Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Sex Therapist for Couples on iVillage

My husband has gained a lot of weight over the course of our marriage. I am not as attracted to him as I used to be, although I still love him very much. Despite marriage counseling, I'm still having trouble getting past my issues with his physical appearance. Do you have any advice?


Ruth Westheimer

The original sexpert, Dr. Ruth has given advice for more than 20 years. She's hosted television shows including Sexually Speaking with Dr.... Read more

Weight gain is a tricky issue because it's perceived as "voluntary." For example, many men lose the lovely locks they had when they were younger. While some women may not be attracted to their husbands' baldness -- they may have even avoided dating bald men -- they are now willing to overlook hair loss because they know it's no one's "fault." Weight gain, on the other hand, can cause resentment because it is considered a matter of choice. Weight gain also tends to go hand in hand with inactivity. Someone who has gained a great deal of weight just can't get around the way he or she once did. It may even affect the person's ability to make love. If you enjoy physical activity and he can no longer keep up, then you have another reason to resent this change.

So, you see, it may not just be his actual appearance that is bothering you. You might be blaming him for his choices -- perhaps subconsciously. If your husband has simply given up on his weight, that may be a bigger factor than what he looks like. If you think this is the case, you should talk to him. Tell him it's not the actual weight that bothers you as much as his attitude. If he is willing to make more of an effort to control his weight, both by eating less and by getting more exercise, then you might be able to overlook those extra pounds -- even if he's never svelte again.

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