My fi­ancé re­fuses ever to ex­pose his chest to me

Daily Mirror - - STARS &TOONS -

Dear Coleen

I’ve been with my part­ner – now my fi­ancé – for three years and we’ve been liv­ing to­gether for most of that time.

My prob­lem is that he’s never taken off his shirt in front of me, even when we’re in bed.

I have ap­proached the mat­ter with him lots of times and he says it’s be­cause he’s un­happy with him­self and wants to lose weight. He is not overly big, but has quite broad shoul­ders, so will never look re­ally slim.

He in­sists it’s a weight is­sue, but I’ve seen pic­tures of him on hol­i­day four years ago when he was quite a bit slim­mer and he didn’t re­move his top the en­tire time he was away, so I think there’s some­thing else at the root of it.

I’ve tried re­as­sur­ing him that noth­ing would change the way I feel about him and that I love him the way he is, but he shuts down the con­ver­sa­tion af­ter a few min­utes and says one day he will take off his shirt when he loses weight.

Even when we had a hot tub, he kept his shirt on and he has told me that when we go away in Septem­ber he won’t take off his shirt to sun­bathe or swim. He has al­lowed me to put my hand up his shirt on his chest, so I know it’s not be­cause he has a third nipple or any­thing else he could be em­bar­rassed about.

I just don’t know where to turn or how I can help him to get over this. It’s start­ing to get me down.

Coleen says

I agree, I don’t think it’s a weight is­sue.

You say he’s not over­weight, plus he’s had three years to tackle his weight since he’s been with you and he’s done noth­ing about it.

It sounds as if he al­most has a pho­bia now about ex­pos­ing his naked chest, even to his fi­ancée. Maybe an un­kind com­ment trig­gered his fix­a­tion in a past re­la­tion­ship, mak­ing him very self-con­scious.

The trou­ble is, be­cause he’s cov­ered up for so many years, he now finds it im­pos­si­ble to be­have in any other way.

If it’s a deep-rooted psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­rier, then he’d ben­e­fit from coun­selling, so that could be some­thing to sug­gest.

I guess what you need to add is, if you’re go­ing to share a life to­gether, then you have to share every­thing.

You could sug­gest that he shows you his chest once in a sit­u­a­tion of his choos­ing, then he can put his shirt on again straight away. At least he’ll have shared that mo­ment with you.

Or maybe grad­ual ex­po­sure would be the way to go. Re­la­tion­ships can weather all kinds of storms, but a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and not be­ing hon­est with your part­ner are big dan­ger ar­eas.

Ex­plain that you think your re­la­tion­ship can han­dle what­ever he’s hid­ing, but it wor­ries you that he feels he can’t trust you enough to be open with you.

I’ve put my hand up his shirt... he hasn’t a 3rd nipple

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