Should wives stay thin for their husbands?

A friend was telling me of her new diet and plans to lose 20 lbs. “I told Jack (her husband of 10 years), ‘I'm so sorry I got fat since we married!'” From everything I can tell, their relationship is thriving, but my friend has a deep-rooted sense that she has an obligation to make efforts in her appearance and weight.

This is no 50s housewife. This is a progressive, fabulous professional woman who enjoyed an adventurous love life for years before marrying a wonderful (also progressive and fabulous) man. I admit I was a bit taken aback by her commitment to maintaining her figure for her husband. The partyline progressive and feminist (is that redundant?) stance is that it doesn't matter what you look like! He should love you/be committed no matter what! Conforming appearances for your partner's sexual desire is degrading! It's what's inside that matters.

Like many progressive and feminist issues, this one does not take into account the very human nature of dudes and chicks. There is no arguing with the fact that men are more visually inclined. Sure, there have been a couple of recent studies that challenge this stereotype, but suffice it to say that an MSNBC poll a few years ago revealed that half of men would dump his female partner if she got fat (just 20 percent of women said the same of their husbands and boyfriends). According to my own scientific research (dating a bunch of divorced guys), I can tell you that if his wife got fat, it bugged him. Even the really progressive and feminist guys. And, I might add, especially the professionally successful ones.

Fat wife skinny husband

Admit it, you are like me. When I see a handsome man accompanied by a heavy wife (no matter how pretty or wonderful or professionally accomplished), I wonder: Is he faithful? Do they still have sex? Does her weight bug him? Why did she let herself go? The more successful he is, the more questions arise. Yes, the same questions are evoked when a gorgeous, brilliant woman is partnered with an overweight and unattractive man. But that is just different, and you know it. It is that old, old supposedly anthropologically based social norm that a man's value in the mating marketplace is dictated by his professional and financial success, and a woman's value by her physical beauty and ability to charm at the company holiday party. But we can make our own money now. That is both awesome and the source of much grief in our personal lives, including that balancing work and family leaves less time to exercise, which makes us fat and more vulnerable to being dumped for it.

I get this, and I respect it.

I've also lived it.

I've written here about one post-divorce affair in which my boyfriend went out of his way to let me know I was not attractive enough for him – including being too fat. This was particularly devastating because he was not better looking or more successful than l was. WTF?  I'd think time and again as I nursed my self esteem.

I did date a very handsome and successful man when I was in my early 20s (about 20 lbs ago) and as the relationship went on and his career exploded, my physical appearance came into question in subtle but painful ways. Eventually he left me for his very pretty and petite co-anchor on the national evening news, where he was a rising star in his Eastern European country. I google him every now and again and he is just as good-looking as I remember and is incredibly successful—and according to the gossip sites in that country, he has consistently upgraded to increasingly, devastatingly beautiful (and thin) women as his career skyrockets.

On the one hand, what can you do? On the other: Ouch!

fat wife divorceHe says: “My wife got fat.”

A few months ago I heard from a reader who felt guilty because he wasn't attracted to his after she gained weight. 

“I used to think guys were assholes who cheated on their wives and blamed their weight as the reasons. Well, my was really fit and hot for the first 5 years of our relationship.

“But she wife pigged out like crazy when she was pregnant with our twins, and would tell everyone that she was ‘treating' herself. Well, now the kids are 5 years old, and she doesn't work, the kids are in kindergarden all day, she has tons of free time, and has made no effort to get back into shape. I go the gym or jog 4-5 days per week, and have offered to help her find a routine (with me taking care of the kids, etc.) so she can go to the gym, but she ignores me. I've taken over cooking so we all eat healthier, but she eats chips and ice cream all evening. 

“I am in good shape, and I see that women check me out. She is overweight by at least 30 lbs and does not otherwise care for her appearance. When we do have sex, it is hard for me to really be into it. I'll be honest: I feel like is unfair that she gets to have sex with someone who goes to the gym, and I don't.

“There is a woman at work who is my age, also has kids, and takes care of herself. She is not even my type, but I find myself so attracted to her, her body, and fantasizing about her all the time. I feel guilty, that this superficial thing makes me feel like such a bad dad and husband. 

“But at the end of the day, I feel like I give my wife the gift of my own health and attractiveness, and she does not return the favor.”

Why do wives get fat?

The reasons wives get fat are the same reasons everyone else gets fat: 

  • Not prioritizing health
  • Too little time to exercise and/or cook healthy foods 
  • Childbirth and nursing tend to be connected with weight gain 
  • Emotional issues involving food, self-image and connection to our physical selves, which can stem from deep and old wounds 
  • She is pushing him away. Whether consciously or consciously, she may really be unhappy in the marriage, and knows that her weight is an easy way for him to blame her for the end of the relationships—and for her to label him a superficial jerk for not loving her no matter what. 
  • People are complicated and complex.
  • Marriages are complicated and complex. 

This Cornell University study found some interesting takeaways about marriage and weight gain:

  • Married people are heavier than single people
  • Obese women are happier than other women in their marriages. Researchers suspect this is because they appreciate that their value on the singles market is low, and therefore are contented with their marriages than thinner women. 
  • Obese men were less happy with their wives than other men, because, the paper proposes, their wives nag them about their weight, which causes marital conflict, and because men do not internalize societal fat-shaming as much as women.

“My husband left me because I gained weight”

Does your divorce story start and end with, “My husband left me because I got fat”?

Maybe a boyfriend broke up with you because you gained weight. 

Maybe he had an affair with a thinner woman, or started dating a smaller girlfriend shortly after you divorced. Maybe he told you: “I'm not attracted to you anymore because you are overweight, and I want a divorce.”

I imagine that hurts like hell. After all my own, related shame around my body in romantic relationships hurt really badly, even though it was not a full marriage at stake. 

But I am not going to let you off that easily. Two big points:

1. It takes two people to make a marriage work, and it takes two people to end it. If your weight were the single deal-breaker in keeping the marriage together (which it never is, keep reading), then why wouldn't you just lose the weight? 

2. It is never just about the weight. Fat people stay happily married all the time. So do couples in which one is fit and the other is not. Weight is like money in a marriage: It does not help or hurt a  marriage in and of itself. What the thing does is highlight other, deeper, more human parts of the people involved, and the inner workings of the relationship itself. 

As psychiatrist Gail Saltz told the Today Show:

“Your turned-off feelings likely have to do with a lot more than weight. I suspect there are other issues that are harder to pinpoint: You are angry at your wife, you feel awkward being honest with her, you have let your lives become dominated by workday things, you have trouble communicating.

“I’m not saying that having an overweight spouse has no impact on your sex life. Sure, your wife might be less attractive to you in the physical sense. And being overweight sends a negative message — that your wife doesn’t care enough about herself, the marriage or whether you have sex. Now, you fear saying anything and she feels you are pulling away, so you are wary around each other, setting off a vicious circle of avoidance and annoyance.”

What to do if your spouse or significant other gains weight and you want to leave him/her

First of all, just be honest with your partner. Maybe you sit down and tell them:

“I really love you, and I want desperately to make this relationship to work. For me, that includes each of us taking care of our health and physical appearance. That includes weight.”

If things have gotten this far without this level of honesty (which is likely a sign of your kindness!), then bring in a professional. 

15 signs your husband or wife wants a divorce

Relationship/marriage counseling when a husband or wife gets fat 

A skilled couples therapist—whether you are married or not—can be instrumental in helping your communicate your needs and stresses in the relationship. A good relationship counselor will also help you and your husband or wife uncover the deeper reasons that you are not connecting any more—and help you realign once again.

Couples counseling can be very challenging for reasons that include practical ones:

  • It is hard to schedule a time that works for both of you—including location and driving to and from the session
  • Cost, since insurance rarely pays for therapy any more 
  • Finding a couples counselor that you both like, which is especially hard in smaller communities that have fewer mental health professionals 

Online therapy is a great option. Sites like BetterHelp, which has an A Better Business Bureau rating, allow you to choose from thousands of certified and licensed therapists around the country. With prices starting at $40 per week for unlimited text, voice, email or video sessions, BetterHelp is extremely convenient and efficient.  

Check out BetterHelp now >>

Or, research reviews of the top online therapy sites to find the help you need, now.

If your marriage or relationship is really headed for divorce, be smart and start planning. Here is what every mom should ask for in divorce negotiations.

Here is my female counter-anecdote: My husband was mostly fit, though he put on a few pounds after we married, which bothered him, and made him worry it bothered me. It didn't (though his self-consciousness did). I have always taken care of myself, though I could stand to lose a good 10-15 lbs. People often remark that I always look nice and wear makeup every day, even though I almost always work from home. During one marriage counseling session, in a plea for more appreciation, I mentioned that I freshened up my makeup before my husband came home. “Wow, that is really something—women hardly ever do that,” the therapist said (cue gloating).

On the other hand, my current boyfriend has a really killer body. Seriously, I cannot get enough of his broad shoulders and muscular ass. We recently went to the theater and I spent the whole two hours clawing at his huge arms. His back is so rock-solid I sometimes wonder if I'm not sleeping with David, looted from Florence. His physique is not the main attraction, but it is an important one. As our relationship develops—and our bodies deteriorate as bodies are prone to do—I would hope that our intellectual and emotional rapport would deepen, and replace to a degree my focus on being ravished by his man-body. But, of course, if in years to come, the socks-on-the-floor and other minor and major grievances mushroom into serious relationship friction, I can imagine piling onto the list a flabby tummy or swinging triceps. In other words: If the relationship is solid, bodies matter less. But when things go south—drooping boobs and a sagging ass seem that much more egregious—especially if we're talking about something within the person's control, like weight gain.

But this all comes down to expectations from the very beginning. I can imagine my boyfriend's inevitable physical decline bugging me more than my ex-husband's because his is better to start with. His bod plays a larger role in our story, and—should things head that way—the expectations for the long-term. Marriage, after all, is an agreement and a business deal based on current expectations. You expect going forward what you sign up for today. It's not reasonable for a man to be be surprised his wife doesn't acquire a string-bikini-worthy body 20 years into their relationship if she was plump when they met.

This post was originally published Nov. 9, 2014. 

About Emma Johnson founder  Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.


  1. dino hacket on January 18, 2020 at 7:00 am

    I keep seeing the statement overweight wives or husbands need to workout or go to the gym. Don’t get me wrong those are great for improving your health, but if you are trying to lose weight it’s your DIET. Losing weight is 80% diet. You don’t have to do one single extra exercise to lose weight. Just cut your calorie intake and eat healthy foods!! It’s HARD to do, that’s why it’s so difficult to lose all that extra weight. But don’t use no time to go to the gym as an excuse. You don’t have to go to the gym to lose weight, but it is great if you can do that too for you overall health.

    One important thing to remember to those who decide to start working out. YOU CAN’T OUT EXERCISE BAD EATING HABITS! Also, working out will increase your appetite. I’m all for working out, I do it 6 days a week, just don’t expect it to cause a magic body transformation. It’s the WHAT YOU EAT that is most important to losing weight!

  2. Katie on November 28, 2019 at 3:37 am

    What do you do though when your husband LOSES too much weight? I’ve been with him 10 years and unfortunately I gained about 30 pounds in the past 2 years becoming a stay at home mom and I’m my heaviest then he lost like 40 from this intense harder job and he is his skinniest. We have always been the same size. I think neither of us care enough to fix it….but when it comes to sex honestly it is hard for us both. I think between me and my extra chunk and his bones poking in me….actually hurting me….its hard to satisfy either of us. It’s very new to us.

    We have an amazing relationship and are so in love and everything is great. We have even talked about this and here and there made effort, but its mild and its tough. I lost 10 pounds just to gain it back as well as vice versa him within a couple months I swear

    Lately though my feelings of it our stronger than his, I think due to him looking sickly even. It sucks. I hope we both get back to where we use to be. Not easy!

  3. Vincent on November 10, 2019 at 11:23 am

    If Jack was fit and Emma’s friend valued that, she might have simply had the integrity to hold herself to the same standard that she values in him. She might have had more integrity than to cling to cop outs about it being different for women. And although she apologized to her husband for the sake of their relationship, she might have wanted to get fit for her own benefit as well. Both motivations are admirable, except to people who are driven by one-way entitlement.

  4. Eugene on October 22, 2019 at 12:44 am

    I think the frame of mind should not be “fat or skinny” but in shape . Now no matter what candy coating articles are out there (you can be big and healthy!) we as humans instinctively know what in shape means. Both people in a relationship I believe have an obligation to stay healthy and attractive for each other. What initially brings most men and women together is some form of physical attraction, fun and enjoyment, good conversation, joint interest , etc . If after marriage any of those things start to fall by the wayside, why do we act surprised that issues start popping up in a relationship? I like to compare health & fitness with money . Despite what anyone says , we want to be around someone who provides something. If we met and I worked, paid the mortgage, bills, provided food, did things around the house; then stopped, sat on couch, stopped taking care of responsibilities etc ; it’s not unreasonable to think my wife would start getting annoyed or worse want a divorce . Physical attractiveness isn’t any different. Yes we age , but still some effort in excercise and eating right will go a long way .

  5. Bill on October 21, 2019 at 9:55 am

    I have been married to my wife for over 30 years. We have three terrific children. My wife is a good person, her friends love her. She is outgoing and very kind. She is also quit obese, probably 100 lbs overweight. I have done my best to not say anything hurtful over the years. I have to say I roll my eyes a little at people worried about 20 or 30 lbs. For me the problem is not just the weight, it is everything that goes along with it. The lack of energy, being sedentary, snoring, eating junk food, not cooking healthy meals, ect. I sleep in a different bedroom now, we have no sex life, I cook many of our meals, I clean, do laundry, all the yard word. I also work more and I get frustrated when I get home and even though my wife returned home earlier or had the day off there is no dinner even started or the kitchen is a mess. I am in good shape, very active and I still play sports. I know I am fortunate in that way but I also watch what I eat and exercise several days a week. I am unhappy in my marriage and I am thinking about leaving. I have never and would never have an extramarital affair. My children mean everything to me and it would hurt them if I left so I do not know what to do.

    • Natalie on November 15, 2019 at 9:22 am

      Bill, all in all you don’t sound like a horrible guy who just wants to cheat on his wife. Having said that I’m wondering if she has any issues with anxiety or depression? Are there unresolved issues that could cause her to seemingly “give up”? Depression can cause that. Wouldn’t it be sad if she had gained all the weight due to deep emotional issues, and her inability to deal with those? I don’t see how she could be happy with herself, her life or marriage, by the obvious turn it has taken with you moving out of the bedroom and there being no intimacy. How she perceives in her mind that you see her is probably how she feels everyone sees her.
      1 – Have you ever sat down together and talked about her weight? Gently, I hope, if so. Believe me, no one ‘wants’ to be fat, overweight, chunky, or obese. It chips away at their self esteem, makes them insecure, self-conscious and shamed. So, going back to talking to her. If you have not sat down together and ‘gently’ broached the subject of her weight, then this is something you should do. Don’t accuse…speak kindly.
      2 – Have you ever suggested that you work out together? What an encouragement that would be! You could not only encourage her verbally, but in letting her know that you care about her, and showing it by ‘wanting’ to do this together. Hopefully you’ll remember that as she struggles to set a pace at which she’s comfortable in walking, you will probably be wanting to zip on. Give her time. She will get there.
      3- Has she ever been to counseling therapy? Therapy is always a good place to start in finding help.
      4 – Have you been to marriage counseling? Another good route to follow.

      These are just a few of the things available and possible in helping your marriage. Try them. Don’t give up yourself by quitting.
      I feel you wouldn’t have written if you didn’t still care.
      My best to you (and) your wife.

  6. TheBadGuy on October 17, 2019 at 6:36 am

    When me and my wife were dating, she dropped about 40 pounds and became truly stick thin. It made me practically laugh out loud when the same guys who succumb to American Fat Women acceptance and claim they like women with some meat on their bones, would practically faint when my stick thin wife would walk by. I think most men like women to be skinny, even really skinny, but because of the fat acceptance movement, they are terrified to admit it.

  7. Jazzy on September 18, 2019 at 9:40 am

    That was a very interesting read!
    My husband and I met when we both were slimmer. Since my teenage time I started struggling with my weight. When I reached almost 160 lbs (I’m only 5’3″) I was disgusted by myself and did something to change it (was about 23 at that time). It worked and I got down to 132 lbs within 6 months, by only changing my diet and exercising a liiiiitle bit. But I was young and my metabolism was still on edge. *haha* And that was the time when I met my husband.
    Now, I’m 36 and have three amazing children. After my first and second I was able to loose most of the weight gained during the pregnancies again. After child three…. well, lets say, for some reason I gained the most weight during that pregnancy (though he was the smallest of them all). But I started working form home a little over a year ago and I freaking gained over 10 lbs. I was heavier than back when I was 22/23. I exercised and lost 10 lbs in a short period of time and I know my husband was super thrilled; outwards for me, but I’m VERY sure he was happy for himself too. But I can do whatever I want, I can’t break through my 150-152 plato and I’m beyond frustrated. My husband started Karate with my oldest son and of course he is starting to loose weight. I wanted to join them, but my daughter doesn’t wanna do it and my youngest is too young. I would have no one to look after them while we would go to practice (our families don’t live here and my husband is against a babysitter). I know that he’s not that attracted to my body that much anymore. He even comes and says “oh, my mom noticed how karate is good for me and she suggested to do it too”. I know that his mom things I’m too big, other than him, she says it straight to my face. Recently he started telling me about other women checking him out. Yesterday, he and my son had a grading test for their next belt and the test committee had a pretty blond, slim, young woman as a judge. Afterwards he came to me “did you see that and that judge? I think she was checking me out” Why the fuck would he even mention that to me?!?!? Like seriously? Tell your wife, who’s struggling to get in better shape, that a hot blonde chick was checking him out???? I was just really hurt and made and commented “just because that little intern at your work has a crush on you, doesn’t mean every hot chick is checking you out, beside, she was one of the judges, she is supposed to ‘look at you’?” I think men do not know what damage they can do when saying stuff like that….. He also started saying I should go to karate with them, well knowing that we don’t have anyone to look after our other two kids. He’s been really ticking me off because of that, like, don’t ‘offer” something, you know damn well can’t be done.
    I eat quite healthy and I exercise a few days a week but somehow nothing is happening anymore….. But his “that and that girl was checking me out” personality is really starting to give me major self-doubts.

  8. Stephanie on September 10, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I loved this piece. Super witty and honest. To anyone saying “OmG this piece is so shallow! relationships can’t be superficial!!!”
    Yeah…..I’m also overweight. BUT I know the truth and I’m not offended as easily as you are. NEWSFLASH we’re all primal beings and primitively…LOOKS MATTER. So stop being offended and go eat an avocado. I will too.

  9. Tiffany on September 3, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    This whole topic is pathetic. If a person loves another person, it shouldn’t matter what size they are or what they look like. That is what’s wrong with our society today. People are brainwashed by messages the media gives us about looking perfect to land a man/woman when in actuality, none of that is true. Real love comes from the inside not based upon what we look like. You ever heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?” Also, looks don’t last forever. Think about that the next time you wanna be with someone specifically for their looks.

    • Wilson on September 10, 2019 at 12:56 pm

      It matters, and people who say that it doesn’t are probably the ones that aren’t going to the gym or keeping themselves up. When you live with someone 24/7 you sort of get tired of hearing the excuses why they can’t exercise or when you see fast food wrappers or candy wrappers tucked away some where. If you keep yourself up and go to the gym you will see women who’ve had several kids and are in their 40’s and 60’s and looking great. Men cook, clean, fix things, take care of the kids, and work too, and many of us are tired of being told that there is something wrong with us because our significant others don’t want to put in effort in keeping a healthy life style. I could see if their was an injury or some medical reason but for most wives that I’ve seen that are overweight it’s because they don’t care. You are right looks don’t last forever but you are not entitled to turn into a frumpy mess before you even hit 40 and expect for your mate to be happy about it, unless they are a frumpy mess too.

      • Kat on October 22, 2019 at 7:08 pm

        Totally agree with everything you said, Wilson.

    • Cielle on September 11, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      No one said anything about looking perfect, lol! But attraction does matter and it’s unfair to start off a relationship looking one way and then morphing into a completely different person and telling your spouse it doesn’t matter. Relationships take a lot of work, so obviously love isn’t enough. Physical attraction makes it easier, just like having enough money makes marriage easier. Real love comes from being real honest about what you want in a partner. And there are a lot of people who commented who are still with their partner even though they are not still attracted to them so your comment, “Think about that the next time you wanna be with someone specifically for their looks” , really has nothing to do with the reality.

    • Truth on September 21, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      If you get into a relationship looking one way then change to look another, can you blame the other person in a relationship for seeking someone else comparable to your former self?

      There is no excuse. You must make sacrifices to look and be better for your spouse, especially if the spouse is doing that theirself. There are people out there with severe physical limitations that find ways to overcome obstacles that they could say prevented them from working out.

      In life there are the people that do and people that don’t. I wouldn’t throw my life away for my spouse because they are being selfish and won’t make the sacrifice.

    • Kevin on November 21, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      But that is great and ideal if someone is wired mentally in a way that they didn’t care about the appearance of their significant other, but in reality physical attraction is important. In the majority of cases, it is the physical attraction that started the relationship. I unfortunately, feel that physical attraction is very important in a relationship and both halves need to work at maintaining themselves, I say unfortunately because I cannot control how I feel and I have a wife that does not feel as strongly about this as I do and is not in the best shape. I really wish I could turn off that part of my brain so that we could both be happy in our relationship.

      • Nohalita on December 3, 2019 at 12:24 pm

        That… Is EXACTLY how I feel, Kevin!!!

  10. Cielle on August 26, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    My husband has gained weight, but to make things even worse, he has bad hygiene and grooming habits. He wasn’t always this way. I am thin and take care in my appearance. The quote above, “But at the end of the day, I feel like I give my wife the gift of my own health and attractiveness, and she does not return the favor.” is my feeling in a nutshell. He gets to have sex with a 5’2′ 105lb attractive woman who turns heads and I’m having sex with a 6’2″ 200 lb beer belly with bad breath and greasy hair who wears the same clothing for 2 weeks straight. I think about a divorce constantly, and no his appearance isn’t the main reason why, but it’s the icing on the cake that makes the marriage even more stressful. I’m not thin for him, I’m thin for me, but I do acknowledge that my attractiveness benefits him. It’s like he only cares about what’s best for him and doesn’t care about what’s best for me. He has no problems going out with me in public if it’s something he wants to do even though he looks like a homeless person and is embarrassed to be seen with him but has no problem staying at home when I have to take our son to endless camps, practices, run errands, etc. I truly can’t stand him, at times, though other times, I feel sorry for him. But either way, I am drowning and the fact that I FEEL GUILTY about knowing that I can do better means I’m willing to just stay and live with this crap! It’s depressing!

  11. Letlantis on August 26, 2019 at 10:29 am

    A very superficial piece. If its not going to be about weight the man will find fault with something else. don’t indulge weight ultimatums. There is no end to it. If a. Man finds it hard when a women giants weight, how will he cope with the first gray hair or wrinkles? The woman should not listen to any ultimatums. Let the man carry out his threat. Let him leave. Let him find someone else who he will give these same ultimatums to and will not listen and dump him like a hot potato. If a man behaves this way, he is a very poor role model to his children, particularly his girls. What message is he giving them? That if they are not good-looking or their body is not attractive as per Western Hellenistic standards, a man will up and leave? What body image and self esteem issue are they going to come away with? Writing such articles are dangerous for young women and it is shocking that such pieces /are written by women. Shame on you!

  12. Joe on May 6, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    I’m thankful for the honesty in this post. With a very few exceptions (fetishes, I presume), none of us want our spouses to become fat and unhealthy. Even though we pretend (“politically” correct) that it’s ONLY the inside that matters, the outside is a reflection of what’s on the inside. I want my wife to be attracted to me so I make the effort to eat right, stay in decent shape, and make her generally proud of me. Letting ourselves go is an example of selfishness in my opinion. That cookie means more than my husband or wife’s desires. It’s not my fault that fat is a turn off. It’s a fact of nature.

  13. Stephen on March 31, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    I love my wife. We’ve been married just over 20 years, we are middle class and both have active professional careers. In the last 5 years she has gained about 7 lbs a year. Now she’s about 35 lbs overweight. I still love her, she has an amazing intellect and has endless compassion… That said, I’m not as attracted to her as I used to be. I’ve read alot of articles on this. I’ve subtly asked her to go to the gym with me. I’ve told her we should both eat healthier and have pledged to support her and I in this venture. The bottom line is she gets angry and deflects any attempt I make to get her to eat healthier and less often. Amongst several eating bad habits, she has a large glass of wine with multiple chocolate chip cookies every night. Other than the weight gain, she’s the same person. We have good sex life, she cares about me… I’m just hitting a wall with her weight. As we’re getting older (late 40’s) our metabolism is slowing down so gaining weight will be easier… I know she will continue to gain weight and will eventually become obese. I really want her to care about her health, although all of my honest attempts to talk about it have ended up in her getting crazy angry at me. I feel a bit helpless with this issue as I see no way of helping my partner that used to care about her appearance and health… care about her health.

  14. Wendy Marshal on February 18, 2019 at 7:47 am

    he is the only one that can handle my situations and problem,that he’s always ready and able to do anything related to spell casting and helping of the needy, Pls every every one who need his or her lover, i would like you all to contact him with his email address,which is as follows.
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  15. fatty nomo on October 10, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I was heavy when I met my husband, we were just friends, and then I lost a ton of weight and saw him again and he was like “wow!” We married and I had a son and got fat again and then started working a really stressful high dollar, high stakes desk job and piled it on. My husband never said a word to me, was very loving, etc. 14 years later he developed some sort of mid-life crisis and is striving for success and I found out he was chatting with women on tinder etc for a few weks. He stopped before I caught him, but I had my suspicions which is what prompted me to go look at his phone.

    I was devestated. But in a small way I understood. I looked awful, over 100 pounds overweight, never dressed nice anymore, no self confidence.

    I’ve dropped most of the weight and am still going. I was hurt but I do credit him for stopping on his own. It was like 10 days and none of his texts or emails indicated he went through with it. I can forgive him. Even at my most raging psycho at him after discovering this he still never said anything mean to me. He’s super supportive of my efforts and I know he’s a happier man.

    I feel like I let us both down for not addressing this for over a decade. Now we can walk and hike and other activities (wink wink) and it is all so much better.

    Plus, if he strays again someday, I’ll have social capital and can move on. :D

  16. Lisa on July 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    I put on weight and became angry and bitter anytime my husband brought it up. I would sometimes with old sex out of anger.

    Sadly, he began to no longer care physically. Said he wanted a woman he was attracted to and connected with physically. The nerve of men. Relationships have nothing to do with physical connections.

    He left me. Put everything into Bitcoin so a judge couldn’t give me a consultation prize for disrespecting my body so much my man left.

    I’m bitter.

  17. Eric on October 26, 2017 at 2:01 am

    I prefer heavier women and secretly hoped that my thin bride would get fat as soon as we got married. That didn’t happen until after our twins were born almost ten years into our marriage. She finally put on about 100 pounds and I was delighted. But unfortunately, she developed diabetes ten years ago and has had to lose half the weight she had put on. I feel a bit guilty for having contributed to her diabetes, so I encouraged her to lose that weight (for her health and I didn’t want to be a widower!) and her diabetes is now under control.
    My wife had her own secret wish for me. She prefers bald men, so when in my early 50s my hair began to rapidly recede she was thrilled and begged me to just let myself go bald. I did, to please her, and in just a few short years I lost all my hair on top. It was your typical male pattern baldness sequence, except it happened very fast, as if to make up for lost time. We both got our wishes: she is still plump, which I love and I am bald, which she loves. She loves kissing me on top of my bald head. What a turn on! Surprisingly, the more bald I became, the more I enjoyed the change and now I really love being bald and don’t regret having lost my hair. I must have wanted to go bald all along, only I didn’t know it, or was afraid to admit it to myself.
    As we grow older some changes are unavoidable. In our case, those changes were very welcome. We are both happy that she is fat and that I am bald. I think full figure girls are sexy and she believes bald men are sexy. Can’t get any better than that!

    • Kevin on November 21, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      Great for you, you are a minority and wired in a way that makes that part of life easier. I wish that I could feel the same about weight.

  18. Sara on September 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    I am about 15lbs overweight in my marriage. My husband is thin but not a fitness fanatic. I think each of us has their issues. My husband is a gamer and I feel his gaming is a bit excessive. But I don’t say anything because he is very responsible and a great dad. He probably thinks my overeating is excessive. He has never said anything like I need to lose weight. I see all kinds of married couples, the wife is thin and the husband watches every bite of food his wife eats with a watchful eye. That seems like prison! Another couple I know the wife is huge and the husband showers her with love and affection. honestly it feels like a prison to have to worry my husband will not love me if I gain 10lbs. Luckily my husband is not the type to nag about weight. I don’t think I could handle that type of man. Weight loss can be an utter nightmare and struggle for some people. The self loathing and shame of weight gain is hard enough. You have your spouse reminding you that you are unlovable because you gained some weight is very painful.

    • Mary on October 16, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      this happened to me. my ex ridiculed me about weight gain. I was about 10-12 kilos overweight. a combo of pregnancy weight gain, depression, overeating due to being at home with baby/toddler, stress and pressure of all sorts and probably thryroid issues (not diagnosed then but since diagnosed). I understand from his point of view (he was slim and handsome) that I let him down but he never understood nor tried to understand what was going on from my point of view. I wanted to lose weight (and since have) but it would’ve helped so much more if he’d been kind about it rather than contemptuous.

  19. Rhoda Morgenstern on January 25, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I honestly have to say, I find this whole post to be incredibly shallow. This is not what life and love is all about. I am overweight, very well put together, very successful in my own right, married to a very wealthy man. I know that some women look at us, look at my diamond and wonder how a heavier woman landed a guy like this. I can tell you how. We fell in love with the people we are inside. I support him and he supports me. He consults on every big business decision with me and is proud to introduce me at galas, business functions and on the golf course. No one worth knowing in these situations ever looks down at us. I can make people laugh and even though I’m overweight, it doesn’t mean that socially, people don’t find me engaging. I exercise daily, get my facials, get my hair and nails done every week; but my thyroid problems force me to hold onto extra weight I cannot get rid of, even with medication, nutritionists and the best personal trainers money can buy. The kind of guy who you are describing above, who wonders why his wife “got fat” is not my man. He would never be my man. I’ve gone out with my fair share of guys who told me they would marry me if I lost 30 lbs. I lost them in a hurry. It’s called being who you are and finding someone who loves you for it. It’s called building a life together doing things that make you both happy, not trying to be something to someone that isn’t you. And to add insult to injury, I haven’t been able to give this incredible man children, unfortunately due to some health issues that were insurmountable. He has stuck with me through it all, even when I “gave him permission to leave and start a family with someone else” during my darkest hour. So, I think it’s safe to say, when you stop targeting men for their money and their muscles and start looking for character, you won’t need to worry about staying “perfect”. My husband and I are perfect for one another and that’s all that matters. Because someday, God willing, when we’re all 80, none of us are going to have bulging biceps. Marry for character and everything else will follow.

    • Emma on January 26, 2017 at 7:22 am

      There is nothing to argue about here … except your marriage is based on love, a concept that is an advent of the last 150 years, and has largely been a failure (high divorce rates, etc.) … marriage has always been an economic construct, in which physical beauty/health and financial stability are the commodities … hard to undo millennia of human behavior in a such a short time. Ignoring those forces is, in fact, shallow.

  20. Aquarius Moon on November 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Getting fat is not an option; much as we all want to believe in love that lasts forever, we also need to be realistic. Sometimes it doesn’t.

    Being in shape and exercising releases adrenalin and happy endorphins to help us feel good and energised. It helps us get over a split more easily than if we were to mope around all day at home and eating.

    • Emma on November 18, 2015 at 11:33 am

      :) Great points!

  21. A guy on November 24, 2014 at 2:33 am

    “His physique is not the main attraction, but it is an important one”, I appreciate this statement. No matter how we try to convince ourselves of the “inside matters most” stance out of political correctness we’re humans after all, and most of us would prefer that our partner make an effort to stay fit, healthy and attractive. That’s not to say that everyone wants the same, but I urge couples to have these somewhat uncomfortable conversations. Talking and being honest about his or her ideal physical traits in a partner may be scary at first but it can also prevent long term resentment in a relationship. Not being honest is often seen as an act of acceptance and love but in the end it just might be a disservice to your partner as resentment about he or she not making and effort affects both.

    And, having these conversations may also surprise you and challenge your preconceptions about your partners desires. My wife and I did this and we were both surprised as we learned about our preferences; I prefer a woman with a few pounds extra and she likes her guy super fit, which in turn change how we exercise and diet. Of course, staying fit is also due to health reasons, so we both work out and eat healthy but with or newfound knowledge about each other it was a small sacrifice for her to slow down in the gym a bit and for me to increase my efforts to get “ripped”. While this may seem a bit extreme for some, it’s been great for us. Respecting each others desires has improved our marriage.

  22. zz on November 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I used to care about staying in shape to attract a guy. And it worked, to a degree … but then these men (one flabby and overcoming a drinking problem, one way too old and bitter) would find other flaws and talk about women they liked (e.g., X can really work a room, Y is a go-getter, etc.) It was never enough. Recently, Iwas turned down by a hot dude … who had Isues. Really, hot dude? I’m better educated and I’m emotionally healthy. You’re turning ME down? What annoys me is these men, for whom I’ve overlooked physical or emotional flaws, think that I should be physically perfect for them. Fucking assholes.
    I’ve gained about 25 lbs and I don’t exactly care. I still lift some weights and stay active for my child’s sake. But my eating habits are horrible. But I feel no urgency to change them. Hamburgers have brought me more pleasant experiences than men have.

    • Emma on November 18, 2014 at 10:44 am

      But what about staying fit for the sake of feeling great, energetic and healthy for the long-term — for your sake, the sake of your family and for attracting the right guy who will find you at your best self?

      • Maryann homex on June 13, 2018 at 11:57 pm

        Some women have health issues that are the reason for weight gain. Estrogen problems and other conditions that require medications that cause you to gain weight. Does that mean my husband will leave me if I gain 20lbs from a medical condition or drugs? He damn well better live me more then that or what is the point of marrying your best friend? Don’t be so friggin shallow folks!

        • Kevin on November 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm

          One thing that some people fail to realize is that many of us aren’t just wanting fit partners for show, we are wired a certain way. I wish it were simple and easy to stop feeling that I want my wife to be physically fit and attractive but it’s not, I can’t just turn off that feeling, I know that if my wife becomes obese, I will not be physically attracted to her and physical attraction is a big part of any relationship to me. I already have a hard enough time with her being 30 pounds overweight.

  23. Natalie @ Financegirl on November 12, 2014 at 8:22 am

    As a big time feminist who is an equal partner in my relationship, I see no problem with staying thin for my man. That said, I think it goes both ways – I appreciate him staying fit for me. It’s staying healthy and looking good not only for yourself but for your partner, so that you keep that attraction and excitement going (it’s hard to feel sexy when you’re 30 lbs overweight).

    • Emma on November 12, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Agree 100% Natalie — I think the reality that our own health choices affects those around us is often lost.

  24. Emma on November 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Here is a Time article on the study about how’re breaking from the guys-prefer-young-hot women and women-are-gold-diggers studies:

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