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Weight isn’t the real issue at play here
First Published Jun 21 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jun 21 2014 01:01 am

Dear Carolyn • My girlfriend is overweight — more so since we started dating — and I’m becoming less attracted to her. I’m hesitant to discuss this with her because I don’t want to project my own insecurities or expectations on her. I used to be overweight but slimmed down because I don’t want to suffer the health problems that run in my family. She also seems to be insecure about her appearance, and I don’t want to aggravate that insecurity. She doesn’t like talking about emotional stuff, particularly about herself, so what should I do?

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Dear Losing Attraction • Not talking "about emotional stuff" is arguably a more fixed part of her than her weight (though weight is tougher to change than we tend to think, research suggests). If you want to be with someone you can approach with whatever’s on your mind, then she’s not the girl for you, physique notwithstanding. This allows me to dodge the weight question, but I won’t. Used to be I was annoyed by people who saw weight as a deal-breaker. How shallow, I’d think. Now I see weight as a red herring; it’s really about love. If your attachment to your girlfriend is so sensitive to appearances, then I don’t like its chances even if she takes a turn for the thin. If you loved her as a person, then you might dislike the extra weight, but you wouldn’t eye the door over it. Now, unlovable habits are something else. There are definitely some love-killing behaviors that also strain waistbands — but that, too, is more about the person inside than out.

Re: Weight • You once answered a letter (link: http://wapo.st/1qX02oG) from a guy whose girlfriend gained significant weight after they’d gotten engaged, and you felt it was underhanded to wait until she had a ring and then let herself go. Today’s answer seems like the opposite of that, or am I missing something?

Dear Anonymous • You’re missing, I suspect, that the column you cite primarily addresses the fianceé’s behavior.

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




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