Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Admitting you can't fix a partner's weight problem

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

Do you have suggestions on whether and how to encourage a partner to lose weight? We've talked about it a bit in terms of improving his health, but in terms of heart rate/blood pressure/previous illnesses he's healthier than I am. So I feel bad that much of my motivation is just wanting to be more physically attracted to him. Especially as he's never made me question his attraction to me, and my body's undergone a lot of negative changes (medical).

I guess I don't know how honest to be. And then regardless of motivations, do you have suggestions on how to encourage healthy eating? When I cook a healthy meal and then he follows it with an unhealthy snack, I can't help but be annoyed, which I know is not helpful.

-- Talking About Weight

Maybe it is, though. Overeating and inactivity can eventually limit mobility, which then can limit a couple's quality of life -- and even push the healthier partner into a difficult, draining, resentful caregiving role.

At the same time, accidents and illness can strike despite meticulous self-care.

So I see it as a duty that comes with life partnership to stick to a basic level of self-maintenance expressly to avoid placing a foreseeable burden on one's mate.

That said: It's disingenuous to talk health when your issue is attraction. I'm glad you're being honest with yourself -- now push past the "I shouldn't feel this way!" barrier to recognize that yes, you do feel this way.

The downside of just wanting him hotter is that you have no standing to push for it. The upside is that you can release yourself of the obligation of trying to fix him.

...continued

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