Dear E. Jean: My boyfriend of two years, who has been chubby most of his life, has an incredibly hostile attitude toward overweight women. He makes rude comments when they’re out of earshot. I’ve spoken to him about it many times, but to no avail.
I’m 5’7″ and a healthy 133 pounds. I suffered from anorexia in high school and am extremely sensitive about my appearance. He tells me I’m pretty, but recently he said he’d be hitting the gym before our vacation because “we’re going to be the fattest people on the beach.” Key word: we’re. I was very upset. He apologized. But when we were on vacation, I mentioned a “half-pound cookie” I saw on the menu, and I swear he said under his breath, “That’s the last thing you need.” I was so hurt. He’s starting to talk marriage. Should I hang on or move on? —Uneasy & Undecided
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Un, hunny: I’ve said it 200 times: Men can change. Even your own Mr. Shallow Hal. But I don’t see any to-ing and fro-ing in your letter, no “I love him buts,” not a syllable of tenderness.
However, if you do have a scrap of affection for him remaining, I suggest two things: Call him out on his judgmental—not to mention hypocritical—idiocy, or see a couples therapist. But I warn you about the latter: This may be the most difficult of all types of analysis, not merely because it’s hideously painful to explore love (and weight), and not because things can explode in tears and screams in the first 23 seconds of a session, but because most therapists are lousy at it. Make certain you choose one who specializes in couples (get a recommendation from happy friends and/or do telephone interviews) and who will provide the skills necessary to make good changes.
This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.