Monday, May 16, 2011

Double standards on fat.

Are you more likely to cheat if you are thin?

That’s the question I saw posted on a blog this weekend. I can’t remember which one it was but it got me thinking….because last week a co-worker of mine – who I consider a friend – told me some shocking news.

Let me describe this woman first. For as long as I’ve known her, she has struggled with her weight. Yet – it NEVER affected her confidence here at work. She climbs the corporate ladder, has earned respect and is a great asset here. Outside of work, it didn’t seem to affect her either. She traveled, had many friends and had a great social life.

I always knew she was dieting and working out and striving to be healthier – it was a constant battle. Last year she confided in me that she was going to Mexico to self-pay for the sleeve (I think). I know it wasn’t gastric bypass and it wasn’t the lap band but it did involve surgery. With no fear and no regrets and complete confidence she went ALONE to have the surgery done.

Since the surgery she has lost over 70 lbs. She randomly comes in my office just to twirl and show me her new outfits. It’s a lot of fun to be happy for her.

When she was heavy, before the surgery – she got married to a man with 4 kids. She was ecstatic. She never stopped talking about her husband. Even years after they were married you could hear her talk about how he would wake up every morning and cook her an entire breakfast before she was even out of bed. She seemed blissfully happy. She even loved her new role as step-mother from the beginning.

And last week – she told me they are divorcing. She said he wants to stay together and she does not. I didn’t pry and ask for details – I just told her if she needed me that I was here.

A huge part of me wants to know what happened? Not out of nosy-ness but I suppose curiosity in how you can go from bliss and breakfast in bed and smiling from ear to ear every day – to it being over.

I do remember when she was heavy – though confident – she did always say she thought she’d never get married or meet anyone. She did have that fear. And now I wonder if she settled. Did she fall in love with the first person who loved her back out of fear of never having it otherwise?

Now that she is healthy and thin and even more confident – did she realize what she had done? I mean now she even has the balls to walk away from him. And her stepkids. Again, with no regrets. I’ve never seen her more sure of a decision. I don’t know whether to hug her or cry for her.

Part of me knows she loved him and he was good to her and she needed him to prove to her she was indeed loveable at any weight. Part of me knows I’m happy she knows she can do whatever she wants and reach for the moon on her own if she has to.

I suppose it’s all about self-worth isn’t it? People always say – heavy or thin – I’m the same person at my core.…and I don’t know if I believe that is true anymore. I see it everywhere. A guy in town recently got skinny and started running…and now announced him and his high school sweetheart are divorcing. Everyone was shocked.

I remember when I was in the thick of actively losing weight – I never had the urge to leave or get out….the only thing I noticed was it made me wish Rambo would get healthier with me. Him eating entire plates of nachos and 3 brats irritated me…probably because I was jealous if I’m being honest. LOL

What’s your viewpoint on relationships when people lose weight? Do they get better? Worse? Did you have big discussions with your significant other before surgery or weight loss endeavors about if/how your relationship would change? If you were single – did you wonder if it would change who you would allow yourself to fall in love with?

It makes me wonder if the same happens when we gain weight? Do spouses leave us when we gain? Do they stop loving and look elsewhere? Or does the love and relationship keep going regardless? Do you have that fear? The fear of what your significant other would feel if you gained more weight? Do you fear THEY may gain weight and do you fear how you’ll deal with that or how you’ll feel about them if they do?

I mean don't you think it's seems we've almost made it socially acceptable to see a man or woman get healthy - and leave a marriage or person behind and move on with their new life.  It's like we cheer them on saying, "You go - leave that baggage behind and seize your new life." 

But do you ever hear anyone say, "So and so left his wife because she got fat. Isn't that noble of him?"  We think that's cruel and disgraceful...but the opposite is acceptable almost.

It's one of those lovely double standards.

Interesting thoughts at the very least. I hope some day my friend may enlighten me as to why she left after all this time when I thought she had everything she wanted. In the meantime, I’ll just pray she finds what she is really searching for.

I only hope she knows what that is.


~*Dawn*~ said...

At 328 lbs, I was still considered to be confident by others. I believe I used confidence as a shield. But, was I truly confident? No. I was confident in my ability to do my job, to be a good wife, to be a good mother, etc. But I was not confident that I could be truly loved or even deserved love based on how much I weighed. Sometimes, I wonder if that lack of confidence is why I choose to get married at 20 to the first man that didn't make me feel used. I know that I love my husband, but is it because I got "lucky" when I decided to "settle"?

Laura Belle said...

Jeesh. Sometimes I wonder about that stuff too. I mean, when Ryan and I first met we weren't, by any means, the thinnest we've ever been. And my 'good home cookin' didn't help anything either. But I married him because I loved him, for him. And he loved me for me. Not to say that we both haven't encouraged the other to lose those 'extra' pounds. That's part of the reason I'm on this quest for good health. Not to make him happy, but to make us healthier to live longer and enjoy our love longer.

I think that some people do marry because they think that's the best they can do, and/or they don't want to risk losing someone then having nobody, all because they aren't that confident in themselves. And at some point I think I understand that, but on the other hand, I think it's completely wrong. At least wrong to end a relation because your more confident in yourself and think you can go out and find better.

However, I've also heard that a lot of relationships end because when one or both persons lose weight they have different views on life, so they just don't have anything in common anymore. This also just baffles me. I mean, I know that you change a lot when you literally shed yourself, but shouldn't you still be the same inside?

Joanna said...

Wow - we must have some form of psychic connection. This very subject has been on my mind A LOT lately.

When Hubby and I first got together - my self-confidence was shit. Being that he gave me attention, I jumped on it. Here was a guy who was willing to take on a woman who was over 250lbs with 2 kids.

Now, there are often times I wonder to myself if I "settled". Don't get me wrong - I love Hubby with all my heart. Sometimes, though, I find myself craving affection that isn't readily available from him. He's never been the touchy/feely kind.

When I go out, I like the attention I get from other guys. I get drinks bought for me, I get asked to dance. I like it. Hubby is also anti-social, so he'd much rather stay at home than go out with me. He is also supportive of my new found confidence and actually supports my going out and getting a little attention. He knows that nothing will happen - it's just a drink or a dance.

It is funny to me, though, that these thoughts have crossed my mind. Do I feel different about our relationship? Maybe. Doesn't make me love him any less - but there are thoughts there.

Karen Butler Ogle said...

I think weight loss for one person in a relationship just magnifies what is already there. If the marriage is strong and has a good foundation then weight loss will make it stronger after the adjustments. If the marriage is unhealthy in any way, it is likely to fail after the weight loss. I know that Dail and I have had our issues related to my surgery but we have come our stronger in the end. Dail had trouble adjusting to the new me. I changed from being very passive to being more of a player in life. It was uncomfortable for Dail at first to see me gain confidence and he began to fear I would look for someone else. It took some convincing on my part to reassure him that he is the only one I want and that just because I may be more confident does not mean that I don't still want and need him. Now that he realizes I will never leave him, he is proud to show me off to his work colleagues etc. It is a good feeling to know that he is proud to have me as his wife. It was a rough transition and I can see why some marriages don't make it through the transition but I also believe that some people change from surgery and come to believe they have settled and throw away perfectly good relationships because their heads become a little swelled after their weight loss. These people often forget where they came from and end up regaining their weight. I hope that doesn't happen to your friend.

Jen said...

Absolutely I think people settle (in general) when they don't love themselves. They think, how can anyone else love them? I'm going to take what I can get.
The problem is, when they lose the weight, the person they "settled" for doesn't realize they were the "settle-ee". It's happened in my own family. It sucks but there is no good solution, it just sucks all the way around. It's one reason I was afraid to have the surgery. What would I find out about myself when I lost my protective shield? How would I act? Would I want to change my relationship? So far, it's OK..but I MOST DEFINITELY notice things now and my response to them, maybe that I let them take advantage of me, maybe that I did whatever was easy..that I didn't fight for things I really wanted. I was always the good person...never wanted to cause a a fuss. I notice these things now more than ever. I also notice how people treat you differently. Everyone is SO nice and they look me in the eye. The whole's really a mind-F***.

Theresa aka Tessie Rose said...

I've seen this happen to so many people. I used to joke that my fat is what kept me faithful to my ex husband, but it was only a half joke, although I did not leave him because I lost weight, I was still fat when I left him. Anyway,I think when a woman spends a huge part of her life feeling ignored and unappreciated, the new attention is scary and intoxicating all at once. All that combined with the fact that you are just learning to cope with stress without food can be dangerous. My husband and I have had many conversations about this. I like to think I'll be the same person when it's all said and done, but the truth is I am not as likely now to just take something if I don't like it. Luckily my husband and I have a great realationship, I'm not going anywhere, unless it's with him!

Sarah from Onmyweightohappiness said...

Amazing blog Drazil! For me personally I basically met the perfect man he has loved me at my highest weight and now 94 lbs lighter. Most men will jump ship if a woman gains weight or even vice versa for that matter. My husband doesn't care about my weight or what number I am at just wants me happy. He was againest me having gastric bypass but supported me. Me heavier I was insecure, no self esteem, no self worth, no self care no nothing. Now losing almost 100 lbs I feel amazing, its brought on a whole new out look on life and made me realize things about myself and my life I never had before. I love life now. I love my husband even more and honestly and more attracted to him and want to jump his bones more LOL I think it personally depends on the relationship you have prior to losing weight, if you have a solid foundation before you will more than likely be ok, if it was shaky then yeah you might have some problems.

Marie said...

Coming from a single woman I can definitely say that losing weight has a big effect on dating. 95% of men on the dating sites state they want to date a woman who is athletic of slender. Many don't even check the average box anymore because they think average is fat. That leaves 5% of the male population or so who will date an overweight woman. With those odds they are slim that a woman will find someone who will fulfill them in every way. So yes, I do believe overweight women do settle for the most part. Some get lucky when they do that and others don't and those are the ones whose relationships don't last. Our society is youth centered and slim bodied obsessed. There really is no getting over that shallowness. You either get lucky or you don't. Your friend apparently settled and was putting on her best face that she was happy because I do believe you can convince yourself you are happy.
The hard part is loving yourself and being okay with being alone. A lot of people can't do that. I'm dating but I'm alone. I'm not settling so therefore, I am alone a lot of the time. I won't lead a guy on if I don't really feel something for him. Now that I have lost some weight I do feel the dating pool has gotten larger as I definitely date more often. Yet it is still so hard to find that "one" special person and I know a lot of thin women who are single. It ain't easy at any weight but it's a bit easier when you are thinner.

Joy said...

Sorry I'm not going to add much to the discussion but I did want to pop in and say, great, thought-provoking post, and the commenters here have done an excellent job at adding to the discussion! I'll def. be coming back to read what others have to say as well!

Justawallflower said...

I actually had a ten year relationship (off and on) end because of weight gain. He won't tell you that is the reason, but I know it was.

I also agree with one of the comments above, if a relationship is strong, then weight loss or gain shouldn't affect it. My husband and I did actually talk about this greatly before having the surgery. He is older than I am (by quite a bit), and had anxieties about me leaving him once I lost the weight. He has never been with someone as heavy as me, and his ex wife is really pretty. So I had anxieties about him wanting more out of me than I could give at that weight. But in the end, we love each other. No amount of weight loss or gain will change that. This I am confident of.

Cat's Chic Chat said...

I saw this probaby on the same blog you did. It was Molly's by the way! :)

I know that with past boyfriends, I settled. I was still overweight when I broke up with those guys though. I married my hubby 8 years ago and love him unconditionally. He truly is the other half of me and I know I couldn't find anyone more perfect for me. I know that losing weight won't change who we are to each other.

I did ask him over this weekend if he was nervous about me being hit on by other guys. He said he knows it's likely to happen because I'm so beautiful (awww!) but he's not worried about our relationship because he trusts me and the strength of our marriage and friendship.

MandaPanda said...

I met my husband in my thinner years so I think that makes a difference. My BFF lost 115 lbs last year and has been having nothing but marital problems since. In my opinion, although her hubby is a nice guy, she settled. She fell for him because he loved her no matter what. She's trying to embrace a healthy lifestyle while he wants to be a couch potato (which he always was...he didn't change). She changed...because she found out how good life can be. She's not interested in leaving him but they're simply not compatible anymore.

~*Dawn*~ said...

I am so glad I am not they only one that has this kind of thinking. I had trouble writing my comment but it almost theraputic to "type" it out loud.

Here's another those of you that say losing weight does not change your relationship at all other than your spouse being worried that you will leave's a question, do you think that your man could be attracted to overweight women subconciously because he feels he is less likely to be hurt or cheated on? Just a thought...

Trisha said...

Dang, this is an intense post. I am totally curious/nosey and want to know how someone could go from breakfast in bed, smiles from ear to ear to flat out divorce. Wow. I know that with me losing weight, I feel more confident, but not at all to the point of where I want to leave my husband. He has seen me at my worst and now is going through everything with me to see me at my best... can you really walk away from that? ;) Love should never change. There was a show on OWN called 'Our America with Lisa Ling' they had many episodes involving numerous things such as sex offenders, online brides to transgender. The reason I bring this up is because on the episode of transgender, this man, who was married for over ten years came out and told his wife, who he had two kids with, that he was a woman trapped in a mans body. They are still married to this day. And now, he... is a she. She had every surgery done and is completely done with her transformation. The wife explained she fell in love with the person. That person never changed. The outside may have but the inside didn't. So really... my money would be on your guess of her just settling becuase she was scared that she would be alone. That she wasn't truly in love of happy. :( Its sad, but it happens.

(sorry I totally got a little long winded on your post)

Ms. M said...

Great post with a lot of thought provoking questions raised within. This is definitely something I've seen happen repeatedly. I think it is a combination of sometimes a change happens within the person losing weight that is so profound that it changes the whole of the relationship and the reaction of the spouse/partner to those changes.

I have a good friend who lost a ton of weight (100+ lbs) and her relationship fell to pieces. Not because she didn't still love her husband. Not because she changed so much on the inside that it made the relationship diffcult. It turned out that he had married her because she was "fat and would never be attractive to another guy." Therefore in his mind, he didn't have to worry about her cheating on him. While he supported her weight loss on the surface, he just couldn't deal with the fears and insecurities he had once she had lost the weight. She was heartbroken and actually told me she regretted losing the weight because of the heartache it caused. Sad, sad situation.

Jacquie said...

For personal reasons, I have had to make my blog private. I would love for you to continue to "follow me" but in order to do so, please send me an email at and I will send you an invite. I am hoping that this is just going to be temporary but who knows.

Jess said...

I will say, my husband has always thought I was beautiful even at my heaviest (still says that today) but since I've lost weight and he has gained some he is more jealous than he used to be and a little more insecure. I think he thinks that if I were to reach goal that guys would be drooling all over me and I might look at him differently. I can say now, that would never happen. I am so totally in love with him that it wouldn't matter.

When we got together he was 40lbs lighter than me so it really doesn't worry me because he chose me when I was bigger years ago and I was what he wanted. It's kind of like he has seen me at my worst but not my best yet. Does that make sense?

Lee Ann said...

Great post. I've often wondered the same things. Thanks for your comments to me regarding my husband. I'm perplexed at his unsupportive-ness at the prospect of WLS but I've thought a lot about it. I think 75% of it was the cost. Other than that, when I lost weight several years ago, I got REALLY REALLY picky about what I would eat. I had to be picky---or I would have gained it back. So I stopped eating his cooking almost completely. Instead, I grilled myself chicken or fish and steamed up vegetables. He LOVES cooking. He LOVES food. He does not have a weight problem but he goes back and forth between needing to lose 10-15 pounds and being perfect. SOooo, I think perhaps the food/cooking issue is part of it. Plus, I was kinda a jerk face and dropped not-so-subtle hints suggesting he should work out more (with me!). I regret that. I really do. Perhaps these are the reasons he's acting the way he is. Maybe he's afraid I'll act like I did before.

Jennifer said...

Good topic. I think people absolutely do change when they lose weight. their confidence goes up. And from there life altering things happen. Just watch the biggest loser...all these people go and lose a ton of weight and then when they go home to overweight spouses they find it hard to stay on track. There is a rift between them. A difference. Of course, thats only one circumstance but still. My hubs and I eat very differently but like you, I am just jealous that I cant eat crap like he does and not gain weight! hehe.


Read said...

I totally think fat girls settle. If there's no self love there to begin with - how can you truly understand and own what you want out of life - how you want to be treated - what things are important to you.

There's a big part of me that is pretty thankful that my problems with Brad started years before I ever started to think about wls. I think if that was the only thing that changed I would feel too guilty in considering leaving. However ass backwards that is!

Laurie said...

That is some serious shit. I guess some people do find their confidence in weight loss, but how sad. One of the best things about my husband is he has always accepted me, no matter my weight. He doesn't accept me so much when I am being a raging bitch, but a fat raging bitch is just the same in his book.

AutumnLeaves said...

A great post indeed, Draz. When I met my husband, I was super thin. Almost immediately upon meeting, my hormones went into their decline before the death knolls and the weight came on fast and furious. I've never changed my eating habits, truth be told. In fact, I probably eat less now than I ever did. Still, he seems to love me anyway, despite myself. At the same time, he doesn't seem quite as physically attracted to me as he once was. But then I find myself thinking that it is our age. And I was never all that attracted to him physically (well, he had a nice body when we met but his weren't the looks I tend to be attracted to). Still, he was the first person I was ever relaxed enough with to really enjoy the physical side of the relationship. Sometimes I don't know if our marriage will make it (due to other issues). Confidence is one thing I've never had when it comes to myself. I am a loner and would never even date again if this fails. I'm 51, almost 52, and I'm to the point of just wanting to do what I want to do without having to care for anything or anybody else. Does that make sense? Still...I can't say my husband stopped loving me when I gained weight. As to the hormones? They are in their final agonal throes.

Lyla said...

Yeah, I think that women often gain the ability and/or willingness to stand up for themselves and what they want when they have lost a lot of weight. Things that weren't deal breakers before, out of fear of being alone, are suddenly enough to end a relationship. I can't really fault that-- I think overweight women (and men, but especially women because they are more stigmatized) have a tendency to put up with a lot of emotional bullshit in relationships because they are afraid of the alternative. I'm all for people standing up for themselves, as long as they aren't unnecessarily cruel in the process.

I think my relationship with my husband is getting stronger. He has always loved me unconditionally as I've put on 100 pounds over the years of our marriage. He has proudly displayed pictures at work when I'd rather not have any visual evidence of my weight, and he's happily wanted to go out and do things with me when I wanted to stay at home and hide. He has supported me every step of the way through WLS but I never had even the slightest doubt that he's have loved me if I stayed big. The only thing that has changed since I've lost is that the sex is better, but that's more a mechanics thing (feels better to me) than anything else. In fact, one thing I've noticed is that MY drive is higher, but his has stayed the same-- so if anything becomes an issue, it will be that I want to have sex more than he does, lol :) I'm not about to cheat over that though.

Dizzy Girl said...

Great choice of topic Draz. I've always admired you for having the guts to address a topic that may seem controversial to some.

I know the kinds of guys I date changes depending on the confidence I have within myself (which directly links to my weight). So it makes sense to me that other women feel this way too. Plus, I know for myself- when I lose weight and I start to feel more confident- the way I act changes too. Period. So again, it makes sense to me that a woman who has lost weight and gained confidence would suddenly want more than she did when she didn't think she could get just anyone. Does that make sense? Anyway- love you- miss you- ttys-