Steel Advice: Husband shouldn't try to orchestrate wife's weight loss
Share with others:
DEAR MARY ANN: A year ago I [got] remarried, [to] an amazing woman that I love dearly. She was at the time heavier than what I typically consider attractive, but I overlooked this as she said when we began dating that she had put on weight after a recent surgery but had started losing weight and planned to continue to do so.
I am trim and live a fit and active lifestyle, and she professed to as well and at first joined me in my activities with my children, such as ice skating and going to the gym. During our engagement she talked about wanting to lose weight before our wedding. Instead, I was disappointed that she gained several more pounds. During the engagement I discovered that her interest in physical activity was not real but designed more to put her in a positive light in my eyes. The same goes for her interest in sex. During our early dating she was ready to go at the drop of a hat. Now sex is almost nonexistent. She says she wants to lose weight. But talk is cheap. She makes only intermittent and half-hearted attempts to do anything about it.
She says what if she were in an accident and paralyzed or a fire burned her face -- would I leave her because she was disabled or disfigured? I tell her that I would absolutely not do that and that those are false comparisons, because unlike losing weight, those things are beyond her control. She says she worries that I will eventually start having affairs with other women whom I consider more attractive, which I would absolutely never do. But instead of letting me help her put together a plan to eat better and get more exercise, she will continue, I'm afraid, to get bigger as time goes on and my physical attraction will continue to erode.
All of the blogs and magazine articles I read tell me that if I love her, I shouldn't care what she looks like. The reality is, however, that I don't want a fat wife. Does that make me a bad person? I feel that her minimal effort at dealing with her weight issue demonstrates a lack of respect for my feelings, as well as for herself. I want to help her in a supportive compassionate way, but she won't let me. We are a terrific match personality wise, and we love being together. My kids love her, and she is wonderful with them. But I feel physical intimacy is an important part of a relationship, and I am finding it harder and harder to be attracted to her anymore. What can I do?
-- TRIM HUSBAND WHO DOESN'T WANT A FAT WIFE
DEAR TRIM HUSBAND: It seems your wife has a serious addiction to food. You are unrealistic if you think a little effort and planning will solve her problem. Food has become her best friend. Food eases her pain. Food is her comfort. Your wife's self-respect is eroded; she is terrified you will leave her. As her weight spirals out of control she is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fat protects her from a physical and emotional intimacy with you. She is afraid to be vulnerable. In order to break this cycle she needs to get some medical help from someone who understands obesity and addiction. Don't compare your wife to other women. This saga is not about you, and it is not your project to direct. Your wife has to lose the weight for herself. Once she has her eating addiction under control your sex life will improve. Getting the right medical support will be your wife's first step to recovery.
DEAR MARY ANN: My husband and I are retired snowbirds who travel to Florida for seven months of the year. Luckily we have a great neighbor in his 30s who keeps an eye on things while we are gone. He removes snow, checks for mail and packages and alerts us to any issues. We have been fortunate to have him next door for almost six years, and we have gotten to know his wife, mother and kids very well.
We see his regular good deeds because of a motion-activated camera on the premises that sends video to our laptop computer. While reviewing some footage from the spring, we observed him and his wife having sex on our front porch late at night. Not once but eight times in all!
This behavior is not normal. Would you bring this to his attention? I considered calling the authorities or speaking to his mother, but my husband said I shouldn't embarrass him or risk fallout, after all it is great having him next door. My husband simply called our neighbors exhibitionists who probably have no idea there is a camera on the porch.
What would you do? I worry about any children who may come across their lewd acts. There is probably a law against this.
-- UNLUCKY ON LOVE STREET
DEAR UNLUCKY ON LOVE STREET: Your husband is on the right track; don't embarrass your neighbor. They probably have no idea you have a motion-activated camera on the porch and would be mortified if you made an issue about their nocturnal romps. I think they will get the message when you point out the hidden camera and explain how images are relayed to your computer. Resist the temptation to speak to his mother or to gossip about the lovebirds. Word to the wise: If the young couple has a key to your house have the locks changed before your next trip to Florida.
First Published June 12, 2012 12:00 am