Wifeys and Gentlemen,
Is anyone else out there a fan of @derrickjaxn on Instagram? If you’re not, you definitely should be! He offers some amazing advice on relationships, dating, and self-love. Not only that, he often provides commentary on relevant issues in pop culture (& is the author of a book that I’ll be reviewing on this blog…once I’m finished reading it, anyway).
A month or two ago, one of his posts caught my attention and I wanted to talk about it here because I definitely have some thoughts!
The story goes a little something like this: A man was appealing to his social media community in regards to his partner. Over the course of their relationship (pretty long term, from what I could gather), she’d had a baby and gained almost 50 extra pounds; he was beginning to feel less and less attracted to her. Despite his attempts to motivate her to lose the weight, she was both uninterested and unwilling to put in the extra effort to get back to her ‘old self’.
He asked if it would be wrong for him to consider ending things if she didn’t try to slim down. He said that he loved her and understood it was difficult to ‘snap back’ after a baby, but he was having a hard time being physically attracted to her and felt that their level of intimacy and physical connection was suffering.
Now, before I launch into my thoughts here, I want to quickly take a moment to say that I am NOT judging this man’s point of view. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and preferences and we can never truly know the depths of another couple’s relationship beyond what we see and hear.
HOWEVER, I believe that the situation is 1) fairly common for a lot of couples and 2) speaks to a a larger issue that more individuals need to address before getting into serious, committed relationships:
Am I with my partner because of their looks?
This might be a difficult question to answer because most of us would like to think of ourselves as “better than that”, right? Sure, looks are important, but you’d never marry someone JUST because they were beautiful, would you?! You care about them as a whole person.
Perhaps we should be looking at this another way?
Of course, most of us can agree that looks aren’t everything, but consider that your partner’s appearance might matter to you a little more than you think.
If no one has ever told you before, let me be the first to say that no matter what your partner looks like now, those looks will eventually fade (in some capacity). Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that your partner won’t always be beautiful (to you and to the world), but it’s a science!
Some of us are able to stay fit and glowy our whole damn lives. Some of us have great genes that will have us looking 40 when we’re 80. Some of us will be financially blessed enough to stall the aging process for as long as humanly possible. Still, no matter what we do, things will change.
Say it with me, ya’ll:
THINGS. 👏🏾 WILL. 👏🏾 CHANGE.👏🏾
We will all get older and our body parts will too.
Yes, even Kim Kardashian will age one day.
Though I have no doubt she’ll do it as gracefully as ever, things about her face and body will transform over time and there won’t be anything she can do to stop it.
If the idea of your partner getting older, looser, fatter, thinner, weaker, grayer, rougher, or slower makes you want to reconsider your relationship then, honestly?
Reconsider your relationship.
If you’re in a long term or serious relationship and feel like you might be having trouble with how your partner’s looks have changed, try this:
1) Ask yourself why your partners looks have changed and if your problem with it is coming from a place of genuine concern.
Sometimes a dramatic hair cut or color is a cry for help or sign of crisis; sometimes, it’s just a fun impulse or a desire for something new. Sometimes breakouts or hyperpigmentation is the result of neglectful skincare; sometimes, it’s just a part of getting older. Figure out why your partner is changing and if it’s actually something to worry about.
2) If you’re honest enough with yourself to admit that it isn’t real concern that’s motivating you, look inward and assess your own biases. What in your life experience is telling you that the way your partner looks is unattractive or unacceptable?
If your partner has put on a few pounds and you know it isn’t the result of stress, depression, or illness, it’s time to ask yourself why the increase in size makes you see your partner differently. Are you worried about what others might think? Do you have some bias or prejudice towards certain body types that need to be addressed? Is this about something else entirely? Sometimes confronting our negative thoughts helps us get over them. If you love your partner and want to stay in your relationship, there are ways to make it work and build acceptance.
3) If you know in your heart that you can’t accept their changes, let the relationship go.
It’s really that simple. If your partner’s appearance has changed and you find yourself unable to let it go and accept them regardless, it might be time to move on from the relationship. It’s hard, but be honest. They deserve to be with someone who loves them no matter how they look and you deserve to be with someone who you feel fully attracted and committed to.
“My partner gained 15 pounds last year” is NOT a good enough reason to cheat. #JustSayin
Remember, there is nothing wrong with having preferences. There is nothing wrong with wanting your partner to look a certain way. Just try to understand that long term commitment might not be the best choice for you right now (or ever) and that is 100% okay! At the very least, for those of you who think you can have it both ways, make sure you connect with a person who shares similar values.
Look, I am not going to sit here and try to convince you that looks do not matter. Of course they do! We eat with our eyes first, right? (hehe)
But in most healthy relationships, you’re way too busy living your best lives to be bothered by something as minor as your partner’s aging body or slowing metabolism.
I’m not even going to touch the whole “she just had a baby thing”. I’m going to be mature and let that one slide….
Do I think the guy in the story was wrong? Yes and No.
Maybe the hard reality is that he simply doesn’t love her enough; maybe he must come to terms with the fact that his value system is different. Or maybe he has some soul searching to do? Perhaps he has had some time to think about it and realized he’s being silly?
Bottom line? Fall in love with someone for more than their appearance. Again, this does NOT mean you aren’t allowed to have a type or you have to pretend not to notice new wrinkles or folds showing on your significant other. It means that, when you do, it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.
Sound off in the comments and tell me if you think I’m talking crazy or being too unrealistic! Would you leave your boo if they gained 50 pounds and refused to lose it? Do you and your partner have certain expectations when it comes to maintaining looks/appearance? Do you think it is your responsibility to do everything in your power to avoid “letting yourself go” in order to keep your man/woman/person happy?
Until Next Time,
Carry on Wifeys!
Be a lamb and tell your friends!