Lose Weight or I'm Gone
Q: My girlfriend is overweight and it's turning me off. I used to be heavy too, but now I'm in shape. Well, pretty much. She just keeps getting fatter. I tried being nice and giving her a gift certificate for a fitness class. I bought her some weights and an exercise ball. I even showed her some YouTube videos and said how hot the women exercising are. She just doesn't get it! She keeps doing the same stuff—snacking and sitting around. I might just tell her straight up she needs to lose weight if she wants me to stay interested. How can I get her to wake up? - Raul, 36
Dr. Pamela: When someone rejects what you believe to be well-intentioned support, it's natural to feel disappointed and frustrated. But the problem in your case is that your girlfriend never asked for your help. And giving unsolicited advice, especially in the ways you've chosen, is a relationship "Don't Do." By asking if you should issue an ultimatum (lose weight or I'm gone), you're crossing the line into a behavior associated with emotional abuse. So, how can you get her to wake up? You can't. The fact is it's beyond your ability to control someone else's behavior, eating, or otherwise.
It will also be useful to keep in mind that you were both overweight when you met. In that respect, she hasn't changed, you have. Now that you're in shape, you are getting more attention from women and are ready to meet someone else. Perhaps you feel guilty about wanting to move on. After all, she was there for you when other women weren't. If you do want to move on and guilt is holding you back, you need to step up to the plate and be honest with your girlfriend. She deserves to be in a relationship with who loves, respects, and values her for who she is. Your actions say that you are not that man.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.