Is your weight affecting your relationship?

Why do we often put on weight after marriage?


Gaining or losing weight whilst a person is in a relationship can put a strain on the dynamics within that relationship. When you first meet your partner, you are both attracted to each other and whatever your weight, it is clearly an acceptable weight for your partner. If that weight changes however it is very likely that the physical attraction level will change.

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Gaining weight within a relationship

It often happens that after the first exciting months of a relationship, couples slip into their comfort zone and in time may notice some weight creeping on; it is at this point that the dynamics within the relationship can begin to change.

There are two viewpoints to consider when looking at the effects of one person in a relationship gaining weight, that of the person who has gained weight and that of the partner.


The person who has put on weight

Having gained weight, there are a number of issues that a person may face:

  • Loss of self confidence - it is not uncommon for a person who is carrying more weight than they are comfortable with to lose self-confidence as they feel less attractive.

  • Avoiding intimacy - if a person feels unattractive then they will assume that their partner also finds them unattractive and they are likely to avoid putting themselves into a position that may lead to them being rejected.

  • Feeling less sexy - many women feel less sexy after gaining weight which is likely to be related to a loss of self confidence

  • Developing depression - the lack of intimacy and lack of self confidence that may evolve from the initial weight gain can lead to depression which in turn can result in a person retreating both physically and emotionally from their partner. This may lead to feelings of emptiness and loneliness


The partner

If your partner gains weight there are a number of ways in which this may affect you:

  • Loss of attraction - you may find yourself no longer sexually attracted to your partner. This may result in you avoiding intimacy or even worse, seeking intimacy elsewhere.

  • Suggest going on a diet - this is often not a great idea, even if it is only a suggestion to join you at the gym!

  • Concerns about health - it is possible that you may become concerned about the health of your partner knowing that they have an increased risk of developing a number of serious problems such as heart disease or type two diabetes.


Losing weight within a relationship

Losing weight whilst in a relationship can also cause changes to the relationship dynamic. Attitudes and beliefs may change for both parties in the relationship.


The person who has lost weight

As a person loses weight they may gain self confidence and self-esteem; their body image may improve massively.

Alternatively, a person who has undergone bariatric surgery in order to lose a great deal of weight may still see the ‘old’ them when they look in the mirror.  It is at this point that psychological support can be helpful 


The partner

Whilst a person whose partner has lost weight may be ecstatic about it and feel more attracted to them than before, these feelings may be accompanied by jealousy.

Jealousy?  Why?  If a person has not accompanied their partner on their weight loss/get the healthy program they may be feeling fat and dowdy by comparison to their new ‘sylph like’ partner.  In addition, they may have started noticing that other people are now finding their partner attractive where they may not have done so before.

Alternatively, it may be that the partner is left saying ‘I loved you the way you were’ finding that they were more sexually attracted to the fuller figured body type.


How to keep the relationship dynamic on an even keel during weight change

As with most relationship issues, communication is the most effective way of ensuring that you are both singing from the same hymn sheet.

It may be that at the beginning of the relationship you talked about everything and communication was second nature but over time the lines of communication can become broken and instead of traveling through life together you begin to walk in parallel.

If you have gained weight, talk to your partner about it. Find out if this has changed their feelings or attitudes toward you in any way. Do this before making an independent decision to lose the weight as it is possible that your partner is perfectly happy with you the way you are.  If you want to lose weight anyway then discuss it with your partner; maybe they feel they have also gained weight and would like to join you on the diet!

It is important that everything is discussed openly to ensure that any weight related effects on your relationship are positive ones!

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