These tips are inspired by a guy whose friends tease him because of his “fat girlfriend.” Are you struggling with your relationship because of your girlfriend is gaining weight? Here’s how to love her through thick and thin…
“My girlfriend is actually very interesting and funny, and I think I love her,” says Mr X on 10 Things to Talk About With Your Girlfriend. “My problem is that my girlfriend is overweight. I’m ashamed and embarrassed to say it, but I’m not as attracted to her as I was before. We have been dating for almost three years, and things are starting to become more serious. She was always slightly overweight, which I never had a problem with, but recently she has began to gain more weight. I can tell. Plus, all of her immediate family is extremely overweight and I fear that she may soon be obese as well. My friends already tease me about having a ‘fat girlfriend’ and I’m scared it will get worse. What can I do?”
First, think twice about hanging out with people who call someone you love your “fat girlfriend.” It’s insulting and offensive, and your friends need to be more supportive and kind. I know it’s tough to stand up to your friends (it’s actually harder to stand up to your friends than your enemies!), but you need to stick up for your girlfriend. You love her, you enjoy talking to her, and you’re getting serious about your relationship. Do not let your friends run her down.
Second, know that you are not the only boyfriend who is struggling because he’s not attracted to a girlfriend who is gaining weight. Here’s another guy who has a similar problem:
“I’ve been seeing my girlfriend for about six months, and I am in love with her but starting to be not attracted to her,” says Fred on 7 Ways to Know if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For. “Since we met, she has gained 25 pounds. I’m concerned about the long term effects of her weight gain. It’s not just that I don’t want a fat girlfriend, it’s that her appearance is decreasing her self image, her attitude, and our sex life. When I try to talk to her about her weight gain, no matter how kind and caring and sweet I am, she gets defensive. I am thinking about breaking up with her because our relationship is getting complicated. The other thing is that I often see her depressed because of her weight gain. Is there anything that I can do to help my girlfriend lose weight?”
How to Deal With Your Girlfriend’s Weight Gain
The bottom line is that a healthy, loving relationship is not about your girlfriend’s size or shape.
As a good guy and a great boyfriend, your main goal is to build a healthier, stronger relationship with your girlfriend. Your feelings of attraction to her – and your level of physical intimacy – isn’t the number one priority in a relationship. You have to see your girlfriend as a whole woman, a partner who will stand by you no matter what, a best friend that you share life with. Your girlfriend’s size and shape is part of who she is; it’s not who she is as a woman.
Instead of making your girlfriend’s weight gain the focus of your relationship, concentrate on building a great relationship with her.
Be gentle with your girlfriend – and don’t shame her into losing weight
A woman’s self-worth is often tied in with her size or shape. So, when you criticize or even just talk about her weight gain, she may feel like you are attacking her. Her sense of self-worth may take a hit – and this is not good.
“Try to think about an area of your own life in which you are especially sensitive—maybe it’s education, money or relationships,” writes Jennifer Kromberg in How to Talk to a Loved One About Their Weight. “How would you want someone to approach you about a very sensitive and painful topic? When you talk to your girlfriend [about food, exercise, or weight gain], offer lots of love and support. Speaking to girlfriend without true empathy and compassion for her struggle will only push her away.
Kromberg adds that if you try to make your girlfriend feel ashamed or bad about gaining weight, it will backfire. Shame may make your girlfriend eat healthy (or restrict what she eats) in front of you, but it doesn’t create long-term change. If fact, shame will likely cause your girlfriend to gain more weight and take less care of herself. Examples of shaming statements are “I’m not attracted to you anymore,” or, “You can’t even fit into your clothes; everyone calls you my fat girlfriend.”
Get physical together – if your girlfriend enjoys activity
What sports or activities can you and your girlfriend do together? Instead of nagging her about her weight gain, make dates that involve hiking, skating, walking, playing sports or trying new physical activities. Don’t tell your girlfriend that you’re not attracted to her because she’s getting fat, or that you think she should lose weight. Instead, focus on health and wellness as a couple.
If you want to help your girlfriend stop gaining weight, invite her to join you in something physical and fun, such as hiking, biking, or skiing. My husband and I do fitness DVDs together, such as yoga and Pilates – and I love getting fitness-oriented gifts if they support the activities I love to do. Find ways to support the physical activities your girlfriend likes to do. Invite her to try new things with you. It’s a great way to spice up your relationship.
Tell your girlfriend what you love about her body
I lost a lot of weight since I got married four years ago. This is unusual because most married couples gain weight after the wedding, not lose it! In How I Finally Lost 20 Pounds After I Turned 40 I explain how my husband’s eating habits helped me slim down – and stay slim. An important thing to know is that he didn’t do or say anything to encourage me to lose weight.
My husband didn’t think I needed to lose weight. And, I didn’t even realize how my weight loss occurred until I wrote the article because I wasn’t focusing on losing weight! I was just adopting my husband’s healthy eating habits.
Tell your girlfriend that you love her just the way she is. Period. Tell her that you want her to have the happiest and healthiest life possible, and that your concern for her weight gain is coming from a place of love, not judgment. If you push your girlfriend to lose weight (or, worse, if you tell her you’re not attracted to her because she got fat), you will hurt her badly. Don’t be cruel to her. Be honest with her in kind, loving ways.
Consider your opinions on what a woman “should” look like
What makes you think your girlfriend is overweight? If you’re comparing her to the movie stars and singers you see on your iPhone, you are not basing your idea of a healthy woman on reality. Women are supposed to be curvy and round, shapely and soft. I don’t know what your girlfriend’s height and weight are, but I do know our culture makes us think that skinny is the only pretty.
What is your relationship based on? Some boyfriends don’t care if their girlfriends are overweight, while other boyfriends prefer slim women. It’s the same with women with boyfriends who gain weight: some women want slim men, while others love their partners no matter how much they weigh. This is a personal choice – just like being attracted to someone who has a fair complexion or short legs. Of course, you don’t want to rule out possible girlfriends who have dark complexions or long legs…but you also need to be true to your preferences.
Weigh your girlfriend as a whole woman, not just a number on the scale
No matter how beautiful, slim, or smart your girlfriend is, you and she will go through rough times in your relationship. Sometimes you won’t be attracted to her – and it’s not because she’s too fat, too skinny, too this or that. It’s simply because the truth is that all romantic long-term relationships are difficult.
Is it possible that you’re putting too much emphasis on your girlfriend’s weight? Think about why you are and are not being attracted to her. All relationships go through ups and downs regardless of how much each partner weighs. You’ll never be physically attracted to your girlfriend all the time, no matter how much she weighs.
You need to remember the qualities that are far more important than your girlfriend’s weight: her values, personality, how she treats others, who she is at heart, what she’s contributing to the world, and her connection with you. Your girlfriend’s size and shape isn’t as important as who she is on the inside and how you relate as a couple. If you love her with your whole heart, then you’ll stand by her — no matter how much she weighs.
Take a close look at your relationship with your girlfriend
In the comments section below, tell me why you love your girlfriend. What makes her stand out amongst all the other girls in your crowd? Who is she to you, and where do you want your relationship to go? What are you grateful for, and why do you want her in your life?
And tell me why you are concerned about your girlfriend’s weight gain. Are you worried about what your friends and family will think? Do you think your reputation will suffer if you have a “fat girlfriend”? Those are shallow reasons for wanting your girlfriend to lose weight because they’re appearance-based, and centered on what other people think. But it’s different if you want her to lose weight so you can be healthy together, or go skiing, hiking, trekking, and biking as a couple.
If your girlfriend’s size and shape is directly affecting her health and your life together, you have a valid reason to worry about her weight gain. If you’re worried about her present and future health, then you really do have good reasons to consider her size and shape. In this case, I encourage you to talk to someone professional who can help you approach your girlfriend in a kind, loving way.
Do you need help being honest with your girlfriend? Read How to Tell Your Boyfriend the Truth. It’s written for women, but the basic principles are the same for guys.
What do you think – is your girlfriend gaining weight? Can you love her through thick and thin? Comments welcome below…