Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Fat is a Feminine Issue

'She's leaving me.'

'Sorry?' I pressed the mobile to my ear to try to decipher his tremulous voice above the crackle.

'My wife. She's leaving me.' It was hard to know what to say. She had left him once before, I remembered, but he had persuaded her to see the error of her ways and come back to their home and their four boys. I had always thought that, since that blip, they had a very good marriage.

'She says I'm too fat and, of course, she's right. She says she doesn't find me attractive any more.' I could certainly empathise with that. Despite my appeals to his vanity, my own spouse had ignored my pleas for his health and told me my comments were unwelcome and insulting.

'I've started jogging. Just a short way this morning but I'm determined to at least try. I want her to stay. If I can lose a couple of stone over the next few months, perhaps she'll change her mind and see how much I love her. She means the world to me. She's been my life for the last twenty years. Her and the boys.' Hearing such a tough man articulate his feelings made me quite tearful. Of course I would try to help him as best I could. I tried to explain how this time in a woman's life throws up so many hormonal problems that make her act in a way that is completely out of kilter with her previously stable behaviour.

I couldn't help wondering if the father of my children was speaking of me in such glowing terms, since we were in the same situation... but I knew in my heart that it would not be the case.

I felt sad for my friend but it was difficult to separate my own problems from those of his wife. My friend's language was very oppressive, I could certainly appreciate how she must have felt in response to some of his statements. There was too much allowing and letting and permitting in terms of her life. Mostly done with the best and kindest of motives but the words were very much at odds with how an independent woman would like to be treated. It was not his fault as his vocabulary was not always his strongest suit but his determined nature must have stacked against him in her eyes. Made her feel a prisoner, trapped in the honeyed nest he had built for her and within which he tried his best to nurture her. I hope they can sort out their differences but I fear the task may have become insurmountable as it is unlikely that she will face head-on what is actually causing their problems.

Isn't it bizarre that so many women would rather cite their partner's obesity as the reason for their unhappiness than the reality which is their misogynistic attitude? Whereas men are much more likely to focus upon lack of sexual relations without addressing the psychological explanation behind that physical manifestation.

Sometimes not looking after yourself is a major factor in the breakdown of a relationship and the advent of an affair. It's fine if you both decide to grow old and fat together but if one looks after themself and stays healthy, fit and trim, they might well feel aggrieved that the other has not shown the same respect and just let things go. A lot of men actually like cuddly women but, in that case, they do tend to marry them...

Many men and women can overlook a few extra pounds here and there as it gives them more to hang on to but when the person you fell in love with completely loses their face, as well as their waistline, it can become an irreconcilable difference - especially if there are other unspoken issues to compound it.


Loving Annie said...

Exactly. The unspoken issues are just as crucial as the self-respect in taking good care of yourself...

Anonymous said...

I too was very very unhappy for many years... did not know it, of course, until i was very obese and unhappy inside. No one who knew me could see the total unhappiness (unless it was close family - mom kids dad).. so now, I have left him and still have some issues with my body (read obese) but it is hard. Isn't it strange how we take it out on ourselves... the hurt that others inflict? now to figure out how to totally heal ME. thanks for your blog. You make me think. xo

having my cake said...

Annie - Retaining honesty and communication are key.

Lynn - It's interesting to think about it that way. That sometimes people put in weight because they are unhappy in the relationship rather than because they are comfortable. Take as long as you need to learn how to heal yourself. See a counsellor if you need to - that has certainly worked for me x