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POLL RESULTS: A Heavy Issue: (18 comments)

POLL: A Heavy Issue

Friday, May 28, 2010 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes... Q: I married at 21 and have been married for five years. I really love my wife, but there is an issue I can no longer deal with. I know it’s common for married couples to put on weight (I put on 30 pounds myself), but my wife keeps gaining. We do not have children yet, so she can’t use that excuse. She’s put on 75 to 100 pounds since our wedding, and I don’t think she is going to stop. We joined a gym together, but she stopped going. We shop together and buy healthy food, but when I get home from work or look in her car, I see fast-food wrappers everywhere. She says she would like to lose weight, but she never does anything about it. Where it gets really bad is in the bedroom. I won’t lie: I am not attracted to my wife now, which makes sex nearly impossible. She constantly asks me if I am still attracted to her. Is there a good way to tell her the truth?

POLL: What should the husband do?
 
5% (121) Be supportive of his wife, and continue to encourage her
 
81% (1635) Sit the wife down, have an honest discussion about his feelings, and map out an exercise plan
 
3% (66) Learn to love with it. She's not going to chance
 
9% (196) Get a divorce now. This is going downhill fast.
2018 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
Atavism
Lover

Posts: 7

Registered:
Oct 2009
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 12:52 AM (#56081)

Sometimes the truth hurts, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't hear it. Lay it all out for her, make sure you both understand each others feelings on the issue and talk about where to go from there.

Just make sure before you go into that discussion that you have a firm grip on the difference between love and physical attraction.


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inuchan01
Lover

Posts: 10

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 01:42 AM (#56082)

Advice from a young married lady:

First, let me get this out of the way...really? 15 votes for "get a divorce before sitting down and talking to her about the problem"? Absurd.

Anyway, I agree that a frank discussion is a good idea, but I would be sure to preface it like you did your question here (i.e., mention that you've put on weight yourself, and that you're talking to her because you're worried about her health and not just her looks). After all, you didn't marry her for her looks, right?

Try to pick a less-stressful time of the day to talk, like after dinner, and then mention that you'd like to see a counselor with her. It seems that most eating disorders have a psychological basis like stress, poor self-esteem, or a deeper issue (trauma, depression, need for control, etc.). Therapy from someone who knows what's what with weight problems would do you both good. You'll learn something, and she might figure out that she can change her unhealthy routine and get out of the rut she seems to be stuck in.

The bottom line: At this point, I'm not sure a simple talk with her would do as much good as talking and then hearing an expert's professional advice. You seem to have tried speaking with her before without seeing any results. Don't forget to stay supportive of her, and stay hopeful throughout the process...anyone can change, and love is a great motivator for it! Good luck to the both of you.


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Uriko
Lover

Posts: 19

Registered:
Mar 2008
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 03:38 AM (#56083)

Instead of asking what you can do to tell her, why not ask how you can help her?
Could it be that there is something troubling your wife? Is she eating all that junk-food when you're not around as a means to perhaps fill out an empty space or help on some feelings?
If you have tried to join a gym and buy healthy food, then I highly doubt that she doesn't know that she is eating unhealthy.

So my advice: Talk with your wife about how she feels and forget about her looks for a few minutes. Perhaps seek counsel if that is what she needs.


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HerMeowness
Lover

Posts: 2

Registered:
Feb 2010
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 03:52 AM (#56085)

If I were the wife in this situation. I'd bet she knows all too well that he longer finds her attractive, and food is her comfort. No matter how much you want to be good, when you are unhappy, an easy, tasty part of your life that is still yours to control is very irresistible. I am heavy myself, it's a downward spiral. Feeling unwanted spurs comfort binges which bring a temporary satisfaction. But then it brings on guilt and more weight to help you feel unworthy and it just keeps going.
While it is not the husband's fault that she doesn't control her weight, he is certainly one of the factors. For me, if he tried to "help" me be healthy I would immediately balk. "How dare you tell me what I can and can't do with MY body!"
The best place to start is finding ways to show her that you still love her even if she's not at her personal best physically. If you can't love her when she's heavy, you have your own issues to work on.


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Nylter
Lover

Posts: 7

Registered:
Jul 2009
Medical help NOW (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 06:21 AM (#56086)

One thing I don't see in any of these comments is a medical diagnosis. She's put on 100 lbs. in five years? It's not all the junk food. She may have insulin resistance combined with polycystic ovary syndrome, a bad thyroid, or any one of a number of things that make people gain weight. Seriously, she should have a full battery of tests done by a physician or her ob/gyn before anything else gets done.

She may be eating junk foods to help balance out her insulin, not realizing that she's just driving the insulin cycle. It's not an easy thing to control. But oh, so necessary.

If she comes back clean from the doctor, then go for the exercise/good food made at home routine. Make sure to keep actual foodstuffs at home instead of ignoring the refrigerator stocking. Spend money on groceries, not restaurants.

Oh, and eat at home yourself. Take your homemade lunches to work. And don't bring home restaurant food for supper. Learn to cook together.


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NunyaBidness
Lover

Posts: 83

Registered:
Apr 2008
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 06:36 AM (#56087)

Sleeping disorders can affect the hunger reflex. I gained 30 lbs despite trying to lose, until I realized I was physically full to the point of discomfort and still feeling hungry. Treating the poor sleep made it go away.

My wife has thyroid problems and has to keep her intake below 1000 calories, which officially is dangerously low, but works for her.

See a doctor about both possibilities and others, and a counselor about psychological causes.


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jasonred
Lover

Posts: 20

Registered:
Feb 2008
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 10:51 AM (#56088)
In Response to HerMeowness (#56085):

The problem is, there's a HUGE difference between "loving" her (which he already stated he does) and being "sexually attracted" to her (which he isn't).

Give her a deadline to lose weight herself, and if she doesn't make the deadline, you both agree to get professional help.


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darkgolem
Lover

Posts: 13

Registered:
Oct 2009
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 11:09 AM (#56089)
In Response to Atavism (#56081):

The fact is is that a couple who starts to drift apart in interests and compatibility has to work to stay together. This is a normal part of a marriage. You don't get married and automatically just stay right for each other.

That includes being attractive to each other. Each of you will age, and that includes gaining weight,wrinkles, and so on, and you have to come to terms with that.

But it seems like your wife is going farther than that, a hundred pounds is a lot more than the variance in weight a person goes through as they age. Nor does it seem like your talking about a lot of time.

You wife probably has a problem, had a problem before you married and needs help. You agreed to make a marriage that works, so you need to work with her to overcome this issue. Think about a weight loss plan, and just or more important, think about therapy or counseling on what makes her tend to gain weight in first place. Weight gain isn't very often solely a physical issue.

Commit yourself to accepting that this is going to take a long time. And be realistic about this. If you honestly, fairly don't believe you can remain married and love a person who is unable to care for themselves, don't punish yourself or them by staying married forever.

One last thing.. make sure you don't bring children into a conflicted situation like this. Resolve this conflict in how you feel and in dealing with her concerns before being responsible for children.

Just my view.


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Silenced_is_Foo
Lover

Posts: 7

Registered:
May 2010
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 11:58 AM (#56090)
In Response to darkgolem (#56089):

You tried. You took her to the gym and made healthy food. You lead by example instead of just grousing.

You did what you could. You were the good husband.

It's time to go.

You don't have kids, so the only reason to stay is the time you've spent together - that's a sunk cost.

The longer you stay together, the more likely you'll have kids... and then you can't leave. Then it's over.

Life is too short, and the risks of being trapped in a loveless (well, lustless) marriage are too great for you.

Just go. You did what you could.


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Silenced_is_Foo
Lover

Posts: 7

Registered:
May 2010
Re: Medical help NOW (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 12:04 PM (#56091)
In Response to Nylter (#56086):

Or she's just getting older. Most young people refuse to admit how their metabolism changes as they will age, and imagine that all those fatties in their 30s are just all pathetic losers.

The fact is that a young person can have a ferocious metabolism that makes it nigh-impossible for them to get fat, which will cause them to balloon up once it slows down to a normal rate... without any special "disorder" or any change in lifestyle.

Anyhow, to me it sounds like a textbook case of a guy marrying to young.

Any guy who starts a post with "I really love her but..." is trying to convince himself, not us.


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DanialArin
Lover

Posts: 92

Registered:
Apr 2009
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 01:20 PM (#56093)

Saying she wants to lose weight but the constant fast food wrappers... constantly asking if you find her attractive... It sounds like she's all but begging for an Intervention. In fact, she might be begging.

You may want to find an Overeaters Anonymous [oa.org] meeting. (There's also a search [oa.org] on their website, but it doesn't work right in some browsers.) For yourself, you may additionally want to find an Al-Anon [alateen.org] meeting. (Search on Google as well; some regions have separate websites.)

While most folks going to Al-Anon have loved ones suffering from alcohol abuse, they provide the same support for people affected by their loved ones having other addictive and self-destructive behaviors, including overeating and gambling. In fact, you might try Al-anon first for yourself; they may be able to help you figure out the sanest way to bring her to OA. And note that I said bring her to OA, not send her. You need to be there for her, with her, by her side every step, letting her know you aren't going to abandon her to the uncertain care of strangers.

Remember, neither of you has to face this alone.

Once she's in a support group, it may be easier to bring her to seek medical help, in case this is indeed a medical problem as suggested by Nylter or NunyaBidness.

As a side note, she may have quit the gym because of a perception that she's being judged by the people around her there. Haven't been through this myself but I know someone who has. The support groups like OA will help with this. If she's still not comfortable with going back, but wants to do something about it, when she's ready (and not one minute before) you might look into getting something like an exercise bike or treadmill in the house.


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footerest
Lover

Posts: 2

Registered:
May 2010
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 03:57 PM (#56095)
In Response to darkgolem (#56089):

Darkgolem nailed it. Your wife's weight gain is a symptom. The root cause is something deeper. Focus on helping her with what is causeing the behavior. Also, care at least as much about the danger to your wifes health as you do about your own sex life. If she can see that kind of concern from you it will help her face whatever self-esteem issue she's suffering from. It's the harder and more loving thing to do and it can help change her life your marriage.


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Aaron1
Lover

Posts: 4

Registered:
Aug 2009
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 11:29 PM (#56096)

Yes, I voted for divorce. But then I don't really believe in marriage for life. People who are no longer attracted to each other shouldn't feel some artificial obligation to live a lie.

Putting myself in her shoes, there's no way I'd harbor any delusion about my attractiveness after becoming very obese. Even if there are internal factors at work that kind of weight gain doesn't just happen without a poor diet and sedentary life. If she cares so little for herself, I'd question just how much she cares for you. So by all means be completely honest about how you feel about this. Otherwise, it'll only get harder for you both later on.


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jasonred
Lover

Posts: 20

Registered:
Feb 2008
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 08:32 AM (#56101)

Actually, now I think about it, why take the brave honorable path?

Forget the attractiveness issue... make friends with a doctor and get him to explain that she's endangering her HEALTH. Which is the truth.

Have your cake and eat it too!


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Destichado
Lover

Posts: 5

Registered:
Mar 2010
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 31, 2010 - 12:41 AM (#56103)

"We joined a gym together, but she stopped going.
"We shop together and buy healthy food, but... I see fast-food wrappers everywhere.
"She says she would like to lose weight, but she never does anything about it."

Leopards don't change their spots.

All those words and desires had no meaning or commitment behind them. If she never followed through before -even to achieve a specific result!- she never will. And if it's truly medical -which I doubt- why do YOU have to be the one to get her diagnosed? Obviously, because she doesn't care enough about you OR herself to face the embarrassment of admitting a problem.
To change her, you will have to drag her EVERY step of the way, and she won't help.

Change comes from within. This is not something you can win, she has to do it herself. And she's already shown that she won't. She values temporary personal satisfaction and the comfort of hiding from herself more than she values you and her own long-term rewards.

Get. Out.


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Aldren
Lover

Posts: 2

Registered:
May 2010
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 31, 2010 - 01:07 PM (#56105)

@Aaron1: If you ever propose please be sure to tell your fiancee that you don't consider it permanent. People should not agree to a commitment with different thoughts on what that commitment entails.

I agree with the folks who are bringing up possible causes for her problem/behavior and suggest seeking help instead of making snap judgments about a person they don't know. We DON'T know what the root cause is.


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Destichado
Lover

Posts: 5

Registered:
Mar 2010
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 01:30 AM (#56114)

Who CARES? You don't need to know why a batterer becomes violent to know it's unacceptable, or why a philanderer cheats to know it's the kiss of death to a marriage.

Intentions are meaningless if the actions are unsatisfactory. Whether this weight gain is medical, psychological or supernatural in origin is irrelevant, because she's allowed herself to turn into every spouse's worst nightmare and hasn't done a thing to moderate it -forget reversing it!- on her own.

What more do you want to know?


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Paulius
Lover

Posts: 13

Registered:
Aug 2008
Re: A Heavy Issue (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 01:31 AM (#56115)

If you want a 'nice' way to broach the subject, all you have to do is tell her the truth: If she's gained a hundred pounds, her health is at risk.

However, it's time for some tough love. Next time she asks you if you're still attracted to her, tell her the truth. That you're not AS attracted to her because of her weight gain...and most importantly, that you're concerned about her health.

As for the health thing, I'm speaking from experience. Thanks to my eating habits and lack of exercise, I gave myself high blood pressure and diabetes. Talk to her sooner than later.


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