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Q&A: “How did your husband treat you when you were fat?”

Before and AfterThis is a question someone posed to me recently on Facebook, and I think it’s worth answering to a bigger audience. I have been asked this – in many variations – before: “How did Rob feel about your obesity?” or “Was he still attracted to you when you were overweight?” 

Admittedly, these are very personal questions, but I think it’s important to be honest about what our relationship was like for all those years (decades, in fact), what it’s like now, and how my weight loss has impacted it. I go into much detail about it in my upcoming book Eat Like It Matters: How I Lost 120 Pounds and Found My Inner Badass (And How You Can Too!), coming out in August 2015. But for now, let’s just take a look at this question and how I answered the woman who asked it.

Oh, and by the way, my answer is just a reflection of my situation; it’s not a judgment on what anyone else should do or how they should live their life. And I don’t address the question: “What should I do if my husband/wife is emotionally abusive to me because of my weight?” because that’s not the question she asked. I am happy to answer that question in the future, but that wasn’t my objective here.

If you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re in this together!

Hi Marilyn, I have a question for you: When you were overweight, did your husband emotionally leave you? Did he hold back love and affection because you were fat? Did he ever tell you nasty things about your weight? It would be interesting to know because you make it seem like you had the perfect time of things, like your husband never treated you ill about your being fat long ago. Many a woman has lost their husband because they did not seem to see beyond the skin.

Great question! Here’s my answer: Rob and I have definitely gone through an adjustment after I lost weight, but it really didn’t have anything to do with the weight itself. It had more to do with him learning how to listen to my feelings and concerns as I started giving voice to them, instead of shoving them down with food. I was always a “go along to get along” kind of person, without voicing needs of my own.

No more.

When I read your question initially I had a pretty visceral reaction to it, like, “Why would someone who professes to love me make nasty comments about my weight, and if he did, why would I tolerate that?” The truth is, I wouldn’t. He always treated me with the same love and respect that I treated him. In my mind, obesity is a reflection of pain, so why would he be mad at me for that?

I understand your point: some spouses do get angry and belittle their husband or wife about their weight. I find that so sad, and all I can say is that I would not have tolerated it myself.

Hope that answers your question 🙂

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