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There can be a lot of fears when it comes to our bodies and our romantic relationships. Common ones I hear (and some I have experienced myself in the past) are…

No one will want to date me if I’m not thin

Does my partner find me attractive now that I’ve gained weight?

I know my partner doesn’t like my body the way it is


I posted about these topics on social media this week, and I got a lot of comments and private messages from people who are really struggling with these kinds of thoughts. Some of their stories were heartbreaking! The pain that these fears around weight and appearance can be really intense. If you are struggling like that, I want to offer some advice and hope for your situation.
 
Here are four things to consider if you are worried you won’t find a partner because of your appearance or that your current partner is unhappy with your appearance…
    1. Not everyone prioritizes physical appearance over inner qualities. Many people are much more focused on their partner’s character, sense of humor, values, etc. than they are the person’s exterior. Also, those inner qualities can sometimes create or enhance the physical attraction as well.
    2. People’s range of what they’re attracted too is often more broad than we think it is. Not every guy is only attracted to thin women who look like models (if they’re even attracted to that type at all).
    3. You might have a distorted perception of yourself and not see yourself as attractive as other people see you. Other people have their own perceptions and opinions and might genuinely find your body appealing, even if you don’t. So if they say they think you’re beautiful, work on believing them. You don’t have to believe it for yourself. But trusting they believe it is important. That’s giving them the respect of being allowed to have a different opinion than you.
    4. Do you really want a partner who places such importance on your aesthetics? Being in a relationship with someone who highly values your appearance might validate your insecurities at times, but you will live in fear of losing that approval. That could keep you stuck in disordered eating to maintain your weight. You will also be constantly worrying they’re more attracted to thinner or prettier women, especially if your appearance changes. And it will. Some body changes are outside our control because of aging, illness and other life circumstances. You also will probably feel used and undervalued as a whole person, which is a terrible way to feel.
If you are with someone who criticizes your body, try to realize that is their issue, not yours. Your body is not the problem. Everyone deserves to feel loved unconditionally by their partner, without unrealistic expectations to meet a narrow beauty ideal or to look the same forever. To expect a partner to always look like they did at the beginning of the relationship is incredibly unfair, and, honestly, disrespectful to your personhood.

If you feel emotionally safe to talk about it with your partner, tell them how you’re feeling and what you need them to do differently. Draw boundaries about any negative comments about your weight or appearance. If you don’t feel you can talk to them or they don’t respect your feelings or boundaries, there are some deeper issues in the relationship I hope you’ll get support around. 

You are good enough.
You are more than a body.
You are worthy of love and respect.
 
If you need some help in believing these truths, check out our Body Image Resilience Program group course. Or if a group format isn’t your thing, book an appointment for 1:1 therapy or coaching.
 
Much love,
Cherie Signature

About Cherie Miller @ Dare 2 HopeI’m Cherie Miller, MS, LPC, founder of Food Freedom Therapy™. I offer counseling for chronic dieting as well eating disorder therapy for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, ARFID, and other eating disorder issues. Contact me here or follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

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