She's Hot But Won't Believe It
Q: My wife and I have been married for almost eight years and have two kids. She has put on weight since the kids were born and is obsessed with it. It doesn't bother me that she's heavier than when we got married. She's beautiful and hot to me, but she talks about it all the time. How do I look? Do I look fat in these jeans? In this dress? When we go out with friends on a Saturday night, she whispers to me, do I look fat? I love her and don't care what her weight is, but it's driving me crazy. Is she that insecure? I don't know how to get her to stop. — Kevin, 35
Dr. Susan: Yes, I can assure you without even knowing you wife, she is indeed that insecure. It's great that you don't care about her weight gain. The weird thing is that even when a wife believes that her husband still finds her hot, she is anxious about the judgment of other people. Being fat is such a shameful thing these days.
There are a couple of things you can do to help. You can, first of all, let her know that it's making you nuts to hear her obsessing all the time. Tell her you can only see her through your own loving eyes, and that you find her highly desirable. But you can't reassure her as to how others see her, or how she sees herself (which is based partly on how she imagines others see her). Second thing you can do is get practical. Is there some way the two of you could embark on a fitness regime, or a healthier eating plan, that might slowly over time make a difference in how she feels about her body? Otherwise, I can only suggest you get used to her self-loathing, because it may go on the rest of your lives.
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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.