I don't find him attractive any more

She loves her husband, but she just doesn't find him attractive any more. Is their relationship doomed?

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I love my husband very much. He isn't perfect but he is a very good husband and father to our four kids, so I can't complain.

My problem is he has gained a lot of weight since we got married and I find I am not as attracted to him any more. I still love him but my attraction has waned quite a bit, so our sex life is pretty thin on the ground. In fact  I never look at him naked because it grosses me out.

I remember watching chat shows where men would moan about their wife's weight gain and I used to think, 'you horrible so and so's, you should love her all the same!' but now I can totally understand where they are coming from.

I am no skinny minnie myself, I have struggled with my weight most of my life but I exercise (which I hate) and watch what I eat (which I hate as if I had my way I would eat takeaways all the time) and I am able to maintain my weight in the healthy range for both health and vanity reasons.

I am at my wits' end with my husband and I have tried everything, I have talked about being healthy for the future of our children (he already has high cholesterol and high blood pressure and is only in his late 20s) but it doesn't work.  He will sporadically go on some drastic diet or exercise regime, but it never lasts. He won't listen to a word I say to help, mainly because I think it  is me saying it.

I have even been blunt and told him I love him very much but I am not as attracted to him how big he is. If I met him today for the first time there is no way I would have gone out with him.

He is wonderful in so many other ways and I think I am a lucky girl to have him, I wish I wasn't so shallow.

What do I do? Am I just too shallow for my own good?

Sad

I don't think you are being shallow. Physical attraction and sexual intimacy are important aspects of relationships. If this was your only focus then yes maybe, but you are acknowledging other aspects of the relationship.

The fact he has tried drastic diets and exercise regimes tells you he is also unhappy with his recent  weight gain, and you know from your own experience how hard it can be to manage to keep those unwanted kilos off.

Like so many issues, there is rarely only one reason for problem weight gain or one magic bullet. There are endless ways of losing weight, and one of the main things is to understand why the issue is there in the first place so you can address the root of the problem rather than the symptom.

Many people who struggle with weight are also struggling with their own unhappiness or stress - and diets and food conversations are easier for most of us than exploring our feelings or figuring out how our emotions drive our eating. Depending on how much you already talk about your feelings together, you could try and figure out together what emotions drive each of your eating habits - boredom, stress, anger, sadness, feeling worthless?  All are possible contenders.

Another way of figuring out how things are overall for you both would be to have a general review with him about how things are going.

At different times in our lives many of us lose touch with ourselves and our physicality. You have had four children and he is still in his 20s, plus I imagine he has a fulltime job. That's a lot to manage and it is easy to go into survival mode and neglect ourselves. However, that is not an effective strategy for the long term. Your main focus has been on raising children and now it's time to look at things together and create some plans/visions moving forward.

Discuss and explore how you are both feeling in all aspects such as finances and setting goals or reviewing existing ones. Are you both on the same page about how do you want to raise your children, the values you want to have as a family, and the kind of lifestyle you want? Find time to prioritize and nurture your relationship plus find time for yourselves.

Let him know your struggles with managing your health/weight issues and ask him if he will let you help him.  See if there is a way that you can do this together so that you can both support each other. Ask him what sort of vision does he have for himself, you and the children regarding health. Share yours also and look at what lifestyle changes you might need to make. Involve the children and create some fun family times together like going for walks in the park, tramps in the bush, beach walks or family sports.

Living a healthy lifestyle can bring a sense of vitality and joy back into your lives. Whatever lifestyle changes you make need to be realistic and sustainable long term.

You already have many great things in your relationship, do get some professional couple counselling help if things don't improve for you both as it sounds like this issue could become a deal breaker in the not too distant future.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

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