Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Told Me I’m Not Hot”

I’m a 29-year-old African-American woman and have been dating my 34-year-old Greek boyfriend for two and a half years now, and, although he recently proposed and I said yes, I am seriously rethinking if we should even be together any longer.

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.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

32 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Brise September 12, 2016, 11:51 am

    In agreement with Wendy. I think also that you are too vulnerable on that issue to date right now, and should find more confidence in yourself, your body, your life balance before being in a relationship. It will be much easier for you to depend less on male approval and stand up for yourself when treated like this.
    This is a total deal-breaker. Leave him. Plus, he is gross: he probably can’t help himself to stare and this is not about you. This is about his uneducated manners and primary behaviour.

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  • avatar

    for_cutie September 12, 2016, 12:00 pm

    Do not marry this man! Break up with him now and work on yourself. Wendy is right, you need to rebuild your self-esteem so you won’t allow someone to treat you like this in the future.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny September 12, 2016, 12:07 pm

    This dude is completely inconsiderate and insensitive. Get out now- there’s no reason for you to have to put up with this *now* before you even get married. I’m betting that, once you do and start focusing on your own well being, your self-esteem will improve greatly and you’ll be in a much better place no matter what you may look like!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 12, 2016, 12:09 pm

    “I feel he doesn’t deserve me once I do get back in shape”

    He doesn’t deserve you now. Whether you ever get back in shape is irrelevant. Your value isn’t based on your weight or muscle tone. You are a valuable person regardless of weight and muscle tone and deserve respect regardless of weight and muscle tone. Every person has a type that they find attractive but that is still separate from being respected. He’s not respecting you and in fact it sounds like he goes out of his way to put you down. You can stand up for yourself by dumping him and then in the future have clear boundaries about what you will tolerate in your life. If someone is treating you badly that means it is a good time to remove them from your life. Keep the good, dump the bad.

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    • avatar

      HollyMarie September 12, 2016, 9:21 pm

      ^ This a million times. It was my first reaction when I read that sentence, too, and I completely agree with every word of SB’s post.

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    • avatar

      Andrea G September 13, 2016, 11:35 am

      ^^ exactly!!! LW he doesn’t deserve you now, or when you were 50lbs heavier or EVER

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  • Stonegypsy

    Stonegypsy September 12, 2016, 12:19 pm

    You are worried about bringing something up to your “partner” because you are afraid he would use that knowledge to deliberately hurt you during an argument.
    Hell, you don’t even need to be in an argument – he’ll come up and deliberately hurt you while you’re washing dishes.
    Screw this guy, LW – you need to move on as soon as possible. This guy is absolutely awful and none of these problems you’re having are normal, and you can do SO MUCH BETTER.
    Skyblossom said it well above – he doesn’t deserve you *now*, nevermind the shape you’re in.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse September 12, 2016, 12:19 pm

    WWS. Holy shit, LW. Even when I’ve been in the depths of self esteem issues after having two children…my husband would never say that to me. Because he thinks I’m hot. Even with two babies and a flappy, immediately post-baby belly, he still looked at my body and all that it’s given us both and marveled at it.
    You need to build up your own self worth and stop letting anyone treat you lesser than. He’s a total tool, he is mean and he doesn’t fight fair. Break up with the asshole and aim so much higher.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros September 12, 2016, 12:22 pm

    This isn’t a normal relationship issue. It’s him being a crappy person. The fact that you think that he will use this against you if you bring it up means that not only is he shallow and cruel, but he’s also incapable of having a healthy, adult relationship. Dump him yesterday.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor September 12, 2016, 12:24 pm

    “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.”

    Your boyfriend sounds horrible and you should leave him but going forward you need to be able to speak out to your partners about when they’re doing things that are hurtful to you.

    “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.”

    Not that you don’t have *lots* of cause, but listing all a long message full of someone’s negative traits and and saying “I could criticize you about all this bad stuff I but don’t” is really the same thing as actually insulting them.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph September 13, 2016, 8:18 am

      Totally agree with your last paragraph. Of all the wrong things this guy has done, taking your email out of context is not one of them– if you told him you could call him ugly, that’s the same as calling him ugly.

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  • avatar

    Ale September 12, 2016, 12:37 pm

    Your boyfriend sounds like a gigantic dick, and you you should dump him, like, yesterday.
    No, this is not a normal issue in a relationship, unless the BF is a massive asshole, like in this case.
    For the love of all that is holy, leave the stupid-insensitive-dumbass greek guy, and, if you are going to lose the weight do it because you want it to, not because some idiot told you to.

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  • avatar

    Ale September 12, 2016, 12:40 pm

    This letter made me so mad!! How dare he tell you that? And why would you let him? I would have kicked his ass out of there in a second.

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  • avatar

    Howdywiley September 12, 2016, 1:05 pm

    OMG! This is terrible!! Psychological abuse! Leave this man and find someone that deserves you.

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  • avatar

    Taylor September 12, 2016, 1:46 pm

    Oh LW, this sucks, and the whole thing is so hurtful. There are a lot of things that are negotiable with a partner, but it’s so important to find someone that treats you with kindness. Would you say stuff like your bf told you to a stranger on the street? I’m guessing no, bc it’s mean and weird. So, how is it ok to say to you, his partner? Dump this guy, it will feel great! And in the future, people who make you feel this way: “I fear that he may use it against me in arguments, knowing that it hurts me,” are not worth your time.

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  • avatar

    AuntyMacasar September 12, 2016, 1:54 pm

    “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.”

    Waaaaaay to much focus on what he prefers sexually right here. We all have stuff we like, but this kind of makes my skin crawl, like you’re an employee whose job is to stay perfectly sexually attractive to his most exacting of preferences. If you had a baby, how do you think he’d react to the havoc pregnancy can have on on a woman’s body? What about normal aging? How will he react to that? He sounds very sexually entitled and willing to be cruel if you don’t perform to his expectations. And you seem to have somewhat acquiesced to his point of view. What he’s doing is abusive — looking you up & down and critiquing your appearance apropos of nothing? Dump, dump, dump.

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  • Astronomer

    Astronomer September 12, 2016, 1:56 pm

    Your shitty boyfriend has taught you to see your body through his lens and not your own. You need to take back ownership of the skin you inhabit. You and only you are allowed to police your body and your choices. When you go to the gym, it should be for you and your health, not so that some emotionally abusive jerk *might* stop ogling strangers in public.

    Leave him. Let’s say you magically get the perfect “for him” body. I guarantee he’ll find something else to pick at so he can keep holding your self-esteem hostage.

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    • avatar

      HollyMarie September 12, 2016, 9:43 pm

      My last boyfriend once told me, apropos of nothing, that he and his roommate had been “rating” the looks of the girls they knew. I was apparently a 6, though he oh so generously raised it to a 6.5. His reasoning? “Oh, you know how high my standards are. I wouldn’t rate myself any higher than that. I wouldn’t even rate someone like Jessica Alba as a 10.” His reason for even telling me in the first place? Yeah, he didn’t have one, but I suspect that much like your insecure SO, it was just to be hurtful.

      Reading what I’ve just typed, I can see the multiple ways that was so effed up, but since I was “in love” for the first time, I ignored it. Looking back, it was one of just a truckload of red flags that I refused to see at the time. But even knowing that now, 10 years later, it’s something my self esteem still hasn’t fully recovered from. Please get out now before he can do any more damage.

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  • avatar

    Vathena September 12, 2016, 1:58 pm

    “I fear that he may use it against me in arguments, knowing that it hurts me.”

    No, no, no, no no no no no!!! If you EVER think something like this is going to happen in your relationship, something is very, very wrong. Your partner should not want to intentionally hurt you! Break up with him immediately. Never date someone who makes you feel this way again.

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  • avatar

    girltuesday September 12, 2016, 2:07 pm

    Your SO is an asshole, plain and simple. I get it, weight gain can cause trouble in relationships. The fact that he is purposely hurting you, NOT helping you or encouraging you (even after the fact that you mentioned getting back in shape), and continually disrespecting you tells you all you need to know. MOA!

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  • avatar

    blink14 September 12, 2016, 3:22 pm

    My ex made very specific, negative comments when I would leave my hair naturally curly. Over time it really wore me down and I straightened my hair pretty much all the time.

    After we broke up, I would wear it out curly occasionally, and a good male friend of mine told me several times that he liked it natural. And you know what? I realized that I do too. I was just letting the negative BS get to me because I felt like I had to be a certain way for my ex.

    Don’t ever change who you are and your appearance because of someone who wants to control what they say, and fit you into a specific image. They aren’t worth your time.

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    • avatar

      K September 13, 2016, 9:49 am

      @blink14, this makes me so mad to hear! I’m sure your hair is gorgeous. I have naturally wavy hair (2b, on the chart) and I pretty much never straighten my hair because it takes up so much time, and is damaging. I put mousse in and let it air dry. Luckily my boyfriend prefers curly/wavy haired women, but even if he didn’t, too bad! His hair is curly, and men would (most likely) never think of trying to straighten their hair.

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  • avatar

    Jimmyjam September 12, 2016, 4:30 pm

    Plain and simple, leave him.

    He has no respect for women.

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  • avatar

    Cheesecaker2911 September 12, 2016, 5:02 pm

    My husband has loved me and been attracted to me at all of my sizes. I started at a size 24 when we met, and he loved me then. I gained a bunch of weight over the 8 years that followed (like 75-100 lbs) and he still wanted me physically. Didn’t check out other girls in public or make rude comments. I had weight loss surgery in December 2015, weigh less than I did when we first got together, and he wants me just as much (maybe a little more) than he did before (mostly because I’m more into it now, and more confident). A “great” guy doesn’t treat anyone like this. MOA, cause you deserve better.

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  • avatar

    PurpleStar September 12, 2016, 5:11 pm

    A man who loves you, loves *you*. Your mind, your soul, your quirks…whether you are thick, thin, flabby, or fit.

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  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover September 12, 2016, 9:22 pm

    Wow. What an asshole. Dump him and don’t feel bad about it. But before you start dating again, you need to figure out why you would stay with someone who treats you like that, let alone agree to marry him! I don’t even know you, but I know you’re worth more than that.

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  • avatar

    HollyMarie September 12, 2016, 9:31 pm

    Coming out of lurker mode because this letter made me so upset.
    .
    Please don’t put up with his BS a minute longer. You say you love him but nowhere in a six paragraph letter do you say anything positive about him, much less why you love him. You clearly don’t feel you can trust him if you think he would use any expressed insecurities against you. Why would you want to be with someone whose main contribution to your life seems to be tearing down your self esteem and self worth? He’s a bully and a creep who disrespects you and sounds like while he can dish it out 24/7, can’t take the slightest criticism and becomes defensive and turns things around to make himself the victim if you even think about calling him on his crap.
    .
    You have value. If he doesn’t see it, that’s his loss, it’s time to move on.

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  • avatar

    cyndi September 13, 2016, 5:06 am

    Dump the jerk. Appearances change, especially with age. What he told you was horrible. Looking back on my pics when I was your age-damn I looked good. I still look good even after 2 kids, surgeries and graying hair. My hubby loves me just the way I am and I love him- weight and all.
    No one deserves to feel the way you do and I agree with Wendy- no messaging etc.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie September 13, 2016, 6:14 am

    No. This is not normal. Someone who loves you does not put you down and make you feel bad about yourself. Someone who loves you encourages you to be your best person and loves you with all of your flaws.

    For your own health – MOA. You can’t change him.

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  • avatar

    em September 13, 2016, 8:42 am

    Dude is emotionally abusive. DTMFA and move on.

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning September 13, 2016, 2:32 pm

    “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.”
    Oh, he knows, he just doesn’t care that it hurts you.

    ” 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.”
    Don’t excuse his bad behavior, he’s not a child, he can help himself.

    This man is mean to you. Move on and figure out why you would let anyone treat you this way.

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  • avatar

    kali September 14, 2016, 3:37 pm

    I’m late to the discussion but this rang all sorts of alarm bells for me. My ex husband was super concerned about outward appearances and it all stemmed from his own sense of insecurities. In the end, we had a nasty, drawn-out divorce not precipitated by this preoccupation but his nasty comments certainly didn’t help.
    .
    You may want to get help dealing with your body issues but you don’t need this man. He has some *ish* to deal with and it’s not about you. RUN! Get away from this person. Find someone to love you for you, not what you look like. Looks fade, accidents happen — you don’t want to base your whole relationship on outward appearances.

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