Should our partners dictate how much we weigh?

In many relationships, partners are particularly finicky about how much they feel their partner should weigh.

As someone who prefers curvier women, I'll admit that I've told my wife I prefer she not get too skinny. But it seems most women (and men, for that matter) have the opposite dilemma: their partners insist that they keep their weight at or below a certain threshold.

Notice how I used the word "prefer" above when referring to my wife's weight. If she chooses to lose more than I'd like, that's really her decision. I won't love her any less for it. If she were to gain weight, I'd still love her just the same.

I would never put pressure on her to cater to my preferences. I might only become more emphatic in my desire that she gain or lose weight if I see her going too far in one direction. When health becomes a serious concern, that's when I'll make sure she hears me loud and clear.

I think it's perfectly normal for our partner to weigh in (no pun intended) on our weight and eating habits -- so long as it's done tactfully. This is a touchy subject for many of us, so it's important that whoever wishes to make a comment do so in a calm, respectful manner. Unfortunately, far too many arguments between couples stem from this very subject because criticism is perceived as offensive rather than constructive.

It's up to us to decide whether we wish to be open to our partner's suggestions, whether it's to gain weight, lose it, tone up, and so on. At the end of the day, our bodies are our own -- we can't force ourselves into doing something we don't feel comfortable with.

Here's one piece of advice that should not be lost on couples: Neither partner has anything to gain by being a hypocrite. If you insist that your partner lose 30 pounds, but you yourself are 50 pounds overweight, is that really fair?

Partners should be:

(1) Open about how they feel without hurting the other person's feelings
(2) Understanding as to the reasons why the person may not be receptive to either gaining or losing weight (they're likely valid)
(3) Realistic about what the other person can reasonably do, should they decide to take your advice (e.g. not expecting the next Pamela Anderson or Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Again, partners should strive to be communicative, respectful, and understanding. In this way, they help plant the seeds for a stronger, longer-lasting relationship.

Have you ever had a partner try to dictate how much you should weigh? How'd you deal with it? Do you think one is in the wrong for doing this?

For all previous posts, please click here: How to Understand People

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