Dear Dr. Gilda,
I’m at a loss and I find myself losing faith in humanity. I am admittedly overweight not morbidly obese, just overweight. People constantly tell me, “You have such a pretty face” and “If you’d just lose some weight”, or things on the other end of the spectrum, like “If he can’t look past your physical appearance, he’s really not the kind of guy you want?” and “You have such a great personality, don’t worry you’ll find someone”. The problem is that I hate knowing that my weight is the only thing keeping me from finding love.
People quickly make assumptions about your lifestyle simply by your pants size and are even more quick to offer advice on how to “improve” yourself. I’m a good person with a lot of love to give. It took me a long time to really find myself and stop basing my self-worth on how many looks I got from men. I’m working on my weight for health reasons. My question is this: If I’m so open to finding someone and loving all of him, including his imperfections, do I really have to accept that I’m simply unlovable until I’m thin? Thank you, Dr. Gilda!
Weighty in My Worth
Dear Weighty AND Worthy,
In my younger years, right out of college, I was 20 lbs. heavier than I am today. After I lost the weight, the men who liked me earlier told me to put that meat back on my bones! This proved to me that not everyone appreciates the same body type. Since then, over the years, I’ve been friends with two “morbidly obese” women, as you call them. Believe it or not, these two had more active love lives than I did! Their secret? They loved themselves just as they were, without apology.
You say, “The problem is that I hate knowing that my weight is the only thing keeping me from finding love”. Why do you say you KNOW this? Darling, it’s not your weight you need to address; it’s your willingness to allow others to define how you assess yourself!
You conclude, “It took me a long time to really find myself and stop basing my self-worth on how many looks I got from men. I understand that you believe that you’re over your dependency on men’s attentions, but if you truly were, you would not question, “Do I really have to accept that I’m simply unlovable until I’m thin?”
You surmise that “people quickly make assumptions about your lifestyle simply by your pants size”? Well, that’s not entirely true. People quickly make assumptions about everything you do, all the time. In a room of 300 people, you will have 300 different reputations. You can either accept this fact of life or become miserable trying to alter every single person’s perception, which you can’t do anyway.
This is what I suggest you focus on now:
Tell the people who comment on your weight to get a life. And don’t sugarcoat your message! A guy I casually knew commented in a negative way about how thin I looked. (Obviously he preferred weightier women!) I retorted by telling him how fat he had gotten. He immediately grasped my point, laughed and apologized.
When people see your weight, or your mole, or your hair color, or anything else to the exclusion of your soul, these are not people you want to hang with. END OF STORY! But you also should not invite them into your precious world with the intention of trying to change their minds.
Accept the love you say you have to give, and discard your concerns about your outer shell.
As my Gilda-Gram says, “People reflect back to you your opinion of yourself. As soon as YOU accept your beauty, so will a terrific guy”.
For medical reasons, a friend of mine recently underwent weight-loss surgery. Her husband of over 30 years could care less, and says he loves her in whichever form she’s in. He cherishes her soul, and her outer housing is just incidental. This is the kind of unconditional love I wish for you! And you can have it, as long as you believe in yourself.
Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., has a private practice and is an associate professor at Mercy College in New York. Her best-selling books include 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website and send your relationship questions to her at [email protected]