“I could really see us together if you lost weight”

Most of us would be incensed hearing this. I wasn’t. A dear male pal, someone I’d dated briefly 18 months ago, told me this recently. We were having a heart to heart, honest talk about the ups and downs of dating and why I hadn’t found Mr. Right yet.

About a month after our first date, we decided we weren’t a good match, but still enjoyed each others’ company. We’ve kept in touch regularly, seeing each other monthly and talking weekly. While he thinks I’m pretty and sexy, my body type is not the kind that turns him on. And as much as I adore him as a pal, he has some quirks that would drive me crazy if he was my man.

What if someone who really interested you said this? Would you be crushed, incensed, or step up your efforts to lose some lingering extra pounds? Both genders long for someone who will love us exactly the way we are. Yet it is commonly acknowledged that women often see a man as a project, wanting to change his wardrobe, job, car, friends, furnishings, hair cut, etc. How is this different than a man wanting us to sculpt our body closer to what he desires?

Change MeToday I heard Ruben Studdard singing “Change Me.” In it, he asks his woman how would she feel if he complained about her hair, nail polish color, clothes, friends, job, cooking, housekeeping, etc. His point is that she wouldn’t like it, so why does she think he will put up with her constant complaints about him? The chorus, “Why do you want to change me?” echos what men and women have felt for ages.

You have to decide what the deal breakers are for you. And if there are things you’d like him to change, consider how easy they are to change. And how important are they to him? What if he really likes his job, but you think he doesn’t make enough money. Can you live with it, or are you willing to figure out how you both could create more income for both of you without his changing jobs? Or is it a deal breaker?

Better identify your deal breakers while early in the dating cycle. Lest you try to change a deal breaker that he is unwilling to modify — after you’ve invested months in the relationship. And what would you be willing to change for someone you cared about?

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7 responses to ““I could really see us together if you lost weight””

  1. Bruce Daley Avatar

    After you get a certain age (and I believe that age is 40) it is very difficult to get constructive criticism. People assume that you are not going to change and so they give up. It seems to me that what your friend was giving you constructive criticism. “If you lost weight you would attract more men” is not the same kind of comment as “I can’t be seen in public with someone who reminds me of Shelly Winters.”

    As I mentioned in my last comment men are dogs. To continue the animal analogy further you get more flies with honey than vinegar so its better not to criticize something the other person can’t change.

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi Bruce:

    My friend wasn’t really giving me advice, he was just stating that I wasn’t his type. His type is model-thin, which I will never be unless I’m on my deathbed.

    While I agree it is best not to criticize something the other person can’t change, I’d even say not to criticize something they aren’t interested in changing. If they’re happy and don’t see a need to change, no matter how much nagging and complaining you do, until they see it is important, no change will occur. Now sometimes we will change as we see it will help us be closer to someone we care about. And that’s enough motivation. But nagging doesn’t often do it.

  3. Bruce Daley Avatar

    That is very wise comment. You could even make the argument that the only reason people voluntarily change is to move closer to someone they care about.

  4. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Thanks, Bruce.

    Only if we include ourselves as the someone we want to get closer to! I lost 30 lbs right before my husband left, not for him, but for me!

  5. Chris Rohde Avatar

    Good post, DG, and losing 30 lbs is very admirable indeed! When I was still in the Marine Corps (heck, only got out a year and a half ago) I was, at my smallest, 70lbs lighter than I am now… and only 25 lbs lighter when I got out than I am now.

    My wife and I are working on slimming ourselves back down… for ourselves, for each other, and for our (eventual) kids. Its mighty hard working 45 hours a week, going to school full time, *and* exercising!

    Again though, nice read… I’ll keep checking in 🙂

  6. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi Chris:

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, please do check back — I hope you’ve put Adventures in Dating After 40 on your RSS feed or get it in emai with FeedBlitz. And I do appreciate all comments.

  7. Deborah Avatar

    Hmmm, I actually find that comment kind of rude. It’s fine to not be attracted to someone for whatever reason – things they can change, or things they can’t. But putting those requirements on someone else (I’d be attracted to you IF…) smacks me as insensitive (and kind of self-centered).

    Try these on for size:
    I’d be attracted to you if you weren’t [Jewish/Muslim/Christian]
    I’d be attracted to you if you made more money
    I’d be attracted to you if you weren’t a lawyer
    I’d be attracted to you if you dressed better.

    All of these are things people can, theoretically change, but it seems rather self-centered to make this comment. Who cares if you’d be attracted to me if I changed! Most of us are looking for someone who accepts us as we are.

    It’s true that most of us who are carrying extra poundage want to lose it, but I can’t see how it would possibly help someone do that to point out that, at present, they are unattractive. I don’t know anyone who is overweight who does not already know that they would be more attractive if they lost weight.