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Frustrated hubby needs advice...

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Old 09-06-2010, 02:26 AM   #1
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Smile Frustrated hubby needs advice...

Hello!

Apologies this might run long but there's something here for everybody...

I'm hoping some of you reading this will relate and help work me through my dilemma, or suggest another place to seek some guidance and support.

I'm very frustrated. I don't know how to keep going. I feel my wife Penny is in complete denial about her weight issue. Her strategy seems to be a combo deal - don't change anything, combined with, wait to see what happens - that's it. I try to be as understanding and patient as possible - not only to be a kind spouse, but basically past experience has taught me I don't dare bring up the subject - or risk days of resentment, tears and hard feelings.

But first, please don't get me wrong, we're not completely at odds over this - in general we're happy and very committed together. I'm 44 she's 43 - we met at college back in the 80s. We were together for 6 years before getting married and have been now for 16 years. Together we have a vibrant 9 year old daughter - house, 2 dogs and a cat. We rarely fight about anything other than stupid stuff, and we're often complemented by friends as to how strong our relationship seems (in light of their own messes and bad habits)

Penny is 5'4" and by my best guess she weighs anywhere from about 160-180 - of course I wouldn't know exactly cuz those stats are kept top secret - in fact, the actual number is so off limits that even she doesn't really know. The only time she steps on a scale is every couple years when I can convince her to go visit the doc for checkups. Even then, for a long time she'd stand backwards on the scale so she couldn't see the numbers - can you imagine the nurse's surprise? She tells me she doesn't do that anymore but between doc visits she still wouldn't have a clue - she admits her only feedback is how tight her clothes are getting...and honey, that new sweater sure looks super!

I think this is what makes me the most nervous - she doesn't know what's happening. Since she doesn't know, maybe I end up worrying about it for the both of us. I don't want to feel this way. I've watched for years as it slowly happened, all along never allowed to comment or voice any concern.

If I knew she was at least monitoring the issue, I wouldn't worry about every soda she drinks, or every chocolate star she pops into her mouth first thing after a nap, or every white bread mayo bologna double cheeze sandwich she enjoys along with a bowl full of those awesome super crunchy cape cod potato chips...mmmm...and another pop. She wonders why if I love ice cream so much, and it's even 2for1 this week, why I never want her to buy it at the store, bring some home....so the torment of it all is very difficult...

Most disturbing is what her don't ask don't tell policy has done to her confidence. When we moved from MI to FL back in 1991 we were young, one of her first jobs was at a Hooters type place with the baby doll, the dolphin shorts and those old stretchy nylons - so you know where I'm coming from - takes a special girl to pull that off. Even though here we are still in FL 18 years later, now, she basically wears sweaters all year round - it's hot here, why the sweaters? I haven't seen her in a skirt since the late 90s. No more high heels, ever - they're too pointy and hurt her feet. Looking through 10+ years of our family photos, it's uncanny how she's hidden behind something in pretty much each and every shot - or the photos I know should be there, were flat out deleted. We have 16 gigs of pictures and she couldn't find even a single suitable solo profile pic of herself to post on her facebook ...she used one of her dogs instead.

As for our once hot hot hot sex life - well, we may as well be vampires these days because it's never gonna happen while the sun is shining - Lights off, period - average 2-3 times a month - a few years ago I asked her one night why she won't take her standard attire faded black moo moo tshirt off in bed anymore - we literally didn't have sex again for another 14 months. Not in a dick-ish way either, more like help me understand, please. Now, she's most comfortable on the bottom just laying there - if ever I beg my way into switching it up a little, she grunts and groans and complains about her hips as she slings her body over mine - not hot! I'm sad

So what can I do? I'm just so bummed. The requirement for me to keep silent is a problem only growing more difficult. History has shown she won't just suddenly convert into awareness one day. I'm so lost about how to even open discussion. And really, what's there to discuss? It isn't my body, only my preference. I can't really insist she lose some weight, "or else" - she's the one who needs to want to improve - something is holding that up.

Tell me I'm not a bad man, for not being totally cool with the way her body is?

Frankly this is **** and I'm tired of feeling so helpless about it anymore - I've stood by and watched as her once neat, slim & beautiful body has become chinned, chubbed, flabbed, and rolled...and based on past results, there's no hope things will ever get better without some sort of intervention...

So please, help me, guide me, coach me, lash me, cuss me - I would appreciate any suggestions that might help effect a change.

Ideally it seems she needs to start being more aware of her weight - what makes a person "want" to do that? Why wouldn't they do that? And is there anything I can do to help things along in a positive direction without being rudely confrontational or insensitive?

She needs to eat healthier food - what makes a person want to cast off the yummy easy food? She's very picky - everything she eats needs to be tasty, full of flavor and perfectly textured...basically all the bad stuff...

She needs to find more joy in exercising instead of it being a chore - praying for rainy days so she doesn't "have to" take the dogs for a walk - only following through cuz she thinks I'm keeping track - what makes a person want to get out and move around?

So that's it - I vented - thanks for reading this far - if I'm totally not in the right place or if I've offended anybody, please, my sincere apologies!! I've lived with this privately for a long time now and this is my first effort to venture out and ask for guidance. This is a big step for me. Maybe someone reading this can relate to my story and give me the words I'm missing, or send me off in the right direction....I welcome ANY ALL feedback and thank you in advance!

Thanks again and God bless!

Rich
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:48 AM   #2
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I can't think of a single thing to say, except I sure am thankful for my husband and grateful that he complimented the **** out of my body when it was 160, and I dare say would have done the same had I been 260. She knows she's gained weight, she's clearly self-conscious about it, and I GUARANTEE she knows you aren't pleased with how she looks. Trust me, that ain't helping matters.
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:52 AM   #3
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Rich,

First off, you ARE NOT a bad man for not being okay with this... you obviously love your wife, and your feelings are coming from a good place - you want her to be healthy, not only for herself, but so that she'll be around for you and your daughter.

That being said, I don't have a magic answer for you. I cried reading your post, realizing that you're writing about me. Well, at least me just a couple months ago. For me, this time, it was a sudden decision. When I looked in the mirror one day, I finally SAW myself. I decided that I was sick of being sick and being uncomfortable and missing out on things (photos, for one) because of my size. Was in denial too long. Finally one day I faced it and realized I just needed to make some lifestyle changes and I need to do this for me.

I wish it would be that simple for your wife... and I wish I had some good suggestions for you. I'll try to come up with some things.

Good luck, and hang in there... maybe some of the guys on the site will have some words of wisdom for you.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:15 AM   #4
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Do you guys own a bathroom scale? A lot of people don't, especially those who are trying to avoid facing the truth. If you don't have one, get one. Say it's for you. Don't make a big deal out of it. Heck, put it in your home office or work room or your end of the closet (although put it somewhere where it won't be on a carpet since carpets mess with the accuracy). I promise you, if there's a scale around eventually your wife will get on it. And facing that horrible number is an important part of deciding to do something.

I wish you could just tell her about this site but I doubt she'd want to hear about it from you. But there sure are a bunch of us here who tried to hide for years and were sure losing the weight was impossible - only to discover it wasn't impossible at all!
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:29 AM   #5
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Rich,
First off, I don't think you are a bad man. Some of your post seems to be based on her physical appearance, but what I read most of it seems to be you are concerned about her health, both physical and mental.

I'm the first one to raise the "My husband should love me no matter how fat I get" flag, but the truth is, if only the outside changed I might have a point. When someone gains weight it's not just their body that changes, their feelings about themselves changes as well. It sounds as if you miss having a wife who had confidence and enjoyed life.

Secondly, I don't envy your position at all lol. There is no good way to tell someone you want them to lose weight, even if you are coming from a place of love and concern. If you decide to speak to your wife, I wouldn't recommend you bring up her weight at all. Maybe you could approach it from a "I've been worried about you lately...you seem a bit withdrawn and I want you to know I'm here to listen..." could be a better way.

You should also think about what you can do to lighten her emotional load a bit also. Take a long and honest look at the separation of responsibilities around your home. Is she always the one going to teacher conferences, paying bills, doing the shopping, doing the cooking, laundry, errands etc.? If so, she maybe feeling overwhelmed. This isn't an attack on men, but women have a lot of pressure on them, and if that's the case, she doesn't feel like she has the time to devote to herself to take a breath, much less take the time to put on a little makeup and nice outfit...and when that happens it makes the woman feel like she should give up. It sounds like your wife is at that point. This is especially true if she was once considered above average in the looks department. I don't mean to brag or be insensitive, but I know how that feels from personal experience. She feels like all her looks are gone so why bother at all? Maybe you could do something nice for her that would maybe encourage her to take a little more interest in her looks. Maybe a gift certificate for a facial or manicure/pedicure. I think maybe you might consider turning up the romance a little more also. It doesn't have to be extravagant...you could leave her little notes around the house, or pick her up a single flower on the way home from work, or surprise her with a picnic on the beach. The key would be to let her know that you think she is the most beautiful woman in the world and maybe she will start believing it as well...and when she starts believing it again in her heart, she may want to make the outside match the inside. And if none of that works, you might consider a marriage counselor, but I would recommend you attend alone first so the counselor can help you explain your feelings to your wife so that she is not caught completely off guard.

Sorry, I know this got a little wordy, but I got on a roll.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:43 AM   #6
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Thanks all for writing!

No, it isn't helping matters, and it's why I am so troubled about it. She's not happy about it - it shows, and I'm right here watching front row. So naturally I factor into the equation - but if I wasn't here? She wouldn't feel bad about herself? I'll take at most 50% of the blame...but it still boils down to I can't lose her weight.

But I can post up to a weight loss board to see if I can understand things better. Try to find out what it's like when a person decides to make an effort. Everybody is different and realize you people being out here, dealing with your individual challenges makes you the one in control, and no matter results you're all at least a step ahead of where you used to be - just keep stepping - bravo!

I want that for Penny

She's on the front side of her decision and has some serious blockage - how does one get through that? Where were you when you decided spectating wasn't an option anymore? You needed to Act?

It's hard to describe in words but you probably know anyway - you just know deep down this isn't the way you're supposed to be - it's not ok anymore - that's about where she's at - she wants it better, so she can have her peace again - she's just deftly afraid to make any moves.

I can't lie to her, I've never lied to her - I want her to know I love her, I'm here for her, she's ok, but this is something she needs to work on, actively.

Not for me, but so she can be the person she needs to be...

And thanks for your kinds word lolcat - you're beautiful - I love cats too - mine is black & white in an awesome picasso pattern, and she has the softest, most luxurious fur ever!
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:46 AM   #7
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Okay, I want to apologize in advance to you Rich. But this is how I see it.

Mind your own business. Find another project to keep yourself busy other than trying to "fix" your wife's weight problem.

Around 3FC I've seen far too many posts where someone is saying the same things you're saying, only usually it's the wife about the husband. "How can I make him want to lose weight?" they ask. And the unstated sub-message is, "To be the way *I* want him to be." Oh, of course there are good reasons for them to lose weight. Health is one of them. But it sounds like health isn't what you're primarily interested in.

You at least are honest enough to say right out front that you don't like the way she is. That's OK--you have a right to your opinion. But you can't make her change.

Push this issue, and it will get worse. Put yourself in her position--imagine that she is always looking at you with that slight tinge of disappointment in her eyes, and you know why. How would you feel? I guarantee that she is feeling that way just about all the time.

So if you want to help her, butt out of the weight loss issue. Stop watching what she eats. Stop trying to control her food choices. Just be a loving husband.

All you need to tell her, if SHE brings up a desire to lose some weight, is that if she wants to lose weight you will support her in that. Not control her, not fix it for her, not monitor her, but support her. That might mean helping to pay for Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, a gym membership, a therapist or dietitian, etc. it doesn't mean watching her weight for her, going to the gym with her, etc.

I apologized in advance, and I'll do it again now. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh to you. I don't want to sugarcoat it and have you miss the point.

Jay
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:43 AM   #8
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How about you be the cook of the house?
If not, how about giving her some "diet" recipes that don't look like diet recipes and tell her you want to try them cuz they look delicious?

Why don't you do exercise with her and be active with her? Doing things together as spending quality time together instead of thinking it as exercise. Like, both of you go walk your dogs together, telling her that you want to walk under moonlight watever....well I think women in general like romantic things and they like their husbands to be romantically. Just please don't make it looks like you're trying to make her lose weights. Drive her in thinking you're spending great time together while in the end she will get a moderate work out.

Just some suggestions. Hope it can help in some ways.
p/s: I would love my bf to be frank with me - harsh words give me motivation to be hot again. But not everyone can handle them, and seems like your wife is that type. So don't make her feel like you're always judging her and you don't love her as much as you used to because of her weight.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:20 AM   #9
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Wowzers. Your a brave man for coming here and asking for help. My husband was much like you. I believe that for your wife it is about control. If you say things, look at what she is eating with "those eyes", act disappointed...etc. you are messing with her control. She is eating becaues she believes she is in control. When you say or don't have to say what you feel (because she knows) you are making her feel out of control. The more you push the issue the more she will try to flex her control muscle and eat when she wants. I got to the point that I would hide the food. I felt like I was in control.

You've got to stop. You've got to tell her all the time how beautiful she is. You are not promoting her bad eating by doing so you are building her self-esteem and confidence...which you need to have to lose weight.

Do something fun with her to get her moving. Sign up for a ballroom dancing class together, take karate together...do something gets you her moving but at the same time you are doing something together that is fun. Often it is hard for us to get moving all by ourselves. It is scary to go to a gym with a bunch of slim people and be the chubby one working out on the stairmaster. Support. Support. Support.

It is not healthy for her to gain weight. She knows this. She does not like where she is. But you cannot be the one to point that out or harp on her for it. She had to do it for herself when she is ready. Your wife is struggling...love her, support her. She needs you. Don't be "dissapointed" and fatherly to her. I don't know what her relationship was like with her father but that may be the worst mistake you ever make. It was the biggest problem between my husband and I.

All you need is love. Best of luck to you.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:42 AM   #10
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I have to agree with JayEll--I've had many people try to get me to lose weight, and even when they're not saying anything about my weight and what I'm eating, I knew they were thinking it--this only made me more resistant.

Also, you say that what worries you the most is that she has no idea about what's going on--and yet she refuses to look at the scale and constantly has to buy new clothes, plus your sex life has change. So believe me, she knows.

Maybe she just doesn't want to talk to you about, maybe because she knows that you have a problem with the way she looks. Major confidence hit, and not a super motivator for losing weight. Love her for her, and maybe she'll gain the confidence to do something about her weight and eating habits.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:02 PM   #11
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I am new around here but I have struggled with this issue for my entire life. My husband is wonderful and always comments on how beautiful I am no matter what weight I am at. I have 3 children who mean the world to me and unfortunately my 11 year old son has taken in my footsteps. My biggest motivation for weight loss is him and for my health. I love the way I feel after losing the weight I have lost over the last year and a half. But what got me motivated was watching my son get bigger and bigger. Maybe you can approach it for a change for the family. My husband is no small man by any means he is 6'2" and he weighed 270lbs when I began my weight loss journey because my new lifestyle has become a change in my house he has lost 30lbs himself.

I do not think your a bad man for wanting something better for your wife and your family. There is nothing more important to me than my family and I know I want to be the best example of health for my children.

We joined a gym this year together the entire family, rather than choosing to do it alone I gave them the gift of exercise too! My husband and I hit the gym together and motivate each other to keep going. When he and I can't make it my sister and I go together. It is a scary thing to tackle alone so maybe the two of you need to agree to live a healthier lifestyle as a family. Grocery shop together throw away the stuff that isn't good for any of you. Teach your daughter good lifestyle skills together as a couple. The focus shouldn't be on her weight or the number on the scale for you, it should be about living healthier together!

I know the number is important but it has to be important for your wife not you. For me I weighed in this morning at 188lbs I am 5'5" so technically obese. But I where a size 12, I shop in normal stores and I feel better than I have about myself in years. Actually my goal weight is around 160lbs. If you go about it in a way that you want all of you to be healthier and not bring up her weight you may get farther. Keep in mind women can be very self conscious and you need to complement her and reinforce that you love her no matter what size she is.

Sorry it was so long..this is the best advice I can give you! Good luck!
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:46 PM   #12
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Have you ever offered to do it with her? Even if you don't have to lose weight, what if you told her you really wanted to get in better shape yourself, so what if you join a gym and go together?
This has been the biggest factor in me actually being successful at weight loss this time. My husband helps me prepare meals, and he goes to the gym with me in the morning, which really helps me get out of bed in the morning when I really don't want to.
You can't force her though...that's the hard thing watching anyone you love and care about make wrong decisions. You kind of just have to be there until they realize it themselves and be ready to help in any way you can.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:56 PM   #13
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I agree with JayEll. Just reading your post made me want to eat and skip the gym.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:37 PM   #14
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I appreciate that you want your wife to be healthy and confident. You're not a bad person for feeling the way you do. Your post actually reminded me a lot of my sister. Since I've started losing weight I've talked to her a lot about it and she just doesn't get it. She knows that losing weigh isn't easy. She had to lose 15 lbs after college and she works hard to keep in shape. And she just can not understand why it's so hard for some people to make those helthy choices and put in the work like she does. She views it as pure laziness. And too an extent it is being lazy, but it's not coming from a place of "I don't feel like it." It's coming from a ginuine belief of "I can't." Sure we all know the logic: eat less + move more= lose weight. But that's not the same as believing you are capable of it and commiting to make that change.

And getting to that point of the commitment to change is a very personal thing. No one can do it for you, and a lot of well-meaning attempts can set you back. I watched my friends and my ex lose weight while I gained. And I ate more, while hating myself for every moment of it. It wanted to change for a long time before I actually was ready to commit and follow through with it. I'm sure my friends and co-workers all thought I was full of **** because how many times had they heard me say I was going to start losing weight, only for me to do nothing. The first step for me was joining weight watchers and a weight loss training program at my gym. I didn't lose any weight, but I started being more conscious of what I was doing to my body, how out of shape I had gotten. And I stopped gaining so quickly. It was still a couple more months until I started following the weight watchers program for real, and working out without going to Wendy's after. I was fed up with my lifestyle and finally ready to commit. But it was all me battling in my head. No one could have helped me get there.

So I guess that was just an extremely long way of saying, you can't change her or make her ready. I realize you don't get why she won't change if she isn't happy, and you're not going to get it. You just have to support her as she is. And if/when she decides to change her lifestyle, you'll be there to support her (without policing her).
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JayEll View Post
Okay, I want to apologize in advance to you Rich. But this is how I see it.

Mind your own business. Find another project to keep yourself busy other than trying to "fix" your wife's weight problem.

Around 3FC I've seen far too many posts where someone is saying the same things you're saying, only usually it's the wife about the husband. "How can I make him want to lose weight?" they ask. And the unstated sub-message is, "To be the way *I* want him to be." Oh, of course there are good reasons for them to lose weight. Health is one of them. But it sounds like health isn't what you're primarily interested in.

You at least are honest enough to say right out front that you don't like the way she is. That's OK--you have a right to your opinion. But you can't make her change.

Push this issue, and it will get worse. Put yourself in her position--imagine that she is always looking at you with that slight tinge of disappointment in her eyes, and you know why. How would you feel? I guarantee that she is feeling that way just about all the time.

So if you want to help her, butt out of the weight loss issue. Stop watching what she eats. Stop trying to control her food choices. Just be a loving husband.

All you need to tell her, if SHE brings up a desire to lose some weight, is that if she wants to lose weight you will support her in that. Not control her, not fix it for her, not monitor her, but support her. That might mean helping to pay for Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, a gym membership, a therapist or dietitian, etc. it doesn't mean watching her weight for her, going to the gym with her, etc.

I apologized in advance, and I'll do it again now. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh to you. I don't want to sugarcoat it and have you miss the point.

Jay
Just for the record, I couldn't disagree with this more.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to find your partner attractive. Like it or not, the way we look (or rather, the effort we put into making ourselves look presentable) is important. We are genetically programmed to look for an attractive mate, it's the same in the animal world. Of course, that doesn't mean that you stop loving your spouse when their physical appearance changes, but all Rich has done is notice it. From his post, he hasn't done anything cruel to his wife and in my opinion it is unfair to expect your partner to silently witness your demise.

You NEED to be able to discuss this your wife, in as supportive a way as possible of course, if your marriage is going to last. You are not selfish for caring about this. In fact I think you are extremely unselfish for staying near-enough silent for so many years and wanting so desperately to help her.
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