40-Somethings - How do you keep up your self-esteem when you're overweight, over 40, and dating

06-23-2013, 05:12 PM
Hi All,

This is my first foray into the 40's forum. I turned 40 in March.

I wanted to see if other women my age and size find dating to be a self-esteem crushing endeavor. Mind you, when I got divorced about 2 years ago, I was feeling great. I'd lost 70 lbs. ( not to mention the 180 lbs of deadbeat ex-husband ). Everyone told me how beautiful I looked even though I still had about 40 lbs to lose. I actually felt beautiful, too.

Fast forward about a year to when I felt the time was right to start dating. I'd been through therapy. My self-esteem was coming back after years of an abusive relationship. I signed up for online dating. Suddenly, the pounds started to pile back on. Now I'm only 10 lbs away from my starting weight.

If you've done online dating, you know it's like shopping at Amazon.Your picture is surrounded by younger, thinner, prettier women with no kids. Everyone is looking for thin and athletic. Some of them say it nicely and some of them rant about how fat girls are gross.

You'd think maybe a big girl would feel the love from the big guys. I mean, I think I'm at least cute, heavy or not. And I'm willing to get to know a guy before I decide whether I'm attracted, because sometimes people grow on you when you give them a chance.

Nope. Even the fat bald guys expect a 10. The guys that are interested seem to think fat girls are easy to control.

I went into this excited about finally finding someone to treat me right. Now I wonder if I shouldn't just give up to preserve what's left of my self-esteem. I know self-esteem doesn't come from others, but it's hard not to feel down when 9 out of 10 guys you look at couldn't care less what a great gal you are because they don't like the packaging.

Do you think I should keep sifting through the losers in the hopes of finding someone to love me for me, or should I just forget about it and try to learn to enjoy my life as it is, not the way I wish it was?

* Sorry if this rant is depressing. I just needed to get it off my chest. *

06-23-2013, 09:15 PM
Hi Streudel!

I'm not in the age range for this forum, but I have done online dating before and I wanted to offer my support :hug:. (Just to preface this, I certainly haven't found Mr. Right yet, but I have met and dated some great guys.) I have two general mantra's for online dating that help stay positive about it:

Its their loss.


You just have to weed through the crap.

Firstly, there is no possible way for a profile to contain or convey all the awesomeness that is you. You also cannot control how a guy reads your profile (he might miss a witty joke, or just be in a bad mood that day). This means that a lot of guys are going to miss out because they didn't figure out how great you are. Just because they didn't get it does NOT mean that you are any less great.

It may be true that the majority of guys out there are looking for a 10 and they base that score only on looks, but the first mantra is important because it helps me not take it personally if a guy isn't interested in me. And not taking it personally is important because it takes a lot of work to find a good guy online (second mantra)! They sadly do not fall into your lap (at least not into mine) and there are a lot of both creepers and guys who are probably fine but I'm just not interested in. Online dating seems to be more about quantity rather than quality no matter how much they advertise their ability to find you a perfect match or whatever. Most of them are not going to be guys you want to date, but (I at least tell myself) that if you weed through the schmucks you'll find a decent guy out there.

Ultimately if you are finding it hard to stay positive about it (and hopefully other people will have more insight here on how to do that) and its really dragging down your self esteem then take a break or stop altogether. If its keeping you from being the best (and happiest, most confident) you that you can be then it has no place in your life.

Best of luck to you with whatever you decide to do about this crazy thing that is online dating!

06-23-2013, 09:33 PM
I'm 42, but I'm married, so I don't know much about the online dating thing. However, to me, it seems that you should put it on hold for a bit? I think there are lots of men who are genuine and don't judge a book by its cover, so to speak, but since you're running into so many shallow guys, maybe this is not the best approach for now. Or, could it be the particular dating site? Also, maybe you could meet someone through people you know or through a church?

Either way, I feel like you shouldn't be constantly subjected to cruel comments. We are so much more than our weights! Sending you hugs.

06-23-2013, 09:55 PM
Also, maybe you could meet someone through people you know or through a church?

I was going to suggest the same thing as luckymommy. I did the online dating thing long ago and had a lot of first dates. I wouldn't even say it was fun. It was work! A lot of guys seemed interested, but we didn't even make it past the online stage. Some of them would just disappear. They must've found someone else that attracted them more.

It seemed that men were like kids in a candy store -- always the possibility of someone better right around the corner, and there were so many women choose from, why should they be content with just one? The one guy I did fall for and dated a while turned out to be married, so that kind of soured me on the whole thing.

I do think it's best to meet someone the "natural" way. Get out there and be active. Be prepared where ever you go to meet "the one." He's out there.... and he's looking for YOU!

06-24-2013, 11:32 PM
It sounds like you're not 100% on board with this whole online dating thing right now. That's okay. Just take a break for a while until/if you feel like going on there again.

But please, don't take it personally. Online dating sucks for everyone - overweight or not! Although it's an easy way to meet new people, and although sometimes it works out, it's not easy to find decent people on there. I'm going to say the ratio is about 1:10 - 1 decent person (not even Mr. Right, but just decent) to 10 losers.

You really have to make an effort when you're single to get out and do stuff. Do stuff you normally wouldn't do, go places you normally wouldn't go, hang out with people even if you have no romantic interest in them. Let your friends and people you know, know that you are single and are willing to go on coffee dates.

Once you relax and take the pressure off, you'll find someone :-)

06-24-2013, 11:44 PM
My feeble attempt at online dating left me more depressed than I was before I went online. Before putting up my profile, I at least had some hope and optimism that there was somebody out there for me.

Instead, after getting no interest, I was left feeling like the biggest loser on earth. Not even perverts wrote to me. The two that indicated they liked my picture didnt even respond when I sent them a note.

I get so sad when I see these TV ads about how many successful relationships and even marriages have taken place due to their site. And yet I can't find a guy who is remotely interested. I feel doomed to be alone forever. The experiece has really been a downer for me; one that shattered my already low self esteem.

06-25-2013, 07:03 AM
Shoot, sweetiepies.

I have these days and problems even though I'm married. DH isn't hateful, but he didn't say a word when I gained 100+ pounds, and now that I've lost 20, he doesn't seem to have noticed. And of course, I take all that to mean I'm not worth the notice. I think the size of my thighs doesn't cause low self esteem, it's a symptom of it. I get the impression I need to love and notice myself before anyone else does- hard to do in the face of constant rejection.

06-25-2013, 02:03 PM
Perhaps try another online option instead of the one you're using, when your paid time is up. I know eharmony does such an in-depth questionnaire that does ask potential matches how you feel about a match's size, etc., and uses that as part of their process as well. Only if folks are honest, though, and sometimes when people pay a bit more, they are more truthful since they want it to work. ??

06-25-2013, 03:46 PM
Not even perverts wrote to me.

omg!!! LOL. That was so funny to me, but I know exactly what you mean! At some point you're like, can ANYONE, pervy or not, just notice me! I think that's the point when you have to just step back and take yourself off the site. lol.

06-25-2013, 03:55 PM
Well I applaud you for being unwilling to compromise. I see lots of women who will let a guy talk down to them because they are heavy and think they can't do any better. But they can. There are guys out there that will look past the packaging- or heck, even love the packaging!- and will treat you right. I'm fairly assertive, I would probably put a thing right in my online ad saying something to the effect that I respect myself and any guy who dates me will be respectful also, and that if someone only wants to answer my ad to make comments about my weight to not bother.

06-26-2013, 11:23 PM
I appreciate the support. I think I will take a little break from it to get out into the real world. Now would be a great time to focus on me and my health. Gaining the weight back is telling me I have more healing to do.

It is so tough to put yourself out there after decades of hiding yourself away to keep a controlling spouse happy. Not only do I struggle with dating, but just going out with friends is hard. Even after 2 years, I feel this uneasiness when friends ask me out. I find myself explaining myself to my teenage daughter, who laughs at me and tells me I'm a grown woman and I don't need her permission to go out. :lol:

To KittyKatFan: I know how you feel about just wanting the attention. :hug: My first shot at online dating on Match.com yielded not one date and no one responded to any of my messages. I definitely spent quite a few nights crying because I felt like a loser. Looking back on it, I can see I was more interested in getting validation than finding a partner.

That being said, I'm still far happier because, as Eagle River Dee said, I am unwilling to compromise. I wasted 23 years compromising. I'd rather be alone than in a bad relationship. My profile pictures have the caption " I've learned to love myself through thick and thin and I want a man who will do the same. "

Thanks again ladies! I feel much better. :D

06-30-2013, 03:09 PM
To KittyKatFan: I know how you feel about just wanting the attention. :hug: My first shot at online dating on Match.com yielded not one date and no one responded to any of my messages. I definitely spent quite a few nights crying because I felt like a loser. Looking back on it, I can see I was more interested in getting validation than finding a partner.

Ditto. While I really do want to meet someone, I think part of me was going on match.com for some sort of validation that all this effort to lose weight paid off. Boy, did it backfire! I ended up feeling worse about myself when I got no response. I was in the middle of some major turbulence in my life at the time and the rejection made things even worse.

I haven't posted on another dating site because I'm not sure I can handle the rejection. It makes me feel like I have no shot at meting someone. I may try again when I have time to put together a new profile. But I have a health issue to deal with in July (nothing major, just inconvenient). Then I'm going to join a hiking club and maybe some Meetup groups. I'm also going to Europe for a couple of weeks in September. One country with a friend, but will go solo to another country before meeting up with her. It does sometimes feel lonely to travel solo, but it also means I can set my own agenda. And I'm not going to let lack of a boyfriend keep me from doing things I enjoy, like travel.

Maybe one day some guy will notice me...:^:

06-30-2013, 08:40 PM
Maybe one day some guy will notice me...:^:

And he'll be d@mn glad he did. :hug:

07-03-2013, 12:59 PM
Okay i'm going to stick my two cents in here......I am not horrifically overweight although in my head I am, and my self esteem has taken a nose dive after some really bad relationships. I have a lot of single friends and they all say the same, online dating sucks..it isn't what they show on the commercials!! The percentage of people that meet Mr Right online are slim. People lie on their profiles about their age, their job, what they look like (they use photoshopped pics form forty years ago)....you think you're getting one thing and then you show up and it is Lurch from the Adams Family...Or you meet men that use online dating as recreation...they meet tons of women and have no intention of settling down with just one or takng that profile down. It definitely is a man's world when you're dating over forty. Please don't make this about you and it being your fault. And for the record, skinny pretty girls get abused in the dating world also. I know women that look like Barbie dolls and they complain that they can't find a nice guy..... Like someone said, it sucks for everyone. I am taking a break from dating for a while, I don't have the stomach for it. I try and do fun stuff with friends and i'm just focusing on myself for a while. When you're happy with your life you give off an energy that people are attracted to. I like to think that i'll meet a guy that really likes me for me and doesn't care what i look like....

I have never done the online thing and I hope I never feel like i have to. I will meet my men the old fashioned way....out and about and when i least expect it.....

07-07-2013, 06:25 PM
:) smile and say hi. We are out there everywhere.

07-29-2013, 01:22 AM
If you are fat and over 40, best options is to use online dating. You are exposed to more people that are not as judgmental and you can be somewhat deceiving with your picture because everyone does it.

Amy Remixed
07-30-2013, 01:56 AM
You should visit meetup.com. It's a site that helps you find people in your area who share your hobbies. People post group activities. It's not a dating site. Though there are singles groups. Even if you don't meet a guy, you can make new friends. I met two of my dearest friends this way.

08-17-2013, 03:57 AM
I'm 46.
I've been at least 100 pounds over weight since I was around 19.
Last year I was 343, 218 today. Still have about 40 to go. I have bad self esteem and shyness issues. Online dating is brutal.
I've got to say this thread is a real eye opener for me. I've had to reread this thread a few times in fact before posting. Also almost all of what you guys say applies to me. Especially the rejection parts. I'm going out on a limb here to show how dumb I am in saying I had no idea women felt like this too. Please don't flame me, its sincere. I'm just saying it's nice to know I'm not alone in this.
I get from zero to a couple replies and I email everyone that sounds interesting regardless of looks.

08-23-2013, 01:55 AM
Just don't judge yourself or your looks too harshly. Dress nice and stop beating yourself up. Your confidence will help you look beautiful. Your date has every right to see you as beautiful too. Its his choice.

08-24-2013, 08:36 AM
I think until you feel good about yourself and get your self-confidence back any kind of dating is going to be a problem. You don't have to be a Size 2 but it sounds like the fact that you have gained the weight back is making you feel a little self-conscious. I would forget about the online dating right now and spend more time taking care of yourself. Start walking every day. I started this 5 weeks ago and I feel great. My body feels so much better even if I am not losing a ton of weight. Just start taking care of your body in a health way and that will help rebuild your confidence, get your nails done, have a professional do your make up. Start taking care of yourself and build that confidence back up and then you'll do much better in the online dating but I can sense a little insecurity in your post. My husband told me when we met that the thing he loved about me was my self-confidence and now I've gained 32 lbs and that's gone. He doesn't care about how much I weigh as long as I feel good about myself but I have to get the weight off and get in shape to do that. Since I've started pampering myself, it's help remind me what a great person I really am and how much I have to offer and it shows on the outside too. I think you need to love yourself before you can love someone else. Might be a little off topic but I hope it helps.:)

08-24-2013, 11:42 AM
How you present yourself in your profile is very important. Do you come across as confident, interesting, and authentic? Or do you seem insecure, needy, and boring? Have a friend read your profile. Do they think it accurately conveys who you are? Do they think you sound datable? And give people something to comment on in a message - mention specific local hotspots that you hang out at, list some favorite bands or authors or sports teams, obliquely reference something that only someone who is into the same thing would recognize. If you don't have personality, all your potential dates can rely on is pics. And if the pic doesn't grab their attention, you've lost them before they can even discover how awesome you are.

I spent hours working on my profile on OKCupid, and as a result I was getting about 20 responses a day. (Not bragging, just proving my point.) A few of those were dudes looking for a hook-up but most of them led to actual conversations. And one of those conversations led to what is seeming like a major serious connection. (It's early days, but am I smitten? Indeed, I am.)

So, my advice is to tweak your profile before giving up on the online dating scene. If it's still not happening, maybe it's not the right time for you. (Or maybe it's not the right time for "him" and he's not out there yet.) Online dating can work, and I know there's more than a few folks on 3FC who will testify to that because I've heard them mention it elsewhere. Best of luck to you!

08-27-2013, 11:37 AM
So, my advice is to tweak your profile before giving up on the online dating scene. If it's still not happening, maybe it's not the right time for you. (Or maybe it's not the right time for "him" and he's not out there yet.) Online dating can work, and I know there's more than a few folks on 3FC who will testify to that because I've heard them mention it elsewhere. Best of luck to you!

This! Really look at your profile: not just the pictures but especially the content. Having a friend read your profile is important. The other thing to remember about online dating is it's like dieting: there are ups and downs and if you really want it to work out, you need to work at it. I tend to be a pretty funny person (according to friends and my boyfriend) and I'm fairly independent. That definitely comes across in my profile.

The other thing I did was do lots of searching based on commonality, not pictures. On OKCupid (where I met my current boyfriend), I found that guys that had a high match percentage with me, tended to respond. Of course there are always things that you look at to see if you're compatible and everyone is different with what is most important to them.

You also can't just wait for someone to message you. You should take the time to send out messages. It's sort of like applying for a job! I usually sent out something that said, "Hi, I really enjoyed your profile. Please send me a message if you're interested." If there was something rather silly or something in his profile that I connected with, I would mention that. Were there a fair amount of guys who never responded? Sure, but there were also quite a few who did, and most of them weren't creepy in the slightest.

Regarding eHarmony, I did it several years ago and did not go on a single date. Frankly, I found most of the guys there creepier than on the free sites (like OKCupid).

Dating is hard, regardless of whether it's meeting someone at a club or online. Make sure that you personally are at a point where you are comfortable with yourself, no matter what your size is, before you jump in the water. :)

08-28-2013, 05:55 PM
I just finished a divorce a few months ago. During that period, my stress levels went through the roof, lost a job, lost a house, found a job, found a house, and now things are getting much better. However, the 60 pounds I had lost prior to ex going through mid-life crisis and putting the foot on the accelator (and ironically all of his mistresses have been very overweight and older than both of us!) have ended up putting 45 back.

Now, with a solid job for at least 16 months, a home to look forward to, just felt the time was right to lose again - and so far so good.

As for dating sights... I'm just staying away from them. The ex has gotten all his "sugar momma's" from them, and quite frankly, I have friends/relatives who honestly do know what I'm looking for in a man and are now setting me up on dates. I trust their "pre-screening" alot better than those dating sights and the double standards I've heard are in place with most folks. Looking forward to just going forward.

My advice, take a step back - there is a reason the weight came on, just like there was a reason it came off. Once you are solid with yourself, have the stress under control, you'll know the time is right to start the weight loss process, and nothing will sway the course.

BTW, My relatives tried to get me back on the program that was so successful with getting the weight off when they noticed the weight coming back on, but it didn't have a chance at that time... I was still battling the hurt from the betrayal, trying to find a job, trying to keep my home and keep things status quo for the kids since their father wouldn't.

It will get better... just have faith. :hug: