as well and want others to support you. Also, ask what you can do to help (i.e. “I’d like to go for more walks with you”, “What about if we try to line up a time / day that you can just drop everything and go to the gym. I’ll watch the kids (make dinner, put the kids to bed, etc.) during that time because I know that you’re pressed for time and hesitant to devote time to yourself.”

    To be blunt, each of us is responsible for ourselves, but also has an obligation to our loved ones to take proper care of ourselves. If we are overweight, sedentary, lazy, depressed, or whatever, then we are decreasing the enjoyment of time spent with loved ones, as well as decreasing our time here on Earth.

    Along with that harsh reality, comes the fact that if people in a relationship are unwilling to discuss potentially sensitive matters with their partner, then there are bigger problems than expanding waistlines. All aspects of your lives both individually and as a couple / family, should be able to be discussed as adults, in an honest, respectful, and sensitive manner. If not, then you are both hiding things and being enablers towards the other’s downward spiral (emotionally and physically).

    Sorry for the wordiness. That’s all the time we’ve got for today.

    - Hoss


    Posted by Hoss April 30, 09 11:58 AM
  1. "Older & Wiser", you are completely delusional if you don't think the 100lbs you gained was a factor in your husband making a break for it. Get a clue.

    Posted by truthurts April 30, 09 11:59 AM
  1. I am shocked by the double standard I'm seeing here. Why don't you all copy and paste each letter into a new document and then switch all the gendered language. Let them sit an hour and then read them.

    Person #2 is young and unmarried. We *don't* know how much weight their partner has gained, but we *do* know that the writer is aware enough that his question may come across as shallow.

    Person #1 may be more articulate, and is definitely at a different place in the relationship.

    I'm just saying to everyone, drop your prejudices!

    Posted by crespo April 30, 09 11:59 AM
  1. Jeesh - if I didn't know better, I'd say your MARRIED MY X-HUSBAND - EXCEPT MY X GAINED MORE LIKE 150 lbs and climbing......and he was 5'11"...He wouldn't go to counseling and basically I think he just liked getting fatter and becoming a complete selfish ass. Sometimes guys are selfish and don't give a damn if they are getting grossly overweight & unhealthy & depressed - some guys like to be that way; well my X anyway.

    Posted by Been around April 30, 09 12:02 PM
  1. LOL!!! "etcetera5" - Sorry to burst your big fat bubble, but being overweight IS UNHEALTHY. Maybe you wouldn't have had hyper-extended knees and bad joints if you weren't 350! Duh.

    P.S. You sound really hot.

    Posted by ouch April 30, 09 12:06 PM
  1. Has anyone been checked for Vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D Deficiency is epidemic north of Atlanta, GA and contributes to fatigue, depression, and weight gain.

    Posted by ugh April 30, 09 12:07 PM
  1. It's funny how the (tone) of the "advice" is very different when reacting to a wife not attracted to her husband due to his weight gain, compared with the girlfriend gaining weight with the bf not liking it.

    All I got to say is when you pick a "partner" make sure there is A LOT more than just the physical attraction before committing. There obviously needs to be a certain level of physical attraction for a relationship to work, but weight gain is not the only thing that can change our appearance as we age.

    Posted by Steve April 30, 09 12:07 PM
  1. #2 is right - he is probably on the wrong medicine. Switching antidepressants can make a huge difference in both libido and appetite (personal experience).

    Also - as a woman you are allowed to mention your husband's weight without being seen as an insensitive jerk. However, the more you bring it up, the less he will listen to you. And as you have already realized it's virtually impossible to change someone.

    As for letter #2, do not mention the weight thing to your girlfirend. Accept it or leave. Trust me, she knows she's gained weight and is NOT pleased about it. The only thing you can do is be supportive. Sorry, wish there were better news.

    #1 as far as changing your reaction... that's a toughie, but I wouldn't rule it out. At least it's something within your control. (Couples rekindle passion all the time.)

    For both letters - you really need to focus not on weight but on having fun (preferably not JUST with food). If you lighten up, are supportive and find new and interesting things to do togther with your partners that excite both of you - you can manage this disease.

    (And accept that this will probably always be a source of friction you will have to deal with.)


    "America is the greatest country in the world. Even the poor people are fat."
    -Kurt Vonnegut


    Posted by Steve VF April 30, 09 12:12 PM
  1. Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin world go round

    Posted by hatemachine April 30, 09 12:13 PM
  1. It sounds like maybe the recoiling is not just due to appearance but maybe due to lack of respect for his lack of self-control, and also maybe due to anger at him for not thinking of you and taking care of himself like a responsible adult. Counseling seems like the only way to deal with this other than leaving him.

    Posted by Michaelinmass April 30, 09 12:14 PM
  1. A little bit of a double standard there Meredith. It's ok if the woman gains weight but the guy has problems if he does? It's true we all gain weight as we get older but it doesn't have to be excessive. If people don't take care of themselves it's their own fault if their partners leave them. Don't get all fat and disgusting and you won't have that problem.

    Posted by Billy B. April 30, 09 12:18 PM
  1. To Letter #1: Time for a boy toy. Clearly you didn't marry this guy because he turned you on, and its only going to get worse.

    To Letter #2: No fat chicks. Let me repeat. No fat chicks. Get your NO MA'AM t-shirt out and find someone new. She's no longer attractive to you and you're thinking of proposing? Did she somehow chain your testicles when you weren't looking?

    Posted by Dave April 30, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Rico is attending "Over Eaters Anonymos"; (lmao) ONLY KIDDIN.....

    Posted by Been around April 30, 09 12:22 PM
  1. What I might suggest you try first with the hefty husband problem is, instead of phrasing it in terms of your attraction, phrase it in terms of your worries about his health. When my father-in-law gained weight, he didn't listen to his wife, but my husband (his youngest son) told him that he was worried he was taking years off his life with his eating. This changed his habits and he lost some weight and started going to the gym with his wife. Not guaranteed to work for everyone, but it might help frame it positively (you love him and want him to have a long healthy life).

    Posted by K April 30, 09 12:22 PM
  1. Brad says "Albeit there are differences in the severity of these letters, it seems that men are expected to approach it with much more tact than females" -- the letters are hugely different. Letter 1: I will not leave him, I've tried tact, encouragement, cooking healthy, and counseling; how can I change my own reaction? Letter 2: She's gained weight and I'm looking at other women; how can I tell her?

    Anyone who attributes different answers to these very different letters to sexism is not reading the letters, but only looking at the genders of the writers.

    Posted by j-len April 30, 09 12:24 PM
  1. You know what will help physical attraction. Alcohol!!..No seriously, I have been in this situation before. I make a point to go to the gym and take care of myself for my own personal health and out of respect for whoever it is I am dating. As shallow as it sounds I would expect my girlfriend to have the same respect for herself and for me. Lets be honest, there has to be a physical attraction. Nobody ever sat across a bar room and said to their friends "I don't think they're attractive at all but I bet they have a nice personality. I'm going to go introduce myself." Not having a physical attraction to your partner is definitely grounds for leaving out of respect for both of you. Good luck telling a girl she has gained weight.

    Posted by Beantown13 April 30, 09 12:26 PM
  1. "Oh man, I promise - that was a totally unintended bun. [facepalm]"
    -perennial fatty -

    PF-
    Look at this sentence…filled with food references:

    1. Promise – As in the “Get Heart Smart” margarine?
    2. Totally – As in “Total Cereal: Are You Getting 100%”?
    3. BUN – Unintended Bun? Really? With Promise or Butter?

    You’re Killin’ Me!!!


    Posted by valentino April 30, 09 12:27 PM
  1. Nash, you sound like a real jerk. Am I correct in assuming that you are a guy, and that you haven't had a child/children?

    Posted by Sassy April 30, 09 12:30 PM
  1. I'm with Ash, where's Rico?!?!

    Posted by Ricoisfabulous April 30, 09 12:30 PM
  1. in a long relationship with my girlfriend, we have both gained a little weight. her weight gain is more noticeable for sure, and i'll admit shes lost the wow factor, but i still think shes beautiful for who she is. I also KNOW its from a larger issue, in her case, stress/depression. she is persuing a doctoral degree and its truely overwhelming how much work/studying it is, and its brought her down. Healthy balanced meals and a little excersize get pushed aside by frozen foods and sitting studying.

    So for letter 2- listen to the other readers and notice lifestyle changes or other big issues. I'm sure shes not thrilled about the weight gain either. If you love her you need to stand by her, be gentle with words, and try to encourage. the grass will be greener someday and she can lose the weight. when she is happyier, you both will be happier. Dont throw away what could be the best catch of your life. think about it

    Posted by john h nh April 30, 09 12:30 PM
  1. To Ouch....Read my letter. My joint problems are genetic and predate my obesity (I started dislocating my knees when I was 11). And I wouldn't be surprised if I've always had better blood pressure than you. :-)

    Also, as I think it is clear in my letter, I no longer weigh 350 pounds, though I am still not skinny, primarily by choice. If it hadn't been for my knees, though, I probably would have stayed that heavy....I didn't have any problem with my appearance, and neither did my partners over the time I weighed that much.

    I didn't say this in my letter, but I am someone who doesn't find extremely skinny people that attractive. Being able to count people's ribs is kind of gross, and bony hips on a partner can be painful. :-)

    Posted by etcetera5 April 30, 09 12:33 PM
  1. Turned-off: Have you considered that perhaps it is not his weight that you are recoiling from, that you find so unattractive, but what it represents? It sounds to me like it is his apathy and his disregard for his own well-being that is disgusting you. And that is not in the least bit shallow or cruel. The weight itself is just the symptom. I have someone very close to me who has been depressed for years and has not found the proper medication. She has gained weight steadily over the years and does not take care of herself physically because she is so ill mentally. It is crucial that your husband get the right medical attention for his mental state before he will find the motivation to take care of his physical one, and to take care of your relationship. It is a cycle. The less healthy he get physically, the more your relationship suffers, the more depressed he gets. And it is his depression that is causing the problem. Psychiatric help is definately the way to break the cycle. Best of luck. I know how hard it is to love a person who seems to completely lack love for themselves.

    Posted by Elle April 30, 09 12:37 PM
  1. Perennial fatty... 10 pounds don't make much of a difference in the way one looks. Your story sounds bogus to me. I may be wrong.

    Posted by Jack Certer April 30, 09 12:42 PM
  1. It usually takes the person who gained the weight to open his or her own eyes and realize what happened and decide to do something about it. No poking, prodding, suggestions, comments, doctors, etc. are going to help unless the person is willing to change the habits that got him or her there in the first place. It takes a lot of self-motivation, and if someone isn't willing to change then there is nothing in the world that's going to help.

    Posted by Dr. Phil April 30, 09 12:43 PM
  1. Nash--you stink. I've seen some of your other posts and you sound like a real turd.

    Posted by Dubs April 30, 09 12:45 PM
  1. weight gain and sex appeal aren't always linked. Sometimes its a mental thing. I've been in a committed relationship with a woman who got heavy, but her weight didn't affect her sense of self-worth and "inner" sexiness so she could always turn me on when she was in the mood. I've also been in a committed relationship with a woman who lived in the gym and stayed slim and sexy in terms of her body, but she suffered from a poor self-image and never seemed able to convince herself she was sexy and to be honest that complex took away from her sex appeal. Confidence is a key ingredient of a woman's sex appeal. (probably true for us guys too)

    Posted by john April 30, 09 12:46 PM
  1. valentino -
    That. Is. Awesome. Thanks for the lunchtime laughs! <3

    Posted by the perennial fatty April 30, 09 12:49 PM
  1. fat people are gross- bottom line.

    Posted by Kim1015 April 30, 09 12:52 PM
  1. Although I realize this sounds shallow, I bust my a** to stay slim and in shape--and though its a lot of work, its worth it--both for my health and social life. Not sure I'd want to be with someone who didnt care enough about themselves to take good care of their health. Physical presence aside (I am not averse to chunky men and have dated several), I think its better for both sexes to care enough about yourself inside and out to maintain at least a decent weight

    Posted by E April 30, 09 12:54 PM
  1. First - the fat depressed husband. I bet if he were jolly and fat you'd have a much different opinion of him. I bet the depression is far harder to deal with than the weight. I feel for you. You cannot change how someone else acts, only how you respond to them. This is your life too. Perhaps get as much a life outside of him as possible. Find your own happiness. Maybe leave. seriously. Can you be happy while with a depressed person? I dated someone with depression. Leaving was the best thing I could have ever done. LIke lifting a huge weight off my shoulders. If you have kids, i dont know that keeping them in a disfuctional home is actually a good thing for them iether. ...to the guy who wants his girlfriend perfectly hot or he is tempted by others. Pal, you're ALWAYS going to be tempted by others. ALWAYS. And ya know what...she will too! oh yeah. Do not propose unless you value your partner more than those attractions. Even married folks are tempted. We dont touch. That's part of growing up. That and living with their extra 10 pounds. I bet you've put on some weight too. Ya think she doesn't notice hot guys who dont have your love handles??? please. men are so niave. Pregnancy DOES make you heavy, and afterwards it can be very hard to take the weight off and you will never look the same. Fact. is that something you can deal with? If not, dont get married. do everyone a favor.

    Posted by just sayn April 30, 09 12:55 PM
  1. Let me sum up all the comments here:

    Woman with a guy who's overweight-- tell him to shape up or dump him, girlfriend! You deserve better!

    Man with girl who's overweight-- you insensitive jerk! I bet you're not perfect either! You should love her for who she is.

    Today's letters really make me glad I don't rush into commitment with a woman any more. And that I have a lean physique.

    Posted by Joey April 30, 09 12:56 PM
  1. Hello and good afternoon, Rico is here and is thinking long and hard about this one...May even think about it over lunch. Sorry, very bad joke.

    Anyway, Rico is thinking this over and will check in later. Weight is an issue Rico likes to stay out of. Rico is healthy and in great shape and doesn't believe that it is out of one's control to stay that way. Your body is yours and what you do with it is your own business. That being said Rico need more time to give a good answer.

    Rico's first thought to think about is that if you love someone then you love them unconditionaly but Rico knows this is not possible. We all have hangups and sometimes those hangups decide whether we are in a relationship or not.

    Let's talk further in a bit, time for Rico to ponder his thoughts...

    Love always,

    Rico

    Posted by Rico April 30, 09 12:57 PM
  1. I’m not touching these. Why? Because my mother told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say…dig deeper. Actually, what is it about people in glass houses? I was going to draw an analogy for the Dame of Danvers (cheater in training) who can’t stomach (sorry PFtty) bumpin’ uglies with her slovenly husband, but I started to get all prickly and mean spirited. I wanted to compare her dilemma of flinching at the thought of his very touch to premature ejaculation. Life has its tricks. And without getting too vivid; all men know that if sexually over stimulated, they just need to imagine something like Willie Mays catching fly balls in centerfield and the Sting-like tartaric sex can still be a reality. Similarly, I would suggest Ms. North Snore 1995 visualize, oh let’s say Dermot Mulroney, singing “Just the Way you Look Tonight” and see how long she lasts. Anyhow, did I mention that if I didn’t have anything nice to say...?

    Posted by valentino April 30, 09 12:58 PM
  1. Letter #1- I'm sure telling someone who is already being treated for depression that their appearance makes you "recoil" will really be helpful. Maybe you should have married Brad Pit or Hugh Jackman. Oh, by the way, I hope you're looking like Angelina Jolie.

    Letter #2 - With your attitude, don't propose marriage. You obviously think your the hottest thing going. You and letter writer #1 both seem to have confused sexual attractiveness with real love. Good luck if either of you folks ever develop empathy.

    Posted by jdentr7168 April 30, 09 01:02 PM
  1. Meredith - It does sound like a double standard you're offering to these two people. The husband should be told pronto and the girl friend should be told with extreme tact. Is it because one is married and the other isn't? or because of gender? Not sure.

    Notes from another side: I have to lose weight for my boyfriend. He told me straight out - please lose weight. So I put my graduate classes on hold for a semester and I am trying - jogging, riding my bike, walking etc. The feminist within is certainly balking at such an idea BUT it's a priority for our relationship. I feel better and stronger. BUT my biggest fear now is what will he find wrong once the weight is gone?

    Posted by lolipopp April 30, 09 01:04 PM
  1. To #39 j-len "Anyone who attributes different answers to these very different letters to sexism is not reading the letters, but only looking at the genders of the writers".

    I read the letters very carefuly. It seems reasonable to me that a wife with children has more devotion than a young couple that aren't as involved yet. That doesn't mean that they both can't equally express their concerns without feeling guilty about it.

    Is it ok for me to tell my wife that she disgusts me and I recoil from her touch?


    Posted by Brad April 30, 09 01:04 PM
  1. Jack Certer - When you're 5'2", it makes a lot of difference. Hell, five pounds is noticeable! 10 pounds on me means 2 pant/jean sizes. But thanks, really, for your subject matter expertise and opinion. It's always nice to have a total stranger step in to authenticate those painful moments in life.

    Posted by the perennial fatty April 30, 09 01:05 PM
  1. Rico is very much on edge today as my local independently owned coffee store of choice has shuttered it's doors.

    Rico has pondered this all morning whilst in the midst of caffeine withdrawal and Starbucks envy.

    Here goes:

    Rico asks what's next?!?!? The "thyroid deficiency" nonsense. This country needs a strict parent. Rico thinks that if you are a tub of goo, then it's in large part due to your personal lifestyle choices. Your genetics may predispose you towards carrying more weight, but it's the 20 ounce Cokes, greasy pizza, and your uncanny ability to refer to numerous reality stars by their first name (i.e. "Did you see what Mitzi did last night on Reality Show Du Jour?!?) that has gotten you to a point where young children stop and stare at you as you waddle through the frozen foods section of the supermarket, stopping every 15 feet to open a freezer door and stick your head in to cool off.

    Neither Rico nor any other self-respecting lover of physical intimacy wants to cozy up to lard. Be kind to your lover by taking care of your body.

    Hey etcetera, Rico knows that there's a "happy" medium between being 350 pounds and being stick thin. Rico urgently requests that you stop boasting about your blood pressure and by a pair of walking shoes, or buy a bike (GEARS NOT GAS!!!!) and do something before it's too late.

    Love and personal responsiblity to all,

    Rico

    Posted by Rico April 30, 09 01:09 PM
  1. What is it about relationships that makes people think it's OK to let themselves go to pot? One of my exes gained around 35 pounds in a year. When the relationship stopped going somewhere and we broke up, she lost it all very quickly, then gained it back when she started dating someone else. I just don't get it. I take pains to keep myself in shape. I'm 40 and am only about 5 pounds more than I was when I was 30, and I'm trying to lose those 5!

    Posted by Chris April 30, 09 01:14 PM
  1. First off, thank you for worrying about Rico's whereabouts. Rico took one look at these letters this morning and went right out to set up a shrine to his bike. Then he took it for a spin.

    Rico has said it before and will say it again...get out there and live in the world, the one with trees and sunshine and calorie-eating activities! PEOPLE! If you are a Fan of Rico, get off your computer as soon as you have finished reading this (ONLY THIS) letter, and find something to work off your lunch. Then tonight think before you cook, and tomorrow, maybe plant some vegtables. Rico cannot help the letter writers today, only they can work this out, but maybe Rico's advice will help some of his loyal readers avoid these same problems.

    Today is a beautiful day. Go get it.

    Love always,
    Rico

    Posted by Rico April 30, 09 01:16 PM
  1. #55, COULD NOT AGREE MORE.

    Most people are fat because they are lazy. Go take a walk, drop the soda and pizza delivery.

    Posted by walter cronkite April 30, 09 01:16 PM
  1. I'll never understand people who get married to mean, verbally abusive types. I think people just like getting married and say yes to the first person who asks? 10lbs is NOT very much weight, male or female. (unless you are 4'11") . That being said, a guy gorging on cheetos and refusing to work out is a bit of a "I don't care what you think" attitude. Again how do you marry someone who doesn't care what you think?

    Posted by Hexy April 30, 09 01:19 PM
  1. "I didn't say this in my letter, but I am someone who doesn't find extremely skinny people that attractive. Being able to count people's ribs is kind of gross, and bony hips on a partner can be painful. :-)"

    Yeah, but if you wash 'em down with a 2 liter bottle of diet pepsi they don't hurt so much.

    Rationalization. Nice try.

    Posted by bohica April 30, 09 01:19 PM
  1. Dear Turned off Wife,
    A couple of considerations: some antidepressants can cause weight gain. I know from personal experience. I now take Wellbutrin (bupropion) SL (slow release). This has helped my depression/mood greatly and - guess what? I lost all the gained weight. Bupropion has been used for smokers to help them quit (Zyban) and is now in trials for weight loss. It definitely dampened my appetite and I now feel better both emotionally and physically. I'm going to see if my husband can get on it for the weight loss - we are going to see his Dr. this month. Good luck!

    Posted by Kathy April 30, 09 01:23 PM
  1. Letter #1 sounds like she's disgusted with his depression and he's obese, not fat. I pity her. Sounds like a miserable situation to me. The second guy wants his girlfriend to be perfectly hot. Ya think he'd tolerate another 65 pounds on her? Letter 1 and Letter 2 are not even close. Letter 1 is a married women who is struggling being dragged down, way down, by a depressed partner. AT what point do you stop trying to save the person perfectly fine with drowning to save yourself, and the other letter just seems like niavte to me. This guy is surprised he's attracted to other women while he is i na serious relationship. Allow someone with more life experience to tell you that is normal. what you need to do is ask yourself how much you value that person?> and how much your libido must rule? From the sounds of it, your libidio may need to rule for a while longer, because whomever you marr ywill eventually lose their looks. SO will you. At some point we all grow up and start realizing to have a best friend is more valuable. You dont sound there yet.


    Posted by Jackie B April 30, 09 01:23 PM
  1. Mistral definitely prefers his much younger, much more attractive than he deserves women to only have 1 @ss instead of 2, however, Mistral also realizes that, while his dashing wit and debonair charm go a long way with the ladies, fitness is important for men, as well, even if he otherwise retains his avuncular and bear-like visage. Accordingly, Mistral (although appearances might indicate otherwise; Mistral is a bon vivant and oenophile) is on an exercise program and suggests that others be as well, except for the "I can eat what I want b/c I have a rockin' metabolism" crowd, whom the rest of us can only envy. Even if the weight doesn't come off so much (as sometimes it doesn't for some folks), being fit will make a person *feel* better, both physically an about themselves, and, hopefully, the "fatties" can put the word "former" instead of "perennially" in front of their self-description.

    With regard to raising the issue of, um, “bigness” with a loved one, Mistral believes that there’s a way to tell someone that they’re going to hell that only makes them want to get there faster, eating a box of Ho-Hos on the way. So I would not recommend anything along the lines of, “You know, since you’ve porked up, I just don’t find you sexy anymore”, and would suggest, instead, a more supportive expression of concern for the health (“I want you to feel good”), and longevity (“I want you to be around in the future”). Also, you will not be breaking any news to a big person. Heavy people *know* that they’re heavy.

    Best of luck,

    Mistral

    Posted by Mistral April 30, 09 01:24 PM
  1. FAT chicks are NASTY. STAY THIN!

    And "Perennial Fatty" (comments #1 and #61), stop eating garbage food and exercise. A big (no pun intended) part of what men like in women is physical looks. That's how it works. Has been for millions of years. Just accept it and embrace it... stop trying to make men look like jerks (or like a woman) for an instinctual feeling that is ingrained in the psyche.

    Posted by Fat is gross April 30, 09 01:24 PM
  1. I once told girlfriend that I was concerned as she was starting to gain some weight and didn't look healthy and happy.

    Shortly after she lost 180 lbs. Me. I wish I never said that. I cared about her. But mentioning your girlfriend's weight or your wife's weight invariably gets a man into trouble. It cost me a relatinship I valued.

    The first letter from the wife about her husband, she seemed far more thoughtful about her approach. It is a touchy subject.

    Posted by GUY April 30, 09 01:27 PM
  1. For both of you it is ultimately a health issue. My advice is to get and read "The Fat Flush" by Ann Louise Gittlelman which is about flushing toxins from the body since toxins are stored in fat. The book is amazing and informative. You can do the 2-week flush together. You get to eat plenty of fresh organic food and you'll be amazed at how much you'll lose in 2 weeks on the pretext of detoxifying. It's a great program and I sam sure it will lead to more awareness and better eating habits. Walk together. Nothing like taking a long walk for intimacy and exercise.
    Good luck.

    Posted by ramona126 April 30, 09 01:33 PM
  1. Lolipopp:I hear you and agree. Once the weight is lost, whats next? Is there another thing he doesn't like that will become a problem? I am in the same boat and had lost weight once before. I felt great but had those underlying fears still. Now I have regained the weight and then some due to a health issue and to be honest, as much as I want to lose the weight I am very discouraged and my partner telling me what he thinks I should do about it does not help.

    Posted by Miranda April 30, 09 01:33 PM
  1. Meredith, you are mistaken in your reply to Letter 1:
    1) The wife is no longer attracted to him because of how his body looks, not because he's putting his health at risk (which of course he is, but that's not my point). Her revulsion has nothing to do with the status of his health, but rather his outward appearance.
    2) You have basically told the wife that it's OK for her not to love her husband if he's suffering from depression. Again, you are confusing outward appearance with health status. In addition, why didn't you tell this wife that she should honor her wedding vows and love her husband "in sickness and in health?"

    Posted by MO April 30, 09 01:37 PM
  1. #1. If you think about it, mean and critical don't fit. Try candid and concerned!
    You want to make things better.

    #2. I get it to a point... and feel you must care for her to write this letter. But, something in my gut is saying there may be other issues?

    Posted by pb April 30, 09 01:39 PM
  1. I am attracted to a partner based on levels of health in three areas: spiritual, emotional, and physical. The healthier in any or all areas the better. If one of those is way out of whack or deteriorating, then my level of attraction is affected. No one is going to be close to perfect health in all areas. Being unhealthy spiritually or emotionally is more of a concern to me in a partner than the physical, unless someone is consciously and actively abusing their body through drugs, alcohol or determined general neglect.

    These post-ers seem to be most affected by the physical aspect (am assuming this based on how they worded their posts). They have a right to how they feel and expressing their needs in a compassionate way. I'd have to say, though, when I see words like "repulsion" and "disgust" and "recoil", a line appears to be crossed that makes me think that saying something now and saving the relationship is perhaps "too much, too little, too late".

    Posted by yupokay April 30, 09 01:45 PM
  1. thedemocraddict: I'm a low dose of Cymbalta now. I was also good on Celexa, which is prescribed for both anixiety/depression issues, but I felt too nervous on it and switched.

    Posted by kmira April 30, 09 01:49 PM
  1. ............FORGET ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON.......JUST LOOK GOOD AND EVERYONE LOVES YOU.....YOU CAN BE MEAN SELF CENTERED AND JUST OUT RIGHT CRUEL..........SHE'S DIPPY BUT SHE'S A LOOKER.....
    HE'S DUFFY BUT O MY GOD LOOK AT THOSE ABS.........I KNOW HE DOESN'T HAVE A JOB, BUT LOOK AT HIM.....

    LETTER # 1 YOU NEED HELP......YOUR HUSBAND IS DEPRESSED? I WONDER IF IT'S BECAUSE YOU HAVE STATED ..THE MAN YOU MARRIED YOUR HUSBAND THE FATHER OF YOUR CHILDRED ALL FOUR OF THEM DISGUSTS YOU....... HOW CRUEL ARE YOU,,,,,

    LETTER # 2 I HOPE YOU FIND YOUR IDEAL PERSON THAT LOVES YOU IN
    SPITE OF YOURSELF.

    Posted by SLM April 30, 09 01:52 PM
  1. So, Peeps, got enough Rico now?

    You're welcome!

    Now go ride your bike.....

    Posted by Frico April 30, 09 01:52 PM
  1. In a relationship, ones physical attraction to the other should be important to both partners. That being said, I believe that it is the responsibility of BOTH partners equally to do all that they can to stay in the best physical shape that they can. Yeah, we all age, women must deal with bearing children, and there are medical conditional and a whole set of other factors that contribute to weight gain. But providing that both are trying to stay in good shape, everyone's weight should stay at a manageable level, and there should be some slack and understanding from the other for a few extra due to age, pregnancy or whatever.

    On the flip side, if both are fat and happy, all the power to them.

    But the problem is when one is taking care of themselves and the other is letting themselves go. As is the case of letter #1. Although there are other contributing factors to his weight gain, he doesn't seem interested in taking care of himself, this is unfair to her. She should try to start him off slow with a "hey let's go for a walk". And work up to a "hey why don't you come to the gym WITH ME".

    In letter number #2, if he is not taking care of himself to stay in good physical shape, he has no right to complain (pot..kettle, kettle...pot). In this case, stop your whining dude. But if he is taking care of himself, going to the gym and whatever, and she isn't or doesn't care, this is the same situation at letter #1 and he has just as much right to be bothered by it. In this case I would recommend the same as #1, try to gently prod her to go with you for some exercise under the guise of "spending time together".

    I also have to comment that there does seem to be a big double standard amongst the ladies on this board that it is okay for a woman to be bothered by her spouses weight, but a man bothered by his spouses weight is a shallow jerk. First, attractiveness is such a complex thing from either side and everybody has there own multitude of preferences. So who is anybody to say what somebody else should or shouldn't look for, or find attractive in a spouse?

    Admittedly, physical attributes are generally more important to the man, then they are to the woman. Of course there is much more to a relationship, but for men, the physical attraction part cannot just be ignored. If I work hard to keep myself in shape is it so wrong of me to desire a woman who does the same? I'm sorry that this may bother some ladies, but I'm just being honest here and I would be lying if I said otherwise, this is just how us guys are wired. Bill Belicheck says it best: it is what it is.

    If I had a great personality but sat in my underwear watching golf all weekend stuffing my pie hole with twinkies and ho-ho's would any woman give me the the time of day to see my great personality? Probably not. And I couldn't say I'd blame them. Would they also be considered shallow?

    Posted by My2Cents April 30, 09 01:53 PM
  1. Rico's thought's on this one are as follows:

    As Rico said earlier he is not the best to discuss weight issues. However, Rico will try and talk about the real issue here which is not the weight but how 2 people see each other. This reminds Rico of a movie (Shallow Hal) to some extent but Rico digresses...

    Rico thinks the married couple with child(ren) have already had therapy and the man is depressed. Therapy doesn't help, therapy is talk. Doing something about it is real and will make him feel better. You married him and had his children and now you say you aren't leaving him but you are repulsed by him physically. How does this make a marriage? You are now roommates sharing the duties of childcare and house chores. Either get divorced and allow both of yourselves to be happy (children suffer worse if you stay married unhappily) or get him some real help like a gym membership or a fat farm or instead of suggesting a bike ride just tell him to join you. If he doesn't respond and it is hurting your marriage (marriage includes sex as well) then you need to take action other than writing to Meredith and Rico.

    As for the unmarried couple in #2, don't get Rico upset here. You love her then you love her with or without the extra weight. There are plenty of guys and girls out there that have different likes or dislikes when it comes to looks. If you really love her then the weight is not the issue, the issue is YOU. Are you embarassed to be seen with her? Does she repulse you? Rico thinks you need to figure out what you want and either "[expletive]" or get off the pot. Rico thinks you are an idiot and should be happy to have someone who loves you in your life. Should she dump you because you start losing your hair at age 30? Or you snore at night or maybe your teeth begin to fall out? What if one of you became ill and had to have surgery that left you disfigured? What about a car accident? Seriously, you sound to Rico like a self centered clueless teenager.

    Back to #1 question...you are no better than #2 so stop mirking or Rico will really let you have it.

    Rico has had family members and friends that have gotten heavy over the years and some that have lost that weight through diet and disipline. One person had a brain tumor that affected her hormone levels leaving her heavier out of her control. Others were just eating due to depression. Even Rico has gone up or down 10 pounds but ultimately he stays in a 5 pound range.

    Bottom line, Rico doesn't take weight issues lightly. He suggests each person is who they are and if you don't love them for who they are then you move on. If you don't like it then you are blind and stupid.

    One note from Rico: Rico loves women and married a wonderful one he was lucky to have met, she gave him a beautiful child and makes him feel great every day of his life. Although Rico's wife and Rico are in very good shape they have family and friends of all shapes and sizes. In a good relationship you support each other and you put each other on a pedestal. ESPECIALLY when one is feeling down it is even more important to give positive reinforcement. Rico has bad days as does his wife but they work together to help each other. They go for a walk to the store instead of driving. Walk, bike, go to the beach, throw a ball, play with the kids (own and nieces and nephews). Rico is lucky but also knows you make your own luck. GO OUT AND MAKE SOME LUCK!!!

    Now everyone please go outside and enjoy the fresh air, go for a run, bike, walk or something and feel better.

    Rico will continue to chew on the questions and possibly write more but for now he needs to get to work at his other job.

    Love always,

    Rico

    Posted by Rico April 30, 09 01:56 PM
  1. It is unfortunate how nasty so many people are. I think writing anonymously makes it easier. But, I'm not here to judge. Please consider if your partners are food addicts. If they were alcoholics, you'd have an easy name for it and they could get treatment. Well, if they are food addicts, they have the same issues but some different symptoms. Please go to the OA (overeaters anonymous) website and see if the 15 questions apply. And, please stay strong in the face of all those here trying to put you down. It is commendable that you reached out for help. I hope your partners can do the same.

    Posted by RJ April 30, 09 01:59 PM
  1. The faux Rico in comment #62 is the best of the day. I absolutely howled when I read that. Good work.

    Rico is a caricature of himself, to the enjoyment of the dopplegangers and L Letters faithful followers.

    Posted by Bob Dwyer April 30, 09 02:03 PM
  1. I think that if you would consider leaving because your partner gained some weight, you probably fell in love with an idea, not with a person. A person is much more than their body, and a relationship is much more than someone you are physically attracted to. If you are considering telling your girlfriend that she should lose weight, do her a favor and just break up with her. If you are married and concerned about your spouse's weight, you should be able to talk about it from a point of loving concern. Comedy has always worked in our relationship...but your mileage may vary. I can make a pig snort sound when my hubby reaches for another serving and we will both laugh at it and nothing more needs to be said. He can grab my muffin top and wiggle it in a way that says "You're cute and I love you, but watch it, girl!" We can tell each other that we are committed to being healthy and have developed fun ways of working out that we both enjoy together (biking, hiking, kayaking). It never fails, when we are out being active together he will say "I love that we do this!" People come in all shapes and sizes, and if you are lucky enough to have found someone that you truly love, put your energy into developing a relationship where you can talk about anything....that's much more important than a few pounds. Believe me, as we age, there are lots more funky changes that can happen to our body than gaining some weight!

    Posted by grow up, people! April 30, 09 02:04 PM
  1. kmira, thanks. However I heard that Celexa is known as " no sexa". If weight is seriously an issue, than a spouse needs to take on approach that involves everyone becoming more healthy. I resent my boyfriend that he can eat like crap, drink, not work out that much and then spend a few days at the gym and shed some serious weight. It would be much more helpful if he adopted my routine and healthier lifestyle. We're both getting there though, limiting even that one glass of wine on a weeknight and a late night snack makes a world of difference.
    Really though, weight aside, can anyone say that they want to be heavy? Is anyone really pruod of rolls of fat and love handdles? It's one thing if you're heavier, but healthy and feel good, but does anyone really strive to be overweight? I don't think so.

    Posted by Anonymous April 30, 09 02:05 PM
  1. Those attacking either letter writer- you're out of line. Physical attraction is not something human beings can control. We like what we like, and vice versa. What's important is how they respond. I can't find fault with the approach of letter writer # 1, #2 doesn't seem to have addressed it yet.

    Posted by B April 30, 09 02:11 PM
  1. In this life, one thing counts:
    In the bank, large amounts

    Posted by fatoff April 30, 09 02:14 PM
  1. The longer you wait to say something, the longer and more monumental the task of change becomes. Depression is a terrible illness, but, along with counseling (and possibly medication), eating healthier and exercising more will go a long ways toward treating it. The endorphin rush from a good workout is spectacular -- my first outdoor run after a long winter of indoor workouts is one of the biggest rushes of the year from me. Good for the heart, soul, and libido.

    #1, counseling is ok, but men need motivation. we are a somewhat slow-to-get-started species. But, once we get going, the momentum will surprise you. Spend a few hundred bucks on a personal trainer for the two of you, do it as a team. If he spent cash on a life and career coach, then he should have no problem spending it on something useful. Tempt him with carrots, watching/playing football and sexual favors as he progresses. Offer to fulfill a fantasy at every milestone Motivate him in the way that only a woman can, sacrifices that you'll have to make even if you recoil. By the time he realizes what is going on, he'll see what a difference it all makes and you'll WANT to bang him.

    #2, you're considering proposing to someone that no longer sexually attracts you, time to slow down. I agree with everyone else that you have a lot to think about. Weight is often a lifetime struggle for people, there will always be ups and downs especially as you age. This isn't a fix-it-up-and-move-on kind of situation, and you may not have the stomach for marriage....

    Posted by Tibbs April 30, 09 02:14 PM
  1. When my and my girlfriend first met the roles were reversed; I was fat and she was in shape. We were both athletes, but I was always big. By the end of college I had lost 100 pounds and she had gained some weight. After being skinny for a few years, I could not stand her appearance. It actually made our relationship pretty shaky. There was less physical attraction. Now I have gained a little weight back, and she wants to lose weight, so we are doing it together, and doing pretty well.
    The only advice I have is that if something is bothering you, the only way to change it is to take action. For letter # 2, you just have to encourage her in some way (maybe pretend to go on a diet, take walks, whatever.) Once you see that she is trying to live healthy, her weight won't matter, and she will feel good about herself. When I look back, it was that I couldn’t stand the fact that my girlfriend was being lazy and not trying to lose weight, not her weight in general.
    We are getting married in a year, and she will look hot standing up there with me, and our weight loss will be something that we accomplished together. By the way, it is perfectly normal to be attracted to other people, but if you truly love this girl then get married. If you don’t, cut your losses now and get out.

    Posted by Jbrodude April 30, 09 02:17 PM
  1. To me these letters are two completely different situations and require different advice.

    Although this is cliche, it is very difficult to love someone who doesn't love themself. After reading letter #1, that seems to me to be the bottom line.

    As for the writer of letter #2, it doesn't sound like there is love here. If you only care about someone's physical being and your sexual attraction (a.k.a I was hot for you but now you're fat) then you weren't in love with them to begin with so you shouldn't be in that relationship. If you do love them then this is about a lot more than the way they looks... it's about your future with them and your mutual happiness. This brings me back to letter #1...

    You need to take weight out of the equation and compare this to something else that is hurtful to one's self (like alchoholism or even really bad hygiene) . You love and care about your husband, you want a long life together, you want your children and grandchildren to know him, not just stories of him. This is not about being fat; it's about him loving himself and wanting to live a long and healthy life with you. If I were addressing this with him, I would focus on that.

    Posted by sjk April 30, 09 02:19 PM
  1. Wow..I bet there are alot of fatties here! This article really hit a nerve, huh? Personally, I am not fat. Nevver have been. Never will be...and it's not "lucky" genetics or a "fast" metabolism or even execise. You people need to stop dreaming..its about EATING LIKE A COW! You never saw any fat people walking out of those concentration camps did you? You don't need to be stuffing something in your face every half hour!!! People in other parts of the world are not fat because they don't stuff coolattas or donuts down their throats 24/7......

    Posted by nash April 30, 09 02:34 PM
  1. Hey letter #2---I hope she wakes up and realizes what a shallow ass you are and dumps you, thereby dropping over a 100 lbs instantly!!!!

    Letter #1--I get depressed, I get being worried about a husband with high blood pressure, and I get having a husband that has put on weight and being worried about your sexual connection.

    BUT

    Thinking that it's purely about looks is deceiving yourself. There are bigger issues going on and you want to blame the most visible one. Think about couples counseling or divorce.

    Posted by corsetkitty April 30, 09 02:41 PM
  1. Rico imposters:

    The real Rico's grammar, sentence structure and spelling are pretty damn good. He's not going to screw up it's and its. Maybe try cutting and pasting your post from Word to make it look more authentic?

    Posted by Notanimposter April 30, 09 02:42 PM
  1. To #1: What if this were happening to your best friend instead of your husband? I have seen friends gain weight from the drugs for depression and it is very hard for them. It's not something that goes away quickly. If you can't feel physically attracted to him, maybe you could find some way of liking him again. Is there anything you can do together that you enjoy? The depression makes it harder than the weight, but it's not impossible to have fun. It's a very sad situation. I hope you are able to find some way to be happy together.

    I don't have as much sympathy for #2. Dump your girlfriend so she can find someone better. And do it with some class, don't tell her she's fat.

    Posted by Edna St Vincent Millay April 30, 09 02:47 PM
  1. Jose is amused by the double-standards of his fellow posters. If a woman thinks her man is fat, then he needs to change his bad ways and live a healthy lifestyle. But if a man thinks his woman is fat, then it means he's a misogynist pig who is perpetuating the patriarchal objectification of women.

    Jose finds this laughable, and it is even more laughable that some people don't see the absurdity of their hypocritical views.

    In both cases, someone is stuck in a relationship with a fatty. That's that. And in a world where there are still thousands of people around the world dying of starvation, Jose sees no need to mince words with over-eaters. Why not stop eating so much and start donating more food to the needy? Jose has no sympathy for those who eat too much; Jose saves his sympathy for those who eat too little.

    Sincerely,

    Jose

    Posted by Jose April 30, 09 02:52 PM
  1. Jose is amused by the double-standards of his fellow posters. If a woman thinks her man is fat, then he needs to change his bad ways and live a healthy lifestyle. But if a man thinks his woman is fat, then it means he's a misogynist pig who is perpetuating the patriarchal objectification of women.

    Jose finds this laughable, and it is even more laughable that some people don't see the absurdity of their hypocritical views.

    In both cases, someone is stuck in a relationship with a fatty. That's that. And in a world where there are still thousands of people around the world dying of starvation, Jose sees no need to mince words with over-eaters. Why not stop eating so much and start donating more food to the needy? Jose has no sympathy for those who eat too much; Jose saves his sympathy for those who eat too little.

    Sincerely,

    Jose

    Posted by Jose April 30, 09 02:52 PM
  1. The solution is: Guys, do not EVER get married and do not EVER get a woman pregnant.

    Posted by sj April 30, 09 02:53 PM
  1. When you really love someone, you love them for their inner self, not their outward appearance. Sure it's a good idea to get your loved one to watch their diets and exercise. But feeling repulsion --- that's going too far. What if you had an accident that left physical scars or lost limbs, and your spouse was then repulsed by YOU? What happens #2, if you go bald? Both #1 and #2, what about the natural changes in your body and face as you age ---what if your S.O. is repulsed by you then?
    I suggest you look at your situations with compassion, maturity, and the knowledge that commitment to another person shouldn't be a casual thing.

    Posted by baroque April 30, 09 02:55 PM
  1. I think the biggest difference between the two letters is that one couple is married and the other is not. I think it's fine for a wife to tell her husband to lose some weight (and vice versa). Maybe if the fat tub of lard starts exercising he will feel better about himself and stop being depressed. Maybe the only way to motivate him is to tell him you are not attracted to him, then start exercising with him. Exercise gets the blood flowing and will likely help him get a boner. When he does good with exercise and healthy meals, have sex with him as a reward.
    #2... if you like fatties you should propose to your girlfriend. I started targeting girls with tiny frames after college, because I only wanted to make a commitment to someone who wouldn't be a rhino after 10 years of marriage. Might sound shallow, but I don't care... At least I won't be walking hand in hand with some fat pig in 6 years that I am no longer attracted to. That would be a miserable existance

    Posted by MacPaddy April 30, 09 02:58 PM
  1. First off, I agree wholeheartedly with John #50- it's not always weight, if at all, but sometimes it has to do with self esteem, confidence, and sensuality. If you don't find yourself sexy, it'll be hard for others to.

    Letter #1: I would hazard a guess that Letter #1 is more repulsed by her husband's laziness, disregard for his physical, mental, and emotional health, disgusting eating habits, lack of libido, and overall lack of self awareness than his physical looks. I'm sure his physical appearance doesn't exactly drive her crazy with excitement, but to recoil at the thought of even hugging him sounds like some other issues are taking the cake.

    Letter #2: I definitely think you should tell your girlfriend that the weight gain is bothering you- now how to do it is up to you. Obviously don't be rude about it, but she has a right to know that physical attractiveness is one (of numerous) things that are important to you in a relationship. And there's NOTHING wrong with that. If that's what you like, for whatever reason, then you need to be open and honest about it, especially, dear god, especially before proposing. I'm a female, and I get so frsutrated when people say that you shouldn' t approach weight gain issues with your partner. I want my partner to tell me if something I do is turning them off to the point that they are more attracted to other women and writing letters to the love guru. I don't care if the issue is weight gain, dying your hair the wrong color, etc. That doesn't mean I'm going to change to fit their ideal person, I may tell them to pound sand because I like it just the way I am, if they don't like it, deal with it or leave... but there are issues and circumstances where I will acknowledge their issue and change it. Seriously, stop treating weight gain like a subject that can't be approached like any other physical change. It's not always a problem with weight gain either- I lost a lot of weight after having surgery and my partner brought it up that he thought I looked unhealthy skinny- he didn't think I was unhealthy because he knew what the cause was, but he let me know that he preferred me with some meat on my bones and encouraged me to eat more. I really appreciated him telling me, and even though it was really hard to think that my partner was less attracted to me physically, I'd rather hear about it then not.


    Posted by WareyWoman April 30, 09 03:01 PM
  1. Touchy touchy topic, indeed. When my girlfriend (now wife) started putting on weight, I too thought it was not proper to discuss. She gained about 40 lbs. in 3-4 years. I myself gained about 25-30 lbs in that time. It affect how much we were attracted to each other for sure. Older dresses, tops, suits, sweaters, skirts- etc etc that we used to love when one other one wore for a date or something ended up in a box in the basement. Food, tv, movies, stress and work took the place of intimacy and such. It was a rough time. I started to diet and work out first with my free time and used a pre-existing health condition as an excuse. Shortly after- I asked her to marry me (love goes beyond appearances). Eventually she said she felt like I wasn't attracted to her anymore shortly after we were engaged. I was open and honest how I felt about myself first and then how I felt about her. It could have been a disaster, but it wasn't. She ended up going on a very strict diet and exercise regiment, she wasn't where she really wanted to be weight wise by the wedding- but a year after she was. For us, it was about the health factor more than anything. And not falling asleep in front of the tv immediately after dinner... Now- we wear our old clothes we like on each other- have energy and drive to go out and are very much attracted to eachother again. But in the end... its a very dangerous road to tread...

    Posted by healthyman April 30, 09 03:05 PM
  1. I love etcetera defending herself and her dislocated knees. I can't even stand the slightest FUPA or GUNT. Shallow, I know but to each thier own. There are definitely some chubby chasers out there so in the end all you chubby worriers will be OK. I think most people would rather be able to see a little rib or hip action than celulite dimples. America IS spoiled and fat
    good talk, see ya out there.

    Posted by babygorilla April 30, 09 03:13 PM
  1. americans are fat! dump your fat partner.

    Posted by Juan April 30, 09 03:13 PM
  1. Leter#1: Stick by your husband - encourage him to eat better and start getting out more often. His problem is mental and for the sake of your children you need to do all that you can to save him from himself.

    Letter#2: It sounds like your girlfriend is a "roper" - she looses weight and stays fit between relationships and turns into a fat slob once she is in a committed relationship. Nothing you can do will stop this. This is who she is. She is a fraud (even though she might be nice). DO NOT marry this woman. Find an honest woman to settle down with.

    Posted by libraryman2 April 30, 09 03:16 PM
  1. Dump the fatties

    Posted by rico April 30, 09 03:16 PM
  1. when I weighed 350 pounds I had excellent blood pressure etc; the problem I had was with my joints, which have been a problem all my life due to the structure of my body ---structure of your joints??? LOL! I'm sorry, I dont want to hurt your feelings, but at 350 lbs the biggest problems with your joints was that they had to support over 100lbs MORE than they were designed for! next time you're in a food store, go over to the meat isle and take a gander at 10lbs of hamburger. Look how MUCH that is. Pick it up. Now mind you, you are putting TEN of those on your joints with every bloody step you take! Being overweight IS unhealthy and if I could have a dime for everytime a fat person said "I can't run.. ican't walk,...my joints...my hips...my ankles..." oh please! The very REASON why you should run, or walk, or swim, or bike is to HELP your joint have less fat to support! COP OUT!

    Posted by sorry for the truth April 30, 09 03:17 PM
  1. Agreed. It is funny/pathetic to see how the issue of "responsibility" plays in here...

    If a man is fat, it is his responsibility to dig himself out of his rut/depression, and become a more worthy partner. He's dragging her down and needs to try harder to contribute to THEIR happiness.

    If a woman is fat, it is the man's responsibility to love her for who she is and not be so shallow! Acceptance is key -- you loved her for her, so what's YOUR problem?

    Wow. What a society..... Long live the American divorce rate and unbalanced relationships everywhere!!

    Posted by DJMcG April 30, 09 03:22 PM
  1. wow - as i read most of these responses, it just seems to me that relationships have no real chance

    Posted by Laurie April 30, 09 03:51 PM
  1. The last two posts are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!! There is no excuse for being fat...whether you are a man, woman or child.....AND it is disgusting!! I always wonder what these fat people think when they take their close off at night and look in the mirror

    Posted by nash April 30, 09 03:51 PM
  1. I had a girlfriend once. Over the course of 2 years she put on some significant weight. She was a beautiful person: Giving, caring, naughty, and nice. More than any man could hope for...except the extra lbs. So, what I did was have my outer self make love to her inner self while my inner shallow self made love to her external self. It was the best foursome of my life. Eventually, my inner self and her inner self cheated on our external selves, but they had very little in common (she was just a better person than I). The relationship ended with her inner and outer selves finding that women, rather than men, were better suited to her spiritual needs. I'm happy that she's happy. Now go out there and get yourself a Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Hoping not Doping.

    Posted by valentino April 30, 09 03:54 PM
  1. All of you who think that weight is simply due to bad diet and lack of exercise need to wake up and enter reality. I am extremely overweight, morbidly obese by medical standards. My health is very good even for someone who is in the proper weight range. I am not making excuses for myself and this letter is not about me. I am just giving you the info for comparison. I have a friend who is only considered mildly overweight. We decided to join a gym, get a trainer, eat well, and help each other. We were going to the gym 5-6 days a week, and seeing the trainer 2 of those days. My friend has always had a good diet, lots of fruit and veggies, lean meats, healthy cooking. Mine has not been so great and only mildy changed for the better during this time frame. Over six months, I lost 40 pounds. My friend did not lose ANY weight. Despite the fact that we were both working our butts off trying to lose the weight and she was probably working harder at it than I was. The trainer was as confused as we were because he could see how hard she worked and nothing changed. It turns out my friend had an "invisible" medical condition that went undiagnosed (despite routine doctor visits and being treated for other things). It sounds like many of you posting here would not have taken that into consideration before declaring her a disgusting slob. Being overweight is not simply the result of someone being lazy. There could be many other unseen and/or undiagnosed issues at work so have some compassion for people instead of jumping to conclusions based on appearances.

    Posted by Jenn April 30, 09 03:59 PM
  1. This thread has grabbed my attention all day - perhaps because it is an issue I think about a lot.

    As someone actively working to lose 70 pounds, my dating pool is a bit limited (especially because I look for men who actively take care of themselves by working out and eating right). I know I don't want to be negatively influenced by someone with bad eating habits who doesn't enjoy the same kinds of active things that I do.

    With that said, there is a big difference between someone who is trying her best to honor a lifelong commitment (#1) and someone who has yet to make that promise (#2).

    I think #2 is right to question the relationship at this point. He may be pointing to weight as the issue, however, I think it is just a part of the commitment process. Later on down the road when things get tough (all relationships hit that point) - it is good to remember that you consciously looked at the whole person - good and bad - and decided to commit to that person for better or for worse.

    I think the divorce rate would be a whole lot lower if more people thought consciously about commitment and took marriage seriously

    Posted by older and wiser April 30, 09 04:04 PM
  1. For letter 1- Make sure your spouse has proper insurance- including disability insurance- and has executed all required documents for you and the children to collect any benefits in case he has serious health problems or dies. Once you've protected his children's future, you can follow the advice others offer.

    For letter 2- give your girlfriend a gym, fitness or yoga membership for a gift and go with her to exercise. If this doesn't appeal to you or her, bite the bullet and sign up for ballroom dancing or salsa dancing and go dancing (not drinking and dancing but dancing) Stop eating out together as much and do more active things together.

    Posted by Anonymous April 30, 09 04:08 PM
  1. "Chicks should definitely stay thin...AND pregnancy is NO EXCUSE! As for guys it should be the same way but hey most guys are slobs. Women should realize this going in. Anybody who is overweight is really a disgrace....same with smokers
    Posted by nash April 30, 09 11:29 AM"
    Nash, woman gain weight when they are pregnant, yes it can be taken off, but sometimes that is a slow process and if you have a few kids back to back, it is even worse. Then there is menopause, nothing, and I mean nothing prevents the body from changing, expanding and settling. But since YOU are perfect I suggest you go find a maniquin and marry it.

    Posted by RedSox13 April 30, 09 04:09 PM
  1. etcetera5, I have some issues with your response in #23. First, you can find studies that backup any opinion, and I'm sure you'll find many more studies about how being overweight IS unhealthy--google will probably show you these as well. Second, it's probably safe to say that MOST Drs. believe the "misconception" that being overweight is not healthy. I'm sure you're right in that even at 350 you were healthier than some skinny people, but in general, being overweight causes many health issues that people who fall into that category should want to do something about, especially if they start raising kids...we're all aware of the issue of childhood obesity these days. I don't know if you were overweight as a child but perhaps that's where your joint issues stem. We should all try to live a more active life and teach that to our children--no matter what we weigh.

    Posted by hmm April 30, 09 04:10 PM
  1. If I read one more yenta blabbering about "inner self" I'm going to throw up! Guys hook up for looks. Women hook up for $$$$$....... So girls STAY SLIM and guys stay rich!

    Posted by nash April 30, 09 04:11 PM
  1. First letter: Attraction is such a funny thing! I think your recoiling actually doesn't have a lot to do with his weight, his weight issue - and your response - is symptomatic of your disgust with how he isn't living the life you know he can! You know he can be fit and healthy and seize his life. And he just plain isn't. You still love him and want to be with him, and you aren't unhealthy in your expectations of him physically! I agree with Meredith, put it out there, perhaps do counseling. I don't think you are being shallow at all and it seems like you are self reflective and intelligent about where you are at emotionally. Good luck.

    Second Letter: Ah yes... This is more difficult. Here we are delving into potential food disease areas. Bulimia, anorexia, have been started by much less. Have you guys been going out to eat more, did she go on new medication? I agree with Meredith, unless this is immediate and potentially health threatening weight gain you have no right to say anything. Metabolisms DO change, as well as fluctuations in diet and exercise patterns. I would say you definitely do not love this girl if you are so bothered by this. She deserves a better partner as well! I was in a relationship, lost my job (and my gym) and gained some weight and while he never told me, my (now EX thank god) fiancee definitely was bothered by it. I knew but didn't bring it up. He was shallow and completely absorbed in the WRONG things in life.
    These are not double standards (male/female) but an apparent change in circumstances surrounding (married with kids, older relationship vs. obviously young couple). If it was a girl that wrote the second letter I would have said the same.

    Posted by Joc April 30, 09 04:13 PM
  1. This is for all the people up in etcetera5's face. Leave her alone. She has a great point (etcetera5, I googled, I saw the studies to which you refered - the rest of you should stop being lazy and read them too). She's not 350 anymore, and she's healthy and active. What concern is it of yours what she weighs and what she looks like!!! etcetera5, i hope you continue to maintain your healthy weight and enjoy your life and never run into these awful schmucks!!!

    Posted by SkinnyFat April 30, 09 04:14 PM
  1. Running shoes: $65

    Gym Membership: $40 / Month

    Feeling good about yourself and having a hot spouse: PRICELESS

    Posted by Beantown13 April 30, 09 04:22 PM
  1. I'm a married woman in her 30s-not overweight but not model skinny has I once used to be. Here's my 2 cents. If the married woman tells her depressed husband those things she wrote in that letter it's like kicking him when he is already down. His weight gain is related to his depression....duh. She needs to be supportive and help him get well before criticizing his weight. Work on fixing the depression (exercise/therapy/meds) and I'm sure he'll lose weight. I agree that the wife's disgust with the weight probably has a lot to do with feeling resentment towards him for being apathetic in general. But she has to realize that apathy is often also a symptom of depression. As for the other guy, I can feel what he's saying. He's not being a jerk at all. He still wants to marry her and is concerned that he's started to get attracted to thinner women. It's only natural to feel this way if you are a young guy, your girlfriend has gained weight and you are surrounded by a bunch of skinny college chicks in boston. Men are visual creatures after all. It is what it is.

    Posted by mary April 30, 09 04:27 PM
  1. Look, the husband is definitely a depressive loser who should be sent packing. But that doesn't negate the overall fact here that when women speak up about flaws in their men, it's 'liberating'-- but when men speak up about flaws in their women, it's mean and shallow. Such a sad double-standard.

    Posted by Joey April 30, 09 04:29 PM
  1. I didn't realize Glenn Ordway's marriage was on the rocks. YOU FAT BASTARD!

    Posted by The Fat Bastard Guy April 30, 09 04:32 PM
  1. To those of you complaining about weight gain in a partner, what makes you so special?! If you had the same problem, wouldn't you hope your partner stood by you? If your face were disfigured due to a stroke, wouldn't you hope your partner wouldn't be "no longer attracted?" I have always been thin. My guy has put on weight due to issues and I've put on a little with him spending every day with him. My solution was to do something together. He's done great, I've stayed where I was. It didn't affect my feelings when he was heavy. It doesn't affect his now. Maybe you both have deeper problems that have nothing to do with your partner. Maybe they're causing your partners problems. Have you thought of that?How can you people be so shallow. The thing is, you're actually so sad that you think your partner's fitness level is the key to your happiness. Grow up. Maybe you're so shallow, you need your "ideal partner" to feel any worth. If you got sick, would your partner leave you because you "are now a lot of work?"

    Posted by this is silly April 30, 09 04:34 PM
  1. "I get the whole clinical depression thing"?

    Based on that comment (and your overall response), I'd say it's pretty clear that you don't get it.

    Posted by invertigo April 30, 09 04:41 PM
  1. Running shoes: $65

    Gym membership: $40 / month

    Feeling good about yourself and having a hot spouse: PRICELESS

    Posted by Beantown13 April 30, 09 04:44 PM
  1. Nash/#92, NO KIDDING!!! These comments about people who find themselves less attracted to partners who've gained weight being "shallow" or "conceited" are obviously written by ridiculous fatties who can't handle the truth. Fat is unattractive. Fat is not sexy. As for fat women who call themselves "curvy," I want to grab those bakery rolls on their backs and shake them...that flab hanging out of your bra straps is not a curve!!! If you are healthy, you eat properly, you exercise and you take care of your mental health, you deserve a partner who does the same.

    Posted by urkiddinme April 30, 09 04:45 PM
  1. Remember, we're all works in progress. Perfection is achieved through airbrushing only!
    Weight has been an issue for me most of my life. I make progress, then stall. Then I get back on the bandwagon of exercise and eating healthier meals again until I travel for work and get out of routine or some other crisis comes up and then I've fallen from grace. It's a cycle and I wish there was a solution.
    To the Turned Off Wife in Danvers, I suspect that there are emotional intimacy shortfalls in her relationship that have not been addressed and her frustration levels have been focused on the physical dimension instead of the underlying sources.
    Self-love, self-acceptance no matter what your size.

    Posted by exvermonter April 30, 09 05:03 PM
  1. To comment 113, Nash… I'm going to assume you are no more than 20, by your extremely deep analysis of the male/female relationship. I just have some advice for you. Don't ever grow old or let your female partner grow old, because then you will find out how stupid and invalid your take on this issue is. Oh yes, you will have plenty of time to think about the error of your ideas on relationships, because at that time you will probably be alone and not as rich as you thought you'd be and not as thin as you thought you'd be.

    Posted by Jdentr7168 April 30, 09 05:13 PM
  1. Nash, you're so uneducated and pathetic...no one is paying attention to you except to laugh at you and thank God they don't have friends or family like you in their lives. Go back into the hole you came out of.

    Posted by Vesuvia April 30, 09 07:07 PM
  1. Can anyone please tell me what positives comes from being overweight? Not only is there anything positive about it, there's no excuse for it. Everyone I know that is overweight doesn't do anything about it. Many people are in denial. It's one of the many problems with our sugar-coated (should be splenda-coated) society. Nobody can handle the straight truth. My doctor told me to lose weight and I lost 60 lbs. There was no special trick, I just started running and ate less. Over time I ran more and tuned up my diet. How difficult can that be.

    I am in the same boat as many of you. My relationship is more friendship than boyfriend/girlfriend because my "girlfriend" is easily 80 lbs overweight. Yes, it's repulsive. She's a very nice person and I don't know how to tell her about the problem. I have told her flat out to lose weight which hasn't worked. My latest way of dealing with it has been to ignore her advances. Sorry to sound like a jerk, but I know many people feel the same way as me.

    Posted by Sick of it April 30, 09 07:23 PM
  1. To #94, "Notanimposter"
    Here's an example of early Riconian (Feb 28): "Spend money is Merediths answer??? Buy a joint gift??? Meredith is not qualified to do this correctly." Note the missing apostrophe. Believe me, Not, some of Rico's foes and faux have spent considerable time mastering Riconian -- JUST for your amusement! There are lots of easy-to-copy elements (cut and paste? never!), though the faux have muddied the water, e.g., with the coffee talk. And Rico himself has migrated from 2nd to 3rd person.
    Love always,
    Frico

    Posted by Frico April 30, 09 08:04 PM
  1. #108 "All of you who think that weight is simply due to bad diet and lack of exercise need to wake up and enter reality".

    Calorie intake vs. output = weight fluxuation. How many overweight people are there in starving nations? Of course metabolism varies between people but it it's silly to think that sticking to a healthy diet and exercise will not help you lose weight and become healthier. Your notion of reality is shocking to me.


    #120 "To those of you complaining about weight gain in a partner, what makes you so special?! If you had the same problem, wouldn't you hope your partner stood by you?"

    What makes ME so special is that I put a lot of effort into making my spouse happy. Metting her needs emotionally, physically, etc... I would be greatly concerned if my weight was beginning to repulse her and would absolutely do everything to rectify this because I care about our healthy and balanced relationship. I would stand by her but I also expect her to care.

    Posted by Mark May 1, 09 08:00 AM
  1. Sick of it (#127) has summed it up perfectly. Well done, sir.

    The lack of discipline and complete loss of pride in appearance / physical well-being of many adults is nothing short of nauseating to me.

    We live in a society that loves enablers. No one practices personal responsibility.

    I don't want to hear any excuses from anyone. Buy a pair of walking shoes. Walk until you are winded. Do that every day. Increase the distance marginally each week. Don't eat / drink nutritionally void items (i.e. soda, candy, processed cr@p).

    Think of food as fuel, not as some sort of reward, coping mechanism, or emotional friend.

    Turn off your damn television. Your own life should be much better than the reality show nonsense you lap up every nigh.

    DO IT NOW!

    Posted by Bob Dwyer May 1, 09 09:14 AM
  1. Wow, Turned-off wife in Danvers what a shallow, self-serving narcissist you are. Maybe he is turned off by you! This poor man suffers from depression and other health issues. Interesting that he has gained all of this weight while married to you. Did you ever think your nagging has driven him to this? The common denominator in this seems to be YOU! You allegedly gained a few pounds because you had children-he has gained weight because he is working his butt off trying to support you, your litter of kids, your gym fees, bikini waxes and Botox injections. Not to mention paying a mortgage in a town for 'beautiful people'. My husband is balding-should I dump him because he looks different than he did when we married?
    Memo to Henpecked hubbie in Danvers, get a good lawyer and dump the house frau. It will save your life.

    Posted by Bambinosmom May 1, 09 09:22 AM
  1. To Sick of it # 127: I agree with you. My situation is exactly the same. What is funny about your solution is that it works! Eventually they realize that they need to lose weight and they will. I know that my girlfriend can lose weight; she used to be slim. I ignored her for a while, and now she is losing weight.

    It sounds shallow, but it's really not. Both people are happier in the end. Looks aren't everything, but they are something.

    Posted by Jbrodude May 1, 09 09:46 AM
  1. WOW!
    Some of you people are unbelievable! I cant believe some of the comments on here. As for the "Pregnancy isnt an excuse" comment. Come on! Pregnancy is nothing nice, especially if you have complications. You dont know what the hell people are going thru and why they are over weight. It is so easy to gain weight and lose focus on your health. So stop judging, instead encourage and educate! That is why this county is so messed up! We are to busy judging the outward appearance then looking at a persons inner beauty (ie...Shallow Hal) ;) Rico. Depression is even worse when is comes to weight gain and loss. I understand that it is our job to take care of ourselves, but some of your comments are just plain "CRUEL"!
    As far as the letters go, I agree with Mere. Let them know how you feel in a caring manner and help get them motivated to work on it. Even if you have to get professional help. If you really love your mate, help them. Dont just tell them you need to lose weight, Im unhappy. That sound and is selfish.

    Posted by Lilshorty98 May 1, 09 10:09 AM
  1. Sometimes we focus on the obvious problems - are there other issued possibly fueling the surface ones?
    I had a boyfriend once tell me, "I love you, but I'd love you more if you were skinny."
    I was 5'9" 165 at that time, not heavy to me at all, just thick, but I understood what he said, so I dropped 30 pounds over the next 4-5 months.
    Then he dumped me because I was too skinny.
    You can't just "lose the weight, lose the problem..." it usually runs deeper than that.

    Posted by ananonymous May 1, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Hi all - this is LW#1 (Turned off wife). Meredith, thanks for printing my letter and for giving advice. Readers, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me and LW#2. Many of the responses are quite thoughtful and helpful and have given me some ideas about what steps I can take to help my husband get going in the right direction. To those who commented that it is probably less about the weight and more about how I feel about his not taking any action to help himself, you hit the nail on the head. I realized that I would feel differently about this if he were heavy and making an effort to get healthier and look better vs. the current situation of being heavy, continuing to eat poorly and not exercise, and just continuing to get worse. And that, of course, is related to depression. It can really seem like a viscious circle, with one health problem making the other worse and vice versa. We've been living with his depression so long that sometimes I forget that *it* is the enemy, not the person who has it.

    Tibbs (#89) - I love the idea of investing in a personal trainer! As you picked up, my husband likes the idea of "firing himself" and hiring an expert to help "fix things" when they go off track. A few sessions with PT might work well to get him started, and hearing some tough love and encouragement from some who is not me might do the trick.

    And to #135...LOL. If you read my letter you would see that he was overweight to begin with...when we were dating he lost some weight before our wedding but still had a more to lose before reaching his healthy goal weight. Nonetheless, he looked fine to me (muscular with extra padding). He is now at least 70 lbs overweight and on a 5'7" frame, that's just too much. So no, I didn't make him heavier. And regarding working his butt off for me...again, LOL. I am actually both the breadwinner and primary care giver in our family. We met at work, we had similar incomes, he left for a career change because he hated his job and being married meant that I could carry the insurance and have the steady income while he looked for something more independent and fulfilling, which I supported (and still do). In the meantime, his income has not picked up but that's OK, mine has. Don't worry about my mortage, it's a moderate amount and I'm the one who pays it. And no, I actually don't do botox & bikini waxes, and my gym membership is all of $100 a year. But thanks for the assumptions they gave me quite a chuckle.

    Posted by Turned off wife May 1, 09 01:29 PM
  1. THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STEP IN AND FIND A WAY TO MAKE PIE LESS DELICIOUS!!!

    Posted by PIE_LOVER May 1, 09 01:33 PM
  1. People are terrible. Here are some scenarios as to why some people are over weight:
    1. medical conditions, Thyroid for example
    2. an injury that prevents a person from being active
    3. medications
    I'm sure there are plenty more reasons to add but the people who posted those nasty comments need to realize that sometimes it's out of the persons control.
    I agree with the people who suggested to talk it over with their partners. It won't be easy but it might make it better if you're willing to help them see through their weight gain battle.

    Posted by Not a Fatty May 1, 09 03:32 PM
  1. There is nothing wrong with an incentive. I recently told my husband to buy his non-practical comuting car - sedan with a corvette engine stuffed in it - if he lost the extra 30 lbs. His family history shows that if he ignores his health his life expectancy is about 60 years old. That means I will spend another 30 years by myself and he will not see our childrenget married or meet out grandchildren.

    Although he has a few pounds to go the car arrives next week and even given the current economy he is less depressed and has more patience withour kids. Working out 3 or 4 days a week, eating healthy and cutting back on alchol gave me back the energetic, optomistic guy I married. I now need to invest time in getting back in shape - it isn't just what the scale says because over 40 and 3+ kids later gravity is also a problem. Investing financially and emotionally in family and children somehow saps more out of men. I'm not sure if they are as emotionally prepared and still need to know they can have toys.

    When it comes to health and wellness we all need a bribe!

    Posted by nottoworry May 1, 09 08:59 PM
  1. Not a Fatty -- you posted three real reasons for being overweight.
    #1 may be legitimate. But it can also be a side effect of being overweight.
    #2 is not an excuse. If you aren't active, you don't eat as much. You still burn calories just by living. Also, there are ways to work around an injury. Work another part of the body. Do a no-impact workout like swimming or cycling. Heck, if you can even take a walk that's something.
    #3 sure.

    The bottom line, though, is that most overweight people eat more than they need to. Try one week where you count calories religiously and be absolutely astonished at how quickly 2,000 (woman) or 2,500 (man) calories get consumed. If, like many in the area, you grab a coffee and a bagel (or a couple donuts) at Dunkin in the morning, then you are likely over half done for the day. Head out and grab a "healthy" sub sandwich and a bag of chips from Subway and you're done. And people wonder why the weight gets piled on.

    I'm not saying that people need to stop eating donuts or never having dessert, but if you pay attention to what's going in your mouth, you CAN control your weight. Exercise is ONLY a complement to a proper diet. Even if you do an intense workout that burns 1000 calories, you can very easily consume that in a sitting if you are not paying attention.

    Posted by K May 2, 09 02:07 PM
  1. I don't particularly like fat anybody and I was thin then about 30lbs overweight and lost that weight darn quickly. I'm 5'4, shapely and now weigh 113. I'll never let that happen to myself again ever. I see far more pot-bellied men then women Maybe because I look at more men? I don't know. To me, nothing is more of a turn-off then a man stuffing his face with junk food and beer with a pot-belly of ANY size. Ewwwww.. I don't need buff, 6-pack but I won't go near a beer-belly. It's just not sexually attractive and it does cause numerous health issues What does it say when one stuffs themselves with pizza, fries, fatty foods, beer and then expects to actually have sex with a women? You guys sometimes don't get it.

    Posted by Stevie May 2, 09 10:03 PM
  1. I was 5'8" and 135 lbs, size 13-14.  My mate said I was overweight, but I could not lose. Now in my mid-sixties, I've had pneumonia and have shrunk - 5''6" and 120, size 6, too skinny and can't gain.  He still is asexual - and we discovered his testosterone levels are too low.  Both men and women need testosterone to have a healthy sex life.  My best friend moved away 18  months ago.  Her long-time lover, who was always a "big" man, gained:  now he's 350.  She moved back a few weeks ago.  Her only complaint is that he makes such a deep depression in the bed that she's having back problems from sleeping with him.  I think weight is always a problem, no matter what.

    Posted by Susan Grindle June 17, 09 10:25 PM
  1. My sister and her husband had been married for 15 years. She had gained quite a bit of weight in her first pregnancy at year 5 and never really lost it. I'm going to say she ended up well over 200lbs. My brother-in-law weighed about the same, but of course because he was a man, he was just a little heavier. No one called him "fat." When he turned 45, after those 15 years of marriage, he suddenly decided to change and lost 50lbs, spending all his time in the gym, buying new clothes, etc. Started going out to bars and not coming home. Left her at home with the kids. She actually dieted and lost some weight, but from what she said he didn't really seem to care. I think at one point they did not have sex for a year, though they'd had sex before while she was heavy (at the very least, 3 more kids worth).

    Supposedly once they had it out, he actually told my sister he was no longer attracted to her and that he kept himself in shape and she didn't. (He conveniently ignored the part where he had not exactly been in perfect shape all years.)

    They were for the most part separated when my BIL was diagnosed with oral cancer. Ultimately after some other treatments didn't work, he had to have part of his jaw removed. He does not look the same and sometimes people stare. They stayed together through all that mess. Now after 20 or so years of marriage they joke about how they only count most of it, taking the 2 or 3 years out where the definition of what marriage was about somewhat eluded them. Oh yeah, my BIL chewed tobacco. That was a choice he made.

    There are plenty of very hot spouses who get cheated on. Pick up any tabloid magazine. The issues run far deeper than mere attraction, both for the spouse who is complaining, and the spouse who is being complained about. No one remains "sexually attractive" forever.

    Posted by SarahJane July 20, 09 05:17 PM
 
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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