Recently I was catching up with a few of my male friends discussing the normal aspects of life, work, love and basketball, when the conversation went from lighthearted to serious. You see one of my friends, let’s call him James, had an issue that had been on his mind for some time, but he was hesitant to discuss it. James has a beautiful girlfriend, we’ll call Janet, and they have been together since senior year in college. Last any of us heard life was bliss in J&J-ville, they had the normal ups and downs, but nothing that would be cause for alarm.
James said the trouble began one night while he was watching a movie with Janet and paused it so he could grab a snack, that’s when he heard the words that crushed his ego, “Don’t you think you’ve had enough? You’re getting a bit round…just saying.” He couldn’t believe his ears. James’ woman, the woman he loved and is supposed to love him flaws and all, just called him fat!
But the conversation didn’t stop there.
James, confused since he religiously hits the gym at least twice a week and is about 6’4’ 180 lbs of former college football player steel, asked her to clarify her ‘round’ statement. In short, Janet feels James isn’t looking like the man she met years ago with the cut up abs and chiseled chest and arms. She’s upset that he ‘let himself go’ (Note: In actuality he might have gained 10-15lbs since she met him) and can’t see herself having a ‘fat boyfriend or husband’ in her life.
She offered to workout with him to help get him back in shape and start preparing healthier meals, but is insisting he needs to take this seriously because it could end their relationship. James, naturally, was shocked. Looking in the mirror he doesn’t see this ‘round’ person, no he’s not the same weight he was in college, but he also doesn’t play college football anymore. He couldn’t believe that she would seriously end their relationship over something like his weight. What happened to unconditional love?
As the lone woman in the group I told James I sympathize with him, men do it to woman all the time, most even before they’ve asked a woman her name. If the weight doesn’t fit, she ain’t it, and many men have no problem denying a woman because of how she looks on the outside. My personal advice to my friend was to find someone else who would love him and his newly acquired ‘grown man handles’ (he didn’t like ‘round’) just the way they are.
But, the reality is weight literally is a heavy issue in relationships. No we don’t want to stand by and watch loved ones kill themselves slowly with their weight, but isn’t it a tad unrealistic to think that as we age, have kids, etc, that we will keep the same taut bodies we had in our 20s. Yes there are a few people out there defying the laws of aging, but that’s not the case for everyone. Where do we draw the line between wanting our loved ones to be a healthy weight, and watching their weight because we’re superficial? And is a weight gain a reason to leave an otherwise happy relationship?