He Doesn't Care What She Weighs
Q: I'm engaged to the most wonderful woman. She's interesting and smart with a fantastic sense of humor, and I see a beautiful life together with her. Unfortunately, we frequently hear comments about her weight. She is a full-figured woman who really turns me on. These comments have come from all over, from friends and family and total strangers. Family and friends stopped once we got engaged, but the hurt remains. Total strangers make faces, and we hear the giggles. It's awful, and I feel her pain. She tells me she's used to it, but I know it hurts her deeply.
How can I be more supportive and truly make her understand that I don't mind her weight? She has suggested we break up to protect me. I'm looking to protect her! — Seth, 35
Dr. Susan: It's sweet that you're both trying to protect each other from the thoughtless cruelties of friends, family, and the rest of the world. You're both going to have to learn to ignore what others say. As a society, we're not very kind to the overweight. Many people seem to think it's okay to point fingers, make comments, and treat heavy people as though they're criminals and deserving of public shaming. That probably won't change any time soon, so the best you can do would be to lovingly support one another, rather than try to "protect" each other. Her self-image has probably come under a lot of attack already in her life, and it will take time and effort to reassure her that you love her regardless of her body size. (Be sure you mean it though, and mean it even if she continues to gain, or you'll break her heart.)
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.