my husband has brought the subject up

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sweetpotato sweetpotato
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my husband has brought the subject up


   I have been married for over 30 years, and have gained 30 pounds since hubby and I walked down the aisle.
He has brought up my overweight many times. Intellectually I totally understand why he is unhappy. I am a beautiful woman, aside from the weight. I love my husband very much and I am sexually willing and we are sexually active. I realize that it is disappointing and frustrating to him when I lose weight, only to regain it. He speaks to me as if he wants a big pat on the back for staying faithful to me.
I can't help but feel that if I lose the weight and keep it off, he "wins" and I have somehow lost. He is not 30 pounds overweight, but he is certainly not the trim young man I married, either. I am angry that my weight is so important to him.

  Do you all find a mate's overweight as a sign of disrespect? Or is it purely the visual that is so upsetting to you?
 
life on hold life on hold
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I see it as being both, personally.  On the one hand, it is very aesthetically unappealing.  Obesity is not sexy to me...  I can't force myself to feel otherwise. (Sorry.  I mean no disrespect.)  On the other hand, given all of the effort I've put forth in regaining my former physique, I feel downright betrayed by my partner's lack of motivation.  I feel like she's thinking to herself, "Ok, I'm married now.  I've landed me a husband...  I've got this $h¡t locked down. I don't really need to worry about staying in shape and maintaining a healthy weight anymore.  It's time to get comfortable...  BRING ON THE SWEAT PANTS!!"

I come from a family that is still very much set in some of the old country ways of thinking.  Obesity was not smiled upon, at all.  In fact, it was considered a serious character flaw.  Gluttony.  Now, that's not to say that we poo-pooed the idea of a full figured woman. No, not at all.  Full figured women have been celebrated in art through out the centuries.  Some people today, however, take too much liberty with that definition.  I call it denial.  :)

I remember a few years back when my grandfather was still alive.  This was when I was at my pudgiest.  We were at the lake and I had taken off my shirt to go swim.  He looked at me...  His eyes got big... He said, "My God!  How could you do that to yourself?!"  Now, i was not obese by any means...  Definitely overweight though.  He thought I was eating too much and that I was lazy.  To be honest, what he said had some truth to it.  I WAS eating horribly, and I WAS leading a very sedentary lifestyle.  

He called me out on it.  Plain and simple.  Were my feelings hurt?  Sure.  But what he said was truth, and he said it out of concern.  Truth is not always the easiest thing to hear.  If you love your husband, then try not to take it so hard.  Do your best to please each other. If that means losing weight, then buckle down and go for it.  It's  a win win situation if you both get involved.
mountain mountain
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Hello and welcome.

You know, I think this is fairly simple. Why don't you want to lose the weight? Your saying something about him winning and you losing when you lose the weight makes me think there is something else going on? But maybe I am totally wrong?
Maybe you can strike a deal with hubby. I bet there is something you would like him to change.....make him a deal!

sweetpotato sweetpotato
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  Thanks for your response. I agree, obesity is not sexy, and I'm sure there are many women (and men) who see marriage as a time where they can relax and not stay in shape. Did you lose weight FOR your wife, or was that just a nice benefit of the hard work you have been willing to do, for yourself? I only ask because there is pressure when losing weight is something that one is trying to do to please someone else. I do think that I will be happier with myself and be healthier if I lost the weight, I just can't seem to take my husband's words and NOT take that very personally. He rarely mentions the health aspect of weight loss, he just doesn't want a heavy wife.
sweetpotato sweetpotato
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Mountain, there IS something else going on.

I grew up with a father who became critical of my weight (when I was not even overweight!) and started policing my food choices as a teenager. I became a binge eater then, and food is still where I seek my comfort; it's still my drug of choice, though I have made GREAT strides in breaking away from that. So with that background, and now with another man who says he loves me (I know that is true) but is so obsessed and aggravated by my weight..... it brings up an old response of wanting to be spiteful. I am aware that there is no sense in being spiteful with my weight when I am the one walking around in my own body 24/7, yet I feel so hurt that the most important men in my life have made my weight (and I am not 200 pounds) SUCH an issue, such a character assassination.
sweetpotato sweetpotato
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oh and P.S. there are things about him I would like him to change, and he has proven to be totally unwilling.
There's no incentive there for me to do anything more than I already do, to get into his good graces. He is a very critical person
and I believe that when the weight won't be an issue, something will certainly replace it.
Mme.X Mme.X
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Dear Sweetpotato,

You do sound sweet!  and honest, and good.  All I can say is: yes, you are normal to want to resist people telling you what to do.  You are normal to want to resist power struggles.  You are self-aware that food is your self-medication.  You are wise to be able to articulate your past.  You are courageous for posting here.  You are realistic, and loving, and good.  And I say all that as the spouse in the position of your husband, and at my wit's end at figuring out how to deal with his stubbornness.  Because, in the end, not just losing weight but being fit and healthy, is for him, not me.

If I could wish you one Christmas present (actually four), it would be this:  (1) to wish that you could see your body as a gift to you; (2) to wish that you find the strength to be truly nice to it and to discover its strength and full potential in every sense, (3) to wish that you find the time and will to start some sort of exercise program in 2013 (or the day after Christmas) that you do just for you (I'm into Crossfit now, and the strength training is an unbelievable rush--I wish that feeling for you, and you don't have to be skinny to feel it; in fact, there's a very heavy woman who is very, very strong at the gym and she is pretty awesome and looks pretty happy); (4) to wish that if you do lose weight and your potentially insensitive husband says something like, "Aren't you glad I forced you to do this?," that you can find the strength to swallow your pride and mentally think to yourself, "Fuck him," and then to realize the pun in saying that, and then to think to yourself, "Why, yes, I'd like to do that! And it's better when I'm skinny!," and then to come out with some line that you can say aloud that reveals that you are strong and beautiful and independent and willing and if he is ready for you, you might, just might, consider it.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas, sweetie.  And to everyone else here.  And now, I have presents to wrap before driving home for dinner which my husband (still is, for now) is, according to our Christmas Eve tradition, cooking..................
Madame X (detail), John Singer Sargent, 1883–84, oil on canvas, 82 1/8 x 43 1/4 in. (208.6 x 109.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
sweetpotato sweetpotato
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 LOL, your message made me laugh, and made me cry. Thank you for this gift. I will take your words to heart.

Merry Christmas :-)
life on hold life on hold
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I lost the weight for my self.  I desperately wanted my old high school body back.  My abs.  My arms.  My confidence...  It was a goal that I had put off for quite some time.  I used to think to myself, "I've got all the time in the world.  I'll get to it eventually."  When I had reached 205 pounds, which is 5 pounds over the weight I said I'd never reach, I got motivated in a damn hurry and started working on my "dream body."

I had hoped that my wife would see my progress and follow me, but that has not been the case.  In fact, our relationship has become a bit unstable because of it.  She's not thrilled by my transformation, at all.  I get complimented from friends and family all the time on my "new look" and it gets awkward if she's standing next to me.  She'll get upset later when no one else is around.  Long story short, I get made to feel like the bad guy...  Every time I go work out, she is rolls her eyes at me... Because she gets left behind when I go on a run or a bike ride.  :-/  She could join me, but she refuses.
sweetpotato sweetpotato
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   Well it is certainly not your fault that you want to be slim and healthy, that's for sure.

As the fat wife in my relationship, I just wanted to say that it is tough, emotionally, when the man we love gets trimmer. It feels like even more of a condemnation, though of course it shouldn't. You "make it look easy", and I can only speak for myself when I say that food is a great love in my life, and it is hard to look at it as just fuel. I bet that it took lots of hard work and discipline and dedication for you to lose the weight. I think that's wonderful. In a perfect world your wife would have jumped on the bandwagon and you could have shared this transformation. I think that the bottom line, so to speak, is exactly what you mentioned. You wanted to lose the weight FOR YOURSELF. I can only speak for myself when I say that my desire is to lose weight, however, in the day to day of exercising and eating right, is so hard for me and I feel as if I have to give up so much enjoyment, that in the moment it doesn't seem worth it. And then I will lose ten, fifteen pounds, and people will be telling me I look "so much better" (which I find insulting) and I will begin to sabotage myself with food again.

    I have issues with food. My intention is not for it to seem as if I love food more than my husband, but I will say this. Food soothes me in a way my husband does not. I am not blaming you thin mates, not at all. I just wanted to offer that there HAS to be a reason behind the eating other than the fact that it just tastes good and we are gluttons.
Matilda Tuesday Matilda Tuesday
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I understand there's a great deal going on here emotionally, but you seem to grasp that both your father and your husband love you. I guess I'm wondering about the damage a parent can do by policing their children's food choices. It seems to me that there is no real alternative. If you have a teenager and you let them eat whatever you want, the consequences could be rather devastating. Teens need nutrition and chances are they're not paying attention in health class. This may be a little off course, but I'm wondering about your father's policing. Did he deny you soda or pizza?
Andrea T Andrea T
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Sweetpotato, I had a  family member like that too, So i'll try to say what  your father and my grandmother may have wanted to express in a way  that may make more sense.

Whatever  else you do in your life, your  body and your looks are more important than people like you and I of wish it was. People ( including spouses)  make judgments if a person is worthwhile by  certain standards. A lot of it is  unconscious, biological and nearly impossible to override.

A  healthy weight and a certain amount of  attention to how you look  is  the payment we make for  for being  accepted , respected and even loved  by other human beings.  Sorry, but that is how it is.

About the comments. I so get that. Any time I get close to being accepted by "the herd", it messes  with me. I get freaked out about conforming. Fortunately, even without the  weight I'm still "weird" ;-)



sweetpotato sweetpotato
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   Actually my father didn't really deny me anything, but he would make "the face". Once when I was out with friends he wanted to smell my breath to ascertain whether or not I had eaten pizza!

   I totally agree, as a loving parent you need to offer correction to a child who is overweight. I wasn't overweight at that time, I was just going through puberty. You know that stage girls go through when they just look a little plump because the weight hasn't become breasts and hips yet? To me, that is not a young lady who needs her meals disciplined.

   I have come to believe that my father struggled when I became a teenager, not sure how to fit into my life. He created labels in my family and each of my siblings were *something*. I was "the pretty one". My brother was "the smart one". Growing up being the pretty one and then having your parent say that you are losing your grip on that pseudo title..... that was tough for me.
Did I react well, by becoming a binge eater? Nope. It was an immature reaction that became a pattern in my life.  
sweetpotato sweetpotato
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   Andrea, I hear what you're saying, but it is SO HARD for me to believe that 30 pounds so diminishes me, in the eyes of others.
You may be right, I just can't wrap my mind around that, you know?

life on hold life on hold
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Thanks, Sweet.  Yes, in the beginning, it took a lot of effort and discipline.  But once I got a routine established, it stopped feeling like a chore.  I found comfort and joy in my day to day life.  Contrary to what you might believe, I actually eat quite well... and frequently.  Being outdoors is a passion of mine, as well.  I stay very active and I love all of the fun things i go out and do on a regular basis.  I am not a gym rat who spends countless hours on an treadmill, and in no way do I feel as though I'm depriving myself of simple comforts.  It's quite the opposite, actually.  :-) I can't imagine my life being any different than it is now.  To go back to poor eating and being a slouch would kill me...  In more ways than one, I'm sure.

There are four keys to success: nutrition, cardio, strength training, and persistence.  I hate reducing things down to simplistic formulas and tired cliched sayings, but I must say that this is no longer a "diet" for me.  It's a lifestyle.   It's a choice.  Staying in shape and maintaining a healthy weight are, and always will be, the right choices.  No matter what.  I don't wait and hope for a perfect world to give me what I want or need... not for myself or from anyone else.  I strive to do the right thing for myself and for my relationship.  My only expectation is that my effort to age gracefully and live a full life be reciprocated, within reason of course.

I can't say that i understand the whole emotion/food delimna that so many folks talk about.  I've never used food in that way, even when I was.at my heaviest.  That must be tough...  I can say, however, despite the flurry of emotions that hit day in and day out, that I've come to understand what self-ownership and personal responsibility means.  If I were to quit my job, throw hygiene out the window and devotemyself to World of warcraft... I would expect that I would become less desirable and lose favor in her eyes.  I couldn't reasonably throw the "unconditional love card" at her and expect her to take me seriously.  There are spouses, men and women alike, who play this card when the issue of their weight comes up.  It's no different in my eyes.

Besides, true love is relational.  That's why we call them relationships.  This "anything goes" kind of love that gets labeled as unconditional feels like a doctors note to me...  Sorry I don't mean to rant.  I guess you could say that I've swallowed the red pill.  I'm a bit jaded... and tired of all of the hallmark sentimentalities and emotional red tape surrounding this issue.  I don't see why we can't just be straight forward about it, and try not to be so emotionally fragile.  Personally, I feel like my wife's feelings are ruining our chances to really have a n honest and frank conversation.  :-/
Andrea T Andrea T
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For him it's 30, for others it's 5 (Now that I have hard time wrapping my mind around- I'd have to go into hiding every 28  days if you know what I mean!) for others it  doesn't hit them until it's 100. Everyone has their own tolerances .  

I know how hard this is but  it's better that it's out in the open than repressed for years (Some thin spouses carry it for decades!) It gives you the power to decide if this is the kind of person that you want to be with. If he's worth  staying thin for, than do it. If not you have some bigger decisions coming.
Mme.X Mme.X
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sweetpotato wrote
it is SO HARD for me to believe that 30 pounds so diminishes me, in the eyes of others.
I don't know about this.  The weight issue--unless we're talking morbid obesity that causes small children to stop and point--seems, in my mind, to be a problem mainly for the erotic arena, and even there, it's only a problem for skinnier partners. Day to day, there are plenty of heavy people who can still be attractive and competent, and if they happen to hook up with each other, great for them! It's not really an issue for me.  I don't even notice, for the most part, when people gain or lose weight. And even in the case of my husband, his problems are so much deeper than weight, his fearful paralysis and severe depression and unwillingness to get help are so much more debilitating for our relationship than even his obesity.

But the "what people think" trap really is a trap. First, people will never think of you what you want them to anyhow--and that holds if you are fat, skinny, healthy, diseased, dynamic or depressed, or anything else.  Surface is surface.  And some people fall prey to trying to be ever glamorous to appease the many, while others fall prey to resisting anything that would make them attractive--just two sides to the same coin of defining oneself against what nameless others think.

But that's different from health or the private needs of those who are close.

So I wouldn't be too hard on yourself or get paranoid.  I go back to my earlier posting.
Madame X (detail), John Singer Sargent, 1883–84, oil on canvas, 82 1/8 x 43 1/4 in. (208.6 x 109.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
sweetpotato sweetpotato
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  I just wanted to say thank you all for your honest answers and for your kind treatment of me.
I also wanted to say that I will not be returning to this site again. I had thought that if I just hate myself enough, if I humiliate myself enough by reading about how unhappy other spouses are with their fat wives/husbands, that would help me lose weight.
I realize now that what REALLY has to happen is, I have to want to lose the weight for myself, and I have to love myself right where I am. So as a loving gesture to my extra 30 pounds, I bid you all adieu, and wish you a happy New Year. I will never stop thinking that my husband is a piece of crap for his treatment of my excess weight, but I will lose the weight as a sign of respect for myself and the body God gave me and wants me to protect and provide good health for.

               sweet 'tater
Mme.X Mme.X
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Re: my husband has brought the subject up

sweetpotato wrote
I will never stop thinking that my husband is a piece of crap for his treatment of my excess weight, but I will lose the weight as a sign of respect for myself and the body God gave me and wants me to protect and provide good health for.
That sounds so healthy and real!  It should  be for you, and out of a deep respect for creation, and maybe even to set an empowering example for your kids.  But for whatever reason, good luck to you in your journey towards health and compassion--for your husband and for yourself.  And may the new year bring you joy and love, and the success you deserve!  
Madame X (detail), John Singer Sargent, 1883–84, oil on canvas, 82 1/8 x 43 1/4 in. (208.6 x 109.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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