“He Nags Me to Lose Weight”

My boyfriend and I have been together a little over two years and recently we’ve been fighting every week about my weight. He seemed really self-conscious about his body when we first started dating, so about a year ago, he began going to the gym to lift weights. This was fine, but he started to make rude comments about my not going with him to the gym. I did gain about 15 pounds the first year we were together, but I wanted to lose the weight for myself, not him. A few months ago, I decided to get serious and began losing weight. I’m now down 16 pounds and am pretty excited. I feel great about myself and am in the process of applying to art school as well. I feel like everything is going well… except with my boyfriend.

If I don’t feel like going to the gym one day, he gets upset. It seems like he’s in a rush to get me thinner, like he can’t wait to have a perfect girlfriend or something. Lately, I’ve been caught up in my school stuff and have neglected the gym for about four days in a row, so my boyfriend said that all I do is sleep all day when I could be at the gym. When he says hurtful things like that and I tell him it’s rude, he says, “I’m just being honest.” Whenever I tell him how I feel he laughs it off or says I’m being ridiculous.

I think part of the problem may be that he feels threatened that I know what I want and am on track with my life, but his company is on the verge of collapse and he has no degree to fall back on. I have encouraged and continue to encourage him to go back to school, but he gives excuses about being too old (he’s only 27) and not being able to afford it (there’s always a way).

When I try to tell him how I feel, he refuses to listen and rationalizes why I’m wrong and he’s right. Is he being controlling like I think he is, or am I being lazy and unmotivated like he says I am? I don’t know anymore. It’s to the point where I’m unhappy with him and the person he makes me out to be. — Weight on my Shoulders

Don’t you already know the answers to the questions you’re asking? If you’re lazy and unmotivated, how have you lost 16 pounds in the last few months? Why are you applying to art school and looking forward to the path you’re creating? That doesn’t sound like someone who’s unmotivated. And as for your boyfriend, if you feel like your protests against his controlling behavior are laughed off or otherwise not taken seriously, then why are you still with him?

It sounds to me like you’re looking for ways to justify behavior that you know is bad. “He’s unhappy with his career.” And: “Maybe I’m just lazy.” No, maybe your boyfriend is an asshole. Maybe he’s unhappy with himself so he wants to make you unhappy with yourself so you can both be miserable together (misery, after all, loves company). Maybe he wants to manipulate you into thinking you aren’t good enough for anyone else and you’re lucky to have him. But you are your own person. You are not an extension of him; you’re not his puppet. Don’t let him tell you how to live your life. In fact, maybe don’t even let him be a part of your life anymore.

One of the biggest frustrations I have as an advice columnist is reading letter after letter after letter from people who should not be in the relationships they’re in but who want desperately to make them work. Why? Because they’re afraid to be alone? Because they think if they hang in there long enough they can turn the person they’re with into the person they want him to be? Because there was once a spark so they believe they can somehow reignite it even if years have passed since that flame went out?

Sometimes — lots of times — relationships change for the worse and they never go back to how they were before. It doesn’t mean it was a mistake to have gotten together in the first place (though sometimes it does), but it does mean it’s a mistake to continue staying together. Maybe that’s where you are now. Nothing in your letter indicated you still have feelings for your boyfriend. You didn’t say one positive thing about him or your relationship. In fact, you said everything in your life was going well except with your boyfriend. So … MOA.

What is there to fight for? It’s not like you’ve been married for years and have a family together you don’t want to break up. If the guy makes you feel shitty about yourself and he’s so busy pumping iron all the time to even be any fun to be around, why stick with him?

If I’d already lost more weight than I’d gained since meeting my current significant other and he still made me feel awful about not going to the gym every damn day, I’d dump his ass faster than he could count his first rep. If you can think of a good reason not to dump him, then by all means, stay with the emotional abuser. But don’t expect him to change — at least not for the better. Dipshits rarely do.

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


  1. I agree with Wendy. Sounds like it’s time to MOA.
    A good partner should love you, respect you, support you, and it doesn’t sound like he does any of these things!
    You sound like you’re on the right path in your life…you’ve lost weight, you’re working towards a career…now you just need to dump this dud and you’ll be in a better position to find someone else who will appreciate you the way you deserve!
    Good luck, LW!

      1. I really liked that article. True dat. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow. This guy sounds like an asshole, seriously. He seriously wants to spend every day at the gym? Sounds like a lame life to me. Part of the greatness of being in a relationship is letting go together and enjoying fun activities, good food, and good drinks. It is great to work out together, but only when both of you want to. It sounds like he is bullying you into working out, which is not fair to you.

    You may be right that he is threatened by your successful career path and recent weight loss…or he may just be a controlling shallow asshole who won’t be happy until he has a size zero model on his arm with fake boobs and fake blonde hair. My best friend just got out of a relationship with a guy like that. After she had their child, she lost 30 lbs and went back to work full time with a big promotion…she would work all day and come home, attempt to enjoy ONE meal and he would harass her about how she doesn’t need to eat and she’s going to get fat again. She was never fat to begin with. Needless to say, she dumped his ass finally and is much happier now.

    Personally, I would MOA as soon as possible. You deserve to be with a man who will tell you how beautiful you are, even if you do gain 10 lbs.

    1. Will.i.am says:

      In a nutshell, your boyfriend has very low self esteem. It stinks of it when he gets on to you for skipping the gym. Basically, the guy he was was the heftier guy before he decided to lose all the weight. The new, inshape guy, is nothing but smoke and mirrors. He thinks he wants the thin and petite girl, but that is ultimately who he’s lusted over for years.

      I would either dump this clown and look for a better mate, or stand up and tell him he’s being a grade A douchebag. He’s also 27 and taking out all his personal frustrations out on you. Much like what Wendy said, he wants you to be like him, because his life is shallow and meaningless and you have golas that can ultimately take you somewhere.

      All this guy has is the muscles that he has put on at the gym. He has no sense of character or emotion that would attract anything outside of a shallow bimbo. He clearly wants to make you into that bimbo, but you have no desire to be that way. I think it’s time to focus on you and let him focus on himself.

      1. Perfectly said!

  3. callmehobo says:

    Hey LW,

    Just chiming in to remind you of the last line in your letter- “It’s to the point where I’m unhappy with him and the person he makes me out to be.”

    Sooo, do you want to feel like this every day for the rest of your life? If not, please dump him. It won’t get better, and it’s definitely not worth throwing your self-esteem away over.

    I gained 20 lbs in my relationship, and my boyfriend mentioned (not accused) that I was bigger. It took me a whole year, but I lost 25 lbs. You know what? He was nothing but supportive, and even now tells me how proud he is that I lost the weight all on my own. He doesn’t nag me to get smaller, he doesn’t try to hurt my feelings.

    Seriously, there are good men out there. You just have to get rid of the losers first.

    1. I want to point out how awesome I think it is that you took your boyfriends gentle comment constructively. I gained 15 pounds over the course of my relationship with my bf, and I freaked out a bit when he gently asked if I wanted to start eating healthy with him. It took me a while to realize he was trying to be constructive and focusing on our mutual health rather than just looks and weight. Kudos to you and great job on the weight loss!

      1. theattack says:

        Wow, you two are so calm and rational about this. I would probably never get over that.

  4. If nothing else in your letter was true except for the part where he laughs off your concerns and tells you you are being ridiculous, you should move on. If everything was true then I’m sorry for you – surely you know you deserve so much more? It doesn’t matter if you boyfriend is stressed or unskilled or whatever else he may be, he doesn’t get to barrage you with unwarranted negative comments to try and make himself feel superior and you too despondent to realize you should have already left.

  5. oppositeofzen says:

    Congrats on your weight loss!

    Wendy’s advice is spot-on. Why would you stay with someone how make you feel horrible about yourself? I understand that’s it could be easier to stay with him and think that you are lazy and unmotivated (I had an emotional abusive ex), but look around you. You’ve dropped 16 lbs in 4 months (which is no easy feat), you’re applying to art school and are getting your life together. What is he doing, besides going to the gym?

    27 is not too old to go to school. I just turned 27 and am still in school. We have another student (she graduated with her undergrad last fall and started her MS this semester) and she’s old enough to be my mother.

    I know it’s hard to hear, but you are not lazy and unmotivated. It sounds like your guy is and he doesn’t want you to do better than him. Break-up with him, take some time for yourself, and make yourself happy!

    1. We had a woman when I was an undergrad who turned 63 the day after graduation. Its never to late. My mom finished her bachelor’s the year I started college.

    2. theattack says:

      About a third of the people in my graduating class are 35+. It’s not that uncommon at all!

  6. ReginaRey says:

    LW – I once read a memoir in which the author was discussing her unhealthy marriage. In one very memorable passage, she described how her husband was always picking on the way her hair looked in the morning. She couldn’t understand why her unruly morning hair was such a big annoyance to him; when you live with someone, you’re bound to see them looking less than put together. That is, until she realized this, which I’m going to paraphrase: “I realized that when you love someone, you’re able to look past the little imperfections that may annoy other people about you. He didn’t love me anymore, and so every imperfection grated on him.”

    On top of your boyfriend being insecure with himself, as well as a plain old asshole, I don’t think he’s in love with you anymore. I think his constant pressuring of you to go to the gym is partially borne of the fact that your slight imperfections, which every human being has, aren’t being viewed through rose-colored glasses anymore. Picking on your imperfections is his way of addressing what the REAL issue is – He’s not happy with himself, nor the relationship.

    There is nothing left in this relationship to stay for. Your boyfriend is treating your terribly, he doesn’t seem to love you anymore, and you didn’t mention once that YOU still loved HIM. As a rule of thumb, you should never, ever stay with someone who makes you feel worse about yourself.

    1. “I realized that when you love someone, you’re able to look past the little imperfections that may annoy other people about you. He didn’t love me anymore, and so every imperfection grated on him.”

      Have to remember that one…

      1. ReginaRey says:

        And the thing is, I know what this feels like. When I was nearing the end of my relationship with my most recent ex-boyfriend, little things about him started to bug me. Like the fact that his hairline was starting to recede and he was going to be bald one day; like the way he said certain words; like the way he kissed. I felt like an awful person for having those negative thoughts, and maybe I was, but reading that passage hit home for me. The reason I was annoyed by those things was because I was mentally over the relationship.

      2. I’ve been there too. It’s not a fun place to be.

      3. Flanagan.er says:

        My biggest indication that a relationship has bee about to end is that they guy starts to smell bad to me. It isn’t b.o. Or anything, he smells the same as he always did, it’s just now the smell makes me a little nauseous.

      4. I know great…

  7. Just a question, what do you think needs to change in the relationship in order for both of you to be happy?

    I am guessing that in order to be happy, you need a partner that will love, respect and support you, and will be proud of your achievements. Do you have that? If the answer is “no”, then this relationship is wrong for you.

    In order for your BF to be happy (because I am pretty sure he is as miserable as he wants you to be), he needs to be in a place where he can be secure enough with himself so that he can be a best partner possible. It doesn’t sound that he is there yet, for whatever reason.

    So to answer your question, after you have made all the reasonable and “required” effort to try and improve the relationship, you have a full right to move on. Go ahead and enroll in the art school, continue going to the gym for YOUR OWN satisfaction, and you will naturally find a guy that will be drawn to the real person that you are. And I promise you, neither of you will want to change that person.

  8. I think one of the reasons it’s wise to wait until you’re older to get married, or that it seems people go through so many relationships when they’re young, is that its hard to stay stable in a relationship until you are satisfied and settled with who you are and what your life is like.

    Obviously your boyfriend is being a jerk, but I don’t think it’s because he’s inherently a bad person. It’s just you guys are growing as people and growing apart. He’s not happy with where his life is, and maybe you remind him of his past. Or maybe he’s jealous of you moving forward. Or maybe he just wants a fresh start so he can become the person he wants to be. But instead of processing his feelings that he doesn’t want to be in this relationship anymore, he’s just being a total dick. In any case, I’d say this relationship is over.

    It sounds like the LW is embarking on a new phase of her life and she’d be better off without this negative guy in her life anyway.

  9. pamplemousse says:

    Agree with Wendy so hard on this one. There’s pretty much never an excuse for a significant other to call you lazy. It doesn’t matter what his justifications are (actually, it’s probably even worse if he tries to justify it being okay), he doesn’t respect you.

    So really, all of your other questions are moot, because you deserve more than what your boyfriend is giving you. Congratulations on taking control of your weight and being on the path to art school. I figured I should tell you that since he probably didn’t.

  10. Not only does it take time and physical energy to exercise on a regular basis, it takes emotional energy. It takes emotional energy to set high goals for yourself that you then worry you won’t reach (and I think working out 2 or 3 times a week is a pretty damn good goal, let alone every day), it takes emotional energy to force yourself to work out on days that you don’t feel like it, and it takes emotional energy to get back to it when you inevitably fall off the wagon. It’s awesome that your boyfriend has prioritized working out so high and is accomplishing so much, but for you to do the same would be to sacrifice the energy it would take to do other things. You might have time to go to the gym every day, but you might not have enough emotional energy available to tackle that and all the other things in your life that you currently (and rightfully!) prioritize higher. As important as exercise is, unless you have serious health issues that you’re trying to address you’re probably going to get a much higher return by devoting your energy to your career or otherwise keeping your life “on track” than working out every single day.

    The fact that your boyfriend can’t see that means that he’s not only being a jerk, but he’s unwilling or unable to view you as an independent person with your own goals and priorities that don’t perfectly align with his. If it were me, I’d MOA already right now. You could try talking to him but unless you get a straight answer and acknowledgement of the fact that just because exercise is the most important thing in his life that it doesn’t have to be the most important (or even second, or tenth!) thing in yours, that you are DIFFERENT PEOPLE, it doesn’t sound like you have a lot to save.

  11. caitie_didn't says:

    DTMFA, girl. He is gaslighting you. He is belittling you. Don’t tolerate that b.s.

  12. moonflowers says:

    I’m no psychologist, and armchair diagnoses are always iffy, but your boyfriend sounds narcissistic to me. Overly focused on appearance, projecting his own traits onto you (lazy, unmotivated, unfocused), and trying to control your behavior to match his.

    The reason why you might be feeling so unsure of yourself and who you are is that he’s subconsciously intentionally working at making you feel that way. Narcissists don’t love insomuch as control people – and what your boyfriend is doing, if he’s aware of how you’re being hurt but keeps it up anyway, is highly controlling. And love and control don’t go together at all.

    If he’s really a narcissist, there’s very little chance he’ll change. It’s time to MOA.

  13. Guy Friday says:

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing that this relationship is unhealthy for you or saying that the advice to move on isn’t valid, but this portion bothered me a little:

    “I think part of the problem may be that he feels threatened that I know what I want and am on track with my life, but his company is on the verge of collapse and he has no degree to fall back on. I have encouraged and continue to encourage him to go back to school, but he gives excuses about being too old (he’s only 27) and not being able to afford it (there’s always a way).”

    Maybe I’m oversensitive this morning, but when I read that in the context of the dispute you’re having with your boyfriend about working out, it kind of made me wonder whether you’re not doing the exact same thing to him that he’s doing to you but not recognizing it. I know some people are going to say that there’s a HUGE difference between “encouraging” and “berating”, and they’d be right, but those parentheticals seem to give the distinct impression that you feel his excuses for not going back to school are crap, which to me is as unfair to think as his belief that you’re being lazy and unmotivated.

    It’s easy to look at this guy and say “He’s a douche, and mean, and he’s just bitter that I’m better than him right now”, and maybe that’s actually the truth of the matter. But another way of looking at it could very well be, “His company is about to collapse, and he’s realizing now that he’s got no Plan B, so he’s panicking and throwing himself into the one thing he has absolute control over: working out.” That doesn’t justify his statements by any means, but if your boyfriend is the kind of macho, likes-to-take-care-of-you guy that I’d imagine would turn to weightlifting as a way to feel better about himself, it would make a great deal of sense. I would argue that having his world fall down around him like this could be as traumatic as the loss of a family member, and when LWs have written in with that situation in the past the general advice has been “Walk away when you decide it’s getting too unhealthy for you, but otherwise there’s nothing wrong with giving him a wide berth and letting him sort out these feelings and stresses on his own time.” And if that’s something you WANT to do, LW, you should feel free to (not that you needed the blessing of an anonymous stranger on the Internet to do something, but, hey, you wrote in 🙂 ). But there’s also no shame in saying “I can’t handle this” and walking away.

    1. silver_dragon_girl says:

      I totally agree with you, and you said it way better than I did. And as someone who’s looking at going back to school soon, myself, well…YES I know there’s always a way, and YES I know it’s the right decision in the long term, but knowing those two things doesn’t take away ANY of the stress of making that commitment and spending that much money.

      So yes, LW, there’s no shame in walking away if this isn’t working for you, but I really, really think there are deeper issues at play here than your bf just wanting you to be skinnier.

      1. You both are making it seem like he’s going through this traumatic ordeal and she can’t handle it and you’re then even giving her permission to walk away as if she got herself in too deep or something. Like somehow she should stick it out and be more supportive. But that’s not really the full picture the LW told us:

        “so my boyfriend said that all I do is sleep all day when I could be at the gym. When he says hurtful things like that and I tell him it’s rude, he says, “I’m just being honest.” Whenever I tell him how I feel he laughs it off or says I’m being ridiculous.”

        I draw the big MOA line at this part. Even if he is going through these hardships, which do suck, he has no right to make her feel like shit, and not listen to how he makes her feel, nor care about how he makes her feel. He is no longer taking into account her, as another person who has opinions, emotions or agency. So for me thats a big signal that if things get crappy down the road his instinct is to lash out at her and project his stressors on to her. um no thank you.

      2. silver_dragon_girl says:

        You’re right, he has no right to make her feel like shit. I just think that if the LW really wants to, there are some conversational things she could try to get through this and help this guy see how much he’s hurting her. But that’s up to her. If she’s at the end of her rope and wants to leave, she should. The one thing she should NOT do is just continue to take this from this guy. I’m not trying to defend his behavior at all, I’m just trying to point out what the reasons for it probably are.

    2. Yea, it is wierd to say “He must think I am not pretty enough because he doesn’t like his job.”

  14. OMG, run. Run fast and don’t look back.

    He’s already making you doubt yourself. Eating away at your self-confidence. Try to imagine what your life will be like 20 years down the road, if you marry this guy.

    A friend of mine is living that nightmare. Over 20 years of marriage, “you need to go the gym” became “I’m ashamed to be seen in public with you.” and “you’re stupid” and “you disgust me.” And she slowly went from a strong, confident, happy woman to a person in a permanent defensive crouch, with zero self-esteem, almost ashamed to leave the house, constantly second-guessing herself. And she ended up gaining weight, from the stress of the constant criticism. And then he left her.

    MOA now. Please.

  15. I want to take a different perspective on this guy because I read this letter in a different way. Men motivate each other differently. They will tell each other, “Get your lazy ass to the gym.” And he might be treating you the way he would treat a friend. He also might be wanting to share his new passion with you. There is no question that he changed and you need to decide if you like the guy he changed into.

    My husband and I are both training for a half marathon. When we are getting ready for the long runs, and one of us is dragging our feet, we push each other. We push each other to get out the door and to run a little faster and a little longer. He might be looking at this as a shared goal that he doesn’t realize you aren’t sharing. Noone can make you feel bad about yourself, you have to let them. Are you being to sensitive? I don’t know. But I think you need to sit down and really talk about this and get to the bottom of his behavior.

    1. GatorGirl says:

      I think the relationship between you and your husband is different than the LW’s. You two are mutually supporting each other and agree on the manner in which you support each other. The LW has told her BF she doesn’t like the things he says and he laughs or says she is ridiculous. I think you’re definitely right that there are a lot of instances where men and women communcate differently, but this guy just seems like a butthead. I agree the LW needs to do some sole searching.

      1. he totally might be a butthead. But he might not know really how she feels. If he laughs, he might not understand.

    2. My husband and I are not training for a half marathon, but we are each other’s workout buddies. If I bail on the gym for a week, he’ll leave a post-it note on my nightstand saying “Gym or bust this morning Wife”. It’s a joke, it makes me laugh, and I grumble and get of bed and throw on my gym clothes. That’s a shared goal, that’s support. I do the same to him when he forgets.

      Belittling someone for missing a few gym days, who has already lost 16 pounds in 4 months? Making someone miserable, insecure, etc? No, that’s not support. You can push someone and be supportive without being an insensitive asshole.

      1. I guess i see it as all in the tone of voice. Like saying “you’ve been sitting all day! lets go” is true for me every day. I am sitting at my desk right now…working, but sitting. And I wonder if she has made off hand comments about it being rude or has she really sat him down and talked to him. Like does she just say, “that’s rude.” or does she really explain. I think she is projecting alot. He does not say she is fat, “at least not in this letter.” he is saying ,”lets be active”. When these conversations are coming up, they must be sitting watching tv or reading. They are not at the climbing gym or shopping or line dancing when this conversation comes up. I say things all the time about doing something, not just being a tv zombie.

      2. “He does not say she is fat”- this reaction is so interesting for me, people are drawing the line at this little statement at if he said that well then yes he would be out of line and how terrible. I’ve never experienced how much people are afraid of the word ‘fat’ so much before. It really speaks to our cultures fat phobia, without even knowing if the 15 lbs the LW gained actually makes her overweight, fat (oo i said it) or simply more filled out.

      3. Very true. But I think saying “we should be more active and not sit all day.” can be said to fat or thin people. Him saying, “your disgusting and fat” is an insult. I think because one is a lifestyle and one is a physical insult that I draw that line.

      4. hmm. Is it still a physical insult if it is true? like the way you just used it to describe a group of people? I find that the use of the word towards individual is seen as alarming but once they become a gaggle of large people it seem ok to label them as such.

      5. In this situation, she has not changed since they started dating. She is the same weight as when they met. If he called her fat, then his expectations of her have changed. It would be mean because he is changing the rules and using that word to be hurtful. If he just wanted her to be skinny, she could still hang around and do nothing and just eat less. If he says, they need to be more active and he doesn’t want to waste his life hanging around watching tv. That is a different beast. It is about the life he wants to live outside of work not the way she looks in a tight dress.

      6. Regardless of what his intent is, he’s clearly hurting her feelings and making her feel like crap. She states in her letter, that she clearly sits down and tells him it’s rude and she doesn’t like it. He argues with her, says it’s not, and calls her ridiculous. In a healthy and happy relationship, you simply don’t make someone feel like crap repeatedly “to encourage them to adapt a lifestyle”. If it’s tone of what he’s saying or his approach, he should have been a little introspective after she said it was rude the first time, and changed his approach.

      7. I don’t think she has sat him down. I think he said, go to the gym, and she said, that’s rude and that was that. I am totally for her sitting down and talking to him. But I think this is about her being lazy and not doing anything in his eyes then just the gym. Obviously, we don’t have all the information but she should think about every comment here and ask herself if he is being abusive or does he have a point.

  16. silver_dragon_girl says:

    Let me preface this by saying that I agree with everyone else, it’s probably time to MOA.

    That being said, I’m not sure the bf here is such a controlling asshole as everyone’s making him out to be. I think he’s probably super, super stressed that his company is “on the verge of collapse” and worried about his future, and he’s just in kind of a “I feel like I can’t do anything to solve my problems.” And what do a lot of people tend to do in that situation? They control whatever they CAN change. He is focused on fitness, so to him, the gym has become the most important thing in his life, because it’s something he can control.

    LW, I think you’re right and he DOES feel threatened by your success, because he just keeps experiencing professional failure. So now he’s trying to get you as into the gym as he is, as a way of keeping you closer. He’s nagging you about it because it’s probably to the point where he feels like that’s all you have in common anymore.

    Or maybe he just is an asshole who thinks he needs a size-zero girlfriend, I don’t know. I just wanted to point out what I see as his motivations here.

    So what should you do? Well, I think that after two years you should give this one more shot- sit down and talk about it, but not in a “stop nagging me to go work out” way. Try talking about the deeper issues here- how are you? What are YOU worried about? Why? What could I do to help you worry less about work? (Not that it’s your responsibility to solve his problems or anything, I’m just suggesting this conversational tactic to get to the heart of this issue)

    I just have a feeling that all this gym stuff is a symptom of your bf’s real problems.

    Of course, if this doesn’t work, if he refuses to talk about it, then I think it’s time for the “we’ve grown apart and it’s time to take a break” talk. Because you definitely deserve to be with someone who makes you feel GOOD about yourself. Don’t settle for this nitpicking bs any longer.

    1. The length of this relationships is what stops me from an immediate MOA, if this behavior is truly and honestly unlike him then it can’t hurt to ask him him what’s really wrong. You’ll definitely know by his response to immediately MOA, if he is apologetic or rants about you being unmotivated.

      “What’s wrong, you’re really taking it out personally on me today.”

      I say “today” for a reason, because I would not tolerate that for a moment. I would ask him within minutes/hours of him being crabby or vice versa, we don’t let things get to the point of fighting for weeks on end. I

  17. Wendy’s so right. I thought this was the flip side of one of those letters that is about a partner whose gained weight and how to nicely help them lose it (you know, going to the gym and asking if they want to join), but then I saw that she’d lost all the weight she’d gained. A few commenters are giving reasons why the boyfriend isn’t an asshole (that he’s under stress, that he’s trying to be motivational, etc.). But look, he’s an adult. He should be able to determine the difference between being an asshole and not. If this is his way of motivating or relieving stress, it doesn’t seem all that different to me — it just means his tactic involves being an ass. I say this in response to a lot of LWs, but there are plenty of guys out there who don’t , so you don’t have to stick with one who does. When I first started reading,

    1. I agree with you. I understand that deeper issues may be at work but that still doesn’t justify the boyfriend taking out on his partner.
      I always get frustrated when people advocate treating the offending party with kid gloves so as to not hurt their feelings … as you gently explain that they have been destroying your self-esteem and that constantly calling you names is hurtful. I don’t know if the boyfriend deliberately intends to be an ass or if he passively is aware that his behaviour has crossed a line – but, even if not deliberately intended, I think the problem is that SHOULDN’T he be aware? Where is line drawn that delineates the standard of acceptable conduct?

  18. John Rohan says:

    This might not win me a popularity contest here, but I would like to interrupt the lynching in these comments for another perspective.

    Even in the few weeks I’ve been reading “Dear Wendy” I’ve already seen, at least twice, women follow up on their letters to ask the commenters here to put away their pitchforks and let us know that their partner is not the antichrist incarnate after all. This is another letter that just screams out to become another one of those.

    At the very least, the torrent of abuse on this guy is way over the top. What did he do that is “emotionally abusive”? He hasn’t been calling her names like “fat” or insulting her looks. He complained that she slept in when she could have gone to the gym. Rude? Yes (he’s not her parent, after all). Abusive? Really? (If so, then I’ve been “abused” in that manner by every woman I’ve ever known). And when you take into account that these letters tend to portray the other person in the worst light possible, that’s particularly weak evidence of abuse.

    Wendy asks “what’s there to fight for”? Since they’ve been together for TWO YEARS, I’m assuming the bf has many good traits. She doesn’t mention them in the letter because space is limited and that’s not the subject here – she is writing here about a problem after all, she didn’t write “Dear Wendy” to sing praises about someone.

    And a question for Wendy too. If the gender roles were reversed, and it was the girlfriend going to the gym regularly and nagging the bf about it, would you still call her an “emotional abuser” and a “dips**t”? Seriously?

    Now, having said all that, the last line in the letter is probably the most relevant. If you are really unhappy over this, and he won’t change, then yes, it’s time to MOA. But tell him what’s wrong and give him a chance to change first (the letter said she’s told him her feelings, but it’s not clear if she told him how serious this problem is to her).

    1. John, I know we will mostly always disagree,(above case in point) but I kinda love your trust and optimism in other peoples personal choices and their relationships. Its refreshing, (though possibly a little dangerous) and makes me wonder about the types of relationships that have been modeled in and around your life. They seem pretty great and thats a model that most people have seen too little of.

    2. Well, if the situation were reversed I’d also think it’s emotional abuse.

      He says things that hurt her. Maybe he’s not calling her names, but you can hurt people other ways. When she tells him that it hurts, he dismiss her feelings. That right there is emotional abuse.

      I think you’re just a troll, bro. A pretty successful one.

      1. Guy Friday says:

        Nothing he has said here justifies his being called a troll AT. ALL. He’s calling people out for calling this “abuse”, which, while I don’t agree with his perspective, is not an invalid or unreasonable perspective to have.

        The solution to disliking someone’s post here is not an ad hominem attack; it’s simply scrolling past it.

      2. We definitely have different versions of what a ‘troll’ means. He doesn’t need to be a 12 year old writing in all caps to qualify as one.

        Urbandictionary says Troll: One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

        Every comment I’ve seen of John is of him dissagreeing with everyone else. Not doing so in all caps and yelling profanity is what get him to be taken seriously, which provokes a response from everyone who dissagrees with him, which is every troll’s wet dream.

        In any case, my point is: a successful troll is a subtle one. The ultimate troll is one who trolls and the trolled don’t realize they’re being trolled.

      3. actually agreed that she should move on, he just doesn’t agree with how everyone on here is tearing into this guy with the little amount of information they got. Like he said I’m sure she over dramatizing the story to make it seem worse, and under stating how she actually talks to him about going back to school.

        It is like yesterday I went to pick my car up at a parking garage in New York, and they chared us about $30.00 more than they quoted us. So when they wouldn’t change the price, we asked them to call their supervisor to see if he could help us. Well the parking attendant gave only his side of the story to the supervisor, hung up the phone and told us there was nothing he could do. So we had to ask a different employee to call back the supervisor so we could actually to talk to him, and once we did, and explained what actually happened the supervisor agreed that we were getting overcharged, and had them change the price.

        The truth is we don’t always get the truth here from letter writes, and this one definitely feels like there is more to it on both sides of the equation.

      4. I disagree with most of John’s post (and I really tire of hearing the “if the roles were reversed” argument on here), but do you really think he was trying to cause “maximum disruption and argument”? If he wanted to do that, he should say something like, “LW probably is fat and needs to get her ass to the gym!” He has a couple different opinions from the majority that are pretty well-illustrated. I actually do agree with him on the point that many LWs probably unintentionally leave a lot of relevant information out of their letters due to space and to concentrating on the issues in question. I really disagree that he’s simply trying to stir up controversy. It’s pretty clear that he truly believes everything he said.

      5. By your definition, I think your comment technically qualifies as more of a “troll comment” than John’s 🙂

      6. Hah. You’re right xD

      7. John Rohan says:

        “When she tells him that it hurts, he dismiss her feelings. That right there is emotional abuse.”

        And when he says (as I’m sure he will) that she dismisses his feelings, is she emotionally abusing him too? All couples do this to a certain extent (so do my kids). If that’s enough to hit the threshold for “emotional abuse”, then it actually cheapens the seriousness of the term.

        “I think you’re just a troll, bro”

        Based on what? Maybe you can lay off the name-calling. It’s not productive and I don’t see anything in my comment that fits the definition of a “troll”.

        Or do you consider everyone who disagrees with you a “troll”? If so, then be prepared for this thing called life. There will be “trolls” everywhere.

      8. I don’t think he’s a troll, just the Rescuer of Men on DW.

    3. ReginaRey says:

      Personally, if the roles were reversed here, I’d still be concerned that emotional abuse was going on if one person, regardless of gender, was trying to manipulate their significant other through guilt-trips about weight and going to the gym.

      This behavior isn’t just “rude.” He’s guilt-tripping her and trying to manipulate her emotions in order to get her to behave the way he wants. How can you possibly write that off as merely “rude”? She specifically mentioned that whenever she tries to talk about this with him, he refuses to listen and berates her further.

      I don’t really care if this dude is stressed out because of his job. I don’t really care that he’s probably using the gym as a way to control what little in his life feels “controllable.” There’s still no excuse to manipulate a significant other in order to feel better about yourself. Not everyone who’s down on their luck resorts to controlling, unhealthy behavior in their relationship. THAT makes him an asshole in my book.

    4. I’m with you on this one… so far haha. Who know’s what you will type next though!

    5. He makes her feel badly, he makes her feel fat, he makes her feel lazy. She tries to talk to him about it and he dismisses her concerns.

      Reverse that:
      She makes him feel badly, she makes him feel fat, she makes him feel lazy. He tries to talk to her about it and she dismisses his concerns.

      Yep, that’s assholery no matter who is perpetuating it. I would say the same thing no matter who wrote the letter. If you tell your partner that something he or she does makes you unhappy or hurt, and they ignore that, then that’s fucked up and you need to seriously evaluate why you are in the relationship.

    6. I think the consensus is that any type of systematic behaviour that consistently undermines another person’s self-esteem or confidence is emotionally abusive, particularly when the offender has been asked to stop and is dismissive of those pleas. I’m sure some people intend to be this way – they are abusive by nature; and some others are perhaps wilfully blind to their behaviour. Being wilfully blind because you are consumed with your own life, stresses, or priorities doesn’t excuse the harm you are doing to someone else though.
      Truly I think these types of situations have two options – either one person’s behaviour is out of line or the other’s person’s expectations are way off. This is what the LW asked – is she correct in her assessment or is the boyfriend right in acting the way he does.
      I think most people were clear in answering her – I don’t think the answers would have changed because of gender – I know mine wouldn’t.

    7. landygirl says:

      You always seem to have issues with the women’s responses in here. Taking gender out of it, what the partner is doing is shrugging off their part of the problem and totally putting it on the other person and making them question themselves. In a way, it’s like Stockholm Syndrome, this person is trying to undermine the arguement and the partner as to avoid any personal responsibility in the situation.

    8. ReginaRey says:

      Let me add something to this debate – I’m kind of tired of my gender constantly being brought up around here. Is this a site full of women? Yes. Does that mean that every opinion we give, every thought we have, means we’re automatically prejudiced because we’re women, and because the Letter Writers are usually women? NO.

      When I write a response, I write it from one PERSON (myself) to another PERSON (the LW). Does gender come into play? Of course. I can’t help the fact that I’m a woman, and my experienes and thoughts have been shaped thusly. Does that mean that I deserve to have every one of my opinions and responses critqued on the grounds of “you’re a woman and therefore you’re biased?” HELL NO.

      I think this LW’s boyfriend is manipulative. I would think that whether he were male or female, gay, straight or anything in between. And I reserve the right to have that opinion without my gender having to be brought into it.

      1. I so agree with this. And, also, if so many women obviously have the same opinion, then maybe that opinion is worth listening to.

      2. theattack says:

        Really, if a lot of _people_ have the same opinion, it’s worth listening to! If all of us had names here that didn’t indicate our genders, it would just be a popular opinion. Not a “woman’s” opinion.

      3. landygirl says:

        Thank you.

      4. Guy Friday says:

        Well, I know that *I* don’t personally judge your opinions as anything other than a PERSON’S opinions, regardless of whether you’re male, female, or some strange alien species that looks like a fruit tree 🙂 But let’s be fair here about two things:

        1.) It’s pretty clear that there are a good number of people — not everyone, but enough to be notable — who pretty quickly dismiss male opinions on matters like this one as being simply male-apologizers. Hell, I felt the need to couch my initial response to this post with what essentially amounted to me trying to say “I’m not saying the female perspective isn’t valid,” because I have on several occasions felt like if I didn’t say something like that, people would just see me as a guy, and “of course guys can’t know what this is like because you’re not a girl!”. So it’s not one-sided or anything.

        2.) Arguing that your opinions have been shaped by your gender and the experiences that have come by being that specific gender and then saying that your gender shouldn’t be brought into it seems a little hypocritical to me. Again, I completely agree that one’s gender shouldn’t render their opinions INVALID any more than one’s race, religion, height, weight, or shoe size would (which is to say, not at all). But I also don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone opposing your viewpoint to question whether your viewpoint is as it is to some degree because of your gender, particularly since no gender ever fully understands the other gender no matter how much they might want to.

        I like your comments, RR. I like reading them, and I particularly enjoyed your guest-posting when Wendy was on her maternity leave (for lack of a better term.) And I mean it sincerely when I say that I don’t really care what gender you are when you make your opinions. But I think it’s still worth recognizing that not everyone here is as open-minded and willing to consider the other side of things as you are. So while I would gladly call out anyone who tries to write you off because you’re a woman, I think it’s a lot like what I feel like posting here some days.

      5. I think I at least come from the perspective that its not war. That people feel and think things differently and will react to different things regardless of gender. So when it gets thrown in my face that ‘well as men…’ (often times its ‘this situation is totally fine’, or ‘she’s actually the one who is out of line’ or ‘its NBD, stop over-reaching’ it can be frustrating and seem counterproductive rather than just giving another perspective. Why not just state your opinion without throwing your whole gender group behind you? Like you state that “not everyone here is as open-minded and willing to consider the other side of things as you are” but why is the other side of something I or someone else says ‘the male side’, why isn’t it just Guy Fridays side/opinion or Savannah’s opinion?

      6. Guy Friday says:

        Well, it should be that way. And if there was a movement to make it so, sign me up. I was just commenting that, unfortunately, it’s hard not to reflexively go to the generalized “Well, speaking for all of my gender” when one feels like they aren’t being taken seriously. Again, I really do try to make a conscious effort NOT to do that, because I know it sucks when it happens to me; the times when I’ve responded and referenced something related to the “male perspective” have only been when I feel like it’s important to note something that I feel is pretty consistent across a broad swath of men (ex: guys tending to want to be the protector/provider). But when people have responded in the past — and I’m not necessarily talking about THIS post, because I’m not sure you could go there with this one — “She’s over reaching” or “She’s out of line”, they get dismissed or taken apart as out-of-touch or unreasonable or “a Rescuer of Men” (which, admittedly, you wrote, and I interpreted as a flippant and sarcastic comment about men being apologists for other men, though I may be reading you wrong on that one)

      7. Oh I just wrote that because I feel like John *only* comes out to play when there are these types of conversations going on, where as you and the other regular male commentators involve yourselves in a broad range of issues on DW.

      8. Guy Friday says:

        Fair enough. It just felt a little like I was being painted with the same brush he was, and that made me more defensive. Like I first said, I’m a little over-sensitive today; wedding planning — even with a woman who doesn’t yell at me for being lazy or not going to the gym as much as I should — is stressful! 🙂

      9. theattack says:

        That’s such a stereotypical man thing to say, GF.

      10. John Rohan says:

        I don’t recall bringing up your gender here. I simply asked Wendy if she would have also called the gf a “dipshit” if she was the one nagging about going to the gym. Maybe she would, but I just can’t picture her being as harsh in that situation.

    9. ActiasLuna says:

      Based on what the LW put in her letter, (we all know that sometimes LWs leave out important information or embellish) I still think that she is experiencing emotional abuse. Unfortunatly, emotional abuse is much less tangible than verbal orphysical abuse and sometimes hard to identify. Here are some ways to spot it:

      -Constantly putting you down
      -Making false accusations
      -Doesn’t accept or respect your decisions
      -Tells you what you “should” do
      -Makes you feel responsible for thier feelings
      -Ignores your feelings
      -Disrespects you
      -Withhold approval, appreciation or affection
      -Ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of humor
      -Criticize you, call you names, yell at you
      -Humiliate you privately or in public
      -Tell you you are too sensitive

      I know all of these don’t apply to the LW but based on the information she chose to share with us, her boyfriend has be doing a number of these.

      1. GatorGirl says:

        I really hope this comes from a realiable source, because I love this list. In my experience most people don’t understand emotional abuse.

    10. Just because someone has “good traits” and you stuck it out for two years, doesn’t mean you should stay in an satisifying relationship. I was with an ex-boyfriend for 4.5 years who was a generally nice, easy going guy. He was laid-back and likeable and had excellent taste in music and loved his family. He was also a violent arguer, called my friends uptight whores, and berated me when I went to college.

      The LW shouldn’t have to beg her boyfriend to see how serious it is. Telling someone to stop a behavior that they think is rude or not right, should be well respected in a relationship. I can’t imagine a scenario where if I insulted my husband with my tone or something I said, and he said it was rude and to please stop, would I laugh at him and continue to do it. Even if I don’t think it’s a huge issue, he clearly does, and if I love him, why would I just respect his feelings and change my approach? It’s really THAT easy in a healthy relationship.

      Is this boyfriend an asshole? Who knows, but is he being a caring, supportive partner? No.

      1. *unsatisfying relationship is what I meant to write. It’s been one of those days.

      2. “I can’t imagine a scenario where if I insulted my husband with my tone or something I said, and he said it was rude and to please stop, would I laugh at him and continue to do it”

        Yes! I wholeheartedly agree mandalee!I can’t fathom treating anyone that way- let alone someone I supposedly love.

        It is hard for me (or any of us) to say whether this is a clear cut case of emotional abuse. We have such little information. It certainly sounds like he is a bit of a bully and a jerk though. If your partner is telling you that what you are doing is hurtful and you laugh… there’ something wrong there.

        But, it certainly sounds like he makes her feel bad enough for her to leave. Unless the LW has some strong reasons to stay… but as far as what she’s told us… everything in her life is good EXCEPT him.

        And I would say the same exact thing if this were a man writing in about his girlfriend.

  19. Sue Jones says:

    This is abuse. MOA, DTMFA, etc etc. You don’t need this crap.

  20. ActiasLuna says:

    Hi! Long time reader, fist time commenting. I just want to emphasize to the LW that what she is experiencing IS emotional abuse. I would know, I have been there. LW please MOA before yourself doubts get any louder. “Is he being controlling like I think he is, or am I being lazy and unmotivated like he says I am? I don’t know anymore. It’s to the point where I’m unhappy with him and the person he makes me out to be.” If you hear something enough, it starts to take a hold of you. The longer you stay in this relationship, the longer it is going to take you to repair your self worth. Please MOA.

  21. I hate to be so blunt, but your boyfriend is a total asshole. You need to dump his ass and let him figure it out for himself. A man should not be telling you what to do at any juncture, and to tell you what to do with your body? Hmph! He should take a flying leap.

    If my husband ever made a comment to me about my weight, god help the fool!

    1. John Rohan says:

      The boyfriend in this letter didn’t make any comments about her weight. According to the letter, only about her not going to the gym. I get the feeling that some people here are so eager to join in on the man-bashing that they don’t even read the letters.

      1. “The boyfriend in this letter didn’t make any comments about her weight. According to the letter, only about her not going to the gym”
        …Alright you can be optimistic, but not *that* optimistic.

      2. John Rohan says:

        It’s not really being optimistic – I’m just pretty confident that if he was insulting her or disparaging her weight, then she would have mentioned that. It would have considerably strengthened her case that she was in the right.

      3. There is no fairy tales. But if/when my BF starts making me feel bad about myself, dismisses my feelings, calls me lazy on a consistent basis, for me it means that it is time to move on.

      4. Oops… wrong thread….

  22. http://www.thefrisky.com/2009-11-04/dear-wendy-my-boyfriends-getting-fat/

    “First of all, you are not wrong for feeling less attracted to your boyfriend because of his recent — and rapid — weight gain. What would be wrong is focusing solely on the attraction part of the equation rather than his health and pinpointing the reason for the weight gain. It’s unclear from your letter whether all his extra 40 pounds are a recent addition, or if he was already a bit overweight before he starting rapidly gaining.”

    Wendy, November 4, 2009.

    1. What’s your point?
      The LW in this case lost all the weight she gained — 15 pounds, not 40, by the way — and the questions in the letters are different. One is asking is it’s wrong that she feels less attracted to her boyfriend who has rapidly gained 40 pounds. The other is asking whether her boyfriend is being controlling by telling her to go to the gym every day even though she weighs less now than she did when they started dating.

      I know you’re trying to make it look like I’m a hypocrite or sexist somehow, but your “evidence” fails to prove that point as far as I’m concerned.

    2. And for the record, I’ve also advised women in the past to lose weight. I’ve done this on a variety letters — letters from women who feel self-conscious about their appearance, women who have gained a large amount of weight and no longer feel like their significant others are attracted to them, etc. I’ve written controversial advice in the past encouraging women to stay in shape for the health of their relationship. I stick by that advice. But in this case, in this particular letter, it doesn’t seem to me that the woman’s weight is an issue. What seems like an issue is that the boyfriend is a controlling, manipulative, emotionally abusive asshole and so that’s what I focused on in my advice.

      1. Trixy Minx says:

        Lets not feed the trolls.

    3. Addie Pray says:

      Is “gbm” Gay Bitter Mark? No wait, that would be Bitter Gay Mark. I can’t remember.

    4. …..yea, thats not even the same thing.

      sorry, just the topic of “weight” doesnt mean that the advice should be the same each time….

  23. If you’re unhappy in this relationship it’s time to move on. If you’ve explained to him how his comments are hurtful (which at least from the letter is sounds like you have) and he continues to treat you this way, I’d say he probably isn’t going to change. That being said I can see where after 2 years you might have difficulties walking away. You might try talking to him again about the way he’s making you feel (I’d leave your thoughts on his work/school out of this) and tell him how unhappy you are and that you plan on moving on from the relationship. From his reactions you’ve explained in the letter I wouldn’t be surprised if he reacts negatively to this but, perhaps him reacting that way will push you to leave. Which is what I definitely think you need to do.

  24. I think you should lose some weight. How much does he weigh? That’s about right.

  25. artsygirl says:

    There is a difference between being supportive of a partner and being a controlling nitpicking asshole. Guess which one your BF falls into. Instead of celebrating you accomplishments, your BF is berating and belittling you when he believes he has perceived character ‘flaw’. MOA before he browbeats you into submission.

  26. I’m not trying to be the devil’s advocate or anything (the guy is an ass, we know that), but is he taking ‘roids? If he’s so crazy about the gym maybe he started taking “supplements” to help him gain more muscle, and said supplements alter his mood big time.

    This doesn’t excuse his behaviour or anything, but if the LW wants to give him an ultimatum or one last chance or anything like that, and he actually is taking steroids, maybe they should talk about him dropping the pills since they make him an asshole.

    This is just speculation on my part. Maybe he isn’t taking anything. Maybe he’s taking stuff that doesn’t alter the mood (like protein shakes or uncooked eggs or whatever). Maybe he’s taking things that alter the mood, but that and his assholery are two unrelated issues.

  27. Look, I get that he is stressed. I get that he may actually think that he is motivating you to do better. BUT he is doing it WRONG. You’ve told him that his words are actually hurting you and your self esteem. He laughs it off and calls says that you are ridiculous. THAT is inexcusable. Dismissing your feelings and refusing to listen is inexcusable. Calling you lazy and playing on your insecurities is inexcusable. Basically, if your are such a bad GF, why the hell is he with you? Do him a favour, and move on.

  28. GatorGirl says:

    LW, it’s time to let this man go. A relationship filled with negativity is not a relationship at all. I too dated a boy like yours, for three years. He picked and picked and picked at me; telling me I was cheating on him, I was a drunk, I was stupid, etc etc etc. I am none of those things…but he was. He spent most of our relationship projecting his own insucurities and self hatered onto me. While I was wrapped up in the grips of this abusive relationship, it was really difficult for me to see what was going on. Now 4 and a half years after our break up, I can. Please take Wendy and the other commentors advice and walk away from this man. You say yourself “It’s to the point where I’m unhappy with him and the person he makes me out to be.” Why is there any question?



    For serious….I’m not sure I’d claim emotional abuse here…sounds like he never once has called her fat but is instead getting upset that she doesn’t have the same passions he does. Yea this could be that he secretly wants her to lose weight…just like this could secretly be stemming from his alleged inferiority complex…or more than likely they may have grown incompatible.

    Sounds to me like this guy wants an active lifestyle and nags his gf when she doesn’t fit his vision of that. They should reassess priorities and see if they are still aligned enough to work it out.

    1. Conversely this guy could think outside the box and do some outdoors stuff like kayaking or hiking if he wants to get his gf involved…the gym mantra just seems very beefcake to me.

    2. Does he have to call her fat for it to be abuse? I’m just curious because your the second guy to write that. Is that the threshold guys think of with this issue?

      1. oh no *You’re* ewww.

      2. No – I’m suggesting she is projecting her weight worries on him. He comes home from WORK and she tells him she has been SLEEPING all day..it sounds like to me that he has a perceived laziness pet peeve. Then in response to that comment he says “you didn’t even go to the gym?” or “you have been sitting around all day, come out to the gym with me”…both of these scenarios fit her description and I would describe neither as emotionally abusive. She then says “YOU THINK I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT!”…which if that wasn’t true…he would say…”you are being ridiculous”.

        My father would get upset with me if I lazed around the house all day growing up…with that logic I would have to think he emotionally abused me. I’m not saying people are wrong for thinking it is the case for the LW…but I think people really need to think about what they say on this website…it is an advice column…people’s words can weigh pretty heavy on someone’s mind / decision making. Just make sure it is warranted before you sling it is all.

      3. appending…I misread…she has been doing school stuff…he accused her of sleeping. This only changes my scenario slightly…

      4. This is actually a really good point. Since we don’t know if they have had a rational discussion about this (after the fact when she’s not still ticked at him for bringing it up), it could be that she is exaggerating. Maybe she wrote the letter when she was mad, and will come back with an update saying it’s not that bad. It’s tricky because you only get one side of the story. But, if he really does laugh at her when she calmly tells him her concerns, then he’s definitely an asshole.

      5. I’ll try again: I was not agreeing or disagreeing with the term abuse. I’m curious if you think if he called her fat, then would it be abuse and why? Because a good number of comments are saying ‘well its not abuse because he didn’t call her fat’ and I’m curious as to why people think that is a signal above others of abuse. And yes, school does change your scenario..more than just slightly.

      6. I don’t think school does change it. Reading about a few schools on the internet or downloading applications is a far cry from doing something “productive” if that’s the bfs problem… I’m not saying my scenario is what is happening I am saying it would still be a consistent situation with her mostly vague story. I want the update for this one.

        As far as your inquiry….no I don’t think the hard line is using the term fat. I have been a huge proponent of gray area ever since I started posting here. Manipulating her emotions with gym nagging if that is what is really happening is also abuse to me. but it isn’t clear to me in this case.

      7. I totally agree with you here. I don’t think this is abuse. He might not see how much studying she is doing but I know from when I was in college, there was alot of down time. I bet she has alot of down time and he is more upset that she isn’t filling it with something, anything. When the LW is thinking about these comments, she needs to wonder if her boyfriend has a point.

      8. Thank you. You articulated my point better than me. I get too lost in metaphors and it is way easy to shoot holes in my metaphorical story..haha..

      9. And obviously my brain is fried today…replace metaphors with hypothetical…fuck…

      10. I thought you needed some back up. Very rarely am I this far off from the group.

      11. So you think when she feels this way: “It’s to the point where I’m unhappy with him and the person he makes me out to be.” that her boyfriend has a point and she should think about modifying her behavior accordingly? I mean I’m with you until a certain point and that is her bf making her feel like shit point.

      12. No – if she is unhappy she should dump him. I just can’t label this guy an emotional abuser with the information in the letter…an inconsiderate ass hole? Potentially….

        I go back to my intial post where I said reassess the relationship and ask him WHY he stresses the gym so much…if he wants someone that is active and they fight about her “inactiveness” (according to his definition and observations – not saying he has a leg to stand on because I have no idea how the LW spends her time)…then they should move on from the relationship…they may not be the same two people they were when it started.

      13. And also…if he comes out and says she is too fat for him…well…then I guess he is an ass hole and a manipulator.

      14. I don’t think he is saying that she should unquestioningly change. He is asking her to look at things from his point of view and is there anything valid about what he says.

      15. ReginaRey says:

        Yeah, I agree. I don’t see why he has to outright call her “fat” in order for it to qualify as abuse. Last I checked, I don’t think abuse has to be blunt and direct to get qualified. I think this kind of manipulation, regardless of whether it’s direct, is abusive.

      16. John Rohan says:

        But it feels like the bar has been lowered so far on this site, that just making your partner “feel bad” about something = abuse.

        I do wonder what fairy tales relationships most women on this forum must have to set their bar so high. If I had a girlfriend whose only problem was nagging me to go to the gym, I would consider myself incredibly lucky.

      17. ReginaRey says:

        There’s a difference between making someone “feel bad” every once in a while, and being in a relationship that constantly makes you feel worse about who you are as a person. The former can happen in any relationship, in any squabble. The latter can’t happen unless you’re in a pretty unhealthy relationship, with someone who takes constant swings at your self-worth. That’s what he’s doing.

        I think you’re having a difficult time seeing things any other way than black and white. You don’t like that abuse can fall into a grey area. To that I say…open your mind. Above, you mentioned that he never called her “Fat.” Again with the black and white. So unless someone outright SAYS “you’re fat,” it doesn’t count? He has more than implied that he doesn’t want her to gain weight again, and he’s tried to control that by making her feel guilty about her gym habits.

        If you really think THAT and “nagging me to go to the gym” are the same thing, then I don’t know how to change your mind. All I can say is open your mind to the shades of grey in between the black and white you seem to see.

      18. I can’t give this enough thumbs up. The LW told us straight up that being with him makes her feel worse about herself. There’s a huge difference between making a comment that hurts someone’s feelings (and that you regret), and constantly belittling them for their choices.

        It bothers me when people make the argument that X is too “minor” to be considered emotional abuse because those are usually the same people who say “just get over it; they’re just words.” Being controlling and verbally judgmental/derisive all count as emotional abuse because they’re meant to manipulate someone into doing what you want them to do. The LW shouldn’t have to put up with that.

      19. John Rohan says:

        “I think you’re having a difficult time seeing things any other way than black and white. You don’t like that abuse can fall into a grey area. To that I say…open your mind.”

        OMG, are you joking?? Most people here (not me) are saying his comments automatically = abuse, and abuse automatically = MOA. Moreover, nearly everyone is also painting this man as a cartoon villain, and the LW as an innocent victim. If that’s not looking at it completely black & white, I don’t know what is!

        I’m the one who said that his comments don’t automatically amount to abuse (although they certainly could be; I’m not there to see it) and I’m the one who said that this letter is just screaming out for more context to fill the gaps.

        I’m not trying to be insulting, but I think you need to re-examine your own POV. In all fairness, I think I’m the one with the more open mind and looking at this as shades of gray, rather than a struggle between good & evil.

      20. 6napkinburger says:

        I’m sorry, I have to agree withg John rohan about the way we characterize abuse on this site. A person can feel “abused” without actually being “abused.” I think emotional abuse has a much higher bar than we give it here. That doesn’t mean that if it isn’t abuse, a person shouldn’t dump him or that is isn’t unhealthy for them. Of course they should and of course it might be. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself, or if that’s what you take away from your interactions with them, dump them and MOA! However, just b/c his behavior negatively affects her self esteem/confidence/worth doesn’t necessarily mean that he was actually being “abusive”, but it does necessarily mean she should not stay in that relationship.

        There is grey, but if you look at the spectrum, I don’t think abuse covers most of grey and all of black. I think its some of grey. It matters on his intent and his awareness, and how she perceives his actions as to whether or not he’s “abusive”; it only depends on how she perceives it to determine whether or not its a healthy situation for her.

      21. Britannia says:

        There’s a lot of grey area between being emotionally abusive and being a shitty romantic partner, and until you’re out of the grey and into the black, no one really should be called an abuser.

      22. There is no fairy tales. But if or when my BF starts making me feel bad about myself, dismisses my feelings, calls me lazy on a consistent basis, for me it means that it is time to move on.

      23. Wait, is the bar high or low? 2 bars? can we swing from one to another?

      24. John Rohan says:

        You need at least 2 bars to make a connection. At least on my cell phone.

      25. Expecting respect and consideration from your partner isn’t a fairy tale. You seem to be consistently missing the part where the boyfriend dismisses her concerns and ridicules them. This train left the “Feeling bad” station a couple of stops ago.

      26. landygirl says:

        You say things just to get a reaction. Just about everything you post tries to marginalize us and when you’re called on it, you deny it. If you aren’t a troll then maybe you’re a misogynist. I’m just being honest.

  30. I wish we had a “Like” button for Wendy’s responses.

  31. Will.i.am says:

    I have a theory on this and I want some help. Through the last 4 or 5 months that I’ve been online dating. I’ve noticed a pretty heavy trend with women. It seems the one’s that end up in these bad relationships, continue to seek these bad relationships. As in, they are naturally looking for the muscled up, trendy, metro-sexual guy (that they know statistically is a douchebag) hoping that they can change them into the prince charming they always wanted.

    Bad people come in all shapes and sizes, but generally the faker the person looks, the more shallow and heartless they are. Why do you think Jersey Shore works so well for ratings. They are super shallow people who are only attracted to other people like them.

    Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of women are scared to date again or take a chance because the last few guys she has been serious with, have treated her badly. I get that, since everyone has a story of a bad relationship, but why continue to punish the next guy that you are interested in. It seems so many of these women are so scared to take a chance, that the moment they decide to take a chance, guess who they end up with, another douchebag, because he fits the mold of what she has always been attracted too.

    In order to find true happiness, I think sometimes you have to completely step outside your comfort zone and experiment with something different. Your prior relationships haven’t worked and you need to ask yourself why they haven’t worked. More times than not, you have been dating the same person over and over again, they just came with different facial structures.

    Sorry to go on a rant, but this has been the thoughts that I have gathered on the 3 or 4 online dates that I’ve went on. Another thing I’ve noticed is the community seems to be riddled with women that have no direction. As in want to go to school, but haven’t step foot on a college campus in 4 years. Want a better job, but haven’t put in the effort to get a better job. Want to drive a car again, but have went without an automobile for 2 years. Sometimes you have to go through a period of struggle in order to accomplish the goals you want to set in your life.

    I lost 3 years of my social life to finish school and build a career. Now, I can sit more comfortably, take vacations and not worry about money so much, and I have a college degree to fallback on. Ultimately, focusing on those things caused me to lose focus on relationships, but it was sadly what happened in order for me to be able to take care of myself and provide a better life not only for myself, but potentially a significant other and children in the future.

    So women, keep going out there and getting what you want. Quit settling for these douchebags that look good in a tight polo or flannel shirt. Not that all these guys are douchebags, but you get the idea. Nothing is more attractive then a woman possibly struggling to accomplish her dreams!

    1. Addie Pray says:

      “the muscled up, trendy, metro-sexual guy” –> this image made me barf a little in my mouth. thanks for that. like i don’t see enough of that as i walk through Chicago’s viagra triangle hot spot on my way to hot yoga. hey, thanks for asking, today’s 6 am class was Day #17! … so annoying, i know. sorry, can’t help it, i am feeling GRRREAT! nothing can get me down. except for this image. (full circle).

      1. Will.i.am says:

        I’m not a muscled up guy by any means. I’m even a bit of the hefty side, but will probably end up changing that in the upcoming months. You are not liking Hell Yoga. As hard as it is, it’s very good for the heart, soul, mind, and body.

      2. Um, is it weird that I got really excited at the idea that we might go to the same bikram studio? I go to the 6 am class at mine, but only on weekends… i can’t work up the energy to go to a 6 am class and then spend the next 10 hours sitting behind a desk being lawyerly.

      3. Will.i.am says:

        If only that person was me.

      4. Addie Pray says:

        not weird! do you go to the studio at eire and state (in chicago)? i’m the person in the front who has been KICKING ASS lately. not to brag or anything, but my savasana is fierce. 😉

      5. Addie Pray says:

        oh and actually i can answer my own question – we don’t go to the same studio; the earliest class on the weekends at my studio is 8 am. too bad.

      6. Will.i.am says:

        We don’t even live in the same state. I do like the airport that is in Chicago. The O’Hare. Had to connect there a couple of times. I’m probably 1000 miles South of you in AR.

      7. Actually, yes I do!! CRAZY 🙂 I misspoke- i go to the 8 am class on weekends, but 8 am on a weekend FEELS like 6 am on a weekday. did i mention that i’m not a morning person? And i’m usually lurking in the back trying not to fall over… i think i’m going this saturday!

      8. Addie Pray says:

        I’ll see you there! Except I don’t know who you are…. But in any event, go to the 10 am class. 8 is too, too early.

    2. I stepped outside “the box” of what I thought I wanted in a guy and I found the man I hope will be my husband 🙂 so, I agree.

    3. *hug* I feel your pain, I really do. I hated the dating scene, and refused to do it when I separated from my last husband. The fact that I “fell” into my current SO was serendipity for the both of us. My “brother” had the same problem. At 6’4″ tall, thin, well-built (and good looking), he was always finding trashy women who wanted either a one-night thing, a sexual thing, or money and no substance. It took him a few years to find a decent woman, and every girl he’d run past me first. He married the one I approved of. *laugh* Hell, if he didn’t, I would have! She is no super model. Tall, yes. Thin, no. But, she is his equal. Intelligent, outdoorsy, loves to hunt, fish and go four-wheeling and camp.

      Sometimes, it does take time, but honestly, it’s better to take it slow than rush into the wrong match.

      1. Will.i.am says:

        Yeah, if I could fall into something that would be awesome. I’m not afraid of putting myself out there, but I also know online dating is a numbers game. It’s just an exhausting numbers game. I still go out to bars and clubs, but when we go, I go out with a group of friends. The last thing on my mind is looking for women, because that’s rude to my friends.

        Plus, all the little dates you go on where the relationship doesn’t go anywhere, is more money down the drain. Not that money is a burden, but I rather spend all the money on one person and build some happiness than 4 or 5 different people, that are too scared to go anywhere.

        Even when trying to talk about it with them and figure out why they are scared, they tend to always cling to, “he treated me badly and I’m afraid that will happen to me again.” Ok, why are you on a dating website, if you aren’t willing to take a chance and have a skyscraper wall up?

        As you can tell, I’m highly frustrated with it and ready for something a bit more meaningful then just dinner here and there, and useless texting.

      2. A large group of dudes is probably intimidating to unfamiliar women as well….I know when I’m out and see a girl I may be interested surrounded by her friends it pretty much deflates my “sack-up-and-talk-to-her” sack…I don’t have that kind of swag.

      3. Will.i.am says:

        Our group is always mixed. It’s never just guys, because that looks like you are out to play a numbers game of who can get the most numbers and ultimately get laid.

      4. 6napkinburger says:

        I’m going to let you in on a little secret: almost all those “he treated me badly” walls are because she’s not that into you. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a wall, it would be a part of her history. They aren’t “too scared” to let it “go anywhere.” There aren’t interested in it enough for it to go somewhere.

        Which makes your frustration unsurprising. But dude, your bitterness is off the charts. And I can’t imagine it doesn’t come through with your online and possibly in person conversations. You seem to resent the women who sleep with someone on the first date, possibly because they don’t do that with you?

        You say: “What really makes me laugh is the girl that doesn’t have a job or a car, but wants the successful, fit, homeowner, devoted family man as a mate. I’ve read those and just think what planet are you from. 9/10 that guy is not looking to settle with a woman with no car and no job”.

        First of all, in my experience, that is categorically untrue. It probably depends on how hot she is or how awesome she is, or a mix of both. Second, you seem to think that those women don’t deserve those guys. Do you see yourself as them? Or do you see it in reverse and you’re the guy deserves to get girls like that, but it isn’t working?

        The fact that you can’t hit on girls/meet someone when you are out with friends, not that you don’t like to do it, or you don’t get to really talk to someone, but because its “rude” is perplexing. It isn’t rude. It isn’t nice to spend the whole night jsut trying to find some tail, but there’s something a little up with your friend group if its rude to start talking to a nice girl you met at the bar. You aren’t just out with one person, which then it can be rude, depending. That baffles me. Remember the part in good will hunting when he left his buddies and the game to “go see about a girl”? Remember the part where his buddies “saw that he meant it”? What love of your life are you missing talking to because you are scared of offending friends who, if they really are your friends, would be crazily happy to see you talking to a nice, cute woman? So, it either seems like: (a) you need new friends to go out with; (b) you are making excuses for why you’re too shy/scared to go talk to them.

        There is nothing funny about your story below, with the teacher. Bitter – yes. Funny? No. And before you call women gold-diggers for wanting successful, stable men, remember that you don’t think good guys should date women with no job and no car.

      5. Will.i.am says:

        I’m only bitter on here. I promise you that it doesn’t come out in my online profile or in my personal interactions.

        Yes, you are probably right about the “the walls and scared to let someone in.” Clearly, dating is easier for other people than others. I don’t think my bitterness is even off the charts. All I’m doing is unloading my frustrations of the last few dates I’ve had. I know dating in general is a numbers game. I’ve been in relationships for the last 6 years, so this is the first time I’ve had to be on the dating scene for any extended period of time.

        I mentioned in my other post that it was a sweeping generalization about women and to take it with a grain of salt. Men and women both sleep on the first date and can be stereotypical with the choices they make. Everyone has a little bit of shallowness about them, even myself at times.

        About my friend group, it’s rude because I’m out with them. That’s how I feel about it, because when I’m out with them. I’ve been down the road of going out and looking for trim and I’m over it. I’m almost 28, so there’s more to my life then going out and trying to get numbers. I’m done with that lifestyle. I had my fun and I’m ready for something more meaningful. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Dating is a numbers game and I don’t see anything wrong with unloading my frustrations here then holding it in and letting it out on someone else who wouldn’t want to hear about it.

        No, I have never watched Good Will Hunting.

      6. Dayum, AKchic, I was getting all excited about your brother until you mentioned he’s already married. And for the record, it wasn’t because of the physical attributes you listed, but because I love me some mountain men, and I have to imagine your brother is one, too.

    4. Will, I think your observations are correct. They’re true in reverse too – when I was dating online, I just couldn’t understand why so many dudes went with “hey, ur so hott” or “babe, let’s hook up” as their approach to women (I actually got both of these as first messages) and then wonder in their profiles why all the women they meet are shallow/ not looking for commitment/have self esteem issues etc. Well, no duh, dude. Confident ladies of substance who are looking for a serious relationship generally don’t respond well to solicitations for internet sex. “Why can’t I just meet a nice girl”, indeed.
      Unfortunately the only way for these dudes (and those ladies from your experiences) to get out of these habits is to keep doing what they’re doing until they get sick enough of the results to actually examine what they’re doing. (sometimes that takes a loooooong time.) It sucks, but fortunately for the rest of us, there are enough people out there that if you’re specific and honest about what you want, you’ll find it.

      1. Will.i.am says:

        Funny story. I emailed a girl on a website and read through her profile and commented on it, much like I would do in person. I got no response. Hung out with a buddy this weekend and he said he went on a date with a teacher from the same area, I thought the woman I emailed was from. I asked him if he had a picture and he said yes. It was the same woman that I emailed.

        What made the story funny, is the guy is built but really nice. He’s one of the few muscle bound guys that is nice. He told me that they fooled around and eventually had sex. What made me laugh the most was that during the whole thing she said, “you made me break my cardinal rule, I don’t fool around on the first date.” I just laughed and said women lie man. This is a sweeping generalization that I’m about to say and take it with a grain of salt. I told him that many women lie on these profiles, because they don’t want to sound like whores. Many of them really do sleep around on the first date and most are emotionally unstable.

      2. I would say that anyone who feels the need to put “I don’t fool around on the first date” in their profile is probably not being honest, or is being honest but feeling defensive about it. No one needs to know that when they first read about you. Sexual history doesn’t define your validity as a person/a worthy date, so why even bring it up? Anyone who would want to know or care one way or the other before even meeting you is probably not worth meeting, IMHO.

      3. My one totally random hook up in college told me “she doesn’t usually do this” and “I made her cum like 14 times”…haha…yeeeep.

      4. Who feels the need to say that? Isn’t “that was nice, thanks” good enough?

      5. demoiselle says:

        Well, my “one random hookup” in my whole life also heard the tale “I don’t usually do this, I’ve never done it before” and it was true. And that “one random hookup-turned-to-a-few” remains the only casual relationship I ever had. So not all women who say that lie.

      6. She was lying. Her best friend from high school was my close friend on the swim team…

      7. Will.i.am says:

        It seems every profile I’ve read, they all have the same lines of, “if you are looking for FWB or a one night stand” please leave me alone. Online dating is full of guys just trying to get laid, but I would think it’s pretty understood that if you don’t want that, you don’t want it. Why broadcast it? I don’t want that either, but I definitely don’t mention it in my profile. I never saw a point to air out everything on a profile. Mine is pretty short and to the point.

        I see some that are like novels and the first thing that comes to mind is, you are selling yourself way to hard and who in the world are you trying to impress. Because, it’s clearly not me or anyone else reading your profile. I have to analyze for a living so I can tell pretty quick when someone is bsing and trying to sound more put together than they really are.

        What really makes me laugh is the girl that doesn’t have a job or a car, but wants the successful, fit, homeowner, devoted family man as a mate. I’ve read those and just think what planet are you from. 9/10 that guy is not looking to settle with a woman with no car and no job. Just not going to happen. Too many people wish for the stars instead of trying to be realistic in what they can truly obtain in life.

      8. “Many of them really do sleep around on the first date and most are emotionally unstable.”


        When I read this i just shut my eyes tight and chanted to myself:

        *sex positively, sex positivity, sex positively*

        Must look like a total weirdo at my desk here.

      9. I’m sorry, am I missing something?

        Maybe your misogynistic views are showing through in your profile. Try an attitude adjustment and see if you have better luck.

        Seriously, you’re calling women emotionally unstable whores who lie and have ulterior motives, or they’re gold diggers. Seriously??

        Deep breath.

        I’m going to try and give you some constructive advice. You think that women are looking for one particular “type” (muscular, metro, fake tan, etc.). This is simply NOT TRUE. I am turned OFF by that type. So is Addie Pray, for an example. So are ALL of my girl friends. There is a certain type of woman who is attracted to that type of man, obviously. So if you think “all women” want that, then YOU are the one looking at a skewed sample of women. Maybe you should take your own example and date outside the box. Women also tend to get bombarded with messages on online dating sites. Like, 40 per day. It doesn’t make sense to respond to them all, especially when the vast majority of them are crap. It’s not rude to ignore an email on a dating site if you’re not interested. And what exactly is “funny” about your story about your conventionally attractive AND “really nice” guy hooking up with a girl who ignored you? Because OOPS maybe she just wanted to hook up? Who cares? And if a girl puts it in her profile that she is looking for an actual relationship rather than a hookup, it’s probably because she’s gone out with a buncha dudes that just wanted to get laid, so she decided to spell it out for them ahead of time. It is NOT just a given that if you are on a dating site you are looking for something long-term.

      10. 6napkinburger says:


        And FYI most girls I know who sleep with a guy on a first online date don’t want to date him. If they did, they wouldn’t sleep with him. (Not that they shouldn’t sleep with him, but that they wouldn’t.) Its only if you’re attracted to a guy you see no reason to date that you sleep with. Just saying.

        And all those friends have jobs and usually six figure incomes. (We live in NYC, so no one has a car). And very few are mentally unstable.

      11. Will.i.am says:

        Clearly, I live in an area where a car is pretty much necessary. For where I live would I date a girl without a car? No. Just like when I lived with my Mom, I missed out on dates because I looked like I couldn’t take care of myself. No matter how much I could say that I can take care of myself, the fact that I lived at home didn’t change their feelings.

        That’s all I’m saying. Everyone has something that they are looking for, and in the end, you hope what you are looking for is going to line up with the person looking for you.

        I’m ballsy enough to say I wouldn’t date a girl that didn’t have a car or job. I dated a girl without a car and I just didn’t like it. I much rather date a girl that lives with her parents or has a roommate. I have my own place, so if we ever wanted privacy, we can come back to my place.

      12. iseeshiny says:

        You need a car where I live too, and I’m not going to lie, I wouldn’t date a guy who didn’t have a car and a job (if he was a stranger asking for my number). Not saying that if I, like, knew the guy and understood the extenuating circumstances and already liked him as a person I wouldn’t be willing to give it a shot, just that when I didn’t have a car for a year and had to use St. Louis’ (terrible!) public transport and had random dudes trying to pick me up, get my number or give me their number, all I could think was, “Seriously? No car? Puh-lease.” That probably makes me a terribly stuck up, mercenary snobby bitch, but there it is. I’m not going to go out with a stranger or even start talking to him with a strike like that against him already. And I have no problem with Will.i.am applying the same criteria to my gender.

      13. iseeshiny says:

        Although I don’t see why sleeping with someone on the first date makes you emotionally unstable.

      14. *giggle*
        Boy oh boy, I should really post photos of the two ex-husbands and current SO. Beer bellies/flab, pasty-white complexions (we don’t get sun for a good portion of the year), who would never think of ordering a martini (or think I’d want one). Okay, sure… the current one can’t grow a beard to save his life and looks like a teenager (damn that baby face of his!), but I can’t call him “metro”.

        And yeah, any guy who gave me a “ur hott” message would be ignored.

      15. Will.i.am says:

        And I understand what you are saying. Maybe online dating isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m not afraid to try. Yes, I’ve been a bit frustrated just due to going out on enough dates and it looks like there will be even more dates to have in the future. It can be exhausting but how else are you going to meet someone if you don’t put yourself out there. In my area, people are married with kids by the age of 22-25, so not many single women once you pass that age.

        I know a few people that have went on dates for 5 years and still haven’t been able to settle down. Whether they are being too picky or too awkward, that I don’t know, but it’s proof of how my area operates.

        I guess I need to put up a disclaimer whenever I mention something about women. I try to say it’s a sweeping generalization, because just because things are one way in one area, doesn’t mean it’s the same somewhere else.

        In my area, homosexuality is frowned upon, but I go 60 miles North of me and it’s not frowned up at all. I either cater to my area and do the best that I can, or I decide to go well outside my area and try something new.

        I’ve slept around and done all that nonsense. It was fun while it lasted, but I wasted a good amount of time when I could have been taking life more seriously. That’s one regret I have because I lost a lot of valuable time. I enjoyed it while it lasted, but I’m more focused on being in a relationship. For once, I’m in a place to where I’m mentally and financially prepared to be in a relationship.

        People change and I’ve changed from the partying and chasing trim guy that I once was.

      16. moonflowers says:

        “I know a few people that have went on dates for 5 years and still haven’t been able to settle down. Whether they are being too picky or too awkward, that I don’t know, but it’s proof of how my area operates.”

        I’m probably not from where you’re from, but I’ve been not just single, but celibate for 5 years. And I’m a chick in engineering grad school, surrounded by men. I’ve always been a relationship girl and probably always will be.

        I can’t give any good advice on dating, obviously, but at least I think I can help with being at peace with your desire for a relationship and not letting it make you bitter. And that requires knocking down any scrap of entitlement (“I deserve to be in a relationship”) that you might have.

        Not being entitled doesn’t mean you stop believing that you’re someone who would be a great relationship partner. It doesn’t mean you stop aspiring for a relationship either. It just means you don’t expect the world to deliver a relationship to you on a silver platter, or even on your terms or on your timing or even with the person you think you should be with. It means accepting the fact, really accepting it, that “good” people get burned or ignored and “bad” people get lots of attention sometimes – and not caring a whit about all that.

        People get frustrated and bitter when they think they “should” have something, only to find they aren’t getting it. If there is no expectation, there can’t be frustration either. Get rid of the “should” part and a lot of unnecessary unhappiness goes away. And that might even make you a more attractive partner in the long run. 😉

        Oh, and as for hiding the bitterness – aside from real psychopaths, people are usually not really as good at hiding who we truly are as we think. (For instance I’m probably doing a crap job hiding my pontificating self here.)

      17. Will.i.am, I agree with what you say about your past few dates. I could recognize myself in your description of those women. Looking back, I realize my walls were still up as I wasn’t entirely open to the idea of a relationship, but I wanted to date because I was single. If I were you, I’d just put it on bad timing. If you happened to meet those women a bit later, after they’ve sorted themselves out, the outcome would (most likely) be different. Bad timing sucks.

        I also agree with you about not hitting on girls when going out in a group. I go out with two groups – people from work (I would feel really weird going to talk with some guy while people from work are there!), and with a buddy and his people from work – they’re all engineers, and I’m probably 1 of the 2-3 girls in a group of 8-9 people. No guy even dares to look at us, and I completely understand them!

        However, keep going out to bars, and hit on women you wouldn’t normally hit on. A couple of weeks ago, after tennis, I stopped by the neighborhood bar to eat something, and a guy hit on me. I was in sweats, obviously not dressed to go out like the other 237 women in the bar haha. I gave him my number, he texted me, and so far so good (I just realized – we already planned the next two dates). As a girl, my motto is “talk to everybody”. I guess you should use it too. As a guy, I have a feeling you’ll be dealing with a lot more rejection than me, since most of the time, all I have to do is respond. But maybe you’ll meet a girl willing to talk to you. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

        In my two years on online dating, I only kissed one guy on the first date (he was very pushy though, so the third date never happened, because I was feeling very uncomfortable). I hugged some of them, but most of them, I didn’t let them touch me. Not all women lie. (Maybe the woman in your story didn’t reply to you because she was already communicating with your buddy? Just throwing it out there).

      18. Will.i.am says:

        I’m probably more fixated on it because I’m in a place to make time for a relationship, and you tend to hear often that someone is looking for a nice partner. I’ve been on a good amount of dates and I’m not afraid of rejection, but I can say that rejection can be frustrating. It’s probably not even so much the rejection, but how many of these rejections am I going to have to go through.

        My biggest fear is to end up very bitter and sour about life. I have a lot going for me right now and that’s a very bright spot in my life at the moment.

  32. Nothing in your letter indicated you still have feelings for your boyfriend. You didn’t say one positive thing about him or your relationship.

    Yes. It seems like she’s characterizing her boyfriend as abusive to justify denigrating him. Maybe he really is an abusive loser with no future who wants to coerce her into become the perfect girlfriend. Or he’s just trying to get her to go to the gym with him. You’ll notice that she’s inferring his motives. He hasn’t actually said most of the things that she thinks he believes.

    1. That was basically my point above. It’s all speculation… She also infers his motivations for it too – inferiority complex, he has no education, a dead end job if his company fails…holy fuck I’m sure he would love to see those words.

      1. The difference with that is if she is telling him those things. Does she say to him sorry you’re in a bad mood i know you have no education and a dead end job is that why you’re jealous of my art school and pushing me to go to the gym? If she does, she’s in the wrong too.

        Also It doesn’t really matter why he’s pushing her, it’s not his place, just as it’s not her place to push him to go to school if that’s not what he wants. She just stated that she lost 16 pounds in the past few months. I can see where from her perspective if she just lost that weight after going to the gym and he keeps encouraging her to keep going and pushing when she misses a day she would think he wants her to keep getting skinnier. Perhaps it’s not the reason, but I can see where she would infer that is what he is getting at.

      2. Fair enough.

    2. I read this the same way, like she is looking for an excuse to resent her boyfriend and is probably exaggerating some comments he’s made. So he is ‘controlling’ for wanting her to continue going to the gym with him.

      I suspect that she actually is a little lazy and out of shape which is why she’s so sensitive.

    3. You put this so well. She is not using facts here. she is guessing what he is thinking.

    4. I’m not really sure how one would assume that I was making him out to be an “abuser” when I was simply describing his behavior. Yes, I offered a possible reason for why he could be behaving the way he was, I did not state that I believe he has inferiority complex, etc. These were all things assumed by the reader. He has been known to get on my case when he is stressed out, which he openly admits, and he has stated to me that he is worried that I’m going to school and he doesn’t even know where he stands with his job right now and has mentioned multiple times that maybe he should go back to school too. The only reason I brought that up is because he has voiced his concerns about it.

      I don’t tell him how to do anything, he is an adult and can make his own decisions. If he wants to go to go to the gym, get a new job, go back to school, join the circus… I don’t care. That is up to him. The only time I ever discuss school with him is when he brings it up and I do not push. I tell him if he needs help figuring things out, I’m more than happy to help him out. I’m already helping another friend go back to school and find money for it… But only because she ASKED me to. My only issue is that I feel I deserve the same courtesy of deciding what I should do with my time independently of him and his opinions. I don’t feel he should govern how I spend my time. He has even told me how I should spend my day with one of my friends, saying “she’s gained weight so you guys should both go to the gym tomorrow when you hang out.”

      It’s gotten to the point where his brother and friends tell him he is out of line. For right now, we have concluded that he needs to go to therapy and we will see what happens from there.

      Here are some facts for your consideration: I’m a full-time student. I have a part time job, which I work 4 nights a week. I go to the gym 2-3 times a week. (He would prefer I go 5 or 6 days a week.) I watch what I eat. (No processed foods. Lots of fish, chicken, veggies and nuts.) I like hiking, bike-riding and walking with my dog. If I’m not working or have to study and he asks me to go to the gym, I go. He told me “all you do is sleep all day when you can go to the gym.” I admit I did sleep all day that day… Because I had only gotten 10 hours of sleep TOTAL over the previous 48 hours. My bad.

      I have been losing weight consistently, but since I’m not going to the gym 5-6 times a week, he says I’m slacking and not “working at my potential.” Maybe my definition of being at my potential is a little different than just being yolked. Up until I just wrote this out, I actually believed that I was lazy, but now I realize I’m not.

      Oh, and I wasn’t just “reading about a few schools on the internet and downloading applications.” If that’s all it took to get into a good art school, then I’d be there already. It takes stellar portfolios and admissions essays to do that.

      1. The reason that people here think that your boyfriend is abusive is because you’ve depicted him that way. Your letter sets him up to be a real asshole. It’s entirely negative. So is your response. Honestly you seem to have a lot of resentment towards your boyfriend.

      2. I wasn’t accusing you of that. I was merely making hypothetical scenarios to highlight the fact that your bf isn’t necessarily abusive like a lot of the commenters were saying. Nothing personal intended…I also claimed I have no idea what you do with your life like two posts later. I also agree with Leroy’s comment here.

      3. So I was right. This is all over a couple of rude comments.

        But I don’t get it, is he obsessed with working out? Why does she want to make him go to a psychiatrist?

        I think maybe the LW is someone who is too sensitive and likes to play the victim. These two are probably fed up with each other and focussing on the others faults. They should move on.

  33. Wendy. Much love, but please don’t ever post a picture of muscled up Carrot Top again. It’s just way too disturbing, especially because all I can think about is Daniel Tosh rubbing oil under Carrot Top’s muscle boobs.

  34. atraditionalist says:

    Stand up for yourself and just dump him already. Stop asking permission to do something if it will make you happier. If you’re miserable and you haven’t dumped him it’s probably because you’re scared of being alone/don’t think you can find someone better . It seems to me like you feel as if you need a good enough reason to dump the guy so you can justify it to yourself when you’re alone etc.. (I’d rather be alone than with a huge jerk). But guess what? Not wanting to date someone anymore is good enough reason too. You can find someone who you’re happier with but not if you continute to play the passive victim

  35. landygirl says:

    Carrot Top scares me.

    1. Trixy Minx says:

      He is really buff though. Geez.

      1. It’s to distract you from what is going on above the shoulders…

  36. If you asked for his opinion of your gym habits then he can claim honesty (although he’s still guilty of expressing his honesty rudely). If you haven’t asked for his critique then he’s just butting in where he doesn’t belong and it’s pretty clear in that case that the gym means more to him than your feelings. Only he knows why he acts like this but does it matter? If his mean spirit is a deal breaker for you moa because you can’t change anyone except yourself. If you decide not to moa then accept that the hurtful comments will be part of your life with him.

  37. Frankly, you SHOULDN’T be going to the gym every day. As an average person (i.e. not an athlete), it’s pretty dumb to try and lift weights EVERY day or run on the treadmill EVERY day. If you don’t have a day or even a few days of rest (if you’ve been really pushing it for awhile) in between, your muscles are going to get injured. Working out breaks down your muscles and they need that time to repair themselves or else you have the possibility of getting really hurt and not being able to work out for months, which would be the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Rest days really should be incorporated into your weight loss efforts, and there is no reason that you should feel guilty about rest days. So regardless of if you decide to MOA or not, your boyfriend is not the brightest crayon in the box when it comes to working out. Feel free to explain this to him.

    1. John Rohan says:

      The letter doesn’t actually say he’s going every day, or that he wants her to. It says: “If I don’t feel like going to the gym one day, he gets upset.”

      That could also mean that there are certain days she’s going (MWF, or whatever) and if she misses one of those, he gets upset.

      BTW, it’s perfectly fine to go to the gym every day, as long as you are alternating what exercises/muscles you are working on.

      1. It could also mean he wants her to go to the gym with him…and she doesn’t want to…it could not be a health comment at all.

      2. Why would he get upset if she missed a day? I don’t get that part. Him wanting her to go with him to spend time together, I see. Bugging her when she misses one of her scheduled days, I mean he’s not her parent keeping her in line.

      3. HeartsMum says:

        But, it’s not perfectly fine to refer to what you consider people being hypocritical meanies as “lynching”. Is Your frame of reference showing?

  38. I know a surefire way for you to lose a lot more weight, gain some peace of mind, and increase your energy level all at once.

    Dump him, then get together with your friends to celebrate your new look…and new life. Good luck with your plans to go to art school and congrats on getting healthier. Now take the next step and move away from someone who’s only bringing you down. You deserve better.

  39. landygirl says:

    He’s an asshole. I’m just being honest.

  40. It seems as though your boyfriend is struggling with his own issues & lashing out on you as a result, which needless to say, is not the behavior one should have with their S/O. This guy is only going to continue to bring you down. I think you know the answer, you were just hoping for someone to say “it’s ok, he’s just upset.” But no, it’s not ok, bc even if life isn’t going his way right now, is no excuse for him to be constantly putting you down. If he really loved & cared for you, he’d be excited for you, he’d be supportive, not condescending & hurtful.
    Dump his ass, like, NOW. You’re doing great for yourself & you don’t need his bullshit.

  41. It doesn’t really matter who is in the wrong here; whether he’s being nasty or she’s being lazy; whether he looks down on her for her lack of gym habits or she looks down on him for his lack of scholarly ambition. (For the record, I think it’s a bit of All Of The Above.)

    LW, I have a nice, easy, three-step checklist for you. If you get to the bottom of the list, MOA.

    1. You are unhappy more than you are happy.
    2. Your unhappiness cannot be pinpointed to a specific outside source. (E.G. “everything would be awesome, except I just lost my job/am having medical issues/ have a recent death in the family/ am on the wrong BC and I’m depressed about it, and therefore pick fights over every little thing that happens.”
    3. You have tried talking it out (in a non-confrontational way) to resolve what’s upsetting you, and nothing has changed or seems like it might be changing soon (“soon” is subjective, but it should be concrete for you.)

    It doesn’t sound like you’ve got anything good going on here, LW. Either of you. MOA.

  42. Temperance says:

    I know an easy way to lose a bunch of weight fast – dump the loser boyfriend.

    I think every time he nags you about the gym, nag him about not having an education. He’s making you feel like shit, you should make him feel like shit. He’s only doing this because he’s insecure about you getting yourself together and finding a career while he’s too lazy or uncommitted to do so himself.

  43. Painted_lady says:

    The only way I can really see it being acceptable for your boyfriend to nag you about going to the gym is if your weight is something you’ve been depressed about in the past and your boyfriend got tired of hearing you complain without doing anything about it. That can be exhausting in a partner, male or female. My boyfriend is on the…ah…complacent side sometimes. He’s not lazy – he works really hard and maintains a 4.0, but he’s sometimes a little too willing to accept the status quo rather than change his own circumstances (he was planning to go back to school and get a second degree that he could actually use for about five years). He occasionally needs a (metaphorical) kick in the ass to get moving on something, be it doing the dishes, getting his transcripts to transfer schools, or to psych himself up to register for the class that intimidates him. Because I know his goals and how much he’s hated working in an unfulfilling job, I will get borderline naggy and pushy. I’m never going to push him on a goal that isn’t his – I’m never going to decide one day to nag him to take the MCAT and apply to med school or to save up enough to buy a 5,000 square foot house, but I’m not going to keep my mouth shut if he knows full well he’s going to need some class later on and he’s just procrastinating, and then listen to him moan about how long school is taking. So was this a goal for you and he’s trying to keep you motivated, or is this a goal he’s created for you that you didn’t sign on for?

    The thing I can’t sign off on is how he’s laughed at you for being hurt. That is emotionally abusive. Whether this is an abusive relationship or not, I can’t say, but that behavior is abusive. Any response other than “I am so sorry” to the admission “It hurts when you _____” isn’t okay. He doesn’t get to decide whether you are hurt or not – you do. I would make it clear one more time that he is hurting you, and how laughing at you isn’t making you any less hurt. If he has no interest in changing his behavior, then the decision is yours as to whether you can live with it.

  44. He’s a hater…and an emotional abuser….well said. Instead of trying to build your esteem it’s all about what he wants. He doesn’t care if he’s hurting you, or if you are on the right track. A real man supports you, not brings you down. He’s a big waawaa. Let this big baby go.

  45. LW, if your boyfriend is stressed because of outside factors (job, school) that he can’t control, it’s not normal behavior that he’s taking it out on you. Maybe he is depressed? Have you tried suggesting counseling? Don’t just send him, suggest couples counseling. My ex-husband started to get jealous of my accomplishments, and although I tried really hard over the course of a few years to build up his self-esteem, I didn’t succeed. If he doesn’t want to change, there’s absolutely nothing you can do. Couples counseling is something I never tried with my ex-h, and I wonder if it would have changed anything. It sounds like it’s not too late for you and your relationship.

  46. maggiemay says:

    lots of times the reason ppl stay 2gether after a relationship has fizzled—economics its very hard 2day 4 ppl 2 make it on their own—which is part of the reason i’m still with my loser husband—im doing better financially than B4 but still not enuf 2B independent—and this is seldom acknowledged as the reason

  47. Anonymous says:

    my boyfriend and i been together for 4 yrs now ,we are almost approaching 5 yrs it wil be in the next 2 months, since we met i wasnt the same i was a lighter, cant remember my weight but now i weigh 250lb. The weight came along in the second yr of our relationship in which i was pregnant for 4months and i had lost my baby because of stress and other factors, personally i know i should loose weight, i have tried so many times and i went on a diet , and he was there helping me.But this year 2018 we broke up for like 2 and half months, came back together and i have been trying to exercise on with him.But i think it is over bearing and he is pressuring me alot to do so, i hav some medical problems to, like my broken ankle which swells when i walk for long periods, breathing problem and more over i am not fit enough to do some of those intermidate exercises, i find some of them to difficult. My boyfriend also threaten to leave me if i dont loose weight. If i miss a day of excersising he curses me and acting as if i cant be tired and doing as if i en excersise at all. Am so lost ,pressured and frustration.I need a solution.

    1. Are you able to afford any sessions with a trainer? My brother is very overweight and started going to the Y twice a week for trainer sessions. Thing is, it’s $40 each and my parents pay for it because he can’t afford it. But I wonder if you could do at least a few of those, to see what the trainer recommends for you given your physical condition and injuries. Then you can stick to that. And honestly maybe just break up with your boyfriend if you feel he’s putting too much pressure on you and prioritizing your appearance over your safety.

      1. I just reread it and see that he curses at you and threatens to leave you. You should seriously leave him. You don’t need that, and no way is that shit going to help you lose weight.

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