Sacred Women have been in hiding for lifetimes
Picture this: We’re on our way back from Mexico. I had just gotten Marshall to sleep after an hour of singing, bottles, peek-a-boo, and a blowout. I felt like I just won the lottery. I took some time to write out my ideal schedule for the next few weeks. Jonathan peeks over my shoulder and asks me to share.
“Well, on Monday, I’m going to go to prenatal yoga, then work for the rest of the day, Tuesday is my day of meetings and calls, Wednesday I’m going to go dancing and then work at a cafe the rest of the day, Thursday morning I’ll have some downtime… etc, etc.”
Then he says, “Ok, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way…”
“But do you think you should maybe go to yoga five days a week, since you know, you haven’t been going that much?”
OH NO, YOU DIDN’T.
“I MEAN, you were just a lot stronger during your first pregnancy, and I want this pregnancy to be easy for you.”
No sh*t Sherlock, probably because when I got pregnant the first time I didn’t just have a baby like 10 minutes earlier. (If you’re new here, I’m pregnant, which happened when my first son was 9 months old).
I was livid. And hurt. And felt like I weighed a million pounds.
I just stared at him, told him I didn’t want to talk about it and locked myself in the airplane bathroom and cried.
Here’s the deal. Jonathan didn’t call me fat, to him mentioning going to yoga is like asking if I was going to get a massage this week, but given my history of feeling terrible about myself and equating being told to work out with needing to look a certain way, it felt so different than he intended.
And, this wasn’t the first time we’ve had a version of this conversation, though it had been a while, maybe years, it still kills me every time.
Has this ever happened to you? And maybe it wasn’t your husband, but a friend, your mother, or your doctor. If it has, you know the pain, the embarrassment, and the intense anger. I was in that bathroom for a while, deciding how to deal with this situation because I was clear I never wanted to feel this way again.
ONE: FEEL ALL THE EMOTIONS. I felt shame, embarrassment, and anger. I was reminded of all the times anyone had ever commented on my weight like they were all on the plane telling me how fat I was. I was second-guessing wearing my bikini all week, questioning my choice to not work out 5 days a week. I got small and sad.
TWO: GET STRONG. After I went to the place of feeling like a helpless, worthless ten-year-old girl, I tapped into my strong inner woman. I got back into my seat, sat up straight, and looked directly at Jonathan. I talked for a long time and don’t remember everything I said but the energy was, “I am awesome, I am doing the best I can, and my body is my business. Period.” I told him he was never allowed to make a comment about my body (unless it’s about how gorgeous I am), my weight, working out, or food, ever, for as long as we live. It is my domain, not his. This conversation is off the table. I told him how much he hurt me, how angry I was, and how he made me feel. Yes, all on the plane, crying and speaking pretty loudly. I wanted him to really get that this was unacceptable.
THREE: UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY MEANT. Now, this is not about excusing their behavior and making it ok. I believe that people should never meddle in your health, ever, unless you are at serious risk of hurting yourself or others, but I think you get that’s not what I’m talking about here. However, understanding what they meant will help you feel better. The reality was that Jonathan was not saying I was fat, nor was he telling me he wanted a trophy wife or that I was lazy (even though that’s how I interpreted it). He was actually just wanting me to feel strong, so I can be comfortable during my pregnancy. Does this excuse the comment? Nope. But it allows me to come back to reality. The truth is that our partners need to be sensitive about how certain things make us feel, not just what they meant. Just because they wouldn’t feel hurt if we said that to them, doesn’t mean they have permission to say what they want to us.
FOUR: BE CLEAR ABOUT BOUNDARIES Tell whoever it is in a strong confident voice, “My body is my business. period. You are never welcome to mention anything about this ever again, am I clear? If you do, we’re going to have to reevaluate our relationship.” Or something like that.
It’s never easy to feel attacked or shamed by a loved one, even when they didn’t mean any harm, and 99% of the time they don’t. It’s ok to be sensitive, this is just how you are and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all have a history that makes us emotional around conversations like these, and we can all do work to be stronger and more self-accepting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t set some healthy boundaries with our partners.
In the comments below I want to know, have you experienced this before? And how you would handle a situation like this?
And if you know someone who has struggled with this in the past, I hope you will share it with them by sending an email or using the social media buttons below.
Can’t wait to talk with you below about this sensitive topic.
Simple actions to take your life back, know your worth & feel alive no matter how drained, overwhelmed and far gone you feel.
Hi Sarah, thank you so much for your article it gave me a lot to think about. I’m 58 years old, 5’ 9”, and 155 pounds. I look good in clothes, but because of a new job I haven’t had opportunities to exercise very much in the past nine months.
I’ve been dating someone new for the past month. He told me in a conversation that his friends used to fix him up with fat women. So I asked him do you think I’m fat? I was expecting a yes or no answer. What I got was “you could stand to lose a few pounds”.
I feel like that is a horrible thing to say to someone you’ve only known a few weeks.
I keep thinking maybe this is the reason he hasn’t had a girlfriend in seven years. He is 63 and nothing to look at, he just has a really fun personality. He has varicose veins, scars from knee surgery, way too much back hair. But when I like someone, I don’t see those things.
Is this guy a jerk or something else I don’t know help?
Hi Linda, thanks so much for your comment. If you feel it’s a horrible thing to say, find a way to clearly communicate that to him. It’s up to you to set the tone of how you would like to be treated and you deserve to be treated with respect and love. Sending love, Sarah
I’ve been seeing this guy for about a month. I’m 22, 6’1 foot and about 165 lbs. I definitely have some belly fat but not really anything too crazy. This guy has subtly mentioned something about my body weight before and I told him all comments or “suggestions” about my body are off the table. He apologized and said he understood. Well fast forward to tonight. He knows I love to read and said “I have this book you’d really be interested in but I don’t want you to get mad.” It ended up being a book about going a juice cleanse for 10 days. He said “you can go on this cleanse for 10 days and it says you’ll lose 10 pounds!” I’m pretty disappointed considering I told him all body comments were off the table.. but I don’t get why this guy keeps saying he likes me but then makes these stupid comments.. help?
Hi Moriah, thank you for your comment and for sharing. I so understand your frustration. Often times, we need to set boundaries again and again and again. Even the most evolved souls will still make these type of comments and it’s our work (should we choose to accept it) to keep asserting our values and boundaries. If he is the right one for you, he will understand and modify his comments. Love, Sarah
I recently had a similar conversation with my spouse of one year. When we had started dating, I had been working out heavily, sauna-ing, and severely cutting back on calorie intake. Lots and lots of calories lost, and I looked great.
Fast forward to him saying the sauna was a waste of money, so I casually agreed that it was and decided to stop. I was barely making use of it by that time anyway.
I then began college, and the Corona ordeal happened. So needless to say, my efforts of remaining fit in the frozen tundra of South Dakota paired with no gym time and no free time led to weight gain.
Over the weekend he decided to comment on it, and I was livid.
To be clear, he was the one who encouraged me to eat more. Who encouraged me that it’s ok for me to eat things I hadn’t been because I was scared of the calories. So naturally, weight gain happened.
Now that it’s here, he wants to have an opinion on it?
I was outraged because he had encouraged me that it was ok to let loose a bit. I was upset because it triggered a trauma response from previous issues in other relationships. I am still angry at him for it nearly four days later.
Eating in front of him now makes me uncomfortable and I often find myself feeling insecure when he walks into a room and I’m not up and moving.
He came off harsh. He made no effort to be kind in the way he presented it to me. Now he tries to back pedal and call me beautiful and feed me food I wouldn’t eat on a diet.
I don’t know how to take his fluctuation in attitude.
However, I do know I’m not handling the situation well mentally. Which is how I made my way to this forum. Any advice to offer?
Hi Ashley, thank you so much for your comment and question. I can understand how you’re feeling. Have you let your partner know that discussing your weight is simply off limits? When there can be a mutual understanding of your boundaries, it will make it much easier to feel better emotionally. And you deserve to feel amazing! Love, Sarah
Your article hit me like a brick!
My boyfriend and I were talking and he mentioned how I tend to eat sweets at night. How he can not buy ice cream anymore because “someone” has a problem and how he can go three days w/o eating the ice cream. Then he said this is why you’re gaining weight. You’re eating all those calories after dinner then just sitting there.
I stood there. Blank stare. I didn’t say anything. I just turned around and walked away. I felt like a round butterball. And when I read you saying that it felt like everyone was on the plane w/you telling you about your body. That’s exactly what happened. My mom telling me no more cookies or chips. My aunt looking me up and down telling me I’ve gained weight. My grandmother calling me healthy… AKA chubby! My high school boyfriend telling me I was fat.
So I still sit here. Still I say nothing. Idk what I’m supposed to do. I’m sick of telling people to leave me alone. Plus I’m 5’ 2” and weight 140… I may not be a model but I’m not huge. Although that’s how I feel rt now! BIG ROUND AND GROSS!
Hi Amy, thanks for reading and for your comment. I completely understand your frustration. When you are telling people to “leave you alone” are you specifically asking them to not comment on your weight/size? If you explain your boundary, it will make it easier to maintain these relationships with a mutual level of respect. Also know that sometimes this work of maintaining boundaries is on-going, and that is ok as you are worthy of love at any size. Love, Sarah
Wow this whole website/blog is what I have been NEEDING for so so long! This article in particular, I have been with my fiance for 4 years and when I met him I was a size 2. (I’m 5ft) I had previous weight “issues” my whole life and in a very unhealthy, restrictive plus doing drugs kind of way, I went from a size 12 to that size 2 and I felt “normal” we went through addiction, homelessness and recovery together. Now we’ve been sober for over a year and have our whole life together (house, good job etc) BUT I’ve gained weight. (I’m a size 10) and already feeling self conscious, especially because my fiance sometimes makes comments about other “heavier” women…and these women are usually around the same weight as I am. So I asked him The Question.” So do you think I’m fat?” While zooming in on every single body language reaction from him, he replied “well, we all know that your a little overweight.” I felt what little confidence I had leave…and now, any time there is a little distance or lack of attention to me in any way, I feel like its because “I’m overweight.” Ex: “we don’t have sex a lot anymore because he doesnt want to have sex with a “fat” person”. I’m self conscious about eating in front of him now as well.. So anyways! I’m sorry for writing a book here. Your article here, (your whole blog actually) just really hits home for me. Thank you for writing these things! 💖💖
Hi Nikki, thanks for your comment and share. I’m so glad the blog resonates! You are worthy at any size – be sure to establish firm boundaries around what is ok and not ok. Love, Sarah
Thank you so much for this article. I have had issues with my current boyfriend of over a year about body image. His physical taste in women seem to be the complete opposite of what I actually am, and I am having a hard time trying to navigate a way to talk to him about the life-long struggle I’ve had with weightloss. He is attracted to very fit, weight-lifting type physiques. He even often shows me pictures of fitness models on instagram, which makes me feel like he is secretly trying to tell me I should look like them. He tells me I am beautiful and compliments me a lot, however he sometimes gets wandering eyes when we are out in public together, and occasionally comments on women’s photographs on Instagram complimenting their looks. Should I be worried about this?
Hi Jane, thanks for reading and for sharing your heart. I would recommend having an honest and open conversation with your partner to let him know your concerns. Be sure to share your boundaries and stay open to talking through this. Love, Sarah
Hi Sarah, thank you for posting this. I really needed it. I have been with my boyfriend for six months and I have come to realize that I have never felt so fat and unattractive in a relationship. My boyfriend constantly refers to my weight in a negative way, and then says that he is worried about my health. But its the way he says it, and the way I feel. He will look at me and my plate while I am eating. He observes other overweight women, and at one point, he pointed at one and said “if you ever get that big, I am leaving you.” All of this is So hurtful, because I went through a deep depression last year and gained 30 pounds. In one year. I am not used to this weight that I have put on. I already feel horrible, but he makes me feel worse. I believe that he is not attracted to me.
He is a very good man, a great catch. He does a lot for me. But should I be with a “great man” even though I feel unattractive and insecure around him?
Hi Lex, thanks for sharing your heart. I’m so sorry you’re hurt. You deserve to feel unconditional love from your partner. Only you have the answer as to whether you should be with him. I’m sending you support! Love, Sarah
Thank you for this article. I’m 5.6, about 170 pounds and 28 years old. Last night, my boyfriend told me that he is not as attracted to me as he used to be because of the weight I’ve put on. He has never mentioned anything before and we have been together for 3 years. That hit me like a ton of bricks.
We got into an argument about it because I felt that’s not appropriate to say, but he claimed he just wanted to be honest. Fair enough. He said the issue is that I’ve gained weight because I eat a lot of sugar, snacks, and junk food (this is true, it’s my coping mechanism for stress). He claims that if I gained weight because of pregnancy, disease, etc. that he wouldn’t feel this way.
I’m so stuck on how to feel. I’m obviously upset, but I don’t know whether what he said is something I should be angry about or not. I also don’t know what I should do. I know my eating habits are an issue, but I feel like I shouldn’t make a change just because he said something, I should make a change when I feel ready.
Hi Lindsay, thanks for your comment. I believe you are right – you shouldn’t make a change based on his comments, make a change for yourself (if, and only if, you wish). You deserve unconditional love, regardless. Love, Sarah
I needed this article today, I had a really hard pregnancy with my last baby, I had to have an a emergency c-section, I’m 40 years old and recovery has been hard. I am still feeling pain and have nerve damage and it prevents me from working out as much as I would like, sometimes my pelvic area just burns. I didn’t put on any weight while I was pregnant but afterwards is a different story, I couldn’t move around much and so I got depressed and then didn’t want to move around even more. My hormones are finally on track and I’ve been slowly trying to make changes, I’ve joined weight watchers and been trying to walk when I can. My husband has been less than supportive, he wants me to be able to run 10 miles right now and drop weight, last night he asked me if I was still doing weight watchers, I told him yes but I haven’t been doing so well because we don’t have access to a lot of healthy fresh foods right now, he hasn’t been working a lot and we are on a tight budget. He looked at me and said well then starve, it won’t kill you. I feel pretty crappy about it.
Hi Anita, thanks for your comment and for sharing your heart. Your husband telling you to starve is unacceptable – it’s no wonder you’re not feeling good. I encourage you to establish crystal clear boundaries and let him know it is off limits to discuss your body. I’m sending support! Love, Sarah
Thank you so much for sharing. I googled “When your husband makes rude comments about your weight” or something like that….and your post came up. My best friend posted a picture of her and I about 6 years ago on my Facebook page. My husband said to me “Yeah, that’s what you looked like when I met you.” We’ve been together for 5 years and married for 2. I responded to him “What do you mean?” He was like well your figure is so much different now, don’t you think?” I have probably gained about 15-20lbs since we met, and I know I could be in better shape but man those comments broke my spirit and my heart! At first I was like.. I’m going to have to get to losing weight immediately and then I thought to myself…. If you lose weight it has to be because it’s to make you happier and healthier and not because of those words he said. I need to have a conversation with him but it seems every time I mention his harshness somehow it gets turned around that I’m too sensitive. He loves me I know that, but he was really raised in a non loving and non compassionate environment so he never thinks how his words could affect another. Anyways, thank you again for your post, I need to have a conversation, I’m just trying to figure out how to communicate how I feel without getting too emotional and not then not being able to discuss truly how I feel.
Hi Tammy, thanks for your comment and for reading the blog. I’m glad you found it! Having these conversations can be tough but are essential. You deserve love no matter your size. If you’re looking for help with this conversation, my membership, Whole Woman, is an amazing place for additional resources. Love, Sarah
My partner said he was worried about my weight and said he goes back and forth about if he accepts it or not. We’ve been together for 5 years. It really hurt my feelings. Then he made the comment that he was looking at me and I got bigger and he was wondering if I was going through something. I gained 2 lbs. not to mention when we met I was about 8lbs heavier. I don’t even know what to feel. I feel he’s being superficial bc he’s a body builder. And “I’m the biggest woman he’s ever dated”. I’m not fat just thick, small waste. What do you think about this Sarah?
Hi Dom, thanks for your comment and for being here. I can understand why you’re hurt. I encourage you to establish very clear boundaries in which speaking about your body is off limits. You are lovable no matter what the scale says. Love, Sarah
I was wondering if you might be able to give me some advice? My partner rubbed my tummy the other day and said, ‘hello there little baby’. I naturally got upset and asked what he meant by that and he couldn’t give me an answer. So now I am feeling fat and have immediately gone on a diet. The problem is that I logically know I’m not fat (170cm, 58kg, BMI 20.1), but I can’t understand why he said it or now can’t give me a reason why he said it.
I workout 5 days a week and am very active, but I have put on 4kg in the last 6 months, although this was intentional as I was underweight. But I am wondering if he wants me to lose weight and I am just confused if I am too big. My partner is actually quite overweight, his BMI is 42. So I don’t understand and just feel hurt. And what’s worse is that he is mad at me. I don’t get any of it. Can you give me your opinion? Thanks so much!
Hi Hayley, thanks for your comment. I’m so sorry this happened. You can choose to let it go, or you can insist he explains his comment. Know that by pushing him to explain, you may be further hurt but this could also help in healing. I would encourage you to establish boundaries and let him know it is off limits to discuss your body. I’m sending support! Love, Sarah
My boyfriend I have been together almost two years and we are in our 30s. We have a really healthy and great relationship. We started as friends and have built quite an awesome connection together. I have always been complimented and praised by him. I have never felt more loved and beautiful in a relationship before. However, recently he said something completely out of character. I was sitting on the edge of the bed in a small tank top and says, ” Your belly is hanging out. Maybe you should stop eating ice cream.” It was very hurtful. I immediately said, “That is completely rude. Don’t get used to speaking to me like that. I won’t tolerate it. I look great.” So I felt I set that boundary with him. He instantly apologized. But I noticed throughout the rest of the weekend, he kept mentioning how much I’ve been indulging in food and is worried that I’m going to gain a bunch of weight. He said that it’s a taboo subject and is hard to talk about. I was like, “Well one day, I will gain weight. Either because I’m pregnant or ill or what not.” And he said, ” Of course and I’ll still love you and think you’re beautiful, but people let themselves go all the time after they’ve been together for awhile.” I just ended up arguing with him about it.
I would just like to add that it’s during the pandemic right now and I am out of shape, but trust me…I look just fine. I’m worried that he won’t always love me for me. I’m also a sexual person and worried that my insecurity about this now will affect our relationship in that way. I’m just in complete shock that this man that loves me so much and has found me so attractive said this to me. I’m not sure where to go from here…
Hi Annabel, thanks for your comment and for being here. I’m sorry you’re feeling hurt and encourage you to continue having those sometimes tough conversations in regards to your boundaries. Be crystal clear that it is simply off limits to discuss your weight and body. With continued conversation, he may begin to understand. You deserve respect and unconditional love no matter what. Love, Sarah
Loved your response to your partner. I hope HE re-evaluated himself.
My boyfriend and I are about a year and a half now. About 2 months ago he started commenting on my diet/things I was eating.
I’m not afraid to tell him how I feel and have told him about 3 times already. However, we haven’t moved past it.
I am 5’8 and 215 Ibs and 23 years old. When we started dating I was 180! Since then I’ve had foot surgery, chronic migraines, and back issues so severe I could barely put on my pants and walk regularly.
I’ve played basketball and have had a steady workout routine since I was 8 years old. I have had multiple ankle injuries so had to slow down more during college.
Although the past year and half I still exercised when I was able and Have been doing yoga since March, I’m still overweight.
I’ve mentioned my frustrations and saddens with my changing body, injuries. And fitness journey to my BF.
But he just tries to “encourage” me to be healthier because he knows I’m not happy with my weight. However, I told him that the recovery and resting has made me much happier and has made me feel better.
There’s lots more details though. Let me know if you’d like to hear those too!
I don’t know what to do. Lately he has been making low key and negative comments about anything that I eat that is unhealthy. Even bacon! And eating a full breakfast. He tells me I should just have smoothies or a replacement shake and one meal later on instead of having 3 meals a day. Btw I love my veggies and eat them a lot!
Although I’m not happy with my figure and what to be better, that doesn’t mean I hate the way I look. I’m darn proud of myself and thankful for my health. I’d really appreciate any insight.
Hi Asiah, thanks for your comment and for being here! I completely understand. I would encourage you to have a very clear conversation with your partner and let him know it is simply off limits to discuss your weight, body, or food choices. Know you may need to have this conversation many times but change happens when you stick to your boundaries. Sending love, Sarah
I couldn’t have come across your blog at a better time. I am currently 21, 5’7 and about 180-190 pounds. There is definitely work that could be done and time that could be spent in the gym. There are definitely things I could be doing better to live a healthier lifestyle (not drink daily soda, etc). However, recently my boyfriend and I decided to try a workout challenge (75 hard by David Goggins) It was really hard and definitely out of my element. He is very comfortable in the gym and overall being fit. These things however traumatize me for what ever reason. During the process was extremely hard because I was fighting inner demons with insecurities and his libido was WAY down… like non-exsistant, which didn’t help the insecurities. However, I still did it will him and we finished. This was a HUGE feat for me. Sure, i didn’t work out as hard as him or lift as heavy as weights but I finished it. Naturally his results were much better. We go to the gym together now occasionally but not as frequent as he likes. I expressed to him that all he would need to do is ask if I would want to go when he goes and I would be more than happy to tag along. He than expressed that its not the same because he wants me to have drive to go for myself and drive to go even when we don’t go together. That’s when a light went off in my head. I asked him “is this really about us spending time together and working out together or is this you telling me that I need to workout more and lose weight?” To which he rolled his eyes and proceeded to act like I was exaggerating and putting words in his mouth. Eventually he says “I feel like I cant talk to you about things without you getting up set so I just don’t talk to you about things.” I felt horrible to I asked him to please open up. Turns out what he wanted to talk about was that “his libido has never been so low and he has never had a problem with this before in his life and maybe it wouldn’t be a problem if I lost weight.” It absolutely wrecked me. Like I said, I know that their are changes in my lifestyle and eating that definitely can and should be changed. However, the way this was said and that it is even a thought in his head makes me feel very insecure and violated and I have no clue what to do ….
Hi Macy, thanks for your comment. I’m so very sorry to hear this. You are not responsible for his libido problems. I encourage you to be crystal clear and let him know talking about your body is now off limits and you are seeking unconditional love. Stay open and remember you deserve to be loved no matter what your appearance or drive is. Love, Sarah
Thank you for this insightful blog regarding your experience. The reason I found your blog is because of my recent experience. I used to be fit and taut until 2 miscarriages including one that caused mass internal bleeding and almost took me out. So, this past year I haven’t been myself and gained a little weight but nothing extreme. Well a few weeks ago I started working out again. I’m busy during the day and don’t always get the calories I need during the day. So tonight, I decided to have a bell pepper filled with veggies and mustard for late night snack. My husband and I had a great night but he grew cold and distant. I bothered him greatly til he told me what was wrong. “ You mention your body goals but yet you eat at night. It bothers me that you eat at night like you do”. He didn’t want to tell me because he doesn’t like me getting upset wi th him. Although my upset is very acceptable and not over emotional. Well, I had to keep my cool to not bother him further. I simply said I’m happy with my workouts and I’m ok eating veggies at night if I’m really hungry. He mention I do it to comfort eat. He could be right, but I just think my body needs more nutrients. I feel so saddened by these comments. My heart aches and I feel small, like you mentioned. We used to eat late together here and there without pause and only happiness ensued after eating at night. Also, he has asked for late night snacks or had something and I don’t bat a eye. I just want the same thing from him as I give to him. My body is beautiful and birthed two children. I have fought battles. I felt lovely today up until now. Just wondering if I should address this further with him? Thank you
Hi Lauren, thanks for your comment and for being here. I am so sorry to hear your heart is aching. I definitely encourage you to continue the conversation with your partner and establish firm, clear and loving boundaries around your body and food choices. I’m sending support. Love, Sarah
Thank you for this post. It helped me greatly. I had a similar issue yesterday. Long story short as we were leaving the pool he told me he didn’t want to be rude but I needed to go on a diet. Not only that it affected his sexual attractiveness to me.
Also he preceded to whine about his student loans and lot of other financial things but kinda spiraled quick. After locking myself in the whole
Foods bathroom for an hour I finally had the heart to forgive even though he did mean it bc he was being “honest”🤷🏼♀️ Thank you for this story, it hit home.
Hi JDW, thanks for being here – I’m so glad the blog post helped you. Your capacity to forgive is beautiful – I’m sending support! Love, Sarah
You have no idea how much your blog meant to me. I read it as I hid under a blanket, embarrassed by the comment that just came out of my husband’s mouth. I had just eaten dinner and wanted four Oreos, and he told me that if I was full I shouldn’t be eating Oreos. When I asked him what the problem was he explained, “I’m just making sure you’re being healthy,” but I told him that making comments about it wasn’t helpful. He just gets mad and says,”I can’t ever be helpful.” I’m 5’3 and weigh 160. It’s not like I’m obese, I’ve just gained a few pounds. This isn’t the first time he’s made comments like this either. One time he said,”Do you really need to eat ice cream again?”
I’m just at a loss of words and feel like shutting down because we get no where when we have the discussion that talking about my body is off limits, but he just explains I can’t take criticism.
Hi Casey, I’m so glad this blog helped. You are not alone! I am sending you support as you speak your needs and resist shutting down. Love, Sarah
This is exactly what I needed right now. Thank you so much.
Hi Catherine, I’m so happy this was what you needed! Thank you for being here! Love, Sarah
Thank you for sharing your story with the rest of us, just a quick skim of the comments demonstrate how important and relatable it is to many of us.
Just need to vent somewhere more than anything… Since COVID, I decided to take an extra school course to quicken my schooling and picked up extra shifts as I like to be financially independent from my partner. Obviously this put a lot more stress into my past year. My roommate bought a scale a few weeks ago and I thought I would check up on myself, I knew I had gained a little weight as I had not been eating as healthy or working out as much. I gained 20 pounds, which was a lot more than I thought I had. I tried putting myself back into some jeans and realized I could not get the buttons done up for half of them. I told my boyfriend, “I gained like 20 pounds this year!” in surprise. He had not really mentioned my weight before and always made me feel beautiful previously. However, after I said that he said, “Oh yeah, I’ve noticed. You weigh more that me now.” I don’t know why this hurt my feelings so much but it did. He has made some fat-shaming comments in the past about morbidly obese people (which has always made me uncomfortable) and has mentioned that if I ever gained too much weight he would probably be a little more unattracted to me and let me know so I could fix it. He is frustrated at me because I don’t feel like having sex, but I feel so big and jiggly now. When he touches my belly in any way I feel like crying even when he isn’t saying or doing it in mean way. He keeps asserting that he will love me no matter what and that he just wants me to be healthy and happy… but then undermined that comment with “But you know I thought you were more beautiful when you were skinnier.” I have struggled with weight before, but I am still 30 pounds lighter than I was at my heaviest and I was proud of it. I am just so frustrated at him and at myself. I don’t know how to set this boundary without him telling me I am oversensitive or telling me that he warned me before we got serious that this might be an issue.
Hi Serena, thank you so much for your vulnerable share. You have every right to set boundaries with your partner. And yes, he may indeed say you are oversensitive however that is his reflection and his reflection only. What matters most is you loving yourself – mind, body and soul. Trust that clear and respectful communication can happen and that your role (should you choose) is initiating this. You are so supported. Love, Sarah
I am so glad to have come across this post. I’ve been with my partner about a year. For background, I have a history of anorexia and 2 previous partners who gave me body shaming messages when I was younger, as well as family members who did the same. From ages 19-22, I made myself go hungry, suppressing my appetite with caffeine and cigarettes. Now I’m about to turn 29, I quit smoking years ago, I have an active job, I’m a vegetarian, and I eat really healthy. I’m a size 4 and weigh around 140 pounds. When me and my partner met, I found that early pandemic anxiety had caused me to limit calories again . Nothing too crazy—I fit into all the same clothes that I do now, but they were definitely a little bit looser. I still felt lovely after the slight weight gain, but recently I pointed out to my boyfriend that he seemed less into me than he used to be. He replied that he wasn’t finding himself attracted to me as much as before. After several weeks of circling around the point and letting me believe that it was just a libido issue, he finally admitted that the issue was my body. After a complete meltdown on my end, he tried to explain to me that it isn’t that I’m *unattractive* it’s just that I’m *slightly less attractive* and that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still find me wildly sexy. I’m still having such a hard time getting past this. He wants me to work out a bit more, but I feel hideous and jiggly and gigantic. I know that I need to tell him conversations about my weight are off limits, but I’m panicking feeling like there’s a ticking timer until I’m suddenly not attractive enough to hold his interest.
Hi Chelsea, thank you so much for your honesty and vulnerability. I see you and I’m here for you. You have every right to feel the way you do about your partner’s words. Your feelings matter. Ultimately, what matters most is you loving yourself and you may need to create boundaries with your partner so you feel heard, respected, and safe.
All my love,
Hi Chelsea, I’m so glad my words resonate. I’m sending so much love as you navigate your relationship with your husband. It doesn’t matter what size you are. You are loved. You are valued. You are supported. It sounds like setting clear boundaries and communicating how you’re feeling would be a helpful step in your marriage. You should feel lit up by your marriage, not anxious.
You have the power to stand up for yourself and your wants and needs. Remember that, love.
Omg… I have read the other messages and my goodness I feel embarrassed and frustrated about my over weight self. I had 1 hip replaced and have the second 1 in 1 month. Not using that as an excuse ( maybe I am) but I have put on 59 pounds! I am 5 feet 5 inches on a good day. I want to be healthy and love to cook, eat and bake! I am on this journey alone however, my husband is supportive but still comments about my weight etc. Thank you for your story and for the others above! Very helpful and motivational indeed.
Thanks to you and the others for the encouraging words. I sure need them. Martina
Hi Martina, thank you so much for reaching out. I’m so glad these words found their way to you. I’m so so glad you’re finding support here, it’s my hope for you to feel heard, valued and respected here. You aren’t on this journey alone. We are here with you, supporting you and walking alongside you in sacred sisterhood. If you need some more support especially with your upcoming surgery, I’d love to be a resource and share some of my programs.
Sending all my love,
I have been married for 24 years and my husband is an extremely vain person. I was sick of trying to keep him happy with the way I looked, because it is impossible. He’s never happy with himself – even when he was 5% body fat and so “super hot” that all of our children’s high school friends, teachers, mothers, my friends, his co-workers and even straight men would “admire” him.
He was complaining about our nonexistent sex life and I replied, “that is because you wont even touch me that way” and he said that maybe I need to do something about that. He says that a wife should strive to be what her husband wants. When we would go to meet his friends he would make sure that I was dressed appropriately so his friends could see what he’s got (back when I was much thinner and fit), never that he couldn’t wait for them to meet this great woman….. or we’d be out to eat and if I got up to go some where he would comment how everyone was looking at me even the women (back when I was skinny and fit). But no matter how fit I was there was always something I needed to do or could do better, focus on. I went to a plastic surgeon and took him with me, intentionally, because he kept commenting on the saggy skin I had on my belly from the 3 children that we have (one was over 10lbs). At that time I was 5’6” 117 lbs and was 40 years old. I had close to a 10% body fat, for a woman that is in my opinion gross unless you are a competitor. I had told my husband for years that there was nothing I could do to get that empty sack of skin to “go away” and he of course kept suggesting different workouts or diet plans for me to try. Anyhow the surgeon looked at him, laughed and told him “no, there is nothing your wife could do short of cutting that off herself to get rid on that excess skin.” I have told him about my body image issue that I have has since I was a kid. I’ve tried a lot of things to stay thin including bulimia which has damaged my body. And when we have arguments he throws that in my face. Now I weight 180 and I know I am over weight and out of shape but i guess its just easier to be an embarrassing disappointment then trying to meet unattainable expectations. Idk
Thank you so much for this post, it was just what I needed. I googled this topic because I had a situation with a pretty new relationship I’m in and I am having a hard time knowing how to address it. This past weekend, after having sex with my boyfriend, he touched my stomach and said “yeah, we’ll take care of this. Maybe go to the gym or something”. Earlier in the day he had asked me if I like running, and I just kind of brushed it off hoping he didn’t mean anything by it. The comment about my stomach really got to me though, and it made me feel so self-conscious, fat and not beautiful. I have struggled with my weight for my entire adult life, and have had some success with losing 20 pounds here and there but then it comes back. I had gotten to a point where I was feeling more confident in my skin than I ever have, but I feel like I just took 10 steps backwards now. I tried talking to him about it, but we didn’t have a lot of time to talk so we didn’t really finish. From the conversation we did have, he said I don’t really know what his reason behind the comment was (he never explained what his reason was because we didn’t have time and I haven’t brought it up again). I explained to him that my weight is something that I have always struggled with and been self-conscious about and if I am going to lose weight it needs to be because I want it and not because someone else wants me to look different. I do want to lose weight and feel more confident, but now I feel like I would be doing it to make him happy and I just want him to love me no matter what. I do intend to have a longer conversation about this with him but I’m not really sure how to bring it up or what to say. I appreciate any advice you have for me!
Hi Amanda, thank you so much for sharing and for trusting me with your words. You are so loved and so not defined by your size. Your partner should not have made the comments they did and communicating your frustration is the path forward. Having another direct conversation is needed to create boundaries that make you feel good. You are perfect just the way you are, love.
My Bf and I have been together for just over a year. We were both in good shape but became complacent with our workout routines and food. Thus we both have put on abut 20 points. I’ve been working out and eating well. I have never had “legs” that anyone would want they are covered in cellulite no matter what age or weight I’ve been ( yes love your body but when it’s rippled in cellulite it’s bloody hard) anyways he always said “we” need to workout more we aren’t what we were etc. But I only bring in healthy food, good food and cook healthy food. His weight gain is his issue alone.
In context his ex wife lives across the street and and she is really thin and naturally athletic. Where as I look like a tall body builder.
It’s almost like he’s projecting the fact he stopped taking care of himself and projecting it on me.
Today I told him he really blows my self esteem when he tells me “we need to lose weight” when I’m already aggressively trying. Not that it seemed to matter.
Not sure what to do. He’s perfect every other way.
Hi Susan, thank you so much for sharing what you’re going through. I am sending you so so much love. It doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is considering how his words impact you. And he should care. Often times being able to have an open conversation with a partner about how you’re feeling can truly make a difference. You are amazing and not defined by unrealistic beauty standards. You are loved just the way you are.
Hi Sarah. I am crying so much as I read your post as I feel like it has validated all of my feelings. I wouldn’t say I am overweight, not that that is a problem anyways, but I constantly feel not good enough for my boyfriend. He is extremely into fitness and eating healthy which I love and support because he can do whatever he likes, but he often tries to push this on to me. He will make comments that I am eating too much or that what I eat has too many calories. I have told him previously that these comments hurt me so much, and that I have a really bad history with disordered eating, and that I don’t want to calorie count or feel bad about my eating anymore. I feel like he just doesn’t care or doesn’t understand where I am coming from as he says that I will feel better about myself if I lose weight. I try to explain that this isn’t true for me and that even when I was at my skinniest I still had no confidence. he just doesn’t get it. he has made more comments about my eating which has left me again extremely upset. I don’t know what to do anymore. I just don’t get why he can’t understand how much it hurts me even when it is blatantly obvious from my crying that it is hurting me. I have ended up just giving in because I don’t have the energy to fight anymore. I have agreed to just never talk about my body anymore and to go on a diet with him. I feel heartbroken.
Hi Pea, thank you so much for sharing. I am wrapping you in so much love. You ARE enough and are perfect just the way you are. It’s not fair that your boyfriend makes negative comments about what you eat, especially since you were vulnerable and shared your history with him. You shouldn’t have to feel defeated because he won’t respect your feelings. You deserve to be treated with respect and have a supportive partner who uplifts you and doesn’t tear you down. Spend time looking inward and focusing on taking care of you and spend less time worrying about what he thinks and says. When the time is right have an honest conversation with him about how his words make you feel and set some boundaries. I see you and I hear you, love.
All my love,