When we met, I had the perfect body for him — very curvy and thick but still fit and average size. After our first year together I gained fifty pounds, after which I could tell a changed level of passion between us. Now that I have lost the weight, my body is not as firm and curvy as it was before and I’m a little on the slim side for my taste, which he also doesn’t really like. I plan to go back to the gym to gain some healthy weight and get back to where I was before I met him, which I’ve told him, but he always seems disinterested in that conversation.
The problem is that he is very insensitive about the issue — he makes negative comments about how my body looks, and, every chance he gets, he breaks his neck to look at other females who have the body type he likes, sometimes even making comments about how good they look. He doesn’t even try to hide it anymore; he just looks and stares until the person is out of sight!!! It confuses me because he’s a smart guy, so I just don’t see how he doesn’t know how that makes me feel — plus, I’ve also told him multiple times that I don’t like it when he stares at other women and he still does it anyway, almost like he can’t help himself. I haven’t had a direct conversation with him about how I feel about some of the negative remarks he’s made about me physically because I fear that he may use it against me in arguments, knowing that it hurts me, and so I play it off sometimes like I’m not bothered even though I am.
The final straw occurred the other night as I was doing dishes. He looked me up and down (I only had on underclothes) and I was so sure he was about to say something sexy. But then he said, jokingly, “Babe, you’re not even that hot.” At that point I felt something inside me die instantly, as I was just so hurt that he could say that so nonchalantly, but I kept my composure and decided to ignore it. I was up the whole night crying until about 2 am when I sent a long message about all the things I COULD say negatively about him but that I have never spoken, and never would speak, unless it was in a constructive way to help him. As usual, that text got taken out of context, and he accused me of calling him all these names that he felt were uncalled for, and so the issue I was having didn’t even get addressed.
I really love him, but he has made me feel very low and unattractive at a time where I was already not feeling the best about my body, so I feel he doesn’t deserve me once I do get back in shape. We have had many other issues in the past — some we’ve worked through and others we’re still working through — but this, by far, has made me feel the absolute worst! I feel so insecure around him now that I don’t even want to have sex with him — not to punish him but because I just feel too self-conscious about it now. And whenever we’re out and I see someone I know he’ll look at, I just put my head down so I don’t have to witness his gross, nasty behavior; I’m just so hurt and so sick of how selfish and insensitive he is that he won’t stop even after I’ve told him soooo many times.
My question, Wendy, is: Is this just a normal relationship issue that is bound to happen at some point in most relationships and that we can probably work through, or should I look at it for what it is according to how it has made me feel and just move on? — Fifty Pounds to Leave a Lover
No, this is not “a normal relationship issue,” and, yes, you should move on. You should also learn to speak up for yourself, quit “ignoring” such blatant disrespect (like when your boyfriend told you you aren’t even that hot) and start verbalizing your concerns with people (especially your boyfriend!), face-to-face, and not over text or IM or email. Your boyfriend is a total douche canoe. Big time. But until you learn to assert yourself, demand respect for yourself, and quit “putting your head down” when something bothers you, you will continue to be perceived as weak and vulnerable — exactly the kind of woman douchey tools like your boyfriend prey on.
Pull your head out of the sand and deal with your issues like a grown-up. Literally turning away from them and pretending they don’t exist is doing you zero favors. So, break up with the douche, and focus on tapping into your inner strength more than working out your muscles at the gym. The former will not only empower you, it will attract better quality people into your life who won’t be as likely to treat you like shit.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.