My fiancé refuses ever to expose his chest to me
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.
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