A couple years ago, I went through a rough patch–my sister passed away suddenly, and I became very depressed for several months. By the time I came out of it, I’d put on upwards of 50 pounds. I’ve never been able to get it off; sometimes I’ll lose 10 or 15 pounds, but then it creeps back on, and I wind up heavier than where I started.
Once that happened, my sex life with my husband became infrequent, then essentially non-existent. He finally told me it was because of the weight, that he just didn’t find me attractive anymore. Which of course led to me crash-dieting, losing a little, then gaining it back.
That was almost two years ago. Now my husband says he wants a divorce, because he doesn’t feel close to me anymore. I still love him, and I feel like he’s kicking me to the curb because I got fat. Is there a way I can convince him to stay? I’m so hurt and confused I don’t even know whether I want to keep him.
-Fat Maybe-Ex Wife
I think you should probably cut the cord, but not for the reasons you might think.
Here’s a tough thing to hear: your husband isn’t totally out of line. For some people, an active sex life isn’t just part of a good relationship, it’s the most important factor. If you’ve spent somewhere upwards of 2 years (and from your letter, it’s possible that’s a huge underestimation) basically celibate, and your husband places a significant value on sex in a marriage, then it’s quite possible that, for him, the relationship has been cut off from air for too long to survive.
And yes, you could possibly “fix” that by losing the weight for good, but I don’t think you should. Lose the weight if it will make you happier and healthier, but ditch your husband anyway. Not because he’s shallow — I’m going out on a shaky limb and saying that I think it’s legitimate for someone who cares about sex and is no longer attracted to his partner to want to move on — but because you clearly don’t look for the same fundamental things FROM a partner as he does.
Attraction is important, and for some people, it’s vital. But for you, it seems like an emotional connection is much more important (otherwise the lack of sex would have probably led you to feel the same lack of closeness). You should be looking for someone whose love for his partner isn’t tied up in how he feels about her body, or even in how their bodies can tie together; you should be looking for someone who values the emotional OVER the physical.
Your husband doesn’t. And as time goes on, that will probably be a bigger and bigger liability for him if he wants lasting relationships (everyone ages, after all, what’s his plan for that?).
But that doesn’t have to be your problem. It shouldn’t be your problem.
So shift your focus away from this relationship and onto losing a TON of weight, fast.
Specifically the couple hundred pounds you currently call your husband.