MattTheBull asks: I have been with my lady for over 5 years now. I love her more than anything but I have lost attraction to her almost completely. She doesn’t make an effort in looking nice anymore, and has gained about 80-90lbs and does not make enough effort to lose it or stop gaining weight. I have sat down and spoken to her many times about it now but it is not hitting home. I’m in good shape and exercise a lot, I try to encourage her to join me but it’s not working. She would rather lay on the sofa and do nothing or if she does join in its only for 10 minutes and then she gives in. We also have a 4 year old daughter and I don’t want her being a bad influence to her. My lady now weighs in at about 230lbs. Please help me, I’m at wits end now.
Hi MattTheBull –
This is a really tough situation, and one that requires the kind of delicate footsteps I see in the squirrels running away from me over the tops of chainlink fences. One wrong step, and all your efforts collapse.
Your lady sounds to me like she’s suffering Depression. And she’s likely feeling depressed for three reasons: First, she’s exhausted (as any parent of a four-year-old tends to be). Second, she can feel that she’s not attractive to you anymore, and hasn’t been for some time. And third, because she has gained all that weight!
Now it’s very easy for you or me to say “Well here’s how to cheer yourself up – get out and get some exercise, eat better, lose that weight, and watch your man go as crazy for the sight of you as he was before!” After all, the reason I’ve never had a weight problem is because there’s nothing I enjoy more than running around in nature, burning off every bit of energy I can. (Okay, there is another reason, that Handsome feeds me healthy food and keeps it limited, but I don’t like him to be reminded that that does any good, in my hopes that he starts giving me three pizzas a day instead!)
The problem is that that will never work. She’ll hear it all as complaints about her weight, which make her feel bad about herself, which will lead her to feel even more hopeless and undesirable, and spend even more time on the couch.
So your job is to do the exact opposite. You want to make her feel better about herself than she could possibly imagine. Take her out to a beautiful dinner, tell her what a glorious mother she is and how much you value the devotion she’s put into raising your daughter. Remind her that you’ve stayed together, and talk about the future you’d like to have.
And then keep this up. And then (and here’s the sneaky part!) after a few days, tell her you’d really like to take a walk, and talk more about your plans. If you live in a place with a great natural setting (say, near a beach or hiking trail), that would be especially good. But what’s most important is that you get her walking. Not running, not working out, just walking.
You see, MattTheBull, getting some slight exercise is the best natural medicine for Depression there is. It literally gets chemicals into the brain that make her feel better about life, and about herself. And when those mix with her feeling happy about all the things you’ve been telling her, she’s going to feel really good. And when one feels good – as you know – one wants to feel even better!
Once this is going on, you can encourage her even more (again, sneakily!) by doing things like suggesting a trip to a beach town (which might make her want to lose a few pounds so she’ll look better in a bikini) or to go out with some friends to a very nice restaurant, for which you’ll buy her a new little black dress (which she’ll want to look better in).
Do you see the trick I’m suggesting? You never tell her she needs to lose weight or exercise more. But you do everything in your power to put her in situations where she chooses to do those things herself – out of feeling good!
Again, this isn’t easy, and doesn’t happen overnight. And there are those who’ll argue that it’s a much better idea to threaten “Lose thirty pounds or I’m leaving!” But you asked me, and this is what I’ve seen work best.
I have never achieved making a person do what I wanted by biting them (except when I wanted them to run away). But I’ve gotten away with amazing amounts by loving people and making them feel like a million bucks.
Can you make her feel like a hundred and forty pounds? Maybe if you can, she can give you just that in return.
Best of Luck!