Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
How do I tell dh I don't fancy him anymore?(136 Posts)
Well here goes...dh and I have been together for 12 years now and obviously both changed a lot over this time. We've been married 8 years and have 2 dc.
My problem at the moment is I no longer find my dh physically attractive. I'm not expecting him to be the buff 20 something he was when we met but his weight has been creeping up over the years to the point where he just doesn't do it for me anymore.
I really don't want to sound like a cow but I've tried to stay in shape (for him as well as me) I'm slim, I exercise (despite working too) and I'm pretty well toned. I feel really mean, but I sit and watch him eating crisps and choc etc and it just makes me sit there and get angry inside.
I have tried a few times to broach the subject and used his parents health as a point. (Mum very overweight and dad has heart issues!) I know he's not happy with it too and does try every now and then. And does loose a bit, then just puts it on again. He can generally loose weight fairly easily which is annoying. He just says he doesn't drink, smoke so choc etc are his thing.
He's a good guy, works hard and i know has a stressful job. hes also gets quite sensitive, so I can't just say it how it's is, even in a nice way. he takes any slight negative as a big deal. But it's starting to really bother me now. He's a member of a gym and goes now and then, but he always has an excuse not to go. I hate excercise so do it once a week but am more aware of what i eat in between, unlike dh. I've suggested he goes on a weekend, and maybe 1 evening per week. I've not ever stopped him going he just doesn't want to.
I know it's sounding like I'm moaning but I don't know what to do. I know he doesn't like it either as he mentions it when putting on clothes, that his belly is big.
I'm finding I have no desire towards him sexually despite him wanting to (this causes a lot of rows about frequency etc) but I just don't find him appealing anymore. I have tried to look past it and hope that if we do it more ill get my mojo back but it's not happening.
Not to sound conceited but I'm a fairly ok looking women and do get the odd look now and then, I just wish he'd try and make an effort for me, you know??
Am I being unreasonable? How do I handle this??
On the flip side to add a bit of perspective, if I ask him for an honest opinion on how I look I get it . To the point when I was carrying weight after the kids he'd honestly tell me (if I asked) that my bum was big etc, so he will tell me but CANNOT take the same level of honesty back.
I am going to stick my neck out here and say some of the pious comments about how someone would love their partner whatever are not always going to be borne out if they had to face that reality. The responses remind me of those tick-box quizzes in magazines:
How would you react if your partner gained 4 stones in weight.
-love them just the same
-encourage them to lose weight by doing it jointly
-leave the bastard.
And of course, everyone thinks the 'right' answer is number 1!
I agree with the poster who said it's about mutual respect. Your first priority is to respect yourself. If you have emotional issues, or a lifestyle that prevents you taking control of your weight then that's still not a reason not to face up to that and seek support.
I also believe we have to show respect to our partners by being an attractive person- emotionally, physically and in every sense. What that means to each couple is different- but if weight is huge turn off and it's made clear then to disregard that is the same as saying you don't care about your partner's feelings. Yes, of course someone also has the right to become fat- but if they know their partner is not attracted to fat people ( and I'm one of those) then they need to think about their behaviour.
If i was to double my weight DH would still love me for who I am- but I know he doesn't like fat women, so even if I disregarded the health aspects of being fat, I wouldn't allow myself to turn into something that might cause conflicting emotions for him.
I wonder though if they changed other things eg he became more willing to socialise and put a bit of effort into the actual relationship the weight may not matter as much.
I think what I'm saying is about degree. The problem is that something has changed in OP's marriage but it's not an absolute.
The issue is not that her DH needs to lose weight but they need to find an equilibrium again.
For example - I'm clean but I don't spend much time on my appearance (I'm making myself out to be a right catch aren't I ). I don't wear make up every day, I let my hair dry naturally & it desperately needs dying, my nails are a state. I spend 3 mins getting ready in the morning. And I'm a stone or 2 overweight. But my husband loves & fancies me.
Likewise, my husband is big & not that careful about his appearance. If I'm honest, his hair is a state. I LIKE THAT! I like that he is a bit disheveled at times, I like that he doesn't spend hours caring about what he looks like.
I have never found male models or sports people attractive.
He has lost weight recently which makes him look better, I admit, but I NEVER didn't fancy him and tell him in no uncertain terms that I like him 'chunky'. I do not want to bounce off a six pack thank you very much.
I realise we now must sound like The Twits but I'm just trying to say that's its the OP's perception along with her DH's weight that is the problem, not just him.
I am not sure the showering thing is particularly relevant but I was just thinking along the lines of people seeing the laziness/not making an effort as a turn off, I am not sure I could fancy someone who smelt terrible all the time, not as much as having to have a shower before sex but just general good hygiene. Is that shallow? I am not sure but certainly it wouldn't bother some people but would others, would DH fancy me if I didn't shave my legs/under arms? I have no idea but I can't imagine he would be particularly turned on by it.
I guess this thread has surprised me a bit with such a high expectation of fancying/loving someone unconditionally. I am just not sure everyone is able to do that due to differences I personalitites. I couldn't stick with XH through the 'worse' as he was an arsehole but I can't imagine it being the same with DH.
Missbopeep, I think people are saying the opposite.
Well done you for working so hard but some people just don't see it as a priority. That's up to them.
It's not refusing to place responsibility on overweight person - it is saying it is entirely that person's responsibility & not up to someone else to dictate behaviour.
Having different priorities in life does not make you virtuous & someone else lazy & irresponsible.
Nor does it make someone disrespectful.
Likening it to not showering is interesting but I suppose different people draw the line there as well.
Some people shower twice a day, I know done people who won't have sex unless their partner is freshly showered, occasionally if I'm in the house all day by myself I don't bother and then forget later.
The problem for the OP is that there is a disconnect between them which needs sorting out.
Incidentally OP, my husband & I went on the Briffa diet after we read his book. DH never been on diet in his life but it made perfect sense to him & he totally bought in.
FWIW I put on just over 1 stone when pregnant with each of my DCs. My son was 7lb 6, and DD was 7lb. No doctor ever voiced any concern and after the birth I was back to my normal weight immediately. So was my mum who had 2 healthy children ( incl. me) I ate for one, not two throughout!
I think one thing that annoys me about these threads is that anyone who seems to place the responsibility back in the 'overweight person's' court, is seen as harsh and unsympathetic, and the implication is they/ we/I don't understand.
Oh but I do! I was an overweight teen around puberty and thank god my mum had the foresight to control what I ate, and told me quite bluntly that I had to cut back- I was already having issues finding clothes to fit around the waist- if they fitted my waist they were too long etc. I was by no means obese- just needed to lose a few pounds.
Since then I make an effort all the time. Heart disease runs in my family- my maternal uncle died at 50, my maternal gran had a heart attack at 60, both my parents have had mild strokes, though not until their 70s and early 80s. My 'default' position would be to sit still and eat cake. I just don't because I am too aware of the risks and also vain.
noddy - I think to quote marriage vows is a bit naive TBH, people change, some people may become violent and abusive but doesn't been you should stick with them for better or worse.
I don't think it is guaranteed everyone will fancy their partner for the whole of their lives and really I don't think anyone should care if someone else thinks they are shallow or not, you can't help how you feel.
If there are underlying problems as to why the OPs DH is putting on weight and putting his health at risk then he needs to do something about it, I don't think the OP has been harsh or nasty about him.
I have times when I feel stressed and may eat more, I have lazier periods when I don't exercise or if I have an injury but I would always want to make an effort for both myself and my DH, I think it would be a total lack of disrespect if neither of us cared about what the other thought. In this case it is no different really than having a partner who stops showering or something, IMO its a lack of respect and usually down to an underlying reason (often stress/depression).
Just to ask re the pregnancy weight thing - I thought 2 stone weight gain was the lower end of a healthy gain during pregnancy?
Dahlen: I shouldn't bite but I will:
I am fully aware of biological differences between men & women, funnily enough. I'm also aware of the plentiful studies that show how much more domestic work & childcare women do while working full time.
The fact is domestic chores & childcare are physically demanding. They're hard work & with that much activity you don't actually need the gym.
While women are biologically programmed to store more fat than men, due, in part, to the action of oestrogen, we're only talking about roughly 5%. Moreover, British women are not biologically programmed to be the fattest women in Europe: that comes down to eating habits, exercise habits and cultural norms.
The fact is that British men and women have among the highest BMIs in Europe, this is an issue that affects both sexes.
To imply that that when I say 'weight loss = eat less + move around more', means I haven't considered the reasons why people can't is just irritating.
I'm fully aware of all the reasons why men & women put on weight and don't lose it: from physical health issues such as thyroid problems, hormonal problems, insulin resistance, medication, pain, fatigue, injury etc; to mental issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, addiction, unhappiness, low confidence & comfort eating.
That's precisely why I have compassion for the OP's husband. That's why I will not judge a man for putting on weight any more than I would ever judge a woman.
If you have to falsify the other side of the debate & try to patronise there's something wrong with your argument.
An argument which employs, an absurd double standard: on the one hand you claim it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to ditch a man for eating too much chocolate, but it's not ok for a man to do the same.
It's not necessary to put on 2 stone in pregnancy, I didn't, and in France it's considered medically dangerous to put on the kind of weight in pregnancy that women do here.
At the same time I totally understand why women do & I'm not judging them for it. I have never personally had a problem staying thin, but I recognise that some people do. They really do, both male and female.
When i met my DP he had a six pack. He now has a beer belly.
When DP met me i was a size 6 with a lovely flat toned stomach - 2 kids later my stomach is a mess and i look pregnant most of the time.
But we still fancy the pants off eachother.
I think the issue with your situation OP is that something else is lacking. You cam either try and resolve it (if you want to) or leave. Life is too short.
(I know im probably repeating but i only got to page 2)
Is a way to approach this more about equality of effort? Could you say to him, look I put in time for exercise and healthy eating and I deliberately resist snacking so that I stay fit and slim. I'd like you to put in similar effort for me.
Make it a shared thing like both try the 5:2 diet for a few months? If he loses weight easily it'll probably work for him.
It sounds like what you find most unattractive its the laziness not just the fat.
Well you either believe the marriage vows or you don't I am not married but I think one of them is for better or worse. I am not missing the point I am giving an opinion. I know what you are saying but I don't agree with the OP There is nothing written down that he can't eat a bit of crap food and let himself go a bit. He may be ok with it for now and a stressful job can send you to the biscuit barrel! You can't own another person and dictate how they are and nor should you want to. he may be eating too much due to teh stress.
You are missing the point about changes through illness which cannot be controlled, and changes by a change of lifestyle which can be controlled.
This is a by-the -way- but there are cases ( and not saying I think this is right, but I have read about these people) where people with a disability which has changed their marriage, have allowed and even encouraged their partner to seek sex elsewhere or even another relationship.
So not everyone believes you stick together whatever.
I don't think I am. Has she said he is unrecognisable? I missed that.
noddy You are missing the point and possibly haven't read all the posts?
Everyone here who has supported the OP's view, has said that unavoidable changes to appearance as a result of illness or disability are totally different to someone who 'lets themselves go' and becomes unrecognisable as the person they first met.
He doesn't drink, smoke, good guy and dad works hard in a stressful job and after 12 yrs he has put on a bit of weight and likes a bit of choccy.
Dahlen you refer to research. Would you like to link to whatever research you refer to which fits with your points about over eating- it's not very clear what you are talking about tbh.
I don't recall referring to anecdotes, or research- so please enlighten.
Neveronasunday - I could have started a thread about intellectual fitness when I was with XH. He kept himself fit but was very vain with it, a very unattractive quality IMO. He also had no ambitions or the desire to do well at work or at anything really (other than computer games).
I was 20 when we met and didn't care about those things at the time but as I started to do better on a professional level he just stayed the same, I found it a very unattractive quality so that probably makes me sound shallow, we just had nothing in common eventually and the only things he found interesting were computer games and football.
DH has never been as slim or toned as XH but I have always found him so much more attractive and still do, I really didn't fancy XH at all. It said it all when we split up - he desperately wanted to know if I still fancied him even though I didn't love him!
I really don't think I would not love my new DH in any circumstances regardless of his weight but I really do think the reasons behind the weight gain or whatever it is are what turns people off their partners.
I agree with Noddy. If I truly loved someone I would love them and want to have sex with them no matter how much their appearance changed. If I didn't, I wouldn't.
So, if you married a man with eg a 32 inch waist who you fancied the pants off and that same person, for no reason other than gluttony, put on 6/7 stone and could no longer squeeze into 42 inch trousers (with massive stomach over the top), it wouldn't bother you one jot?
I agree with Noddy. If I truly loved someone I would love them and want to have sex with them no matter how much their appearance changed. If I didn't, I wouldn't.
Larry, that's fine - but it is just your opinion.
Now aside from the health problems of obesity (as opposed to being merely overweight), it is only your opinion that it is a worthwhile aim.
OP also thinks it is, but her DH may not.
If she feels it is because he lacks respect for her/unwilling to make an effort, then that is a totally different problem in their marriage.
Sometimes, I'm too busy to wax my legs when I should - it's not because I don't love my husband.
If it is so important to the OP, then maybe she does need to talk to him - but from a position of differing priorities, rather than attacking him for being a lazy slob with no self-control.
The thing is if this is a deal breaker then you are probably not with the right person .When my dp and I met I was 8 stone great body blah blah with in 2 years I had had treatment for cancer and was on dialysis and needed a kidney and pumped full of steroids looking a fright! Dp never waivered in how he treated me and I still felt loved and even desired when I could manage it! True love should transcend these things really Maybe he doesn't mind thats he has changed and sees it as natural How would you feel if ill health changed you radically and he rejected you? Anything can be round the corner and I bet you would really need his support no matter how big his belly is!
"But I'm happy for people to cling to the belief that people just need to eat less and move more without stopping to think about why people don't do just that."
It is a form of addictive behaviour, which is aided and abetted by a very cynical food industry. However, it is not in the least bit analogous to asking why the poor don't get better jobs. It is ultimately in every single person's control what they put in their own mouths.
I do accept that there is a difference between, at one extreme, those who can afford personal trainers and special diets delivered and, at the other, those with no free time or money. However, the obesity epidemic is relatively recent and people, on average, both have more money and free time than when most were thin. It is not easy or trivial to be in decent shape. However it is within everyone's power to achieve and, in my opinion, a worthwhile aim as, whatever one feel about body image etc, one just feels so much better and has more energy when in reasonable shape (and I am not talking perfection here, a little overweight is fine).
But this is detracting from your situation OP. You are entitled to feel whatever you feel about your DH's weight gain. Your feelings are not wrong. If you are a decent human being you will take care to express how you feel sensitively, and if your DH chooses not to take any of that on board or you cannot reignite the desire, you are free to leave knowing you behaved kindly and gave it your best shot.
Personal observation is not the same as scientific study with controls missbopeep although you can of course believe whatever you want, as can I. I just choose to base mine on research.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.