What Does Your Partner Really Think About You Being Fat?
If you’re a bloke with a bit of weight to lose, then there’s a reasonable chance that you’ll already know that the world at large has an opinion about your size. Every so often those helpful white van drivers will wind their window down and make a suggestion about you losing weight. Or your mates or family might have even had a quiet word about your health.
But what about your partner?
They sleep next to you at night, they share your life, surely you know what they think? Well…maybe not.
We convened a panel of partners and asked them to confide their true feelings about their partner’s weight. The good news is that the overwhelming majority who agreed to share with us were at pains to talk about how much they loved their man and that size didn’t really make a difference to their feelings. But just like eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves, there’s a number of fears and concerns that were brought up that people felt were maybe too painful or sensitive to raise. If your other half was harbouring one of these concerns, would you know? And ultimately, would it make a difference to your behaviour?
We’ve changed all the names of the partners and for convenience we’ve called all the men Barry, so any Barrys out there, don’t get paranoid.
MANDI: I DON’T CARE ABOUT HIS SIZE, HE’S MY HUSBAND AND I LOVE HIM
WEIGHT DIFFERENCE: ABOUT 44kg
I knew what I was getting into when we got together. Barry was a big lad at school which is where we met. I think I was first attracted to him because he’s quite tall as well and I’ve never gone for shorter guys. They say that some guys carry their weight well and Barry is definitely one of them. He’s got a massive gut and a bigger pair of **** than me, but none of that bothers me. I look at him and I don’t see a fat bloke, I see Barry.
If there was one thing that I’d say that sometimes causes me pain and that’s when he’s down on himself about his weight. He drives for a living and I know that it’s hard for him to live a healthy life. He gets up, he goes to work and he comes home and does for the kids. He’s a really lovely man and I wouldn’t change him for the world. I just wish that if he wanted to change then he could find a way to make that change for himself. I don’t think we could talk about that though because it’s just become one of those things that we don’t talk about, like he’s learned not to ask me how much I’ve spent shopping.
SAM: IT’S EMBARRASSING AND IT DEFINITELY LIMITS WHAT WE CAN DO IN OUR LIFE
WEIGHT DIFFERENCE: ABOUT 20KG
Personally, I love Barry’s size it makes me feel safe and he’s a very cozy sort of guy, so I suppose it fits who he is. The problem is that it does really limit what we can do. An example would be when we went to Thorpe Park a few years ago and the harness on one of the rides wouldn’t fit over him so he had to ask the attendant for an extender. He laughed it off at the time but he was absolutely red in the face.
The more serious restriction is when we want to go further afield and I know that it’s because of his size that he’s said no. Some friends asked if we wanted to go with them to Greece on holiday and it would have been perfect, but he said no. I suspected that it was because of him not feeling right about how he looked and he was worried about going in the pool without a shirt on and if anyone would take the piss. I think it was easier just to say he couldn’t get the time off work.
MARCUS: I CONSTANTLY WORRY ABOUT HIM DYING
WEIGHT DIFFERENCE: 58KG
I know the modern way is to be accepting about all sorts of sizes but I really worry about Barry dying of a heart attack. It’s not unrealistic because his uncle, who he looks a lot like, died when he was 55 and I’m petrified that he would leave me and the kids.
We talk about it quite a lot. Actually, it’s probably more like I bring it up and he does what he can to change the subject. It’s like he’s got this force field around him when it comes to hearing about his weight. I know it’s not the sort of thing you should do but the council did a weight loss challenge and I signed him up but he went to the first session and then dropped out.
If he was a smoker then it would be fine for me to nag him. If he took drugs then everyone would be on at him, but somehow because he’s killing himself with his weight we’re supposed to just sit back and watch him.
RUTH: IT’S NOT JUST HIS LIFE THAT IT IMPACTS
WEIGHT DIFFERENCE: 42KG
We’ve wanted to conceive for ages and it’s not happening. The doctor reckons that both of us need to lose weight but they’re more concerned about Barry because he’s got more to go. We both did Slimming World and I actually quite enjoyed it. There was loads of choice for foods and you could have treats. I’ve lost about three stone so far but he doesn’t seem bothered. But the weird thing is that I know that he is. He wants kids just as much as I do.
What do you do when there’s that loss of connection between what someone wants to do and the way that they’re behaving? At the moment it feels like he’s holding us to ransom. I wish I could understand it more and figure out what I can do to help.