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cutiepi92's avatar

I don't know how to talk to my boyfriend about his body?

Asked by cutiepi92 (2252points) February 17th, 2013

I didn’t quite know how to word the question, but I can explain so please bear with me through my explanation and wait until the end to formulate an opinion.

So here is how the story goes: I am a 5’9” female, 125 lbs, pretty slender. I’ve been told I have a very nice frame. My boyfriend is 5’5” on a good day and overweight. He was obese during his childhood (middle school) and lost weight during high school. He is much smaller than he used to be but still has a little bit of a way to go before he is a proper weight for his height (about a 30–40 lb loss). He has been this way since before we started dating. Now before I continue, I want to make it clear that I do not want to break up with him. But here is the issue….my boyfriend lately has been asking me questions about how much I’m attracted to his body and what I think about it. These questions are hard for me to answer because honesty is something we both value but at the same time I don’t want to hurt his feelings. My honest view: I’m not attracted to his body at this point in time. I do not think overweight is attractive, and I do not like the extra weight on him. So you may ask, well why get with a guy that you aren’t attracted to in the first place? The thing is, it’s not that I’m not attracted to HIM, it’s just his body. I think he has nice arms, shoulders, frame, and VERY cute face. He’s like the perfect mixture of cute and handsome. Has almost a baby face, but at the same time a very masculine jawline and prominent nose. I got with him despite my lack of attraction to his height and weight because I loved him on the inside. We connect on a deep level, have the same values, and I can talk to him about anything. He treats me well and I have never met anyone else that I like more than him. Have I met more physically attractive men? Yes. But I have not been attracted to them in that way because of all the other things I love about my boyfriend. It’s not like he’s ugly; he’s attractive, just big. However, he keeps asking me these questions and I feel horrible because he can tell I am not 100% attracted to his body the way he is to mine.

To an extent, I know it isn’t fair. It’s hard for me to see it his way because I have always been skinny. I exercise and can eat whatever I want and actually have a hard time gaining weight. He is the opposite though. He eats and drinks much healthier than I do and exercises even more, yet it’s incredibly hard for him to lose weight. I WANT to be attracted to his body, but I can’t help what I like…...I don’t think that a whole lot of people just think that “fat” is sexy, but are with their partners despite that because they love them. That’s my situation. I love him despite his weight, and I want to stay with him. I think it would be stupid of me to break up with such an amazing guy because of how heavy he is. Physically attractive guys are easy to find, guys that are completely attractive on the inside are not. But I am not attracted to his weight specifically. I do not know how to say this to him though without hurting his feelings. Lately he’s been getting down on himself and I don’t know what to do. I’ve told him about the particular things I like about him (like his shoulders, arms, etc), I never insult him, but him consistently bringing these questions up is making things difficult. How do I address this situation and boost his ego while at the same time keeping him from being self depreciating and depressed about his appearance?

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31 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I grew up as a chubby guy, and I would take the following approach if I was in your shoes:

Tell him you, as a female, are more interested in the intangibles than men are. You care about the whole package. Tell him you find him attractive and want to be his girlfriend, but you wished he would focus more on his health. You think men who take care of themselves show a depth of character men who don’t lack. You dig him a lot, but you care about his health and you want him to focus as much on taking care of himself as he does on other things. You can’t stick around forever with a guy who doesn’t take care of himself, it is almost like he doesn’t like himself somehow, and it makes you wonder what is going on.

gorillapaws's avatar

Tell him you’re with him for his penis size, that should give him some self-confidence.

gailcalled's avatar

I was reminded of your earlier question about this nice man and his short body, which is now also too heavy.

{Perhaps it is time for him to find a more loving, nicer, kinder lover…someone who isn’t analyzing and dissecting all his body bits and pieces.

Remember when you wrote this?

” ...thanks to everyone that answered. It gave me a new perspective into how other people see “different” couples and I will admit made me feel a little better :) I am choosing love and I know that’s all that matters.”

cutiepi92's avatar

@gailcalled i don’t think it is accurate to compare the two questions.

Why? Because this weight thing is something that I personally do not care about. Do I LIKE it? No. But I never let that be an influencing factor in regards to me dating him. I never cared what other people thought as far as weight was concerned. I never even brought his weight up as an issue because I always looked at weight as something that can fluctuate throughout life and even a short span of time. So no, this is not me nitpicking or analyzing his body and dissecting it. This is HIM. As I stated in my question, it is something that he has brought up with increased frequency lately and I am not sure how to address it. I clearly state how I feel about him, and that his weight is not a factor. His height was. The question before dealt with other’s perceptions and how I was uncomfortable with being perceived as an odd couple. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him, it was that I was afraid of being ridiculed by others and teased for being with a short guy. Key word: others. This is more about how he feels about himself and me being honest about his need to lose weight. I would appreciate it if you would actually provide an answer to the question, and not question how I feel about him or our relationship. Thanks.

gailcalled's avatar

My honest view: I’m not attracted to his body at this point in time. I do not think overweight is attractive, and I do not like the extra weight on him.

“I got with him despite my lack of attraction to his height and weight because I loved him on the inside.”

I WANT to be attracted to his body, but I can’t help what I like”…..

But I am not attracted to his weight specifically. I do not know how to say this to him though without hurting his feelings.

This seems fairly clear, unless I can no longer read properly. I cannot think of any useful advice to give you.

Cupcake's avatar

Be honest with him. Tell him that you are not physically attracted to all of him. Emphasize what you are attracted to. He’s asking… he either wants to know how you really feel or he wants to get into a fight.

And it’s not about his need to lose weight. That’s for him to decide, not you. It’s also not your job to boost his ego. Don’t be his crutch.

My husband is a big guy. We’re working on a few things in couples therapy… and I’m really liking it. Our therapist is very practical and gives us very concrete things to work on. He’s helping us grow, both as individuals and as a couple. It sounds like you both have a few things you could work on, both individually and together.

zensky's avatar

I think it’s much simpler – but then, I’m a guy.

I am ignoring your Wot – sorry.

Men and women are different. Period.

No two people are equal in their love, appreciation or respect.

Or intellect, for that matter.

Most of the other stuff I just said is irrelevent and subjective, anyway.

Guys are dumb and not very perceptive – you have to help the little ape.

If you love him, and want to keep him (for whatever silly reason you chant to yourself ) – help him along and guide the little fucker. He needs to lose weight? Sign him up in a gym and give him a few personal trainer lessons – for belated Valentines or for his unbirthday. We don’t care. We give a rat’s ass about anniversaries and holidays except Superbowl Sunday.

The jerk’s too hairy? Give him the gift of laser hair removal. Tell him it’s a spa and he’ll believe you. Really. He will.

There are thingees you can add to shoes that give you three inches. Shorty soles or whatever they’re called. Buy him one. Say they give support and help your ankles or something. He’ll say cool. Thanks lover.

Trust the zen on this one.

Or toss him. Lots of short fat hairy fish in the sea.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, there is a possibility he will never feel good about himself with you as his girlfriend. That sucks. Sucks for you and him. Maybe you can emphasize everything you love about him and that it does not matter to you at all he has a little extra weight. But, if you say it like that you are agreeing he has “extra weight.” There are so many women who don’t mind men that are a little overwieght, too bad you aren’t one of them. Maybe because you are very young? I assume you are young.

@zensky The guy was a heavy teenager and watches what he eats, don’t you think he already works at losing weight?

zensky's avatar

Not enough apparently. And it’s not enough to watch what you eat and then eat it.

cutiepi92's avatar

@JLeslie Yes we are both young. And what you said is exactly my issue: it is me agreeing with the fact that he is overweight, but I still want to emphasize that I love things about him despite that. It’s just a balance…....I guess the reason I mind is because I know people don’t stay slim forever and I just worry that when we’re much older, he’ll be like huge instead of just a bit bigger. It’d be different if I thought he would stay his current size forever. I guess I want him to have a bit of “cushion” for later on in life.

I’ve tried the whole “working out with him” thing and being supportive, but he doesn’t like to work out around people and doesn’t want me to see him working out/sweaty. He’s insecure in that sense even though I would love to be able to do workouts alongside him.

@Cupcake well he wants to lose weight, he’s been trying to. His doctor also told him he needs to lose.

@gailcalled Yes. I don’t like his weight. I still like him just the same, just don’t think he has the sexiest body. I’m trying to see what’s so bad about this because it isn’t as though my lack of attractiveness to his body is affecting the way I feel about him….......I love him for the inside. This is about how to actively show this to him?? As I said before, I think someone who is great on the inside is comparably harder to find than someone who is perfect on the outside.

glacial's avatar

Just be honest. It sounds like he is aware of how you feel, and is reacting to it. If it matters to you this much, then he’s bound to pick up on it. But tell him the rest as well, about how you love him despite the weight, and you want to stay together even though you don’t find his body attractive.

If you can’t bear to tell him honestly how you feel about it, then it seems to me that you know that not finding him attractive is a dealbreaker, for both of you. It suddenly takes all the choice away from you, and gives some of it to him. Maybe he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with someone who puts this much emphasis on his weight. Shouldn’t he get to decide that?

cutiepi92's avatar

@gailcalled (left this out) the point is that I want to convey more of my love, and less about the fact that “no xxxx, you do not have a body like The Rock.”

Do I think the Rock is a sexy beast? Of course I do. But just because my boyfriend doesn’t look like the Rock doesn’t mean I value his place in my life any less

@glacial the thing is, I DONT put emphasis on his weight. I think that’s what everyone is misunderstanding. I don’t even talk about it. He is the one that does. I just don’t know how to react to it. No, he doesn’t have a rock hard body. But I love him just the same and didn’t think twice about his weight when I was getting with him or at any other point in time. He asks me stuff about his weight all the time, lately because other people (especially his mother) have been making comments or making suggestions to his weight or clothing size. That, and the fact that all of his frat brothers are skinny and recently when they took pictures, he noticed that he was noticeably bigger than the rest

cutiepi92's avatar

I just want to be honest but have him understand that it doesn’t matter to me that he is overweight but not lie about his weight. Yes he is overweight, no that isn’t my preferred body type, but I love him just the same.

wundayatta's avatar

Everyone says to be honest, but do women want men to be honest when they ask, “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?”

I think that men aren’t that different. When you break up with us, we’ll ask why weren’t you honest, but right now, honesty just serves to hurt him, and make him worry, and there’s nothing more he can do about it, save starve himself. That only works temporarily.

Weight loss will take years. That is, sustainable weight loss will take years. So you can tell him honestly that you would like him to be smaller for health purposes. But not because that would make you feel more attracted to him. You are attracted to him for what goes on inside. You would like him to be smaller, but that will not change how you feel about him.

You want him to work on weight loss, but not to worry very much about the role his weight plays in your affections for him. He should lose for himself, not you. Do not mention the preferred body type. Type is nonsense, anyway, in my opinion. You don’t know what your type is. Look who you are with. Is he your type? Not if we believe what you say. Yet you love him, so in truth, he is your type. Stay away from talking about type.

Just tell him you are concerned for him. You worry about his weight, but again, tell him over and over, that his body is not the major reason why you signed up with him. You love him. The whole package. Not parts of him.

But I would try to stay away from much detail. Just imagine that you ask him if the dress makes you look fat, and he thinks it does. Now, what would you want him to say?

cutiepi92's avatar

@wundayatta thanks. I can see it from that perspective. At times, I’m not sure if I want him to be 100% honest with me lol. If I ask him how my makeup looks and I spent an over an hour getting ready, him telling me he didn’t like it would be depressing. I will take your advice and stay away from too much detail, being honest but focusing on love. TOTAL honestly can be a bit hurtful at times, even when not meant to be, so I need to be tactful about this

JLeslie's avatar

@cutiepi92 I think it is very likely he will be heavier as you get older. Not definitely, but more likely than not.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I agree with making sure he knows you want him to stay healthy.

If you ask me, it sounds like you just need to reassure him that he’s doing a great job. Or let him know that to you it looks like “you are getting smaller to me”.
I don’t really see what the big deal is. It’s obvious he doesnt feel confident though, I mean if his mother talks about his size, its no wonder hes self conscious, so give him confidence his mother obviously won’t.

livelaughlove21's avatar

For once, I agree with @wundayatta on a relationship issue. Weird. :)

I’m honest enough to admit I would be pretty pissed if my husband told me I looked fat in an outfit, even if I asked. This is stupid, I know, but I think this is true of most people that ask questions like that. Honestly, I’d also be upset if he answered that question with, “I love you for what’s on the inside, not for your looks”, which is just cop-out and a nice way of saying I’m not physically attractive, but it’s better than the alternative. I’m lucky that we both find each other physically attractive still.

I’d like to point out that you’re on the border of being underweight and some might find that unattractive. I’m not saying that to make you feel like I’m calling you conceited, but it’s good to stay humble. I’m sure he’s very attracted to your body, but our bodies come in all different sizes and I feel bad for the guy because I know we all want to feel like our partners like our bodies, and he knows you don’t. That has to be hard, especially considering how difficult it is for him to lose weight. I sympathize because I’m also self conscious about my weight. Knowing my husband thinks I’m hot (who knows why?) helps my confidence issues quite a bit.

Just be sensitive to his feelings and compliment him on the things you do like. It’s not your job to stroke his ego, as someone else said, but we should be kind to our partners and want to make them feel good about themselves, especially if this doesn’t come easily to them.

cutiepi92's avatar

@JLeslie well I know that tends to be the case. So I want him to be able to at least enjoy a part of his life where he doesn’t feel “big” you know? He says he’s been bigger for his entire life and he wants to love his body for once, not be afraid to take his shirt off, and to consider himself sexy. I told him I love the way he is and for who he is, but at the same time I can admit to myself that he would physically look much better if her did lose weight.

@livelaughlove21 thanks. I know I’m closer to being too skinny than big. I don’t like to say I struggle with my weight though, especially since I know he’s struggling worse. I used to be around 140 but somehow I lost the freshman 15 instead of gaining it and never gained the weight back :/ but I acknowledge that society is more accepting of my too small frame instead of his too large one. It really is unfair because while I get compliments on how small I am (though I would like to be a few pounds heavier), he gets negative attention. So far, what I do is try to tell him what I do like about him and the fact that I don’t think he’s as big as people say (because he really isn’t….his mother is just a horrible person but that’s a story for another day). I love his face, his hair, his skin, his back, his shoulders, etc. I find numerous things to compliment him on, but I feel like he’s looking for the equivalent of what he says about me. I just hate it because I feel like he puts me on this pedestal (that I don’t deserve to be on because I have NUMEROUS imperfections)......I believe that has something to do with my issue in this situation. I feel like he thinks I’m perfect and therefore I must feel the same way.

I appreciate you and others understanding my dilemma and not automatically pegging me as too judgemental :) I’m soaking this all in

livelaughlove21's avatar

@cutiepi92 Well, like you said, we can’t help what we like. I think it’s great that you’re this worried about hurting his ego, honestly. It’s obvious you care about him despite his weight, so telling you to get over yourself and stop being so judgmental wouldn’t be very accurate, or helpful.

Sunny2's avatar

If he admits he’d like to lose some weight, ask what you can do to help him do that. Tell him (again) that you love him just the way he is, but you want him to be more comfortable with himself than he is. Make plans together to make it happen.

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ebasboy's avatar

You know what? this wants to be certain on your view towards him. He is honest with you and wants to be more secure on what he has.

I quote ” boyfriend lately has been asking me questions about how much I’m attracted to his body and what I think about it…”

Do you think telling him you want decrease of wait will hurt him, don’t you think he is waiting for such an answer you have in mind? If you are going to deny him what’s bothering you about his weight, maybe along the way you will be the victim as well. Have you ever heard someone saying ‘you said you love?’ This question comes when the truth now has come out and that ‘truth’ now coming contrary to what has been shared or uttered to the other.
I am telling you, this kind of question is coming your way shall you go on pretending you love this ‘weight’.

JLeslie's avatar

@cutiepi92 I just think men can easily find women who don’t care about an extra 30 pounds and he picks you, miss tall and skinny who does cares. Why did he do that to himself? My husband cares about weight, and I have gained some, and it makes me feel like shit around him sometimes. Luckily, rhe majority of the time I feel like I still have a good body, men still flirt with me, it makes up for it a little, but who I care about most being attracted to me is my husband. Most men are visual and it matters, plus I have been married for 20 years.

If you two ever get serious and move in together, you are not allowed to bring crap food into the house period out of respect for his difficulty with food and weight. If you like pizza and chips and cake you have to eat that stuff somewhere else or you sabotage him.

Now, let’s consider @zensky‘s answer. If your boyfriend wants to lose the weight, work out with him. Nice thing to do together. Could be fun instead of a chore.

cutiepi92's avatar

@zensky I didn’t ignore you :( I actually thought what you said was pretty accurate. I just didn’t think I needed to further question or elaborate on it so I’m sorry for not expressing my gratitude

anyway @JLeslie well the good part is that I don’t eat crap that much anyway. I can, but I tend to be on the healthier side. Lately I’ve been teaching him how to cook and he’s slowly been improving. I don’t know why he chose to go after me, because I know I’m a difficult person, but at the end of the day I’m glad he did. I do try to make him feel attractive, luckily this feeling of low self esteem doesn’t happen every single day. There are plenty of days where he feels on top of the world so that’s good….

I just don’t know what to do as far as “activities” with him…....I have offered to work out with him numerous times or for him to come with me, but he doesn’t want me to see him workout or sweat…..It’s also the reason why he works out at home instead of at a gym. :/

FutureMemory's avatar

Too bad he can’t just transfer that 30–40 lbs to your skinny butt, then everyone would be happy.

“I like big butts and I cannot lie…”

cutiepi92's avatar

@FutureMemory lol I wish. I’m assless

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