When he doesn't find you sexy any­more

How to re­gain your con­fi­dence when your part­ner al­ways crit­i­cises the way you look

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Mo and Phindi Groot­boom

IDON’T think my hus­band of five years finds me at­trac­tive any­more. I try by all means to look my best, but he doesn’t com­pli­ment me. In­stead, he al­ways says how much weight I need to lose and, mind you, I go to the gym and have started chang­ing my diet. When he sees pretty women on tele­vi­sion, he em­pha­sises how he wished I looked like them. This is slowly eat­ing into my con­fi­dence and I don’t know whether his con­cern is valid or he doesn’t find me at­trac­tive or he is plain abu­sive. I have two chil­dren with this man and he can’t se­ri­ously ex­pect me to look beau­ti­ful all the time. Pri­or­i­ties have changed – the kids, house­hold, tak­ing care of his needs and work de­mands. I have stopped go­ing to bed with tights and a panty­hose on my head and have opted for sexy night wear but still he says I am ugly. Things have changed be­tween us and I don’t get it. How do I deal with this sit­u­a­tion?

UNAPPRECIATED WIFE

TDOWNRIGHT NASTY

HERE is a dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing bold, and be­ing nasty. It cer­tainly takes a fair amount of bold­ness for a man to bring up the weight sub­ject with his woman. But that’s for a sen­si­tive and car­ing man. Your hus­band sounds down­right nasty, and is dis­play­ing signs of some­one that doesn’t re­ally care about your feel­ings.

This is es­pe­cially worse, af­ter your body has borne two chil­dren be­cause of him. Per­haps a good les­son on the de­vel­op­ment of a woman’s body af­ter child­birth may help. But we don’t think he’s at that level. And that’s not your prob­lem. It’s all his.

Crit­i­cism is al­ways hard to swal­low, but when it comes from your sig­nif­i­cant other, it’s even worse.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

To give you a pic­ture, let’s bring to your at­ten­tion a sim­i­lar re­cent en­counter with an­other cou­ple we were coun­selling.

She has been un­happy with her body re­cently. She’s not a con­stant “oh, I’m so fat” com­plainer, but like most women, she has mo­ments of self­doubt. She feels like she’s gained weight since her clothes don’t fit her any­more. Her sin was to say so in front of her boyfriend. In re­al­ity, any weight she might have gained isn’t vis­i­ble to us.

And if she has gained weight, it’s prob­a­bly more symp­to­matic of that whole late 20s phase of “OMG what hap­pened to my youth­ful me­tab­o­lism?” It’s not be­cause of any lifestyle changes. She has no health is­sues, and she is an av­er­age size lady.

But her boyfriend couldn’t stop bring­ing her weight to her at­ten­tion. The point is not that she needed to lose weight.

In our opin­ion, she’s per­fect as is, only that she has ex­pressed her own dis­com­fort, of­ten in front of, and to, her boyfriend. In­stead of be­ing a source of com­fort and en­cour­age­ment, her boyfriend used it against her.

OPEN AND HON­EST

Does the fact that she brought the weight is­sue to his at­ten­tion make it okay for him to fur­ther make her un­com­fort­able?

Cer­tainly not. For starters, she feels like she is be­ing neg­a­tively crit­i­cised rather than hav­ing a real con­ver­sa­tion. He never sug­gested that they cook a healthy meal or hit the gym to­gether so that it can look like he’s work­ing on be­ing healthy as a team – some­thing a rea­son­able, sen­si­tive and car­ing man would do.

Her boyfriend ini­tially thought he’s just be­ing open and hon­est with her. And we’re all for open­ness and hon­esty in a re­la­tion­ship, but not if it’s meant to put the other part­ner down and is down­right hurt­ful.

PHYS­I­CALLY AT­TRAC­TIVE

As a lady, we think that you do need to take good care of your­self phys­i­cally. This, we be­lieve you should do, not be­cause he con­stantly crit­i­cises you about your weight. But you should do it for your own hap­pi­ness.

You will never be able to sat­isfy your man based on how you look. There will al­ways be a slim­mer woman than you. The peo­ple on TV, went to gym specif­i­cally for the roles they play on that plat­form.

We be­lieve it’s your hus­band’s of­fi­cial duty is to make you feel sexy even when you’re gain­ing weight, not bring you down fur­ther. It’s his job to love you as you are – stretch marks, saggy tummy and all.

And some­times hav­ing a Dr Phil-like dis­cus­sion only works if the per­son is open to it. Your man sounds too im­ma­ture to care. Not ev­ery re­la­tion­ship drama needs to be “talked out”.

MA­TURE CON­VER­SA­TION

If your hus­band is in­ca­pable of a ma­ture con­ver­sa­tion, lacks the re­spect to ac­knowl­edge your feel­ings, and the only thing that cor­rects their be­hav­iour is de­bas­ing your­self to their level, then why be in that re­la­tion­ship?

The same could be said of him, why is he mar­ried to some­one he is ca­pa­ble of ridi­cul­ing and point­ing out her flaws?

Peo­ple are way too will­ing to marry peo­ple who are not worth their time.

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