We don’t often talk about what we do to help our partner to put on—and keep on—extra weight. Yet, it’s a very powerful force in our lives. Here are some thoughts about this—and some tips to try to help both of you.
Before we begin, let’s say A is the person at risk and B is not—at this time.
First, we do generally eat together. So ask yourselves: Who does the deciding of menus and then the cooking? Does A, who has gone to see the doctor and knows that s/he is at risk and is following the doctor’s and nutritionist’s advice? Or is it B, who supposedly tries to take into consideration A’s needs but thinks that s/he still has needs and traditions of his/her own? With one couple I treated, she was on a diet—but he insisted on traditional Mexican food with sour cream on the burritos. So she “compromised”—she “gave” him that one meal—but for both of them.
Second, we follow certain customary ways of cooking. Sometimes we make chicken with the skin on, but we cook it at low temperatures instead of very hot ones. This leaves the fat in and on it. We say that that’s the way our mother or father cooked it—and since I’m having it that way, both of us do.
Third, we try not to nag the other person. But there has to be a compromise where B watches out for A, saying warnings and compliments about the way s/he is eating and cooking. There are lots of considerate ways to remind A and to look out for A. One of them, by the way, is to make sure to be vigilant in the choice of restaurants—ones without grease and sugar and salt and other temptations. Another is to make sure that the restaurant you both choose is not noisy because noise tends to make people forget they’re eating too much.
Fourth, B needs to ask her or himself: Am I avoiding intimacy and sex because A is overweight? Is this avoidance conscious or unconscious? Is it an excuse for other relationship problems? Do I want A to get thinner? If s/he does, will we still have the same relationship? Can I or s/he handle the change?
If you can’t answer the questions in #4, you both need to go to a therapist who can help sort this out. Not only will you save your relationship, but you will save your partner’s health and life.