I don't find him attractive any more

Last updated 05:00 19/07/2012

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?


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.

- Stuff

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Louise   #1   05:36 am Jul 19 2012

Often weight gain goes hand in hand with low self esteem and - although you don't specifically mention any symptoms in your letter - depression. Motivation can become a big issue here - which could theroretically be why his excercise plans don't last. My tips would be 1) ask him to go/go with him to the doc's and check there's no medical reason for the weight gain e.g. low thyroid function etc, and have a conversation with him about whether he's been experiencing any low mood, loss of enjoyment in life or other symptoms. Also ask your doc about a "Green Prescription" - a programme run by primary health organisations where someone helps him plan an excercise routine and motivates him to keep up with it. This way there's someone else motivating him to get moving and address the problem,which might relieve some of the tension around these conversations at home. 2) Switch the family (if they're not already - I'massuming they are but just in case) onto healthy eating, portion control and balanced meals. Bar or strictly limit treats on the weekly shop. And 3) As hard as it is, unless there is a significant worsening, refrain from commenting about his weight as it may only make him feel worse and more despondent about it. Instead try inviting him out on a nightly walk, and aim it around spending more (active) time together. Plan some winter renovations in the garden and ask him to help you with it. If you're planning a family celebration/activity in the near future plan it round activity rather than food e.g. go bowling etc on someone's birthday instead of inviting people round for a meal and cake. Hope this helps.

L.Smith   #2   06:16 am Jul 19 2012

When all of that has been tried: tell him that it is lose it or lose you.

AJ   #3   06:27 am Jul 19 2012

Tell him to go on YouTube and google 'Zyzz' for some inspiration of what he could become. U mirin?

Jake   #4   06:35 am Jul 19 2012

Tell him straight, loose the guts or im gone.

G Ollum   #5   07:12 am Jul 19 2012

Leave him, put the poor guy out of his misery.

George   #6   07:20 am Jul 19 2012

Maybe he is unhappy and depressed. Maybe there is something about you he finds unattractive (attractive is as attractive does). Maybe his weight is a way of getting distance from the relationship. I know a lot of attractive people who have absolutely no idea how unsuited they are for a relationship for whatever reason. Maybe your husband realises there are conditions on your love; if you turn on him over his weight, then I would imagine if he was maimed in a car accident. It hurts to think someone you love and are devoted to will turn their back on you if their criteria are not meant. Just saying that maybe there is something he'd like to say and can't bring himself to say it because he is so nice.

Mike   #7   07:23 am Jul 19 2012

Hard one, when you stop being attractive to the person whom you love. Having to raise 4 kids is by all means a big ask, and if you are like most young Family's the budget is tight. How about looking up more healthier options for dinner online, cooking healthier and if he asks just say that you are trying something new. (If you look and research you will find that healthier can be taste better as well.) Also ask him to accompany you on a walk (while this might be hard with young ones it can always start off with a Saturday or Sunday as a family time.) Don't push him into going for a walk and don't be mad if he chooses not to in the beginning. Guys like to think that they are doing what they want to do not what they are told to do. It will take a long time to loose weight and keep it off. Very few people can loose weight quickly and keep it off. So be patient and when he exercises a little bit e.g. walk somewhere, play with the kids etc a subtle reward will do wonders for the subconscious. e.g a soft kiss on the cheek as you are walking together (if he asks what was that for, just say because I love you that's all). just like training any animal (Think your kids, you pet dog etc). re enforce good behavior with a small reward and habits will change to keep getting the rewards. At the same time don't push or scorn when you don't get your way. As that will only hurt things more. Over time he will slowly start doing more to help himself. At the same time you will be introducing a little spark into you love life.

Alex   #8   07:37 am Jul 19 2012

It sounds to me like you need the physical attraction from your husband to satisfy you. And considering the two of you, as you admit, struggling with your weight, you could together consider trying to make a big lifestyle change for the sake of your marriage. Start a weight-loss regime. You'll both enjoy it more that you are doing things together and if you seek good advice from nutritionists and exercise tips from instructors then you'll be happier and healthier in the long run. First of all, you need to be firm, that he needs to co-operate and give this opportunity a chance else you won't be sticking around.

Sarah   #9   07:43 am Jul 19 2012

I think you need to meet with a marriage counsellor to get the heart of why he has put on so much weight and to discuss how you feel in a constructive way.While I understand your feelings I don't think it's fair to give up on a relationship based on physical attraction, like it or not we all get fat, old and ugly, the beauty of marriage is growing up and old together, you say you've had children and he's a good husband..he saw you through your pregnancies and lots of life changes that probably weren't so attractive too, try to think of the reasons you married him in the first place and the ways in which he has loved you unconditionally.It's fair enough to feel the way you do, but I think you should resolve to try and work this together through counselling, maybe trying some new healthy recipes together and finding a way to exercise together if he's open to that.

999   #10   07:46 am Jul 19 2012

Stop feeding him fatty foods. Besides sounds like you are the cause of his weight gain.

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