Hi all! I'm having a bit of a problem and I don't know how to handle it.
Before I lost weight, I was pretty much invisible to men, to the world, etc. I met my husband in 2002, when I was at my heaviest. He's loved me through thick (literally!!) and think, good and bad, fat and skinny!! But, still, I was invisible to everyone else.
Since losing the weight, I always feel like all eyes are on me! I have doors held open for me, men who I don't even know say good morning to me while I'm getting my morning coffee at Wawa, and I get flirted with CONSTANTLY. A big source of the extra attention and flirting comes from men that I work with. It's a small office, so we're all pretty close. They are all married too, but that doesn't stop them. I tend to wonder, is this something that ALL men do? Or are they just that unhappy in their marriages?!!
I don't know how to handle all of this! Once, we were all out after work and the flirting did get a bit out of hand. We're all going out again tonight and I'm quite nervous. I love the attention, but I love my husband more!
Did you guys have to deal with this kind of thing after you lost weight? I was just so used to being that invisible, fat girl, that I never really learned how to deal with these kinds of situations. I mean, is it morally acceptable to flirt back with people when you're married? Should I just be telling them to step off?
My head is just spinning right now and I'm lost!!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
03-01-2006, 08:48 AM
i think some flirting is okay, but when you feel uncomfortable about it, you have to let them know. that's great to be getting some attention, but too much can leave you feeling confused. sorry, if i'm not much help. i've always been a flirt whether i was thin or fat, and am used to be flirted back even if i am thin or fat, it's just in my personality. but you have to do what is comfortable for you. enjoy men holding doors open for you, but if it becomes too personal, tell them to back off. and just because men flirt, doesn't mean their unhappy in their marriage, it may just be part of their personality. but for some, it could be they are unhappy, but don't let them make you unhappy. but flirting and being flirted back are good moral boosters. i love it when a guy flirts with me, as long as he keeps his distance and doesn't get too touchy touchy.
hope i helped a little. :(
03-01-2006, 08:53 AM
Yes, you did help a lot!! I've always loved to flirt too, but I actually never really felt comfortable doing it until I lost weight. Plus, I've never really have been flirted with like this until I lost the weight!!
I guess maybe I just needed that reassurance that what I'm doing isn't something I'm not supposed to be doing. Know what I mean?
I suppose I'm just a little overwhelmed with it all!! LOL
03-01-2006, 09:18 AM
i'm glad i helped. flirting is almost as much a part of nature as the grass growing. just enjoy the attention, and don't forget to keep the guys in line if they get too close. :)
03-01-2006, 09:32 AM
When I started losing the weight, I felt that men were flirting with me until I mentioned it to my dh who told me that they were just being friendly and I was reading to much into what was happening. I tend to believe him because a few times it happened when we were together.
I'm still a little uncomfortable at times because I'm like you, the fat chick tends to be invisible. :rolleyes: Flirting back, as long as everyone knows I'm married I don't have any problems. I've only had one time when a person got too personal and I just told him that I'm happily married and not interested in anyone else.
03-01-2006, 09:58 AM
It's a funny issue really. I can remember at 290 pounds KNOWING that eyes were on me as I ordered a Mrs. Field's cookie, or was trying yet another attempt at losing weight by showing up at an aerobics class, knowing someone was laughing at me. I can remember a co-worker actually saying out LOUD "look, here comes Barney" when I showed up late for a meeting and was wearing a very cute big shirt/leggings purple outfit!
So, here's the truth of life, people are going to be RUDE and make in appropriate comments, observations, stares, etc.... NO MATTER what our weight is!
If you are overweight, those comments may be about your excess weight. If you are at a thinner weight then some idiot man may actually think if he whistles at you or stares just right, that you may take him up on it and he might get a quickey?!?! Once I lost 130 pounds, it did take some getting used to the "complimentary?!" comments, sometimes they still take me off guard, because I remember the pain of the Barney type jabs still...
The BEST approach is to look at yourself each morning, whether you are at the start of this weight loss journey or on the maintainence home stretch and LOVE what YOU see in the mirror! Love yourself, be confident knowing that you are a great person, special and wonderful and brace yourself for the day ahead. Laugh it off and realize that people are going to shock you all the time!--in good ways and in bad!
and remember, you are living healthfully now to be HEALTHY, not some sex symbol, but take the compliment and smile--you earned it!
03-01-2006, 10:36 AM
I haven't had too much of a problem with guys flirting with me, especially since by teenage standards I'm not skinny enough (guys suck >_> ) but I find that when someone does flirt with me it is never the guy who I WANT to be flirting with me!! It's so frustrating. And yet again, for the second year in a row, I don't have a prom date. Sigh.
Well, I did have a prom date last year, although I had to go to prom at his school instead, but he's now in the category of "guys I don't want to flirt with me".
03-01-2006, 10:55 AM
I like to flirt and don't mind being flirted with. And, honestly, I think it makes my husband proud that HE'S going to be the one who gets to go home with me. I agree with lumifan4ever, though, that if you are actually uncomfortable it is perfectly okay to speak up. I mean, DH doesn't mind another man giving me a flirting compliment - but he'd be pissed if the guy patted me on the butt while he gave it. Everyone has a line in the sand and where that line lies is as individual as we are.
I would agree, also, that flirting isn't necessarily a sign of an unhappy marriage. In fact, a little flirting can actually keep a little excitment in a marriage. I mean, if I leave a party feeling confident and sexy thanks to a little flirting my husband is the beneficiary! Again, it really boils down to knowing your limits.
As for basic nicetys - doors being held open, general chit chat, etc. I think that behavior stems from the change of demeanor we have when we lose weight and feel good about ourselves. One thing I've realized is that when I was overweight the rest of the world didn't avoid me, I shut out the rest of the world. Nobody strikes up a conversation with someone whose staring at their feet to avoid eye contact. And if I was invisible it was because I went out of my way to be. I didn't WANT attention back then and I made sure I didn't get it. At my highest weight I usually figured that was because all the world hated fat people. But the truth was I hated a fat person - ME!
03-01-2006, 11:32 AM
I'm not uncomfortable with it in the least. I don't know though, sometimes I just feel like maybe I'm being unfaithful, mentally, to my husband!! LOL I know that sounds ridiculous. But everyone fantasizes, right?
See, I'm not used to my husband getting jealous. He never did when I was heavy. Now, he gets jealous all the time!!
I do love to be flirted with and I love to give it as much as I get it....as long as it doesn't involve any inappropriate grabbing!!
03-01-2006, 11:36 AM
okay. because you asked, and because no one else has said it yet, i'll add my .02.
i think *flirting* is kind of like being friendly with an added element of sexual tension ???
i prefer to just be friendly and drop the sexual element. people (men in my case) tend to react to this and take their interactions down to the friendly level of interplay too. it makes me much more comfortable and i dont have to worry because i am not constantly pushing the envelope to see how far i can get.
now- im not saying you would ever cheat- but i think that cheatings is actually a really fine line. you dont just end up in bed with your secretary ya know? first came the flirting, and then came a little more flirtings that wasn't rejected, and then came the casual touches in the office, hands lingering as they exchanged a document etc.
while this kind of interaction can be exhilerating (and you may get some extra attention) for me personally, i dont feel like its the type of attention i want to encourage. i would ask yourself why you like it attentionwise and see if you can't get that kind of positive attention from being really good at your job, or being a good friend etc.
i used to love to flirt. but now i am totally happy flirting with bf and being friendly with other guys. i personally think you can have a lot better relationships when you take out all the sexual tension.
if you and your partner have discussed it and flirting works for you- then by all means... but just wanted to add another side of the coin.
03-01-2006, 11:56 AM
I agree with the last comments. Men may start with "flirting" and then they gauge your response. If you stiffen at the too familiar way they act, you can keep them at arm's length, or if you are friendly without any flirtatiousness back then you set the tone. If you respond in a flirty manner, then it can go farther and farther until things get out of hand.
This is especially important if you are having problems in your marriage (and who doesn't from time to time). You should listen very closely to your instincts. Granted you are not used to the attention and you are going to get more at a thinner place, but some attention is appropriate and some is not. Your instincts will tell you what is not. If it isn't, then reject it and don't feel intimidated or guilty about doing so. Sometimes men have a way of making you feel like you are a "snob" or something because you don't welcome their advances. They think any attention they (no matter how horrible THEY are) shower on you should be welcome and a compliment to you. It isn't. And you may have to learn how to have the confidence in yourself to let them know that.
When I was a young person I had all sorts of attention showered on me because of the good figure I had then. Some of that attention was just very unwelcome! I resented it. I felt like I was being treated like a piece of meat rather than a person. Letting people know that their attention isn't welcome is awkward and not always easy to do, but don't let that stop you. If something makes you uncomfortable you have the right to stand up for yourself and let them know it isn't something you want.
But allowing too much attention while thinking "He's only being friendly" can be dangerous. Don't relax with it too much. It can lead to temptation and to adultery, or at least to violating your conscience in ways you won't be happy about.
03-01-2006, 12:06 PM
Thanks guys, for all of your advice. It has been wonderful thus far!!
Oh, believe me, I do stand up for myself when it goes too far. I just had a situation like that and actually, it was with my husband's best friend. Every time we all went out and he got drunk, he would cross the line. I had had it with my husband always telling me that "he was just joking around" (I ALWAYS told him when things would happen). So, one night we were out and he started with me again and I let him have it....verbally. He's been good every since! :)
I was in a bad situation many months ago after work...we were all drunk and it was a situation where I could have cheated if I wanted to. But, I said NO and love myself all the better for it. Thing is, this guy is married too and we're all going out again tonight. Oi vey. How do I get myself in these situations? I think it may be naivity. I don't know.
03-01-2006, 12:29 PM
I have to agree with those who are uncomfortable with it. I don't think it's so much the weight loss that makes guys pay more attention, it's the confidence boost. When I started feeling better about myself I noticed guys reacting. A lot of it is just guys being nice. They've shown that when women wear fat suits they aren't treated as nicely and thinner women are treated much nicer. So sure you will get a lot of doors held open etc. Any kind of personal attention from a guy (esp. at work!) makes me very uncomfortable. I pay very close attention to what I say and how to diffuse comments from others so that it is friendly banter. I work with a lot of guys and I think in this modern day and age where guys are mostly monogamous they like having "fake" girlfriends elsewhere. They enjoy having female friends with whom they can occasionally tease etc. I don't mind the friendly banter but I've started to think of them as family members and as soon as it crosses a line that you wouldn't want to hear from your cousin or your uncle is when I make a point to put in some distance. In fact, yesterday I unconsciously felt a little oggled. I'm not sure if I really was or it was just my brain overreacting to feeling exposed now that I am feeling thinner. Today I purposefully dressed in large and somewhat frumpy clothing because every now and then I need that protection where I'm not always on display, even at the office.
I agree with the others who pointed out that men will test it. I think men are far more likely to cheat, and are often (even uncosciously) peering out for a willing female. If you let their attentions seem welcome, it will only get deeper and deeper. As the female, you are the one that has the power to draw the line. Just because they are married does not believe they will behave in word OR deed. I also don't go out with male coworkers afterwork. If I do go out with coworkers it is with my fiance in a group with others who have brought their spouses, but I would never go hang out with them alone without any of our significant others around. I have friends for that purpose and crossing the personal line at work is a tricky thing.
03-01-2006, 01:48 PM
I'm sorry blues4miles, but that's a bit much for me. My husband goes out with his co-workers after work sometimes and I'm not going to limit myself to only going out with my husband!! Yes, we have our friends, but I consider the people I work with to be friends as well! Besides, I KNOW that my husband flirts around with people, so why should I not be able to?
As long as I'm not flaunting myself, I don't think I'm doing anything wrong.
I guess what I want to know is how does one make it clear that a line has been crossed, especially with co-workers, and not come off psycho-like. I always get nervous that I'm reading too much into the situation. I do have a hard time sticking up for myself when it comes to these kinds of situations.
03-01-2006, 02:48 PM
I think you just answered your own question! You just say, "Listen, I don't know what your intent is, but I'm not comfortable with where this conversation is going" and then you change to subject or, if warranted change who you are talking to. There is nothing psycho about setting boundries for yourself in any situation - social or otherwise.
Just remember that whether they are friends outside of work or not, co-workers are still co-workers. Like it or not, their judgement will often have an impact on your career. So, when it comes to flirtatious behavior with that particular group I'd suggest keeping it VERY toned down. It doesn't take much to get the rumor mill churning - especially in a small office where everyone is especially close. Remember, too, that the rumors don't have to be true to affect you (or others involved) and they are very difficult to out run!
What you might consider doing is inviting your husband to one of your after work outings. Your interaction with him can send a very definate message to the man you are worried about without your ever having to say a word. That doesn't mean you should never go out unless he is with you, but including him occasionally makes a clear gesture to the rest of the group that you are not available.
03-01-2006, 03:08 PM
i just remembered a song (country, sorry for those of you who dont like it hehe) that seems so on point! the catch phrase is
"she can turn every head, but she never lets it go to her heart"
good luck on your outing! have fun, relax and don't worry too much! as long as you are conscious of how flirting can affect your interaction with people and you and your partner have talked- i think you will be fine! most people that have a "guilty heart" feel uncomfortable telling their partner about the situation or if they do, they down play - it sounds like you guys are being open and honest with eachother.