Woonsocket Call

DEAR ABBY:

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I have been in a relationsh­ip with my girlfriend, who lives in her native Germany, for almost two years. We met online thanks to a mutual online friend of mine and school friend of hers. My girlfriend struggles with her body image, and I’m not sure how to help other than call her beautiful often. She’s thin and looks fine by “American standards,” as she puts it, but for a German she is larger than most, which is why she thinks she’s fat and ugly, despite the fact that she’s slim and pretty. What would you suggest I do in order to help her improve her body image? —SUPPORTIVE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE DEAR SUPPORTIVE: Other than continuing to reassure her that in your eyes she’s beautiful, there isn’t much you can do long-distance. However, there is plenty SHE can do. She should discuss her fixation with a doctor who can explain what a healthy weight should be for someone her height and build. If her problem is all in her head, it’s possible she needs counseling for body dysmorphia, a disorder in which people of normal weight are convinced they are heavy. It’s not uncommon.

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