long story – I’m a bigger girl, with a love for food and a hate of any type of exercise. Which, in turn, has cause me to gain about 60 pounds. I recently started a diet and have lost 20 pounds since the beginning of the year. Go me!
I know my weight and my over-weight body was a cause of concern for my boyfriend. He has always dated petite women before me; I’m his first real experience with a curvier woman. This past weekend, the topic of specific types of people we are attracted to came up; we usually have very good conversations. Basically, it came out that I am not his type – at all. I knew that his past girlfriends were of smaller body type, I also know that those relationships haven’t worked out for him so well (obviously, or he wouldn’t have been single and available to date me).
While part of me knew this and knows that ‘type’ can be very fluid and changing, another part of me is deeply hurt. We’ve been together for over 2 years and never once until now has he ever made me feel unattractive to him. I know my weight has been an issue for him, one of the reasons for me losing weight (but the main one is my health – looking better is an added bonus) but this made me feel just awful.
I walked away from him and I cried. I never cry and his words hurt me that deeply.
He almost instantly realized what he said was hurtful (hateful even?) and apologized to the point that his voice was breaking. I explain to him why I was so hurt, that hearing that the person you love isn’t very sexually attracted to you is devastating and painful. (I know, rationally, that he meant that he has a type, that’s what it was, I don’t fit that type, but hey, that’s absolutely fine because it’s still all good, great sex, love, friendship)
Part of me wanted to lash out and say hurtful things back to him, but I knew that it would only make me feel worse after.
I know that as a man, his visual representation of the female body is very important to his sexual attraction. I know that part of my weight loss journey to get healthy will involve my body getting smaller – but I am not nor will I ever be petite.
I guess my questions or needed advice is – how do I come to an understanding with myself that my body is never going to be his ideal? Or is it truly one of those “as long as I am comfortable in my own body, who cares what he thinks?”. I feel that any future sex will involve me being ashamed or self-conscious of my body, which I’ve never been before. Obviously, I have a right to be hurt and still upset about this, and I know it will take some time to calm down, cool off, and forgive, and I’m not ready to do that quite yet. But sitting down and rationally thinking this out, I don’t see a way forward without be self-conscious. His words have made me want to hide myself
Man, this is a hard question, and I already know I’m not going to do it justice. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It’s not something I have the answer to. Bodies are personal. And private. And no one should make us feel -less than for the way we look. The fact that you feel that you have to hide yourself now because your partner said you weren’t his typical type hurts to read.
I find that it’s very difficult (as a woman – especially) to have a conversation about body or weight without feeling attacked. As a woman it is difficult to not think about my weight as a value statement about who I am. Even not thinking about my weight feels like an active choice sometimes, which means I’m still kinda thinking about weight.
Opening up this possibility: you’re not his usual type, but it doesn’t matter. He’s dating you. You make him happy. So whether or not your body fits this notion of what is “type” is – you are, one way or another, his type. Because he’s choosing to be with you.
I’ve struggled on my own with a wibbly wobbly weight. That’s provoked heavy conversations within my own relationship about values: how important is health? how important is eating well? how important is exercise? What is my ideal body? How does stress impact my eating habits? My exercise habits? How can I be better for myself? For my partnership? Would it bother me if my partner gained a significant amount of weight? How would I handle that conversation? How could I exercise compassion in that situation? How could I be there for my partner? How could I continue finding ways to be intimate even if they were suffering with their self-image? What if my partner gained a significant amount of weight and said they didn’t want to continue working out, eating healthy? What if my partner was just a bigger person now, even though they had been more petite when we met?
Any conversation you have about your weight, your attraction to one another, the big lifestyle choices you make that impact your body, are going to be hard conversations to have. Pretending those conversations don’t happen, don’t exist, or aren’t necessary for some people to have only make them more difficult. Health and lifestyle are important conversations and not always directly tied to the way we look physically.
As a personal preference: I like to move away from how my body actually looks, how much I weigh, and focus more on lifestyle. Do you have similar wants and needs? Are you both striving to achieve those wants and needs? Can you continue to do so together?
How do I come to an understanding with myself that my body is never going to be his ideal? – I don’t think that’s emotional work that you’re required to do. You keep doing you, and do you for you. If he can support that, and your overarching life goals still align, I don’t think you guys are going to have a problem. If he can’t support you and the work you’re doing, or if your overarching life goals don’t align, the conversations are only going to get harder.