Q. I’ve held off on sending this letter for a while. I just don’t know what to do.
I love my wife and want to be with her, but I don’t know how to address her weight problem. She’s heavier now than when she was pregnant with any of our children, and I know she hates it (as do I).
She talks about it now and then, but I know it’s fresh on her mind.
For the tomato throwers out there, I’m not Tom Cruise ... but I’m not asking her to be Kelly McGillis either.
How do I support my wife and address her weight at the same time?
Thank you so much!
Wrote this a while ago, but never hit send.
A. Sometimes we get frustrated when a letter writer doesn’t give us their age, but mentioning Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis counts. Welcome, Gen-X reader!
Your wife is upset about her weight — maybe concerned about her own health — and that’s where the support comes in. Ask her what you can do to give her more time for self-care.
If you do extra tasks around the house, would it give her a break to take a long walk? I don’t know your division of labor, but giving someone a free hour can be the best gift.
You can also ask her to try activities with you that will get you both in better shape and give you more energy. Would she be open to taking a class together? Virtual exercise? Please, don’t be pushy about it, but the truth is that she’s frustrated (based on what you’ve told us) and you’d like to make this easier. I don’t think it’s about “addressing her weight” as much as it is about showing your support and giving her a way to proceed.
If you’re really worried about her, you can tell her that too. A lot of this is about wanting her to be happy and healthy. That’s a good way to frame it.
The weather’s getting nicer in a lot of places. It’s probably easier to do new things. Ask her if she’d like to try a healthy activity — on her own or with you as company. Showing you care is so much different than judgment.
Also, don’t punish yourself for feeling this way. It’s honest — and the fact that you want to help her is a good thing.
Tell her you love her and you want her around for the long haul. Let her know you are going to begin eating better and getting more exercise and if she wants to join in you would love it.
Does she complain about her weight? Next time she does, recommend you both go on a healthier diet and exercise. Offer to cook the healthier meals. Help her.
This one hit home. I am a wife who was in a similar situation as yours. I can only assume my husband wanted me to get back to my pre-kids or pre-marriage weight, but he never said this to me, only said to do what makes me happy. I was miserable, and at the same time had no idea how to tackle the problem. It was depressing to say the least, but my days were spent with long commutes and long workdays, which then meant we ordered takeout, a lot. COVID happened, and I started counting calories and being mindful of what I was putting in my mouth (welcome to America, the home of portion distortion and way too much salt on everything), and cooking my own food. About a year later, I was 80 pounds lighter, and I feel and look great again. My husband was very supportive in helping me stay on track but at the end of the day, I had to do it on my terms, at the right time for me.
^That’s great! And you’re absolutely right — all the motivation has to come from the person.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to email@example.com. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.