SL Letter of the Day: Just The Way You Are

Comments

1
Damn good advice. Except my response would be more along the lines of, tell him to suck your dick and start learning to like your healthy self, then in two months things will be back to normal, Guaranteed.
2
Why do you deliberately ignore statements like "85 lbs in four years" and "I've finally been able to follow through with long term healthy eating and excercise"? You belittle BARAAHP's admirable changes in diet and lifestyle in your condescending answer. Shame on you.

Short answer: DTMFA. You admit that you're happier without the weight, and it sounds like this guy is just another few pounds to shed on your way to a healthier life. Good luck.
3
@2 is correct. DTMFA.
4
@2 I believe Dan was trying to be sarcastic, and point out some of the major problems in the size-acceptance movement. His second paragraph is clearly praising her life style changes, rather than her yo-yo dieting.
5
@2: Dan is responding to his critics in the "weight acceptance movement". So Dan was making fun of these folks, using her as a counter-example really, not the questioner.
6
@ 2 That was Dan's swipe at "the leading lights of the size-acceptance movement" and was only tangentially related to what was actually written.
7
Dump him. If he likes chubby chicks, there's certainly no shortage of them out there.
8
@1's right. He might be able to expand his horizons if you make it clear he has to or else. If he loves you for more than the nookie he'll make the effort, and then you'll see.

But to dump him now assumes he couldn't if he tried if he had to, which seems like a lot of "what if" to leave behind.
9
"If it's on the internet" evidently is unaware of Dan's longstanding feud with folks who insist that obesity is neither unhealthy nor avoidable. Dan's being sarcastic.
10
@ #2: Why do you deliberately ignore the sarcasm in statements like "according to the leading lights of the size-acceptance movement, there's no way you can keep keep the weight off permanently." You belittle Dan's admirable response by not recognizing that "according to the leading lights of the size-acceptance movement" is a signal that the opinion following that phrase is not Dan's own. Shame on you.
11
@2, condensing? belittling? Did we read the same response?

Dan's advice was good. If the changes she made are lifestyle changes and are likely to be permanent, then she needs to find someone who is attracted to her the way she is. But if she is only maintaining the work through calorie counting and forcing herself to excercise, the odds are that she'll drop off the bandwagon sooner or later.

And frankly, if her boyfriend had been honest in the beginning and said "I like big girls" instead of not being man enough to admit it, there wouldn't be a problem now, would there? Either she would have not lost he weight, or she would have broken things off when it became apparent she wouldn't be a big girl any more.
12
BARAAHP, hold on to your health and dumb this guy! He'll only encourage you to slip out of your new body. I know, you love him and it's hard to let go. But there's someone much better for you out there. You said it yourself how good your body feels now, why would you want to lose that?

You were beautiful when he met you and you are beautiful now. But now you *feel* it. Don't give that up, you'll regret it if you do.
13
@ #2: Why do you deliberately ignore the sarcasm in statements like "according to the leading lights of the size-acceptance movement, there's no way you can keep keep the weight off permanently." You belittle Dan's admirable response by not recognizing that "according to the leading lights of the size-acceptance movement" is a signal that the opinion following that phrase is not Dan's own. Shame on you.
14
@2 - Dan's ENTIRE first paragraph was sarcastic, genius. Also, this guy is a real shithead. As in, I've read most of the letters Dan has posted here, and I've never thought someone sounded more like a shithead than this guy. Perhaps he has issues with the thought of anyone besides him finding you attractive, BARAAHP, or maybe he really does only find big girls attractive, but either way the fact that you were even able to accomplish this proves you are WAAAAAAY better than this shithead. You don't need this guy.
15
If you're a chubby chaser and completely inflexible in that requirement for a partner, then for fuck's sake, find a partner who is comfortable with their size. There are plenty of people who are comfortable being heavier, at least to the extent they're not going to make any serious effort to lose a large amount of weight. This guy knew from day one of the relationship that she viewed her weight negatively and wanted it gone. Now he's all butthurt because she actually followed through with what she set out to do since before they were even together? Sounds like he didn't have a very high opinion of her in the first place. DTMFA.
16
DTMFA! Yikes!
17
Way to go, strong & healthy woman! You deserve a man who appreciates you, and wants to be intimate with you and your new body! If this guy insists on being so selfish, find a better guy who wants to be with you (not your fat).
18
Um, yeah, this asshole opens his mouth after four years of you making serious changes in your lifestyle to drop the extra weight? WTF? I want to say DTMFA purely on the basis of him not being able to communicate to you re: issues about sexuality and attraction.
19
Hand him over to me! Sounds like an asshole who likes fat chicks, aka my type.
20
@2 - Dan didn't belittle her efforts, I don't think - I think it was more a swat at the fat acceptance movements attempts to make weight loss seem hopeless (I swear, I feel the same way about them that I do about the NRA). But yeah, I agree - DTMFA. He needed to bring up his preference for plus-sized women explicitly and right from the beginning. I think what's more significant is that he underestimated her strengths so drastically.
21
It could (please note the italics) be more than just being his "type." Whether he's aware of them or not, your boyfriend might have some control issues. Being bigger didn't make you undesirable, but it without a doubt it affected your self-esteem, and how you (and your boyfriend) might have perceived your station in life.

It's hard not to spout off any college freshman cliches here, so at the risk of being offensive instead—he might have liked pounding away on a chubby chick he didn't think was going to anywhere, now he's got a fit, newly-empowered woman in his bed. He might miss some of the meat, but anxiety and boners don't mix, and he might just be afraid of dealing with the "new you."

OR...

Rubens could just be his guy. Y'all need to have a real conversation about it soon. He needs to get over it, because you have a long and healthy life ahead of you, with or without him.
22
"People come in all different shapes and sizes, and some people are naturally large/larger and perfectly healthy, and lots of bigger people are attractive (and lots of skinny people are repulsive)."
-Dan Savage, leading light of the fat acceptance movement
23
Oh, BARAAHP, honey...

Most men will tell the women they love they're beautiful, no matter the body-type. Most overweight women will never believe it. Why? Because of the child-programming, beauty industry, barbie-ism blah blah blah.

Why did you bf never tell you that he was _only_ attracted to fleshier women? Because most guys know that when they're telling their gfs they're beautiful, the gfs don't believe it. What else are you going to say? "Honey, you're ugly?" It's a white-lie vicious circle, but there you are.

So you're w/ one of those guys who told you you were beautiful & actually meant it. Like most women, you didn't believe him, but there you are. I wouldn't call you stupid over that. Or at all. It may be that an extra 15 pounds might do the trick. Women who retain a little baby-fat in their faces are much prettier than the anorexic looking hollywood starlets that have exquisitely shaped bodies. I wouldn't dump him, there is more than likely a common ground that you both can live with. A higher sex-driven female is a plus for any guy, no matter his tastes.
24
@4, 5, etc: Yes, you're right. Dan Savage does a GREAT job abusing someone else's longstanding weight issues to make an entirely irrelevant--and incorrect--jab at "size apologists." (See? I get sarcasm, too!)

Fighting fat-phobia and promoting healthy living are not mutually exclusive concepts, but Savage invents that idea to get his rocks off here. Again, just another example of Savage using other people's issues to put the focus on himself. Sorry, BARAAHP. Looks like most of us agree about DTMFA, at least.
25
Here's the thing with "I'm only attracted to ____," at least in my experience:

Love makes you attracted to someone.

I mean, yeah, there are exceptions. If my husband suddenly sprouted a bulbous mass on his face I might have a hard time looking past that. But I have dated across the spectrum of men - blonde, brunette, bald, skinny, obese, everybody says he's gorgeous, nobody says anything (which means he's notsomuch) - and as long as I love their personality, I've always found something about them that draws me in and makes them attractive to me. I might not have looked twice if I saw them on the street and didn't know them, but once I loved them, they were gorgeous.

If he really CAN'T be attracted to a more slender you, then IMO it is one of two things: (1) He doesn't really love you that much; or (2) it's a fetish. And I'm sorry, but for me, I couldn't sacrifice health and happiness to be the object of somebody's fetish. If their fetish happens to go along with what I am or what I'm into, then bully for us both...but gaining back 85 pounds solely for the sake of catering to his fetish? No thank you.
26
Big or small, you need someone who respects you and what body and lifestyle you feel healthiest in. DTMFA if he can't handle that.
27
I think he was being honest about liking you big. He hasn't changed. You have.
If you like the changes you've made, and I'm sure you do, ask him if he wants to break up. Just communicate and negotiate. Maybe you've lost too much weight and could use a couple extra pounds to make him happy.
28
hernandez nails it again as usual - you are one of my favorite commenters! ;-)

oh and yeah, dan nailed it again as usual too
29
@25, beautifully put! Ain't love grand.
30
@20 The "Fat Acceptance Movement" does not tell fat people that losing weight is hopeless. They try to help fat people gain self esteem even if they can't lose weight. There's a huge fucking difference.

As far as this guy is concerned, I have a feeling that he gets off on the power trip that comes with the power imbalance of dating fat chicks with low self esteem. There's really no other explanation for why he would stay quiet for four years until she lost the weight and gained some self confidence.
31
free that sexy in-shape man up so some other overweight woman can get her hands on him. there has been & will be some pain right now, but this sounds like 2 happy stories to me. some other overweight woman is going to get to enjoy some quality man-meat, and you w/ your new body should find your options have expanded dramatically. enjoy!!
32
The things I've read out of the FA movement usually point out that statistically, the overwhelming majority of people who lose that much weight do not keep it off for >5 years. So really it's way too soon to tell, the writer should in fairness check back in 5 years after she's reached her goal weight. But I don't think anyone's said it's impossible, just rare.

I think, though, people are coming down on this guy pretty hard. Yeah, he should've communicated better. But given the sympathy generally shown for people who aren't into a partner who's *gained* a significant amount of weight, I'm surprised by the antipathy. Sometimes people like what they like, and if that doesn't meet our magazine touchup idea of what's attractive, that doesn't make them wrong for wanting it. I'm surprised people aren't more honest to each other about this stuff, though. I'm lucky to have a husband I can drag out (or who'll drag me out) running when needed to keep the magic alive.
33

So sorry, BARAAHP. It always hurts to find out that your LTR finds you less attractive. Especially, as you acknowledge his active lifestyle was part of the inspiration that helped you. If he is truly into the very curvy, then you have problem. You're going to have to talk to him about it.

Here's wishing you a partner that adores you hot and sweaty from the gym. Keep your chin up, dear.
34
BARAAHP, go get Joan Rivers' book, "Men are stupid and they like big boobs."
35
I think your gay is showing, Dan. The last thing any straight man in a relationship wants to do is let his girlfriend think that he likes her for her body type that she's not a fan of. If you tell most women "(A) you're really fat and (B) fat makes me hard", the response will not be "(B) makes (A) better", it will be "(A) makes me sad, the end." This isn't a DTMFA, it's a "you changed your life and left your boyfriend behind, acknowledge it and move on."
36
Yes, agree with gember. If BARAAHP had been her current weight when she started dating her guy and then gained 85 lbs, I'm pretty sure everyone else would understand why he was less attracted to her. I'm also annoyed at all the commenters who assume that BARAAHP's guy is a power-tripping asshole _because_ he likes larger women. People like what they like.
37
OK so the guy is not an absolute douche for only feeling attractive to big girls and not neccesarily revealing it at first. However he IS a grade-A asshole if he actually suggested she sould ruind her health just to get his dick hard for her again.

Even if he had been very gentle about it and not suggested she give up on all that hard work and newfound health for him, I would still classify this as "irreconcilable differences". Tragically, your health and his attraction are mutually exclusive, and your health is more important.

However his selfish suggestion that given a choice between being healthy and being attractive to him you should opt to fuck up your health reveals he has personality flaws that are likely to come up outside the bedroom too.

DTMFA
38
dang, @25 really nailed it.
39
what does DTMFA mean? I know it means dump him, but what are the actual words in the phrase?
40
A boyfriend that doesn't value your health is not worth having around. There are more men who will find you in your current physical shape as equally attractive as he did when you where overweight. Dump him BARAAHP, because you're are not 'stuck' in anything, he is, and that's his problem.
41
@25, I think you're being a bit too liberal with the term "fetish". This word is commonly used to describe more extreme preferences. Not being attracted to certain body types is not a fetish.

I'm not attracted to fat men. The tubbier, the lower my libido goes. It is unbelievably frustrating because some guys are charming, kind, funny, the whole nine yards, but I simply cannot feel any attraction to them. Does that mean I have a fetish?

Because if it does I think we're going to have to ramp up the number of fetishists in the world rather drastically.
42
@39 - Dump the mother fucker already
43
@39

DTMFA = Dump The MotherFucker Already
44
haha. beatcha ; )
45
Just one more person chiming in that your (soon to be ex) boyfriend is not meant for you. Absolutely DO NOT gain back even an ounce for him. You are the person you absolutely must please, and if being healthier makes you feel better, that is a total win. Cling to that and if he sees more clearly after you dump him, then it could work out. If not, you'll have sent him out to find a chunkier woman. There are plenty of us out there.
46
@41 - No, it just means you value physical attractiveness more than the sum of all the other characteristics you mentioned. Typically this is referred to as being shallow.
47
@37

For the last time, less weight does NOT automatically equal "healthy." Unfortunately, the letter writer didn't include her height, general body makeup, or the weight she was before... If she originally weighed 175 at 5'8", and lost 85 pounds, that's an incredibly drastic change, and NOT all that healthy.

I'm personally very annoyed at people on this board who think the guy is somehow a creep. If she had gained weight, and he had told her she was less attractive, posters on this board would have been behind the boyfriend. But society (and looks like Dan Savage as well) cling to this idea that weight loss is ALWAYS better, that is ALWAYS makes people healthier, and that anyone carrying around some extra pounds must be a lard ass loser.
48
@25:
Love makes you attracted to someone.


Uh, nice one. Do try to explain that one with why straight folk only are attracted to other straight folk, gay folk to other gay folk, and so on? If it were love that makes people attracted to one another, then Dan could be straight, Loveschild could be a beastie, and David Hasselhoff could be only interested in leathermen.

No. Attraction — sexual, emotional, spiritual, whatever — makes you attracted to someone. You get a match when the attraction runs in both directions.

With this guy, DTMA (dump the man . . . ) and save him any more grief. Then get on with your life and find another mutual attraction. While it's unfortunate his attraction to you was formed based on the physical embodiment of the person he met four years ago, people are well known to get cold feet when their partner's body evolves. It's not that they're necessarily a douche-canoe. It's that the terms of what they knew are now null and voided. This is why you see — heh — middle-aged wives divorcing their middle-aged husbands who come out as transgenders and claim to suddenly be women.

Terms changed, end relationship. Move on.
49
@46 well fuck you too, thanks so very much. Here's a newflash, I am INCAPABLE of said attraction. Its not a choice I make. I would love nothing better than to feel attracted to such men but I simply can't. If that makes me shallow then it's an entirely involuntary shallowness, and ordinarily we don't associate being shallow as being involuntary.

Though I suppose I could be wrong. I mean, there aren't any people who you simply could not feel pysically attracted to, are there? I
50
@25 You are a woman and he is a man. The two sexes have fairly distinct attraction methods. It may be a stereotype but there is a lot of neurological science that shows that men are considerably more visually oriented in their attraction to their partners. This is gay straight or anything in between. Men can love a woman and not be attracted to her in the slightest bit. This can happen with women too but you cant relate your experience with his so directly. Also this is not just my opinion, there is hard science behind this to back up these claims.

FWIW I think women are lucky in this regard that they can be attracted to their ideal mate through love whereas some guys will be attracted to unhealthy body types just like this guy is.
51
@47, I understand that thin is not neccesarily equal to healthy, but BARAAHP gave some indications beyond mere weight. She said she was 100 lbs overweight. She could be wrong about that of course, but I take her at her word. More importantly she says she feels better and her sexual drive has gone up, which indicates she is healthier than before.

Two things are important; that she be healthy and that she be comfortable with her body. Her health should be her first priority, whatever weight that actually means. Her indication is that she has become healthier and that bf wants to take her back to an unhealthy place for his sexual pleasure. Its quite besides the point what direction that is, if she were an anorexic finally up to a decent weight and he were a guy attracted to emaciated girls (they are out there) the same would apply.
52
>He needed to say, "Don't lose the weight—I'm only attracted to big girls!", and not, "Oh, honey, I love you just the way you are."

And the fact that he didn't say this, combined with the fact that he's "a heathy eater and a muscle-bound fitness nut" raises some really dark clouds about what kind of power and control issues he's really into.

A man likes what he likes. But a man who likes big girls because they typically come with shitty self-images and low willpower is a man achin' for a good case of DTMFA.
53
Am I remembering this incorrectly, or in past situations where people gained weight and their partner didn't like it, was Dan's response something along the lines of people having a certain level of responsibility to maintain the body and physical appearance their partner was initially interested in? By those standards, I don't know why this would be any different.

That said, if she's happy at this size and her boyfriend really can't deal, she should obviously break things off. I just don't see why this guy is an "undermining" dick and the weight gainers' partners aren't, or why someone who has gained weight and is happy at that size shouldn't break things off with a partner who's "only attracted to thin girls/guys" and should instead lose the weight.
54
DTMFA. Seriously. Find a guy that WILL support your activities. I know this one. I mean I KNOW this one. Because my guy supported me all through my marathon training. Swear to GOD, I would not have been able to do it if it hadn't been for his support, his encouragement-and I dropped 6 sizes doing it all. There are so many better fish out there than this one. Take your lovely new body and find a guy that is worthy of you. Four years-not a lifetime. Just mark it as another life lesson learned and move on. Because this fish ain't worth your fry. Toss him back in the ocean and swim away! Swim away fast!
55
@46 - I guess what I disagree with is the notion that there has to be some baseline level of physical attraction to form the basis of a relationship. If you talk to a couple who've been together for, say 20 yrs (it's an arbitrary number), obviously they don't look as young and attractive as they did 20 yrs ago. Clearly the physical attraction isn't what carries that relationship.

Its not just you that thinks this, obviously. I hear a lot of people say "Well, there has to be SOME physical attraction," as a reason for rejecting someone they didn't find attractive right off the bat. From what you've said, it sounds like you've met some really nice guys who you've rejected just because you weren't physically attracted to them, and I wonder then exactly what you would consider your priories to be? You said that "charming, kind, funny, the whole nine yards" isn't enough by itself without the physical component. How else do you interpret that besides saying that, ultimately, the physical component isn't what you value above all of that?
56
OOps...last comment was meant to be pointed at @49
57
Quoth 46:
No, it just means you value physical attractiveness more than the sum of all the other characteristics you mentioned. Typically this is referred to as being shallow.

If I refuse to date smokers, does that mean that I consider non-smoking to be more important than all the other qualities I look for in a mate? But wait! I also refuse to date heavy drug users. So under your theory, I simultaneously consider "non-smoking" and "non-druggie" to be the most important characteristic in a partner.

Your math sucks.

Most people evaluate romantic prospects on a variety of dimensions: intelligence, kindness, physical appearance, ambition, etc. And many of us have certain minimum requirements on all of those dimensions before we consider someone. She may be a Nobel Prize winning scientist, but if she's a complete ass I won't even think about it. Similarly, she could be built like a goddess, but if she's illiterate I won't date her. Now an above-average-looking girl who's decently smart and has a good sense of humor? Yeah, I'd think about it.

You may consider enforcing certain minimum requirements "shallow." I have a better phrase for it: "having standards."
58
there is no neat solution to this one. if she keeps her weight where she wants it he won't find her attractive and it's over for him, whatever your ideals are about beauty and relationships. so then she will be dumped basically. if she gets big again she wont really be happy and that's no good either, even though she would indulgently have her man (for the time).

i understand his perspective, i am sexually immune to skinny girls, almost like they are guys. if my sexy curvy lady got skinny, well i may have a good friend but not a lover anymore. it happens. next
59
While that whole I Love You Just the Way You Are bullshit makes for a great Billy Joel song, you have to go with what makes you happy. Since you feel better at the new weight, keep the weight off and dump the boyfriend.
60
@57 said: You may consider enforcing certain minimum requirements "shallow." I have a better phrase for it: "having standards."

I was trying to formulate a response to @46. But your last line was so perfect I will just leave it at that.
61
Not MOST important, MORE important. You quoted it, so you should read it. While only one thing can be "MOST important," "MORE important" is typically used to describe an ordered, non-exclusive relationship. Go back and take Logic 101 again.

You want to "have standards," that's great. Eliminate drug users, smokers, people who don't want kids, etc. The problem is that if you're cutting off perfectly decent people who are otherwise great (her admission) for you because she's not attracted to "fat men", there's something fucked up about that.

If the quality of your relationship is based on the attractiveness of your mate, then clearly your relationship is going to go down over time.
62
@56:

I think you might be reading too much into what #49 said regarding physical attraction. As I read it, the commenter has needs beyond somebody that his kind, funny or interesting that were not met by some of the fat men described. In other words, physical attraction is a necessary but not sufficient condition in selecting a partner. That seems like a very mild and obvious expectation; calling it "shallow" is, as Dan might put it, leotarded.
63
Sorry 61, but that's bullshit.

Sexual attraction is incredibly important to a healthy relationship, and everyone has their own, often radically varied sexual preferences. There's nothing wrong with that.
64
@61: Do I really need to spoonfeed you this? Fine:

Suppose she's met plenty of hot, nice, down-to-earth guys who were dumb as posts (think Forrest Gump), and she just couldn't get attracted to them either. Would that mean that intelligence was "more important" to her than physical attractiveness, kindness, etc.? But she's also met some smart, nice, down-to-earth guys who were obese, and she wasn't able to be attracted to them either. So disqualifying a would-be suitor due to one basis does not mean that you value that basis more than any other. It just means that the suitor did not meet your criteria.

Do you see the error in your Logic yet? No? How about this: people have a number of deal-breakers, and failing to meet any of those deal-breakers results in no date. Which deal-breaker is more important than the others?

"Shallowness" means that physicality is the only attribute one considers: a shallow person will date a mean, stupid model just because she's a model. That's not what's going on here.

As for this:
The problem is that if you're cutting off perfectly decent people who are otherwise great (her admission) for you because she's not attracted to "fat men", there's something fucked up about that.

Assuming you're straight, Collin, then you're cutting off perfectly decent people who are otherwise great because you're not attracted to "men." Is there anything fucked up about that? Or are some people just wired to be uninterested in a subset of the population?
65
@63 - Judging people solely by their physical appearance is pretty fucked up. I've never seen a happy, sexually satisfied relationship rest on the weight of a partner, their cup size, how big their nose is, etc. I would never look at a woman i was interested in and make a snap decision about whether I was interested in her or not; I would show her enough respect to get to know her and find out who she was. "No Fat Chicks" is simply not an acceptable motto anywhere but a frat house.

Let me give another example: If someone says, "I have standards. I won't date someone I dont feel an immediate physical attraction to. That's why I wont date black people." That would be a pretty fucked up thing to say. Why is someone's cup size, waistline, or other physical characteristic any different?
66
There's nothing wrong with being attracted to larger women. But if you are attracted to larger women, you should go for women who are *comfortable in their size.* Going after a bigger girl with low self-esteem? That strikes me as somewhat suspect. And it can't be that he didn't know - he's been watching her diet for four years. The self-esteem issue and the dieting, more than the weight itself, makes me think that BARAAHP's boyfriend is a control freak, rather than just another boy with a harmless attraction to larger women.

And honestly, if the boyfriend had written into Dan, saying that his once-attractive BBW girlfriend had lost almost 100 pounds and patently refused to put the weight back on, Dan would have told him that if the sexual attraction is gone, he should shoot the relationship and put it out of its misery.
67
@65: Oh boy, here comes the race card. That's a "pretty fucked up" thing to say because you've attached race to it and phrased it in a derogatory manner. Nice straw man.

But how is not being attracted to people of a certain race fucked up? I find light complexions and Caucasoid facial features to be more attractive, so I only date white people. I don't dislike black people at all, I just don't particularly want to have sex with them. Same for women, overweight guys, steroid-addled body builders, smokers and republicans.

Why are you so insistent that people have relationships with people they have no physical attraction to? Why are you drawing non-existent connections between non-attraction and being some kind of awful shallow diva? However much I might like someone for their other qualities, I just can't make myself be physically attracted to someone I'm not physically attracted to. Emotional attractions without physical attractions are what friendships are for. Refusing to date people you hold no physical attraction to doesn't mean you "judge people solely by their physical appearance"; I don't date people I'm not emotionally attracted to, either, because you can't make a relationship without both.
68
@67: There's a difference between dating people who you have no attraction to and dating people who you have no immediate attraction to. It's the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" bit.
69
if i were perfectly enlightened of course i would not even see someone's color, height, weight, age, level of ability, etc....
but then, i'm pretty sure, i would probably be a monk of some sort, seeking freedom from physical desire rather than the pleasures of the flesh.
70
The commenters on this thread seem to believe that any man who dates an overweight woman with a desire to lose weight is a control-freak asshole. Which would make pretty much 60-70% of men control freak assholes.

Other commenters seem to think that because she was 100 lbs overweight and he was fit, then he must be some controlling asshole who gets off on having a girlfriend with low self esteem. This is incredibly patronizing to the woman, and is rife with assumptions.

Usually Dan's advice is that if you represented yourself at the outset of the relationship as being one way (into freaky sex, ok with non-monogamy, thin) it is not ok to suddenly change a few years into the relationship and expect your partner to just swallow it. I don't know why this advice suddenly changes when the quality we are talking about is weight loss.

Yes, maybe she needs to dump the guy if she truly believes they can't work it out and she truly believes she can keep the weight off. But there is no reason why the man is the only bad guy in this situation. He seems to only be attracted to heavy women. Unlike most of the assholes in this world, he actually went out and had a relationship with a heavy woman instead of dating a thin woman in an attempt to look normal.
71
@65 The problem with your statements is the "I have standards, therefore I won't date X." You see, the statement itself implies that in order to date X, you must not have standards. To use one of the previous examples that you deemed as acceptable, I would NEVER state, "Oh, I have standards, so I won't date smokers," even though I won't date smokers. Such a statement is beyond stupid. I would never assert that those who date smokers do not have standards. The fact that I won't date smokers isn't because smokers are somehow unworthy of my vaulted affection, but rather a statement about who I find attractive.

Now, if a person says, "There's nothing wrong with being X, but I am not sexually attracted to people who are X, so I'm not going to date them," this may be unfortunate, but it is not the same as the statement about standards. Instead, it is a statement about myself. For example, let's use your example and say that I'm not attracted to black people (not true, but we'll use it). Now, this would certainly be unfortunate (for me), but I am not such an impressive figure that the black community will lose something if I opt out of dating them. However, black men are very much at risk of losing time, money, and energy if I decide to date them so that I won't be perceived as a racist. Like it or not, attraction isn't dictated by political correctness. If you or I are not attracted to perfectly good people because of certain physical characteristics, then we're just going to miss out on all those good people.
72
Seriously, Colin @63? You're still beating that drum? Let me make this clear: I'M NOT GOING TO FUCK PEOPLE WITH BODIES I DON'T FIND ATTRACTIVE. I will adhere to this whether the bodies I find unattractive are black, redheaded, fat, curly-haired, or whatever other arbitrary physical characteristics that happen to not ring my bell.

Let's put this another way: you think that people are somehow morally obliged to fuck people who they don't find physically attractive - that they are inferior people if they don't. It's not my duty to give such people a chance to fuck me. They have rights to neither my romantic attention nor my genitalia. And fuck _you_ if you can't deal with that.
73
@70 According to the writer of the letter, the man was well aware that she was trying to lose weight. To use one of your examples, if you say that you are into non-monogamy and then change your mind 5 years down the line, that is indeed more than you can reasonably expect your partner to simply swallow. However, if you say you are into non-monogamy but are making active efforts to be monogamous, or that you expect after 5 years to become monogamous, then your partner doesn't have a similar right to be outraged when you actually follow through. The fact that they didn't think you would follow through is not your fault.

Simply, it was not cool for this guy to 1) be interested in this girl in part because she was big and 2) know she was trying NOT to be big 3) but not tell her because he didn't think she'll follow through.
74
Re: fetishes - Who said a fetish has to be something out-of-the-ordinary? A fetish is, IMHO, something that almost always MUST be present for sexual arousal to occur. In this guy's case, I'm using it to describe his potential requirement for obesity in his partner to obtain sexual arousal and/or interest.

Re: love = attraction - You're confusing romantic love with platonic love. Obviously, in order to even have a chance at romantic love, you have to have some level of attraction to the person/chemistry with the person, and that potential for attraction is dictated by sexual preference (amongst other things).

But we're not talking about two random people off the street, we're talking about two people who have been in a romantic relationship for four years. People who have built memories, experiences, and a life together (presumably including memories of hawt secks). People who obviously had the chemistry and attraction to be in a long-term relationship.

Eventually, in a long-term relationship like that, your attraction gets a lot deeper than the external (hopefully). And your appearance is going to change no matter WHAT you do, so if we were all completely bound by our superficial external attractions, we'd all be up lonely creek as far as long-term relationships are concerned.

I call bullshit that EVERYTHING he originally found attractive about her is gone now that she's 85 pounds lighter (gorgeous eyes? shimmery hair? a luscious pussy?) *and* that he hasn't, over the course of 4 years, developed romantic feelings for her that lead to sexual attraction that transcends appearance. Hence, my two possible conclusions.

Re: my skewed perspective because I'm female - Totally possible, and I have no way of knowing. =P
75
@30 - Maybe it's just me, but I've found there's a really defiant attitude in the messages promoted by the hardcore FA types that seems counterproductive - maybe I'm just seeing the media whores. But as someone who's 30 lbs overweight and pretty happy with how I look, I get exasperated with the almost militant insistence that fat and healthy can coexist for most people. I know lots of overweight people. A lot of them are ok with how they look. What they are dragged down by is the weight that keeps them from being as active as they like and the health problems that they face because of their weight. I think the concept of Fat Acceptance is actually vital - unhappy people are not going to make the changes necessary for their health. But everyone I know who is seriously overweight - even the ones who are happy with their appearance - is struggling with some weight-related health problem that affects their quality of life. Yes, there are people out there who are living their lives just fine being 100 pounds overweight or more, but I don't know any of them.
But I do agree that this guy probably felt very reassured by the fantasy that he was dating an insecure fat girl. How horribly shocked he must have been to realize her inner strength!
76
@72 One of the things that pains me a lot in life is the belief that being a certain kind of person can morally obligate people to be attracted to them. You know, the whole, "I/he/she is a good person, so I/he/she am OWED a romantic relationship with Person X." I've been saying for a long time that you can take two perfectly good people, put them together, and not have a good match. So I sympathize with you.

That being said, I'm biased. Over the course of my life, I've encountered a lot of people who will come up to me or one of my female friends and want to know what is wrong with some guy that we don't want to go out with him. It makes me unhappy. If either my friends or I don't want to date some guy, that doesn't mean anything is wrong with him. It means we don't want to date him. "He's not right for me" doesn't have to mean "he isn't good enough for me."
77
So Dan acts like he's on the woman's side, but blames the situation on women and their insecurities conditioning men to lie all the time. Whatever. Boyfriend never said anything over 4 years and he's making YOU feel stupid about all this? Something tells me he is the manipulative type here, trying to undermine your self-confidence now that you have some. If it weren't for that dynamic I might be more understanding, but that is what tips me off, that he's made you feel stupid.

Don't give in to his manipulations. You've felt wonderful ever since losing all the weight, and that should be your first instinct to follow.
78
@73- Fine, I'm with you. He should have told her he ONLY likes big girls.

Sucks for him, though. Ninety five out of a hundred times he would have been right about her not losing the weight and they could have lived happily ever after. I don't think he did something evil- he did something stupid by not telling her, and he's losing out in the long run.

What I disagree with strongly is that because he was dating a woman who was trying to lose weight (like many many women) he's a huge jerk. Somehow commenters seem to think he would have been less of a jerk if he had secretly been wishing for a thin woman all along. How fucked up is that?
79
"The problem is that if you're cutting off perfectly decent people who are otherwise great (her admission) for you because she's not attracted to "fat men", there's something fucked up about that."

Nope, those are people you call friends. You can't fuck a personality.
80
It's possible that he's now worried that she will be more attractive to other guys, and he'd rather not have to worry about competition.
81
@71:
I never said anything about standards in my post, and that was my first!

Regardless, I think the argument is less "people who date people I'm not attracted to have no standards" and more "different standards" and "don't impose your standards on me as if they're inherently superior".

@68:
But if I'm dating someone I have an attraction to, uh, there's no problem. It's not like I exclude fat people and all the other kinds of people I'm not "immediately" attracted to from my social life. I've never been attracted to a fat guy, immediately or otherwise. Unless you're suggesting that people date people they're not attracted to just in case a magical attraction might appear later on -- and in that case, I'm not seeing "honey, let's wait another month and see if I stop feeling disgusted when I think about touching you then" being any kinder.
82
@65, no one but you is bringing up the idea that it's the only important thing. But it is (and should be) and incredibly important thing. Not every person in the world wants to fuck every other person, and that's okay. Nobody has to be in a relationship with someone they don't want to fuck, and that's great. This suggestion that you should be in a relationship and have sex with someone you don't want to have sex with is horrifying.
83
@78--My opinion is that he's not DTMFA material just because he likes big girls. But the fact that he's a fitness nut into big girls who kept his mouth shut through a four-year mostly successful exercise/diet program in hopes she'd fail seems to suggest it's likely that he's into control.

A fitness nut who secretly hopes his sweetie fails to lose weight and keep it off sounds like he's not a guy who's into size just because he's into size. He sounds like a guy who's into things that go along with size: low self-esteem, weak will, humiliation, tears, helplessness, depression.

And in addition to what this says about him and how good he can be for anybody, he's not honest enough to say (and maybe not even know) that's what he wants.

If that's what he wants. Which it may not be.
84
It takes a long time to lose 85 pounds. And I know from personal experience that becoming fit is a life-changing experience- it's not something that a significant other can fail to notice. He had a lot of time to say something, and she's not a mind reader.

It's possible that she may be able to gain a small amount of weight back and he would be happy. Or he may be able to adjust, just as many people adjust to their partners' weight gain. But this will likely prove to be a long-term problem, especially since he himself is a fitness nut.
85
The boyfriend isn't attracted to fat women, he's attracted to being the "hot, fit" person in his relationships, with no competition to his girlfriend's affections. The boyfriend used to be the authority on fitness, now she's catching up (or maybe has surpassed him?) and catching the eyes of other people at their gym, and he's wondering if she'll go find someone else now that she *can* (in his eyes). This could be a control issue, but it's more likely an insecurity/jealousy one. People losing weight often find that their family and friends are less supportive once they start making real progress.

It's possible that the relationship can be saved with the help of a sex therapist. I doubt it, though. The guy sounds like a real asshole who up until now was able to disguise it.
86
I see it differently.

First, as a general rule most guys find overweight/obese women to be less attractive than women who weigh less. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but my guess is that the issue is not body weight at all.

Losing weight has changed the dynamic in the relationship. Perhaps the boyfriend feels threatened by your new lifestyle and longs for a return to the old power relations where the man had the upper hand. Or maybe he's using the weight loss as an excuse to belittle you or to get out of the relationship. Maybe he doesn't like something else about the relationship and is blaming the weight loss. There is something very destructive on his attitude toward you; it doesn't portend anything good.
87
@Collin (no number since there are several comments).

I discussed my issue with fat men exclusively, but that does not mean that all I care about is weight. I will readily admit that if all I looked for was looks that would make me shallow. It isn't. What IS true is that I have a really hard time feeling any kind of sexual attraction to someone overweight. You've never had a friend who you thought was awesome but simply could not see yourself with sexually?

Hey, some people apparently find sexual attraction exclusively through the "soul". Frankly, I envy you if that's the case, how cool would it be if we were attracted to people exclusively on the basis of their personalities? You have to understand that the vast majority of humanity isn't that way and that this is legitimate. Virtually everyone does a BALANCE of qualities they like and don't like and decides on that basis. And yes, phyiscal attributes are on that balance and for some of us, there are attributes that are dealbreakers. I could be with a man who was too thin, or a hairy man. For other folks, this could be a total turnoff, and that's fine as long as no one tries to put the blame on the prospective partners for the preferences we cannot change.

As for long term couples, I can't believe you are unaware that folks married for decades have a lot of things that keep them together besides physical attraction. Its one thing to not be with someone you cannot feel sexual attraction to, and quite another to leave your spouse after 30 years on that basis.

Also, what @68 said. I don't make snap judgements, and I'm certainly open to the possibility that someday a big man will come along and make me wild. Hell, I'm open to the possibility that some day a woman will come around that I'm attracted too, despite the fact I've been reliably straight all my life. Hasn't happened yet, but hey, you never now.
88
Leave Collin alone.

Displacement and projection rule his life. He does not feel attractive (his reasons are known to him alone) and so he feels the need to crusade on behalf of any/all non-attractive people out there.

You may be fat and ugly, you might not, it really doesn’t matter. We all have warts and scars – some that can be seen by the whole world, some just in our private garden – and it’s ok if/when someone doesn’t wanna bang you.

I’m ok, you’re ok, okay?

PS. Please stop telling other people what they need to do to comfort you and validate your feelings of being unwanted/unloved – acceptance from within always trumps acceptance from without.
89
@81 That's why I directed my statement at 65, who did talk about standards.
90
Thanks for all the comments everyone.
I never thought that my boyfriend was controlling. Also, I know that he felt pretty bad about bringing this up in the first place. He was very apologetic and hesitant when he talked to me. I think he's probably been thinking about this for a while and just hadn't worked up the nerve to say anything.
I do love him and I'm hoping that we can work it our but honestly I am not really willing to put the wight back on. I am still not really "thin" per se, nor do I want to be...it's just nice that my thighs dont chafe against each other when I walk, and I actually have the enrgy TO walk/hike/etc.
I guess it's not fair for me to expect him to change his preferences. I don't know how this will work out yet. We've been together for a long time so I know neither of us will want to just break up without trying to adjust first. I guess we'll have to talk. Soon.
Thanks again everyone.
91
What the fuck, people, you don't think it's a possibility that he might really love her and that he was trying to work it out/figure it out/see if he could deal? Or that, you know, it might just be hard to broach with someone that you love that you don't know how you feel about changes in their body and physical appearance? And need I remind that he did say, repeatedly, that he liked her just the way she was and she assumed he was lying?

Not, it must be that he's an abusive fetishist who's into humiliation.

For fuck's sake.

And Dan; the more I look at this situation vs. your advice in situations where I partner has gained weight, the more surprised I am by your response. Why is it okay for people to have a sexual preference for slender people and expect a partner to maintain the slender body type they had at the start of the relationship, but when someone has a different sexual preference and a partner doesn't maintain a different body type, it's DTMFA time? I'm not saying I disagree with this advice (or the other), but why the difference?
92
@91, the assumption (I think) is essentially that maintaining yourself slim and working out is not detrimental to your health, and therefore a partner asking you to engage in such activities is not unreasonable, whereas asking a partner to gain weight is riskier, particularly when, like this woman, the newly-slim partner is healthier as a result of weight loss.

I haven't seen Dan address such a letter yet, but I suspect that if he recieved a letter from someone who had been underweight due to an eating disorder and their partner asked them to go down, his advice would be the same.

Dan does equate thin with healthy probably a bit too much, but it remains true that being overweight, especially very overweight, generally puts your health at greater risk (so does being underweight, but this is far more unusual).
93
@91, generally a slender person doesn't say "honey, I am going to try really really hard to gain weight"

She set a goal, he knew it, and she was working toward it, and he didn't say "if you reach this goal I won't be as attracted to you" until it was too late.

The guys into thin girls whose girl slowly gains weight have to bring the topic up, this guy just secretly hoped she'd fail. That's messed up, that instead of saying "I'd really rather you didn't try to diet and exercise" he just figured she wouldn't.

People here think he's manipulative because he was dating a big girl to some extent *because* she was big and he let her be unhappy with her size and work to change it without telling her he liked it. He could have given her that boost of self-esteem and probably convinced her to stop at a weight they both could live with at any point by just speaking up and he chose to be silent and hope she'd fail. Would you want to date a partner who was banking their future attraction to you on your lack of willpower, just so they wouldn't have to admit they like something non-standard?
94
BARAAHP, talk to him. You say you're healthier mentally *and* physically the way you are now, and that's just more important than your guy's love for chubby chicks. Period. I think it's possible for you to just ask him to think of your well-being. If he agrees that he can try and compromise this part of his attraction for you, he's a good guy. That said, if he just can't be happy with you, you should part ways.

Don't feel bad. He *knew* you didn't *want* to be overweight and you've always been trying to be thinner. It isn't his fault that he couldn't predict that you would succeed, but he should have taken it more seriously and should been more assertive with you about his love for bigger women (beyond just obliquely complimenting you during your heavier days, which you were completely human to assume was just obligatory boyfriend duty).

@91: As others have pointed out, there's an important health component here -- not just in body, but in mind -- and not just as we assume it, but as BARAAHP says herself. She's more content and just feels better as a person now, and I think a loving partner should be able to embrace that at the cost of his own needs (which are important too, but in this case trumped). If she was healthy and *happy* being overweight, then we'd have a different discussion.
95
She set a goal, he knew it, and she was working toward it, and he didn't say "if you reach this goal I won't be as attracted to you" until it was too late.

Maybe he didn't know he wouldn't be attracted to her. It's one thing to realize that you tend to like bigger girls, and quite another to realize that your dick won't get hard unless you're with a bigger girl-- even if you love the girl and previously enjoyed fucking her.

I mean, if BARAAHP were a skinny girl and gained a bunch of weight, and her boyfriend of four years immediately dumped her, then I bet most people here would give him a lot of shit. Or at least less shit than if the boyfriend stuck around for a while, made a sincere effort to become attracted to her new body, and finally realized that it wasn't going to work. How is this any different?
96
Also want to point out that a lot of people seem to looking for someone to blame, i.e. "It's his fault for not telling her he only likes big girls," or "It's her fault for not believing him." But sometimes relationships between two lovely people simply don't work out, and no one is at fault.

He likes bigger girls; she is no longer a bigger girl and wants to stay that way. This may be a fundamental incompatibility that just can't be resolved.
97
@95: "Or at least less shit than if the boyfriend stuck around for a while, made a sincere effort to become attracted to her new body, and finally realized that it wasn't going to work."

I agree a lot of people here would give him a lot of shit even in that situation, but it doesn't mean they're right. Difference.

Again, partner's massively improved happiness and health > sexual attraction. He might not be a dick for having preferences and just not realizing how deep they went, but he's being a bit of a dick not immediately realizing that she's so much happier this way.

Granted, I don't know if BARAAHP has told *him* everything she's told us, but if she hasn't, she needs to. If he hears her case and still thinks it's important to him for her to gain back some weight, no, it isn't his fault he likes women a certain way, but it's still dickish to expect her to *compromise* her health for him.

People who want their partner to lose weight often look to ways that are healthy -- eating better, exercising.

I'm pretty sure that if somebody came in with a letter saying they wanted their SO to lose sudden weight by vomiting, starving, or smoking ...or to a weight point where they'd be risking their health ... or if the resulting weight loss would make their SO truly depressed ... they'd get booed out of the room regardless of how right they were in terms of maintaining expectations, etc.
98
@96 absolutely, but people like to understand other people's actions, even if they don't attach any blame to them. I think everyone has gone over "if you want to stay with him and have a fulfilling sex life you'll probably have to gain some weight back, and if you want to stay this weight and have a fulfilling sex life you'll probably have to leave him" well enough that we can talk about "how'd things get this far anyway?"

@95 he knew he wouldn't be attracted to her, this was a gradual 4-year process and the sex tapered off as slow as her weight loss. 22.25 lbs/year is very gradual, he had time to notice and tell her she was getting too skinny for him. Instead of complimenting her on her fattest days he could have been more direct, or at least when she said she was going to lose 100lbs and get in shape he could have said "I'm primarily attracted to 'fleshier' women" then, not saved it up for now.

"Except my boyfriend and I have been having less and less sex and yesterday he told me that he is not as attracted to me since I've been losing weight. He said that he is primarily attracted to "fleshier" women and he feels that I need to gain back some of my weight. When I asked him why he didn't bring this up sooner, he said that he didn't beleive that I would follow through in the end "

It seems pretty obvious he saw that a skinny girl wouldn't do it for him, he didn't say anything not because he didn't know this about himself, he knew he wanted her 'fleshier' but didn't believe she'd do it.
99
@96: Well, not to mention the part where he doesn't realize how much he crushed her sense of achievement. Again, maybe it's not his "fault", per se -- maybe he's just oblivious like that, and who can really fault someone for something that they didn't know was wrong?

But I'd be pretty fucking pissed with *my* boyfriend of four years -- because he's smarter than that -- if he couldn't get a clue about basically stepping on something I've been trying to do *my whole life.*

And this guy ... it's not like he doesn't know the value of healthy eating and exercise, being a nut about both. He knows she's has been struggling with her weight her whole life. And he's sent her a lot of mixed messages by giving his support when it works for him (i.e. his compliments for her old weight) and then withdrawing it when she's happy but it doesn't work for him.
100
@98: Are you sure this was a gradual four year process? We only know that BARAAHP has been with the guy for four years, and that she lost 85 pounds after a "flash forward to the present." I'm inclined to agree that he should have spoken up sooner if she slowly lost the weight over a four-year period, but it's also possible that she lost the majority of that weight within the last year.

@99: I'm at a loss as to why you disapprove of the boyfriend so much. He likes larger girls. He can't change that any more than you can choose whether to be gay or straight. Should he just dump her without giving her a reason, rather than "crush her sense of achievement"? Should he persist in a relationship that can only end in misery and/or infidelity, seeing as he's no longer attracted to her? I'll grant that he maybe should have been more up-front about his preferences earlier-- assuming the weight loss was gradual and not relatively sudden-- but other than that I can't see any other way he should have behaved.