No sex appeal
We are a married couple of 18 years with two kids, in the midst of a dilemma. I am completely turned off by my husband. He has let himself go.
When we first met, he was a big man, wearing a 1X and he was clean and appearance mattered to him. Now he's into a 4x going into a 5X and he's a slob. He no longer cares about attracting me. The thought of having sex with him makes me sick. We have had no relations now for over two months. I don't care if I ever kiss him again. He's like a sloppy roommate I could do without.
How do I get this man to understand that if he wants to attract me, he has to be attractive? I haven't let myself go and I believe it's important to maintain some self-respect in order to have others respect you. What am I supposed to say to him that will make him look at himself and the mess we're in?
I can understand that physical appearance is important to you. One's physical appearance reflects one's attitude towards self. While we all change in physical appearance as we age, a drastic weight gain oftentimes represents inner emotional and psychological conflict. In other words, it might be that your husband's weight gain can be attributed to emotional conflicts contributing to his overeating. Or, it could be that there is a physical reason, such as a thyroid problem, which has caused the weight gain.
I gathered from the tone of your statements regarding your husband's weight gain that you blame him for gaining weight. I would like to ask you a question, Elle. Do you feel personally offended that your husband is overweight? Or, do you feel that he has "let himself go," with no regard for his intimate relationship with you?
Elle, I would encourage you to have a talk with your husband. You might want to suggest that he has a complete physical, first, to rule out any possible physical reason for the weight gain. There are many conditions which can cause rapid weight gain. You might explore your husband's feelings regarding his weight gain, and the negative manner in which it is affecting your intimacy.
At the very least, I would ask you if anything in your husband's job, personal life, or the marriage relationship might have contributed directly to his weight gain. Please note, here, that I am not relieving your husband of responsibility for his physical fitness if it is indeed affected by any of the above circumstances (other than a physical condition). But, I would encourage you to evaluate your husband's sense of self-esteem. Does he feel good about himself? Are there any outside circumstances which might be causing him to be experiencing a depression?
The bottom line is...communication in a marriage is vital to his health. You may want to follow my suggestions and explore any possible reasons which might be responsible for his weight gain. If he feels you are willing to work with him to help him lose the weight, it might give him the emotional support to regain his former physique. If I can be of further help to you or your husband in the way of counseling, don't hesitate to contact me. I hope I have given you some information that will help.
Diana DeLaney-Finch, PhD
This question was answered by Diana DeLaney-Finch. Diana DeLaney-Finch has a PhD and is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Seattle, Washington. She has counseling experience in Europe, the Middle East and North America and is aware of various cultural values and beliefs. Her counseling approach uses Jungian psychology (dream interpretation), and Cognitive-Behavioral therapy. For more information visit: http://www.counselingweb.com/