Dear Suzie, my husband and i are having real problems in our relationship at the moment.we have been together for 10 yrs and married for 7. I have put on a lot of weight over this time and dont feel very atractive. My husband tells me i look ok and that he is happy with the way i look.But last year we were at a bbq and there was a skinny woman that i saw him looking at, he said he was not!! so now i feel that he is not really happy with the way that i look and just said that to make me feel better..I have now since noticed that he looks at thin women but he says thats it me imagining it. Please help i feel i am not copping with this at the moment and dont know what to do,We argue about it all the time and it is making me worse.
People look and it means very little to their feelings about their partners. You can be madly in love with your husband or wife, but you’d be made of stone if you didn’t notice how truly gorgeous Brad Pitt or Angelina Joly, or that fit neighbour, happens to be. That doesn’t mean you would rather be with them or even that you prefer them. It simply means you’re human. What is unforgivable is when someone humiliates or puts down their partner and makes comparisons – and that doesn’t seem to be the case. What this is about is your own self esteem and self confidence.
You push him into a corner when you accuse him of looking at thin women and making it a comparison with you coming off badly. Of course them he has to deny it, because what he’s denying is the hurtful intention, which is not his. If you were to say “She’s attractive, isn’t she?” he’d probably say “Yes, but too skinny for my tastes!”. When you say “You’re looking at her and you’d want her instead of me!” he naturally says “No, I’m not!”.
Why not try saying “I’m not feeling too good about myself at the moment. When I see you looking at thinner women it depresses me. What are we going to do about this?” One answer would be for him to reassure you. Another answer – and a better one – would be for you to take some control of the situation.
Are you content to be the size you are? You seem to be saying no, but if you aren’t you have to do something about it and you’re the only one who can. Sometimes, men are glad to have their wives overweight as it means they are safe from the advances of other men – it keeps them in control. In such a situation, men can sabotage any attempt at their wife being more proactive and seeking to lose weight. If this sounds possible in your relationship then you and he need to talk it over. But if not and the only one here who is driving you to gain weight and it doesn’t make you happy, it’s time for you to do something about it. Sensible eating and some exercise could make the difference. But equally, you and he talking about the real problems might help. I’d strongly suggest a session or two at your local Relate, for both of you to really work out what is going on here. Good luck!