Couch Advice

Couch Advice #79242 – Through Thick And Thin

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Dear LizardoMD,

My wife is obese. Not morbidly obese that she can not get up. But big enough for people to stare when she walks at the mall. I am tall, and in shape. I have worked very hard to get into the best shape of my life over the last year. I have never been as big as my wife has, but now that I am in great shape, I feel embarrassed to be around her. I feel like I did my part of the work, and motivate her to do the same, but she does not put the effort. The worst part is getting blamed for her being fat. People know that we have been together for the last 5 years, and that at the moment she was significantly less fat. Now her friends even blame me for taking her out and “allowing her to eat all that she wants to eat”. This also affects me in my path towards being healthy. She feels like extra weight. What should I do?

I love your blog. Its my guilty pleasure. I sure hope my wife does not read it.

Lean husband with fat wife

—–

Dear Husband,

Thanks for reaching out to my The Doctor’s Couch- Couch Advice Column, I always enjoy speaking with people like you because it challenges us to think farther than what is seen, and dig deep into the things that have been build upon.

Congrats on your weight loss, and being in the best shape of your life. That certainly does not happen over night. It takes time, effort, and lots of conscious decisions in order to achieve. I am very proud of you! Your feelings of being embarrassed are valid. Its OK to feel that way in the situation that you are in. I could imagine the frustration that you are undergoing  because of all of this. A lot of times as we get into better shape, we envision ourselves as the life of the party, as more outgoing, and achieving higher goals. Then when we finally achieve our goal, we feel like we are anchored by something of our past. This brings great discouragement of the hard worked that you put in.

None the less, I want to encourage you with a couple of things. When you got married you promised to be with your wife in sickness, and in health, through thick and thin. Correct? This is exactly the kind of situation that couples go through every day, and yet are terrified of bringing the topic up. You might be going through this with her weight, but others go through it with their spouses looks, job title, race etc. Similar situation, different circumstances.

Also, please understand how your wife must be feeling. You might be thinking that she is feeling like she landed a hot husband. But late at night, she might be feeling tons of inadequacies, and blaming herself for this. I was once in a similar relationship like the one your are in. I dated someone with a lot of insecurities based on her looks. Yet, if she only saw what I saw in her. The most beautiful woman I had ever laid my eyes on. No matter how many times I would tell her, she would not believe it. I helped her by engaging her in my activities no matter if she could do them or not. I walked marathons, slow climbed mountains, and went to every beach I could with her. I made sure all my pictures on social media were with her.  I made her feel special, and valid. She saw that I was not embarrassed, that we were a team, and that we should continue on the path together. I also promised her to never, ever quit on her when it comes to her progress. With time, we broke up because of other factors, yet I still encourage her on her path of life goals. Today, she is a someone who is in the public eye. Beautiful, radiant, and now I tell my friends…..I dated her!

If at any point you get discourage, know that the best marriages are the ones who preserve. The marriage in my life that I used to guide my way is not my parents who have been together for 30 years, but my friends who divorced, than remarried his wife and has always been vulnerable with me about the struggles and how they have pulled through. Sometimes he pulls through for both of them. Sad, but true. You pull through in this, and you will have such an example of a marriage that many will admire.

I hope this serves to you as some sort of encouragement. I know that you will do great loving your wife the way she deserves towards better health.

-LizardoMD

One last thing. Make her friends jealous of how you love her and motivate her with love and respect.  People will talk. Let them talk, and go and prove them wrong with your actions!

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7 replies »

  1. The last thing he should do is tell the poor woman not to eat stuff. But overeating/underexercising, ie getting fat, is a form of ill health usually inflicted by people on themselves, so it’s hard to stand by and watch. The bottom line – when people want to change their habits, they will – they need support, not criticism.

  2. I agree with the advice (in my case I would have been far more blunt). I can see why you’re a therapist! Although, I always think there are far worse situations people can be in in comaprison to obesity. For example, some people survive several years of child abuse and come out strong, at the least, if your partner puts in the effort to better themselves and lose weight, then at the least, your other half should be ready to jump on board the moment you make the decision.

    And the vow ‘in sickness, and in health’, well in this situation, I can’t help thinking that’s part of the reason why she hasn’t decided to lose weight the same time he did (or earlier): because she knows he’ll stick with her regardless of whether he’s fat or thin.

    • David!

      Its always great to have you around. I was actually checking out your blog earlier on today. I enjoy how its a team of writers collaborating in one blog! So many different perspective, all in one page! :-)

      Thanks for your perspective in this. I agree that there are worse situations than these, to me and to you. But to the person going through this, it eats up their energy, sleep, and persona. That’s whats great about attaining a new perspective in psychiatry, and gaining strength away from one’s tunnel vision.

      I do not know the lady or what she is thinking, but that could be a reason as to why she has not made the decision to lose weight. A lot of people can tend to take advantage of the knowledge that their spouse will always be there. Unfortunately, in the process, they fail to realize that a lot more than the relationship is deteriorating by doing so.

      I can only wish this couple the best. I believe great things can come out of this situation if dealt appropriately.

      R

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