Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mixed-Weight Couples: Yep. Been there.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on "Mixed-Weight Couples."  The study of MWC showed that they suffered more relationship stress and fought more.  What really hit me was how insensitive and verbally unkind the partner without the weight issue was portrayed.

And believe me - I've been there.

I have never had an easy time dating.  My father was tyrannically "overprotective" (read: a controlling douchewad) about me and boys, and I had to date in secret until I was about 16.  Even then it was not something I was very open with him about, and I kept most of my love life a guarded secret from both my parents.  I still do.  So growing up I was already unsure of the whole dating thing because it had to be done on the sly.  Then there was the body issue.

I have never liked my body, even when I've been thin, because it's never looked the way I want it to.  Even with insane amounts of diet and exercise, my stomach has never been flat.  Even when my ribs stuck out and I couldn't sleep on my front because my hip bones would literally leave bruises, I had a "c-gut" or "pooch" or whatever you want to call it; that doughy, fleshy, gravity-defying handful of lower abdominal section that refuses to respond to any action short of a knife-wielding surgeon, and the upper section resembled a cheese pizza. Even when I was riding 200 miles a week in the height of my cycling obsession in the late '90s and my legs were like bricks (as one guy put it, "holy shit, you could crush a man's skull with those quads!") and my butt was tighter than a drum, my abdominal issues persisted.

So no matter what my weight, I've found something to be self-conscious about, and that has affected every single relationship - from preventing potential ones from happening to causing stress in the sex life of an already-established one.  One of my more extreme weight-loss experiences - a medically supervised diet on which I took the drug Phentermine and got down to my all-time adult low of 129 pounds - was kick-started by a cruel comment by my boyfriend at the time.  We were getting dressed one morning, and I sat on the bed to put my stockings on.  He was sitting next to me fixing his tie, and he looked over at my lap and said, "Damn, girl - those are some THIGHS!"  I was devastated.  I called the number the next day and started the diet - and the drugs - later that week.

Ironically enough my weight LOSS became a bone of contention in our relationship as well, as he started viewing my time at the gym as time better spent with him.  I started getting  a lot of attention, and when we'd attend his swanky work events, there was always a buzz about his "hot girlfriend."  He started to resent me.  He was kind of a chubby guy himself.  And then when I started to put the weight back on, things got even worse.  So...yeah.  That's what happened there.

Another relationship - also with a sort of chubby guy - was deeply affected by my weight, only in that case I was also the same height as him. So I outweighed him, which sucked in its own right, but when I wore shoes with any kind of heel on them I was taller, too.  And yeah, that bothered me.  He claimed the height issue didn't bother him, but my weight most certainly did.  And he was not shy about saying so. He was one of these "I love fat women" guys initially, but after the dust settled I realized that he only did so because he got off on abusing them.  His M.O. is to seek out women with esteem issues, build them up for a little while, and then turn their flaws against them in an attempt to have the upper hand.  It's actually a classic abuse technique, and I fell for it. 

While vacationing in Southeast Asia a few years ago, we had not one, but two motorbike accidents.  The first one was simply the result of hitting a patch of sand while negotiating a tight curve, but the second one was sort of related to my weight.  We were attempting to climb a steep incline, and when he downshifted, the extra weight of me on the back threw the bike off balance and we were thrown backward.  Later that day he left his journal open on the bed while he went out for a cigarette, and I saw where he had written that "this girl's fitness is a liability."  I should have run then when I had the chance.  Sure, my weight affected the bike's balance, but any amount of weight on the back of that bike, unless it was a 90-pound Thai girl, was going to skew the balance.  And yet...I took the blame.  The fat one always does.

It's always the fat one's fault.


  1. This is one of the shittiest parts of being overweight. It's hard to be in any relationship (fat/skinny, or even fat/fat) because you always jump to taking the blame because you already have self esteem issues from being overweight so of course, everything HAS to be your fault. I hear ya! My husband is very thin and works outside a lot so he actually has trouble putting weight ON. I am not thin and slightly taller so I have always been bigger than him. He has never said a thing at all about our differences but I still feel like it's the elephant in the room even though there has never ever been any mention of my size in our relationship. I find myself avoiding watching weight loss shows with him or talking about food with him because I keep waiting for the day when he'll wake up and realize I am a big fatty and not worthy.

  2. Precisely. And I'll be writing about this some more, because it's a trend in my life that no matter what is going wrong, I blame my weight. If someone doesn't like me, it's because I'm fat. If a relationship is going south, it's because I'm fat. If I don't get the job I interviewed for...well, you get it. I think I just wrote my next entry, LOL.

  3. The big thing to remember (no pun intended) when blaming your weight is to think about how you view other fat people. Do you see them as fat first and human second? Probably not. You probably see them as people first. People who can be winners or losers, entirely independent of their weight. Remember that point when blaming your weight because the world does not see you as the fat person you see yourself as. It sucks that we, bigger people, are entirely too quick to blame our weight for our shortcomings. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way because we can't get out of our own heads and over our weight problems long enough to convince ourselves that we are the best person for that relationship or we are the best person for that job or we are the best person for etc... The self-esteem problem due to being fat bleeds into the rest of our lives and makes it a mess. It is possible to be fat and awesome! It is possible to be displeased with your body but happy with your life! I keep telling that to myself every day! Good luck!