Relationships and the Weight Issue 

One of you is overweight.  How does the other person handle it? How does the other person not make the situation worse?  Here are some tips.

Everyone’s talking about weight these days.  We hear about an obesity epidemic—among adults, among kids.  We also hear about all the bad diseases that can come along with being overweight and/or being obese, such as diabetes.

How does our relationship affect weight issues?   Before we begin, let’s be clear:  Weight is a real issue and also affects how a person feels about herself or himself.  The real issue should be addressed by your physician.  S/he should address all medical concerns and refer you to appropriate specialists such as a nutritionist, physical therapist, orthopedic specialist, podiatrist, and so on.  Both of you should go to the appropriate doctor or specialist so that you know what to do.  No secrets.

Now, for your part, you must be supportive.  Let’s say it’s your partner who’s overweight.  Say the nutritionist recommends a special diet.  Be as enthusiastic as you can be for your partner and help plan and cook the required meals.  Don’t bring home secret foods and nibble them in front of her or him.  Don’t inform your partner about what you ate for lunch with someone else. Help your partner with weight-related activities such as going for walks or accompanying her or him to buy special shoes.

As for sex, this is a biggie.  If a person is significantly overweight, that person may find sex both uninteresting and difficult.  The uninteresting part may happen because s/he feels unattractive and unsexy.  It may be that you have noticed a slowing of your sex life as a consequence.  You may have turned yourself off to minimize fights. Or you may feel angry about the lack of sex and you may continue to get angrier. You may find that anger emerging or being shoved down.  Either way, it’s not good—for you or your partner.

You may not be able to talk about it together without help.  Go to a counselor familiar with relationships and with weight problems.  S/he can help you discuss how to be honest, how to uncover other problems relating to weight and sex, how to have sex more effectively, and if necessary, work with your physician.

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