I read your column and maybe you can help me. I’m dating a girl that’s been my friend since we were in high school. About six months ago we, you know, started talking about being more than just friends. Ten years we’ve hung out and talked about who we’re going out with and what goes wrong. We noticed that the relationships we’ve made seem to come and go, but we’re still friends. We’re trying to be more than just friends. I love her – she has a beautiful smile and the biggest heart. She knows she needs to lose some weight, and I’m sure she’s trying. I’m just trying to remember what’s inside is what matters, not the outside. I mean, she’s funny and she makes great dinners and she likes to go fishing, my favorite hobby. I feel guilty that I still notice her weight, like, I need to grow up or something. I’ve only kissed her a couple times, and it was real nice, you know what I mean, it felt comfortable. Should I marry this girl? Will I stop seeing her extra pounds (we’re talking about 50 pounds too many – but she says it’s in her genes). How can I quit seeing her so broadly?
I agree with you that it’s time for you to grow up and not hold this relationship hostage based on one superficial category. I mention “superficial” because you’ve already described how attractive this girl is to you in so many other ways. Reducing her attractiveness to her size is a narrow and unfortunate way for you to view an individual who you clearly adore.
Weight and size can certainly be priorities for you when selecting a mate, but it seems like you’ve already overlooked her size and made a significant investment in this relationship. If her weight is such an issue now, why didn’t it keep you from moving the relationship to a more committed level?
Good marriages are built on deep friendship, trust, safety, and commitment. Ask any elderly couple who have been married fifty years or more what matters most in marriage and I guarantee you that you’ll never hear the word “body” mentioned even once. You’re fortunate that you’ve found someone who you can adore and connect to, despite her physical imperfections.
It’s a guarantee that your body will change, her body will change, and both bodies will eventually stop working altogether. The one thing that isn’t guaranteed in a relationship is whether or not that relationship will stand the test of time through years of selfless sacrifice. Your chances sound pretty good with this girl for that last category, as long as you don’t take this relationship further while secretly hoping she’ll meet your demanding specifications.
If you can’t get over her size, then please do her a favor and spare her a lifetime of scrutiny from your critical eye. As Jeffrey R. Holland once said, “the one we love should not be leading the assault on our self-esteem.”
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
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