What to Do When Someone You're Dating Makes You Feel Fat

The person you date should never sit in judgment of your body!

I remember in high school, a boyfriend made a comment once about my hands being “crazy big.” He didn’t call me fatso, or tell me I was ugly, but in my tender 16-year-old state (and with a quickly developing binge eating disorder) that’s what I heard. Fat. Big. Ugly. Gross.

Another guy, this one when I was 19, told me he wished I didn’t “dress so old.” What he didn’t know was that the reason I wore button up blouses and avoided the trends is because I didn’t like my overweight body and couldn’t stand the idea of showing too much of it. What did I hear when he said that? Fat. Big. Ugly. Gross.

We are so sensitive to what the people we love romantically think about our bodies, so imagine what it might feel like if someone actually said the words: “You’re too fat”? That’s pretty much what happened to HealthyGirl contributor Trish. Here, she explains…

For 6 years, I was in a relationship with a guy who wasn’t interested in me for the way I was, but rather for what I could be. He continually put me on diets and forced me to exercise with him, and I had myself convinced that it was just because he cared. I discovered after the relationship ended that he did this not because he cared about me and my health, but because he cared about how he looked with me. After our breakup—he cheated, obviously—he told me I was “too fat to love”, that no man would ever love me if I stayed this weight, and that when we went out together people looked at us because they wondered what a guy like him was doing with a girl like me (I just thought people saw us as a cute young couple).

After this, I spent two years in a downward spiral of bingeing and self-hatred to the point where I stopped going out with friends or to see family. It was the hardest and longest two years of my life.

One day I woke up and I realized that I was missing out on finding someone who appreciated me for who and what I was at that moment. I knew the only way to put myself back out there was to start walking around with some confidence. However, I had to be realistic. I knew I wasn’t going to climb out of the huge hole I dug for myself in one day, and I knew before I could bring anyone else into my life I had to fix myself first. I had to have patience.

I started by paying attention to the way I self-spoke—I vowed to say at least 3 good things to myself every day. I also started listing all the great things I had going for me: an amazing family, friends who pushed and pushed until I started believing in myself and who stuck by me even when I would blow plans with them because I was too depressed to go out, a college degree and a scholarship to law school. At the end of every day I threw out my list, and I made another one the next day until I finally started to understand that there was more to life than some guy who thought I was fat. I had to understand that I was more than my weight, regardless of what an ex-boyfriend or anyone else thought.

By having the patience to sit down and look at myself in the mirror and figure out what I needed and what I wanted, I opened myself up to the world again. I stayed single for 3 years after that breakup to just be me and do whatever it was I wanted to do. And guess what? I wanted to eat healthier, I wanted a better relationship with myself and with food, and I wanted to exercise. I wanted to stop bingeing. I wanted to do all of these things for myself, and not to please anyone else. So little by little I made my way out of that hole and got myself back on my feet and put myself back out into the eyes of the world without any apologies for my weight. While I was floating around New York City and Long Island being myself and actually enjoying my life, I was blindsided by someone really fantastic. He came out of nowhere, introduced himself to me with a goofy smile on his face, and we never looked back.

Seven months later I’m in the relationship I never thought I could have—the one with a man who actually loves me the way I am right now, right here in this moment and not the me that could be 15lbs lighter. I’m in the relationship where we can go out to eat and I don’t have to order a salad with no dressing because he’s not keeping a calorie count on me. I’m in the relationship where I feel desirable and sexy and I’m not having anxiety attacks when I take my clothes off.

By having the patience to take care of myself, I was able to finally let someone else back in. I gave myself the time not only to heal from the heartbreak but to get down to the nitty gritty of myself and learn what I was all about. It made me appreciate the things I have already and to work hard to keep my life happy and full. I got out of the mindset that I need someone else to be the source of my happiness—I should be the source of my own happiness, right?! Getting through those years and putting myself proudly on my own two feet gave me the opportunity to have a relationship that is actually healthy and normal—and the ability to appreciate that relationship and enjoy it. —Trish

Wow, right? (We love Trish here at HealthyGirl—she’s awesome!) Now, have you ever dated someone who made you feel you weren’t good enough, because of your body, weight, or anything else? How did you deal? How did it effect your relationship with food or your body image? xo…Sunny

11 Responses to What to Do When Someone You're Dating Makes You Feel Fat

  1. Katie says:

    Attagirl, Trish!!!

    My partner knows that I’ve had “issues” with eating/exercise in the past. He assures me that he likes the way I look currently, but he is CONSTANTLY harping on me to join a gym, and teases me about my love of sweets. I believe him when he says he is concerned about my health long-term, and my energy level in the short term. However, the voice in my head definitely hears, “fatty! fatty-fat-fatty!”

  2. Sian says:

    When I was 18/19 I fell for what I thought was a lovely charming man. He was very self assured and popular. I obviously thought he was the best thing since sliced bread and couldn’t do enough to make him happy.
    To cut a long story short, the relationship slowly decended into an abusive one where really nothing I did was good enough. It started with jibes about my weight in private, then in public in front of friends. He’d encourage me to order what I wanted when we eat out then lambast me about how much weight I was putting on & how he “didn’t find fat birds attractive”. He constantly comment on how attractive this celebrity was or how his friends girlfriends were all so nice & thin. Then it got physically abusive.
    I’ve always had issues with self image since my brother teased me as a child and my partners comments just cemented the disgusting image of my body in my mind (I’ve since talked to my brother about his comments and he was amazed it had effected me so much as to him they were throw away comments that he didn’t actually mean).
    Although now I understand my ex-partners comments were just part of the abuse and another way to ensure I felt worthless enough to stay with him, a voice in the back of my head still tells me that what he said must have been true, otherwise he’d have found something else to pick up on.

  3. […] Healthy Girl, What to Do When Someone You’re Dating Makes You Feel Fat […]

  4. Val says:

    Luckily, i can’t say i have dated someone like this. But man am I sensitive to ANY comments that even sound weight related.

    I’m glad you were able to find someone that loves you for who you are. I couldn’t imagine going out to eat and having to order a salad without dressing. I guess it’s true that we must love ourselves before anyone else can. :)

  5. Kensington says:

    Yep, this brings back memories. I could turn an innocuous comment into “proof” that I was a monster. It was hard at first - really hard - to force myself to find things to like about my physical self. Giving myself credit felt false and awkward, but with time it became more natural.

  6. […] found this letter  at HealthyGirl.org that a woman named Trish wrote about dating a man who told her outright that […]

  7. out of it says:

    I had an ex fiance who would tell me I had a double chin(the night he proposed) I looked fat in certain clothes and thought my face was amazing, just wasn’t that crazy about my body. He only worried about his image when seen with me

  8. Shiloh says:

    I was in three relationships similar to the one described here. The most damaging one was my marriage. I was married young, and my ex-husband would tell me to eat whatever I wanted, and then he would tell me that he didn’t find my body attractive enough.
    He was mentally and emotionally very abusive towards me. I had no idea if I was coming or going. He had me tied up in so many knots, that I had lost track of ME.
    It took me three years to climb out of his mind-numbing, soul-destroying network of lies.

    If I can offer any help to any other female out there it’s this: as soon as a man starts saying ANYTHING negative about your body, run fast and far, or at least confront him!

  9. KateB says:

    12 years ago I dated a man who started out charming, sweet, attentive, fun etc. A dream guy! After 2 months of dating the comments started: I don’t like your hair styled that way, you shouldn’t wear those kinds of pants, etc. Then he started comparing me to his friend’s girl friends/wives, the comments became more belittling and hurtful. About six months into the “relationship” my mother died. The day of her memorial service, I was bending over picking up something in my kitchen, and my boyfriend reached down and grabbed the small role of skin on my tummy that was formed when I bent over, and said “just because you’re grieving isn’t an excuse to let yourself get fat.”

    The last of the charming veneer fell away and he was exposed as a self-absorbed, selfish, insecure, controlling jerk. However, (much to my shame) I didn’t get rid of him.

    It took two more months to get up the courage to kick his lame ass to the curb. For the next YEAR I was obsessed with my weight, and became extremely unhealthy and sick looking. I hated him, had no respect for him, yet his comments had struck me to the core. I hated that words had such power, that I wasn’t strong enough to just brush it off.

    I’m happily married now, and much healthier in every way. However, I still hate The Jerk, and it still stings to think about.

  10. […] Drug last month! I met two wonderful girls who were also interviewed for the book, Razieh and Trish. I then went home and read half the book that night, and finished it the following day. Thank you, […]

  11. Sharmaine says:

    My boyfriend at the moment atleast twice a week says something snarky about my weight and it makes me feel bad he also looks at my body in disgust whenever I’m getting changed or simply just standing infront of him and I turn to see him his eyes are in disgust looking at my stomach. I’m currently about 79kgs when I first met him I was about 65-68kgs this was roughly 2years ago since then I’ve also got stretch marks across my belly. I gained weight after I started anti depressants I’m off them now as I was upset at the fact that I put on too much weight. He also hounds me about not going to the gym as often as I should but since he’s started putting me down about my weight I can’t be bothered I’ve lost motivation and belief in myself.
    I’ve told him before that it makes me feel like shit when he says demeaning things to me but he always denies it and says he was only joking.
    So now I know he’s not right for me. I know I should leave him. I’m just scared of being alone. I need some motivation to move and get out of this house that we live in together and find my own place. Some one help me with some wise words or other options whatever I’m in need of some good vibes for once.

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.