“Hi Michael, I have a question you for tomorrow’s newsletter. Rather not post it on the wall, prefer if my man didn’t see me asking.
After going through a few of your programs I have really come to value your insight. I am currently going through your Secret Survey program. The section about toxic insecurities hit me hard in two ways. First, as a woman it is very honest and eye opening. It is something that every woman should hear. Second, it got me thinking about my man’s insecurities.
Over the last 10 months he has gained 25 lbs as a result of some medical issues. It has made him very self-conscience. I’m truly not bothered by the extra weight but he is so that’s what matters. We have talk about both of our insecurities and the fact that we are both awful at accepting compliments. We both know that we are there for each other for support. We started working out together and cooking healthy meals together. At first, it seemed like it was helping to keep us on the same page. I have been feeling great about myself and our relationship and I thought it was helping him feel the same. But he is still so self-conscious and it is starting to wear me down.
Without over doing it, I do compliment him and do little things to let him know I adore him and that I am attracted to him in every way. I have made an effort to be extra enthusiastic about the bedroom and initiated it more often. But the insecurities have even started to affect our life. During love making he has started to leave his tank top on. I hate it! I want to feel every inch of him against me, so it ruins it a little for me. But when I try to take it off of him he cringes. So I stopped trying to do so.
Furthermore, he has started to question me, like what I say to him is disingenuous. He says the “he knows that I say things just to stroke his ego” which is BS and I told him that. He as even started to project on to me that I doubt how much he loves me! Holy red flag!!! Which is why I bought the secret survey program to try to work on my end of the relationship.
My point is, his insecurities are becoming just as toxic. Not sure what more I can do. How would you suggest that I handle dealing with male insecurities?”
Thanks for your question. It hit me right in my hair-covered and slightly paunchy belly.
Actually, I TOTALLY get where your guy is coming from. I usually stay in pretty good shape but between turning 36, getting married, traveling a bunch and “accidentally” eating several pounds of peanut M&M’s I got . . .
Well, kind of fat.
I mean, not “fat” fat. But “fat for a guy who does Crossfit 5 days a week and prides himself on having shoulder humps.”
Finally my wife had a talk with me.
I was walking around shirtless and she placed a hand on my stomach and with love in her eyes and a smile on her face said, “Mike, when’s the baby due? =-)”
Which COULD have hit me like a sledgehammer to my gut.
But it didn’t because…
1. She’s right that I’ve let myself go a bit over the last couple months (she has as well and we’re both working on getting back into shape.)
2. She didn’t wait until I was whale-like to say anything.
3. I knew she still loved me, lusted after me and was just putting a speed-bump in the way of my accelerated degradation.
Honestly, people ask all the time how you bring up your partner’s weight gain and the answer really is “with love and with words.”
I know it’s hard, but going to your man or your woman and saying something like “Hey honey, it seems like you haven’t been making the time for exercise lately. I love you and I want you to be healthy, so what can I do to make it easier for you to get back to the gym?” while HORRIFYING to think about is really the best way to do it.
(The worst way to do it is to mock them or not to say anything at all as it’s way too easy for “a little bit of paunch” to turn into something you need a wheelbarrow to cart around.)
But your situation is a little bit different . . .
Because your boyfriend hasn’t gained all that weight because he’s been eating a bunch of crap or because he’s been siting all day playing video games.
He’s gained it because of a medical condition that’s totally out of his control and is wreaking havoc with his body.
And that’s devastating for anybody.
Knowing that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you eat or what you do you’re not going to be able to get back to the self image you have for yourself sucks.
So what do you as his loving girlfriend do?
Well, you’ve done a lot right already.
But what you need to do now is just be there for him, acknowledge the elephant in the room and say “Hey, this thing you’re dealing with? It sucks. And yes, you’ve gained a little weight but I’m still attracted to you and I still want to feel you and be there with you.”
I haven’t talked about this here before, but for the last couple years I’ve been dealing with Lyme disease.
About 2 years ago I got “the flu that would never go away,” found myself losing all the energy I had, felt like my IQ had dropped by 20 points and got downright grumpy around my friends.
And when (after going to 4 different doctors) I finally found out I had Lyme and found out about the long and arduous treatment process I got:
A. Happy that I finally had a result.
B. Depressed that I was going to have to deal with this.
And my wife (who was then my fiancé) did exactly the right thing. She didn’t try to cheer me up. She didn’t try to pretend it was just a minor problem.
She just gave me a hug and said “This totally sucks, but I’m right here with you.”
And she was.
So here’s all you can really do:
1. Keep loving him.
2. Help him focus his self esteem on things that aren’t about his appearance.
3. Have honest conversations. Live in the now and live in reality and don’t try to pretend he doesn’t have a gut but don’t blame him for it either.