Having a boyfriend makes me feel fat


In this instance, it’s not my boyfriend who makes me feel fat, quite the opposite in fact. He makes me feel amazing and sexy and gorgeous through an almost-constant regime of compliments and general groping.

It’s the everyday adulation I get from him that places past relationships in stark contrast, and causes me to think about the specific kind of body insecurity I feel when I’m part of a couple. It’s a very hard thing to explain, this niggling shame in the back of my head. Since I decided many years ago to let go of the hatred and shame I imposed on myself on behalf of society over the way I looked, it’s a puzzle to me that this faint remnant of fat girl guilt remains.

While I know my boyfriend loves me and my body, I am painfully aware that he is in a minority – not a minority of one, but a minority nonetheless. The majority of men are attracted to the size 8-12 norm, and many of those men wouldn’t be able to fathom being attracted to a plus-size woman, much less dating one. Many see it as a blow to their status, or simply embarrassing – as if they can’t get a thin girlfriend.

Girls are worse. The “what’s he doing with her?” comments are palpable in their eyes and whispered asides, and though it’s often 100% jealousy that brings them on, they’re damaging nonetheless.

I wonder why, when I can deflect any sort of fat-phobic criticism personally, I go all to pieces if someone dares to questions my worthiness of a man. I know my worth as a person isn’t devalued by my weight – but I can’t get past the notion that my worth as a partner is. Isn’t that awfully sad?

This insecurity came bubbling up to the surface in the past few weeks as the boy wants me to meet his friends and family. I told him I was scared to meet them in case they didn’t like me, the unspoken reason being because of my weight. When I finally managed to let him know why exactly I was so afraid, he was quick to try to dispel my worries… but again, the ghosts of relationships past won’t let me believe that I’m worthy.

I don’t mean to sound so very sorry for myself here… I have a hell of a lot more body confidence than most women, fat or thin. It’s practically a miracle that I can manage to get naked with a bloke at all without fear of being laughed at, or worse still, grimaced at. But there’s something about being in a relationship that makes me study my shadow on the ground as I wander along, hand-in-hand with my boyfriend, and notice the huge difference in our silhouettes. He’s so tall and svelte, my boy, that I look rather rotund and stubby next to his long limbs and narrow hips.

That’s exactly what I was doing last weekend as we tottered up St Stephen’s Green towards the car after drinks with my friends. The streetlights behind us cast our shadows forward onto the ground and I was distracted by them as two drunken lads walked past us. I heard some sort of laughing comment behind me, something nasty, I could tell by its tone. What he said, I don’t know, but I do know that the boy twisted around to look after them. Was it about me? Us? Probably not. But that last scrap of shame deep in my gut is trying to convince me that it was.

39 Responses to “Having a boyfriend makes me feel fat”

  1. 1 squirl

    “Lovely, gorgeous and bright as a button”

  2. 2 demurelemur

    This is a really touching post. Unfortunately, no matter how lovely the people we choose to surround ourselves with, we’ll always have to come into contact with some of society’s shallow, vapid sorts at some point. I hope that your man’s friends and family are as cool as he is.

  3. I empathize with ya here. I’ve always said that sometimes I feel like that old nursery rhyme “Jack Sprat could eat not fat his wife could he no lean”. My husband has always been the skinny guy, and for many of our years together I’ve been fat.

  4. 4 Cara

    I really felt for you in this post, I feel like that too. The guy I’m with now loves me to bits, would do anything for me and fancies me, but I still have that feeling that I’m letting him down by being fat. He was always one for skinny leggy girls in past relationships too. Damn society. It has ruined the volumptous womanly figure.

    • Oh that must be difficult, Cara. My boyfriend is all about the voluptuousness, thankfully… but I do remember that feeling of being indebted to my partner for them “putting up with” my weight.

      I can see now how bad that was for my self-esteem, but my partner is helping me get it back bit by bit 🙂 I think it’s important to remember to have faith in our men though, and trust that they do find us attractive and aren’t perhaps as shallow as some guys can be. That they’re the good guys!

  5. After being married to my amazing (thin) husband for almost 15 years, I still have feelings similar to yours. Makes no sense. He loves me, I love him. That should be the end of it, right?

    This post reminds me of a boy (I will not call him a man) I dated briefly when I was about 18. I weighed less than I do now but I was still a chubby girl. Anyway… One night we were going to the movies together and we walked hand in hand into the theater. As we walked past a group of girls I heard them make some sort of snide comment (didn’t hear the exact words) and was sure they were talking about me. I said, “I wonder what those girls said?” He replies, in a self-important tone, “They were probably wondering what *I* am doing with *you*.” Queue my jaw dropping. Could it be that this asshole, my date, just said out loud what the nasty voices in my head were saying?? Shocking. This happened nearly 17 years ago and I can still remember the exchange as if it were yesterday. You’ll be happy to know I didn’t waste too much time on this loser. It felt pretty darn good as a “fat” girl to be dumping a totally hot guy. He wasn’t used to any girl standing up to him, much less a lower-rank (I say this with tongue in cheek) girl like me. Looking back I knew, despite any low self esteem issues I might have had, that he and those girls were dead wrong. I knew I deserved to be with someone good and honest, someone who would treat me with respect and genuinely wanted to be with me. A few short months after this incident, I’m pleased to say I met that man.

    Sadly, there are always going to be awful people in the world who think overweight people are lesser citizens because of their weight. But there will also be wonderful people who see us for the beautiful human beings we are. I’m thankful that, in my life, the good ones seem to stick around and the small-minded people just fade away.

  6. God do I know what those feelings are like; shit head wreckers but such is life. We can’t help who we are and it is such a shame that society has destroyed what the image of a woman should be.
    We come in all shapes and sizes it is unfair to make real people feel bad for not being stick thin. However part of the problem is that we also do not accept ourselves as beautiful. I know I don’t look in the mirror and go wow; as a matter of fact I never look in the mirror and feel good about myself.
    My last boyfriend (who might I add was not in any way svelte, or remotely close to it) spent his time telling me I should join the gym. Not a good thing to hear when you’re bullimic. we broke up but I’m hooked on diet pills; sad cycle.
    Anyway I love this post I do advocate that women should have more confidence in themselves no matter what; we are all beautiful no matter what others may say. We are unique and wonderful in our own ways; who are they to be judge and jury.
    Lovely post 🙂

  7. 8 lovesickrobotgirl

    I’m in the same boat. I have never had a male partner who weighed more than me, and I have always been uncomfortable about it. I’ve dated guys a head shorter than me and not felt too weird about that, but the weight thing is another story. I can’t imagine it ever going away.

  8. 9 Heather

    I typed ‘my boyfriend makes me feel fat’ and this blog came up and it brought tears to my eyes. This really is how I feel with my man. When I met him he was pretty skinny with some muscle tone cause he used to workout. I was about 11lbs heavier then I am now and let me tell you .. I felt like a huge whale around him. He couldn’t/can’t pick me up for the life of him and everything about me is just bigger then him. He is working out now and his body makes me crazy .. I lost some weight but I am still soft and squishy and every inch of me is rounded. I love my BF so much and I know he loves me but I feel like I’m not good enough .. like he would be happier if I was a skinny girl with long skinny arms and legs and a flat tummy. He tells me he loves my body .. he loved my body when we first met .. he said my curves make him wild. But I still have that voice in my head telling me he deserves a skinny girl, of which I will never, ever be without developing an eating disorder. Sometimes when he touches me, especially my stomach I just want to whip his hand away and run for the hills. I feel like he is thinking how gross my round soft belly is.
    Society has really done a number on us women .. it makes me so angry. Women are supposed to be curvy and soft and round. We are supposed to have round hips and thighs to be able to healthfully carry a child. The horrible media now says we have to look like adolescent boys with no hips, thighs, or bellies. Or that we have to workout hard enough to be ‘lean’ with all kinds of muscle. Good gosh!

  9. To an extent, insecurities are pretty normal when couples are created. We’ve found loads of times that men think they are the most well endowed person in the world – then as soon as they have a partner their opinion changes and they want to be even bigger! It’s a bit mad, but people seem to forget their original opinion and try to picture how others are thinking… still – nobody minds a big boy do they?! Sian x

  10. Thanks for a very touching and moving post and it realy made me think about my own body image issues..

  11. Such a beautiful post

  12. having a girlfriend makes me feel fat she says i drink too much beer 😦

  13. 15 ultimatepleasure

    I’ve dated guys a head shorter than me and not felt too weird about that, but the weight thing is another story. I can’t imagine it ever going away. sexy lingerie

  14. Beautiful post! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Exactly how I felt in the beginning of my relationship. Thanks for the insight 🙂

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