Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
You don’t get to set someone else’s goals
First Published Apr 03 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Apr 03 2014 01:01 am

Dear Carolyn • As a man with an overweight girlfriend, I feel a bit demonized by this column (http://wapo.st/1jbbY1P) and advice. Me, I’m small and healthy. I saw her pictures online and knew she had some weight on her, but she was appealing enough. She admitted since those pictures were taken, she added 30 pounds from a stressful divorce. Am I also a heartless superficial slob to want her to lose the 30 pounds she recently gained? I agree if one partner is too demanding of a certain image/appearance or other attribute, then maybe the couple should split. But isn’t there room for compromise, and having some mutual health and appearance goals?

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Dear Skinny Boyfriend • No. You don’t get to have goals for other adults, not "health and appearance" goals, not any other kind of goals. You just don’t. You can, of course, want someone to lose 30 pounds without being a heartless superficial slob. You can find those pounds unattractive. You can find them indicative of something else that worries you — of a stress-eating problem, of a known but unaddressed health condition, of an annoying habit of bemoaning the weight and using pre-weight-gain photographs without actually changing any habits toward losing weight. You can break up with (or just not go out with) someone over any of these things. But you cannot stay with someone while wishing — privately or openly — that she would improve upon the version of herself she presented to you when you met, not without crossing the line between positioning yourself as an equal and assuming the role of mentor, coach, renovator — as in, superior. Occasionally in a healthy, power-balanced relationship, two people will want something different from each other, sure. But they have to approach it as equal partners, meaning basic respect for boundary lines: My feelings about you are my business, but your body and choices are yours. By the way — "small and healthy"? Watch how you demonize extra weight; it’s a far more complex business than that.

Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.