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Friday, August 24, 2012

362

Skinny-Dipping, S.O. Weight Gain, and Walk[ing] Away [From] Renee

1. I have an awesome, kick-ass group of friends. We've managed to stand the test of time from university through different careers, relationships, etc.  We've remained important and valued in each others' lives. Well, except for one friend.

Renee is the most difficult person I've ever met. She's self-absorbed, needy, and exhausting to deal with. And, yes, "deal with" is the only phrase to describe any of our interactions. Talking to my other friends while they are upset never feels like they are just using me as free unqualified therapy. Renee acts emotionally unstable, and refuses to listen to me when I have repeatedly told her that I am not equipped to help her — she asks for more than a compassionate ear, but that's all I have.

All our mutual friends feel that friendship with her is no longer something that we're interested in. We've come to this conclusion independently (we're not the Borg!), but I'm worried what the impact of losing at least three friends will be on Renee. Years ago, another friend "broke up" with her, ending their friendship in very clear terms. Renee obsessed over this girl for an entire year afterward, sobbing outside her house, writing long letters, calling/texting non-stop. For the rest of us, it was like being held emotionally hostage. It was an inappropriate reaction that none of us want to experience first hand by being direct with her.

Renee is paranoid about being phased out — she freaks out when you don't respond to her, and invites herself to things. I need help! How do you phase out a person who is fighting tooth-and-nail not to be phased? I don't want in this toxic friendship anymore, and neither do any of my other close friends. Are we bad people for abandoning her en-mass?

Oof, Renee. I know you just said you can't be direct because of what happened the last time someone was, but you need to try that — with a twist. First, does Renee have a closer friend or family member who could sit with her and offer support during this discussion? I gather no, but it's worth having someone there to diffuse the situation and you'll also want a witness. Being honest and open with her about your feelings and the reason your friendship is failing will give her the opportunity to change in the future — though without you. Then, no matter what she does or says after that, if you are still committed to ending the friendship, you must ignore her completely. Your previous friend who dumped Renee didn't truly do that or you wouldn't know all the sordid, crazy details of The Year Renee Lingered. Ignore her to the maximum point of ultimate ignoration. She does not exist! Don't talk behind her back, don't pick up the phone, don't respond to a text or email. Radio silence. If this does not cause her to leave you alone, she is officially a stalker and you have grounds to ask for a restraining order. 

And don't feel guilty for letting her go. Difficult people are a fact of life and the great thing about Renee is that she isn't a member of your family. (And even those need cutting-off sometimes.) No force in the universe is binding you to Renee's life forever, so please walk away. It sounds tortuous and icky and life-force-depleting. Renee is responsible for Renee and she'll figure it out, or she won't, but her happiness is not yours to ensure. Just do promise me you'll think about having an honest talk with her before you go. It'll be tough, but good practice for when this happens again. And it will. Awful relationships lurk around every corner all the way through this place until the very end.

2. What is your advice for rebound dating? Not for the one that just got out of the relationship, but for the one on the other side. Recently (the past year) I've fallen into a pattern of dating guys that are fresh out of a relationship. It goes great for a month but then it all falls apart and they all give the same reasoning of "I'm just not ready to be serious right now." I could really use some help on how to spot dudes who are actually into me instead of just into getting over an ex.

I think you might be confusing "rebound dating" with "dating." Dating sucks! [Caveat: some people just love casual dating. They aren't writing in for advice!] Okay, sometimes it's fun in the beginning, sort of, but even that's rare. Think about it: you've had an AWESOME TIME dating in what later turned out to be the beginning of a good relationship or friendship. For a lot of people, the next level stuff hasn't even happened yet, so 100% of their dating experiences are mediocre/awkward/full of mistakes you get to work out. That's what dating is! Constructive mediocrity while you wait for something great.

More helpful advice: ask questions in the beginning and be up front about what you want. Why don't you ask dudes how long they've been single when you first meet them? If you don't like that you are only attracted to men who long for their recent ex, and you want to change that about yourself, you need to help yourself do that by being assertive and gathering information. Don't just go along quietly on these dates *hoping* that the guy won't tell you he just got dumped and isn't ready for a relationship. Ask him. Say, "So, have you been single for a while? Are you looking for a serious relationship anytime soon? Because I am." If he runs, great!

Also, when you're being dumped by these guys — or even after the fact — you could ask, "what is it about me that you found attractive despite the fact you're not looking for a relationship and didn't really like me that much?" The answer might be scary and hurtful, and it might help you become the kind of person who attracts more available people.

3. I'm a Married Lady and mother of a toddler and love being both. My issue is that Husband and I are not having much sex, and though being dead-exhausted much of the time is part of the reason, my diminished attraction toward him is the big problem.

You see, while I was pregnant Husband gained 40+ pounds (or for reference, over ten more pounds than me, the one who was physically growing a human). It was kind of a joke at the time (and, in fact, men gaining weight and mimicking other pregnancy symptoms is A Thing), but two years later, with breastfeeding, yoga, and chasing a tiny running person around I'm back to my pre-baby body. Husband has not lost a pound and does not seem to be interested in trying. I cook 2-3 healthy meals for us daily and we don't buy processed food. I bake occasionally when we want sweet treats, but I've had to cut back because if there are cookies in the house Husband will eat them all in a sitting. He also sneaks candy, ice cream, and fast food regularly (and large amounts of all, not just an ice cream cone, for example, but a half gallon container that he will eat in a day). I voiced my concern about his health (he's in his mid 40s), so he got a physical that showed he's generally healthy.

Of course that is a relief, but now I don't know what to do. I know he is aware of the weight gain, and I don't want to cause him pain, but the fact is that I am less attracted to his changed body, and the way he binges on sweets and unhealthy food is becoming repulsive to me. He claims it is because he wasn't allowed to have much sugar as a child, but this feels like a weak excuse to me. He has worked with a dietician in the past and when we met he seemed to have a healthy relationship toward food — normal meal portions, occasional desserts, nothing extreme. I'm sure the stress of parenting/working is part of the issue and I want to be compassionate and supportive. Is it even possible to do that while telling him his fatter body is turning me off? I feel like a completely shallow jerk.

You're not a jerk and you obviously love your husband. Please, take those concerns off the table. I think your husband is depressed. Eating a whole gallon of ice cream in one sitting and saying it's because he was sugar-deprived as a kid are two clues. (That is not a excuse to eat ice cream 30 years later, but also was he deprived? Could be! Poor guy.)

Another clue? You guys aren't fucking. Instead of looking at that as a result of his weight gain, it might be one of many symptoms that he's got depression — and though it's been two years, it might even be postpartum depression. For real! It's a thing! In the dudes! I'd look into that if I were you guys, especially since he's got a clean bill of health otherwise. (Which is great!)

Honesty in your relationship is another thing to work on: it creates intimacy and romantic feelings. You should be able to tell your husband all of this, and you're not. That builds up bad karma. Sure, he may be a sensitive person and it'll hurt his feelings a little bit, but he's making choices that affect other people in the house and he should have to answer to that. No, I'm not talking about him gaining weight, I'm talking about him not delivering to his child a promise he made to you. Stay with me here: when you were courting, he presented a version of himself that you decided you would like as a partner and role model to your children. Then you went, together, and MADE THOSE PEOPLE OUT OF THIN AIR. And now he's being the kind of person who doesn't make the food-ordering choices you wanted your baby to mirror. Hold him accountable for the bait and switch. But also, he's depressed, so change might come slowly. Be patient, kind, and all the things you promised when you married.

And finally, I kind of don't believe that you're simply repulsed by his body. It's probably a combination of that and the other stuff that comes along with being depressed that are such a turn off. Just consider that possibility in case his body doesn't really change much but everything else does, okay? (Sidenote: there is a serious dearth of "hot fat guys" Tumblrs.)

4. My boyfriend, who I love and is awesome, has a smallish penis but it's big enough for me and satisfies me in every way. It's a good, average size when hard but looks very small when soft. The thing is, I want to go skinny dipping with friends, or do random naked-related things, and I just can't help but feel embarrassed for my friends to see his wang! Even if they know I'm satisfied sexually, maybe they'll think I'm lying, or feel bad for me, or judge him, or judge me... It gets to the point where I will avoid day-time skinny dipping with friends if he's there because I'm embarrassed. I know, this is stupid. Can you give me a good mantra or something to help me feel better about this?

Mantra: It's a grower, not a show-er.

Other Mantra: Quit showing your friends your man's dick! What!? How is this even happening? Tell him to buy a swimsuit and then just stop being naked around your friends all the time if you're so worried about it.

5. On the advice of an endocrinologist, I've been gluten-free for just over three months. I'm doing it properly (separate butter, separate cutting boards, etc.). I was worried about missing certain foods, but happily it's not a big deal.

How do I handle this with my in-laws? We stayed with them last weekend and I brought gluten free bread and a homemade cake (to share) for dessert. My mother-in-law thinks everyone should eat everything and disapproves of food-faddiness (she still doesn't seem convinced that I'm allergic to shellfish), so I didn't want to dwell on it and only mentioned it in passing.

It was awkward. She made a big deal about serving her home-grown potatoes, but prepared them (unwittingly, I'm sure) in a way that meant I couldn't eat them, then seemed upset that I hadn't.

My husband has suggested that we offer to cook next time we visit. This is fine with me (I love to cook! I want to be helpful!) but there is an elaborate and stringent kitchen protocol (plus supervision) which makes it difficult.

The current frequency of visits is about once every few weeks, for the whole weekend. Should I just limit my visits and continue to bring my own food? It is SO AWKWARD. I shrink from her disapproval (and my bowels already refuse to move whenever I stay there).

(Another perspective!)

Yes, you should limit your visits. Absolutely. That is more and longer visits than I've ever heard of a married couple with their own car and home — not to mention a conflict with one of the parent hosts — ever making. No need! Once a month, and get a hotel.

Before I got to that last paragraph, my only advice was going to be to stop worrying about how your diet affects your mother-in-law's feelings. She might be the sort of person who's been able to manipulate her entire family over the years, but that is what makes you special: you aren't them! And that is also why your partner chose you. So, if she gets upset, that's on her. It's a ridiculous thing to be upset about, you and I and every other reasonable person knows that. Let her stew in her own neuroses and you just stay healthy, okay? Which includes mental and emotional health, so limit the stress you're willing to put on yourself.

I have a grandmother who is never happy and judges every single thing everyone does. So, even though she is a humorless person, I just razz her in a funny way about whatever it is she is being difficult about and at least that puts the whole issue right out in the open. She usually just smacks me on the ass and walks away rolling her eyes. Even, Steven. No one has to be scared of anyone's feelings when you proclaim something like, "I'm going to eat this bread that doesn't make me constipated instead of the poison you keep trying to force into me, okay MOM? Which bathroom should I poop in later?" And then smile and kiss her. And then kiss her child. Or, you know, a version of that.

Previously: "Tens," Office Racism, and a Molehill.

A Lady is one of several rotating ladies who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Lady?



362 Comments / Post A Comment

Oh, squiggles

My name is Renee...the post title was terrifying at first, but it is clearly not about me. #egotisticalbutrelieved

Faintly Macabre

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Are you sure?

Oh, squiggles

@Faintly Macabre Yes, thankfully!

Isn't it so disconcerting to read your own name, when it doesn't refer to you? And they kept using the name so much!

Faintly Macabre

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I have a weird name, so I lack your normal-name privilege. I keed

Though I once was in a small class with a girl with my name, different spelling. Every time the professor called on one of us, we'd both get confused because we weren't used to sharing our name.

Oh, squiggles

@Faintly Macabre I deeply apologize for not discarding my normal-name privileged at the door. That was insensitive of me.

(alternate response) You can't accuse me of being not-normal-namedist! I took Non-Normal-Named Studies in college! And I have a friend who doesn't have a normal name! That's proof right there!

Faintly Macabre

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Please don't tell me it's not your fault that your parents gave you a normal name, and that you've always wished for a weird name--your name is so boring and you've struggled with feeling like you had to compete with all the other Renees, and people always sing "Don't Walk Away, Renee" when they meet you, blah blah blah.

I have a friend named Sherry who becomes filled with rage whenever people say, "Oh! 'Sheerrryyy, Sherrybabyy...'" Which doesn't stop me, of course!

Cat named Virtute

@Faintly Macabre I also have a very uncommon in Canada/America name, but there's a commenter on Autostraddle with it and it always weirds me out a lot. SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE.

Oh, squiggles

@Cat named Virtute I want to name my child Special Snowflake. Because if you can't do something ironically, it isn't worth doing.

RNL
RNL

@Faintly Macabre If you want a not-normal name, you could always go with Renesmee.

EternalFootwoman

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I have an extremely normal name and you people just don't understand that I struggle too! Plus, if having a non-normal name was so hard, people would just go change their names to something normal. I don't see why I should have to give special privileges to people with non-normal names.

Oh, squiggles

@EternalFootwoman The important thing is that we all take a stand about how we feel in regards to names of varying degrees of normalness, and then we must all be VERY LOUD about it.

EpWs

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Spesh'll Snywflayke

Oh, squiggles

@Faintly Macabre Someone did actually sing "Don't Walk Away Renee" at me once. I was at work, and had just greeted a client for the first time. It was weird.

Pizzahut

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Guys! JUST walk away, Renee are the lyrics. Geez,louise!

Cat named Virtute

@Awesomely Nonfunctional A good friend of my aunt and uncle's always maintains that anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Xanthophyllippa

@Pizzahut DUDE LAY OFF LOUISE FOR PETE'S SAKE WHAT'S SHE EVER DONE TO YOU.

Megasus

@Faintly Macabre The magazine that I work at has another Megan. It is also spelled the same. She also has the SAME MIDDLE NAME AS I DO.
Needless to say I am confused sometimes.

Serafina

@RobotsNeedLove Are you literally the devil?

Reginal T. Squirge

"Blah blah blah blah blah blah/ Blah blah blah blah blah blah/ Straaaaange!!!"

Olivia2.0

@Reginal T. Squirge I hope you are referring to constantly-skinny-dipping-letter-writer. HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN THAT MUCH? WHAT ARE THE RANDOM NAKED THINGS THE LW IS DOING WITH HER FRIENDS THAT DON'T INVOLVE ERECTIONS??????

Reginal T. Squirge

Alt-text/Das Racist.

lavender gooms

...I can't even, with the skinny-dipping. Is this a thing? Do people actually do this with people who are not their significant others? I can't even imagine the face I would make if my boyfriend's friends asked us to go skinny-dipping. Oh my god.

lora.bee

@lavender gooms I would never want to see my friend's boyfriend naked. Gah.

fondue with cheddar

@lavender gooms I've never been skinny-dipping but I'd totally be up for it. Unfortunately, the only times I've been asked there was always that one creepy dude who ruined the appeal.

etheline.

@lavender gooms comment twins! what IS this?
I'd be so down to go skinny dipping with just the dude, but as a group activity - with the people I hang out with clothed? Pass.

oh! valencia

Skinny dipping is a beautiful thing to do, with your closest girlfriends, in the dark. (I did it last week, and it was glorious.)

WaityKatie

@lavender gooms The skinny dipping part I *sort of* get (Prince Harry), but the "random naked-related things"? What are those??

wharrgarbl

@WaityKatie Some people are just nudier than other people. If you like getting naked around your friends, probably the core group you still do it around are going to be the sort of people who also like getting naked around their friends.

thebestjasmine

@lavender gooms Also, even with skinny dipping, do friends really check out their friends' boyfriends' dicks and then gossip about it? Really? This is a thing? Girl, get new friends if your friends are like that. (or are you like that? get a new self).

City_Dater

@WaityKatie

Prince Harry was playing "strip pool" -- as in pocket billiards -- in a hotel room in Las Vegas. And I know this because my boss politely asked me to help her find the naked photos of him on TMZ earlier today. No water involved, just pool cues. A "random naked-related thing," if you will.

OhMarie

@oh! valencia Yes! I went to a college that was on the waterfront of a swimmable river, so I've been skinny dipping and have seen some friends and their SOs naked, but this is NOT a daytime activity!

Jinxie

@thebestjasmine I'm not prone to doing random naked things with ANYONE aside from the person I'm sleeping with, but if I were inclined to go skinny dipping with friends and said friends boyfriends...I would make it a point to not look at anyone's dong. I mean, that's just good manners.

Faintly Macabre

@thebestjasmine Maybe they swap partners and she's worried that no one will want to sleep with him and she therefore won't get to swap?

I don't know. I would think that if you're free-whatevered enough to run around naked all the time, you wouldn't be gossiping about/judging dick sizes, but I don't have much exposure (heh) to nakedy friendgroups.

SarahP

@thebestjasmine Yeah, from my experience, skinny-dipping protocol dictates that you don't do a lot of looking at people until everyone is already in the water.

MoonBat

@Faintly Macabre JINX!!!! I just said this same thing in another thread!!!

wharrgarbl

@Jinxie I'm pretty sure not boob- or crotch-staring is just good manners in any non-sexual activity.

fondue with cheddar

@oh! valencia I want to go skinny dipping! I love the idea of freely-floating boobies freed from the tyranny of gravity and undergarments.

WaityKatie

@City_Dater Oh. Because in my fantasy version, he was also naked in the pool with Ryan Lochte...

WaityKatie

@jen325 And don't forget the free floating tiny schlongs nearby!

lavender gooms

@thebestjasmine And the concern trolling! Your friends would be WORRIED if they thought your man's wang was undersized?

Faintly Macabre

@MoonBat Yay! I was worried that I was taking it too far--further proof that the 'pin is my people!

@lavender gooms That's an intervention I'd love to witness.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@lavender gooms Oh god oh god oh god. Skinny-dipping. I have zero desire to have the nude images of my platonic friends burned into my brain for all eternity, and I have zero desire for my friends to have my nude image burned into their brains for all eternity.

Y'all have all the fun skinny-dipping parties you want, but this nevernude is staying home wearing a wetsuit with a pair of snowpants layered on top and an astronaut suit layered on top of that and a pair of cutoffs layered on top of that.

wee_ramekin

@werewolfbarmitzvah "There are literally dozens of us all over the world!"

MoonBat

@Faintly Macabre HAHAHAHAHA!
"So, LW, I'll bet you're wondering why we've all asked you here today (waves AAA battery meaningfully)....."

WaityKatie

@werewolfbarmitzvah I was just considering what I would have to do to my eyes if I ever saw any of my friends' husbands naked. I mean, every time I stay over at one of their houses, I'm mildly terrified that is going to accidentally happen, I can't imagine doing it on purpose.

lora.bee

@wee_ramekin "I didn't see you at the convention!"

Lily Rowan

@lavender gooms And seriously, if you have seen any number of penises at all, you are well aware of growers v. showers.

Kakapo

@lavender gooms When I see this reference, I always feel compelled to say, "I've met one! This is a real thing!" A friend of mine in college wouldn't even take off his underwear to bathe. He was... odd but charming.

tales

@lavender gooms Yeah, it's been said in this thread already, but as someone who has been skinny dipping at night and in the day and had somewhat regular naked dance parties with a multi-gendered crew of people, the thing that made me comfortable doing that was the non-sexual nature of it. Like, even if you were going to end up making out with one of these people, they wouldn't be staring at your breasts/penis earlier. And god! How does anyone get naked around people that would body shame like this LW's friends? Penis size commentary is body-shaming, would your friends make fun of someone's breast size or weight? Ugh, ditch em.

oh! valencia

@jen325 it is amazing! Remarkable how different (BETTER) swimming feels with just that little bit of fabric that is a bikini removed.

EpWs

@WaityKatie My boyfriend and his closest group of guy friends are...close, shall we say, and I know they've all seen each other in assorted states of undress more than I'd like to think about. (There's some inside joke in there that involves nudity, I don't know and I don't quite want to?) I'm not quite at that point with my friends, and I'm FINE with that. But, hey, whatever floats everyone else's skinny dipping boats?

(Furthermore, I do not want to see any of my friends' boyfriends naked. Nope, thanks.)

WaityKatie

@Kakapo Ironically, one of the people I introduced this phrase to was definitely a grower himself. I somehow stopped myself from blurting "But you are one!" but it was really hard.

Jinxie

@werewolfbarmitzvah I will be right there with you in my 10 layers of clothing. It's so odd to me - I've got no problem getting starkers in my gym locker room, surrounded by strangers, but I went to a day spa with some good friends last week and was more than a little freaked out by the "everyone get undressed and into your spa robes" part of the day.

fondue with cheddar

@Kakapo Aww. You know, one of the best lovers I've ever had happened to be the smallest. Like a magic marker. You can't judge a book by its penis!

Also, I learned that hand and foot size does not correlate to penis size. One of the bigger guys I've been with had hands the same size as mine, and I'm a 5-foot-tall lady with hands proportional to my body.

Ophelia

I got married on a beach, and after the ceremony/reception, once everyone was drunk and it was dark out, probably about 25 people went skinny dipping. That said, we were all happily under water, and no one was looking at much of anything.

MilesofMountains

@lavender gooms I've actually skinny dipped with my mom before, since she hates bathing suits. It was only slightly weird.

Kakapo

@WaityKatie @Jen325

I actually meant the "never nude" reference only. Have no idea about the growing vs. showing thing for obvious reasons.

flanhoodles

@wharrgarbl I totally agree. I have gone skinny dipping many, many times this summer, with all girls and mixed gender groups.

I did almost get arrested once, though. So there's that downside.

Xanthophyllippa

@lora.bee I have a friend whose husband's naked ass I wouldn't mind seeing. But then, I wouldn't mind seeing her naked ass either, so.

Megasus

@wee_ramekin Oh fun story, on my way home tonight there was a random pair of jean cutoffs cordoned off on the sidewalk. I immediately went to nevernude land.

baked bean

@tales Agreed. I thought people liberated enough to spend non-sexual time naked together would be liberated enough to not shame other peoples' bodies.

MsChilePepper

@WaityKatie "it was really hard" Hur hur hur! ;)

I once dated a guy who possessed what I called "the stealth cock" because wow, he was SO SMALL when flaccid (eep, disappointment, oh well, I'll get to work anyway), but he grew and grew and GREW -- ZOWIE!!

Guybrush

@lavender gooms, @baked beans I don't think the LW is actually afraid her friends will point and laugh or anything, just that, you know, they'll quietly judge the penis to themselves.

Vera Knoop

@werewolfbarmitzvah "Is that exactly what it sounds like?"

Scandyhoovian

@all as someone who grew up with frequent family trips to Finland where skinny-dipping is totally normal and people are pretty damn comfortable being surrounded by nakedness it always makes me sort of double-take when people are like "what? You've been skinny dipping?" at me... 'cause it's something I've done since I was a kid.

But I understand the cultural differences there. In Finland nudity's not a thing, but here in America it most certainly is. It still weirds the fiance out a bit that I've gone skinny dipping and seen everyone in my extended family nude as the day they were born. And he was very uncomfortable with the idea of saunaing nude until I assured him it would just be the two of us in there (i.e. "no, my uncle will not be joining us").

@baked bean my experience says the most body-shaming you'll get from people liberated enough to spend non-sexual time naked together is from parental units. "you're getting a bit thick around the middle, hon." That kind of crap.

Ellie

Who goes "daytime skinnydipping" or does other "naked related things" with friends often enough where this is a problem? A part of me is jealous because this sounds a bit awesome, but also, seriously?

Faintly Macabre

@Ellie All I can think is that they're a bunch of dirty hippies in a commmune and this is how they wash?

remargaret

@Ellie I assumed that she was from California.

wee_ramekin

@remargaret Or Austin.

remargaret

@wee_ramekin Hippie Hollow!

remargaret

@remargaret Or Barton Springs. "The Best Time I Talked to Woody Harrelson While Topless."

RK Fire

@Ellie Naturist dilettante colony?

Also, I feel a lot better knowing that so many of us had the same reaction.

lavender gooms

@Ellie This lady is clearly much closer to her friends than I am to mine.

City_Dater

@Ellie

I am so happy that so many people are having a 'huh?!' moment over this non-problem. After I read that letter I started wondering if perhaps I should be scheduling more clothing-optional events for my circle of friends.

thebestjasmine

@remargaret I am from California, this is not a thing here! Is she in college? The only time I remember seeing my friends naked on a regular basis was in college, but that was just from close quarters (and okay, occasional skinny dipping, but that was only drunk at night).

Lemonnier

@Ellie Me! Although that's only because I lived in New Orleans, where nudity is really no big deal, and there's an awesome bar with a clothing-optional pool out back that also serves drinks in buckets.

But yeah, outside of that setting, I imagine that frequent, day-time skinny-dipping is not something a lot of people do.

Lucienne

@remargaret You can't just stop there!

area@twitter

@Ellie I was at a wedding (casual, but still) where a bunch of folks (including members of the wedding party) wandered off from the reception to go skinny-dipping in the river. And I was definitely like whaaaaaa?

Ophelia

@area@twitter I was about to say, "were you at my wedding??" (see upthread re: darkness and drunkenness)

entangled

@thebestjasmine I am in California, my age starts with a 3, and this is totally a thing. I have a couple of friends who are instigators (and my husband is a HUGE instigator) which leads to a lot of parties getting turned into rochambeau for pants or drinking games like strip cup (which we made up one time... it is just what it sounds like and also awesome).

Bebe

@Lemonnier I used to love pools with bars, until I was happily slurping down a pina colada in one with my sister, and she pointed out that there were like 20 people who all been drinking for well over 2 hours, and not a single person had gotten out to go to the bathroom. Add nakedness to that and....(shudders). So, as much as I loooove NOLA (which is a lot), that pool at that bar just does not sound appealing.

Jolly Farton

@entangled Well sure, I had naked parties with my friends when I was 3 , too.

boysplz

@Lemonnier The Country Club? I've been there! And I got naked in the pool, it was awesome.

area@twitter

@Ophelia See, that would have made more sense to me. But no, this was full daylight and everyone seemed pretty sober. To each his own- I did the post-reception pool party and had a grand old time in my swimsuit.

purefog

@remargaret People get topless at Barton Springs? They didn't when I lived there (1997), except for the old face-down sunbathing thing.

bloodorange

@Lemonnier COUNTRY CLUB FOREVERRRRRR

(also, you have to get out of that particular pool to get drinks, so that would hopefully cut down on the pool-peeing)

RK Fire

I love skinny dipping so much but I'm so worried about my skinny dipping.

As someone who is not into skinny dipping, I was left wondering how often LW4 gets daytime skinny dipping invites! Where do you live where there are places for you to skinny dip on the regular? Why can't I stop writing different versions of the phrase "skinny dipping"?

On a more serious note: if you and your friends have seen so many naked people, surely they are aware of the grower not a shower mantra.

Oh, squiggles

@RK Fire I was really surprised that not being able to skinny dip was actually affecting her social life. She and I have very different social lives. I...might be jealous actually.

RK Fire

@Awesomely Nonfunctional: Yeah, I'm a little torn between prudish shock and admiration.

Megasus

@RK Fire nudie plunging? Nope, that sounds like something else.

fondue with cheddar

re: Renee
Hopefully you won't see her follow you back home.

Oh, squiggles

@jen325 But at least she isn't responsible for empty sidewalks.

EternalFootwoman

@jen325 The rain. It cries for him.

Dan Stewart@twitter

#4 "I know, this is stupid." You have no idea.

lora.bee

OH MY LAWD I just got 'grow-er not a show-er'. I have never heard that before. Where have I been??

WaityKatie

@lora.bee I'm pretty sure I have personally introduced this one to more than one person. I'm not sure how that happened; everyone should know about this!

Lustful Cockmonster

@lora.bee This is the third time THIS WEEK I heard that, and until this week I had never heard it before in my life...is it new or am I totally oblivious? (I have a good guess...)

wharrgarbl

@lora.bee I'd heard that phrase before I'd ever seen a penis in real life. It's a good phrase.

WaityKatie

@Grumplestiltskin It's definitely quite old. I think I've been saying it for at least 15 years.

lora.bee

@wharrgarbl My brain keeps singing it to the tune of the song Adam Pascale sings at the beginning of School of Rock - "I'm not a grower, I'm a showerrr!"

Pound of Salt

@lora.bee I learned it from an internet quiz where you had to pick which were the two REAL types: growers and showers or long johns and skinny minnies.

wharrgarbl

@lora.bee That seems appropriate enough. It's a very School of Rock sort of thing to know about penises.

lora.bee

@Pound of Salt Do people use skinny minny to refer to anything other than people?? Why am I so out of the loop on penis terminology?

Pound of Salt

@lora.bee I am too, we need a Ask a Penis Semantician! But skinny minny and long johns were the wrong answers, made up by someone who I'm sure has great names for their own body parts!

Xanthophyllippa

@lora.bee I've now got it in my head to "Space Cowboy."

wee_ramekin

LW # Skinny Dipping: I feel like your "problem" is kind of a non-issue. Meaning that if Grower Not Shower Boyfriend is fine with whipping off his skivvies for some nakey-watertimes, then what are you freaking out about it? Because your friends might judge your dude's penis size? That's silly. He's fucking YOU with that grower, not them.

You said yourself that he makes you and your loins happy, and that's all that matters. If you actually think that your friends' opinion of you will change based on your boyfriend's flaccid penis size, then I think it is time for some new friends.

SarahP

@wee_ramekin Yes! Exactly! She says she's fine with it, but maybe she isn't, and this is her way of manifesting that? There's just so much to be embarrassed about in life that I can't even begin to be embarrassed by someone else's body.

fondue with cheddar

@wee_ramekin My guess is that if her friends are comfortable with coed skinny-dipping, they've probably been friendly with enough penises to know that flaccid size has no bearing on erect size.

But even more than that, who cares how big his dick is? Seriously. There's a pretty wide range out there, and unless it's a micropenis or a giant elephant dick it's going to be able to satisfy most ladies.

But even more than that...there's a lot more to sex than penis-in-vagina. In my experience, the smallest guys were more likely to be into foreplay (and during-play), and the larger guys were more likely to think that just plowing me was enough.

MoonBat

@wee_ramekin I was so, so confused about this letter. Unless the skinny dipping is actually a Swap Meet, and she keeps being the only one left having to sleep with the guy she brought? I don't know, really I don't.

RNL
RNL

@wee_ramekin My college boyfriend was a remarkable grower (from extraordinarily small to solidly average). He also had an unfortunate habit of getting drunk and running around naked sometimes (I know, I know). We got together while he was still doing this. He had a nickname based on his small penis that was so entrenched I called him "hey you" for six months because his real name felt weird.

This is not that helpful to the LW, but kind of related. But anyway, she should get over herself! Can you imagine? "My girlfriend's boobs aren't perky. How do I navigate sweet cottage weekends where skinny dipping happens? Can I ask her to wear a bikini top?" Holy shit. Holy shit! It's his BODY.

Lily Rowan

@jen325 Size of ship v. motion of ocean!! Etc.

I mean, seriously, girl. Is this the LW's first boyfriend? Maybe.

IceHouseLizzie

@jen325 My thoughts exactly!! If she and her friends are so into the nekkidtimes that they are just running around nekkid at random functions, then they should, through the course of experience, understand that bodies are just weird and come in all shapes and sizes and have all sorts of interesting things happening. I am thinking that if you are into the nekkidness then you have probably seen your share of bodies and should be all cool and chill with the diversity of humanity....unless they are all model-ly types or something? Maybe??....

MissMushkila

@RobotsNeedLove My current boyfriend is also a remarkable grower, and I think he is already way too (ENTIRELY UNNECESSARILY) self-conscious of his penis size. Sometimes he asks me if he is big enough for me, and I just look at him for a minute because it's like "you just gave me three orgasms this evening. how is that even a question?"

So that letter writer made me super mad. Are people like her where my boyfriend got this stupid and senseless inferiority complex?

etheline.

Oh, the skinny dipping.
I can't even.

fondue with cheddar

Am I the only one getting serious déjà vu from the gluten-free question? I honestly believe I've read it before, word-for-word. Has it been posted here before? Somewhere else? Am I just crazy? Don't answer that last one.

wee_ramekin

@jen325 It was posted in the last 'Ask A Spider' (which they linked to in the question).

I did kind of wonder why they answered it again. I mean, it's a good question and such, but it seems a little odd that it was answered twice.

thebestjasmine

@wee_ramekin Yeah, especially since this answer wasn't all that different from last time's? Why was this question such a lightening rod that it needed two answers that both were more or less "shake it off"?

fondue with cheddar

@wee_ramekin I guess spiders don't know much about human dietary needs or family relations.

Clare

@jen325 It seems super familiar to me too ASIDE from Ask a Spider--Dear Prudie, maybe? Or possibly Social Q's.

Ellie

@Clare Agreed, I'm pretty sure it or a near identical question was in Dear Prudence recently.

mangosara

@Clare The only thing I can think of is maybe A Stranger read the question and responded to it before A Spider's response was posted and then they kept it in? Weird.

TheclaAndTheSeals

@jen325 I thought it had been answered by Captain Awkward, but can't seem to find it on there.

hands_down

Letter #3 is kind of a minefield and I'm sure there will be a million different opinions on it, but I don't think the writer sounds especially sympathetic toward her husband. She raises the issue, but only as a health concern? Being deprived sugar is a 'weak excuse.' The tone to me is, "Fucking fat people, can't they just stop it?"

If she wants to help her husband, she needs to be honest about how his weight is making her feel. But not couch it in terms of health, not judge his reasons, not imply that it should be easy for him because it was easy for her to lose the weight. No judging, just an honest communication about her feelings and really listening to what he has to say in return.

Sarah Rain

@hands_down Yeah. The response gets at some of deeper issues that might be going on with her husband, but the letter was basically "My husband got fat and that's gross and how could anyone ever be attracted to such a thing?" I strongly suspect that his junk food habits wouldn't be bothering her if he wasn't fat... she doesn't even say whether they were new with her pregnancy.

If you don't want to fuck a long-term partner you love because their body has changed, you're shallow.

themmases

@hands_down Yeah, I definitely got from her letter that she was counting on the doctor to tell him he needed to lose weight, and when that didn't happen she'd painted herself into a corner pretending that was her only concern.

People probably should just stop pretending to only be concerned about health when they are actually turned off by fat, in general. Not only does it seem to backfire a lot, but as the LW's husband demonstrates fat people aren't necessarily unhealthy. There are plenty of fat people who don't behave like the LW's husband, and thin people who binge.

Veronica Lemmons

@Sarah Rain Overeating fast food on a regular basis IS disgusting. I've lived it; I've watched it in others; I've educated myself to know what's in that crap and once you know, it is disgusting. A lot of "fucking fat people" learn how to stop poisoning themselves with garbage. You act like it's acceptable for a partner to throw their hands up and say, "Well, honey, this stuff is mighty tasty and almost addictive. Guess you just have to love the new, sugar/fat/salt-addicted me!" It's not shallow to be less excited about fucking a partner who has gained a significant amount of weight. Sure, life happens, weight fluctuates, we all get old and wrinkly. That is natural. A partner is obligated to be patient and loving about such things. That came across from the LW. But partners also have a responsibility to stay sexually attractive to each other. Marriage or a long-term commitment isn't a freaking magic wand. Forty pounds is a lot, and if this guy isn't willing to try to stay attractive to his wife, he's basically saying, "You're on your own, wifey! We're married, so I can look like however I want and you still have to fuck me or else you're just a shallow and cold-hearted."

PistolPackinMama

@Veronica Lemmons Wow. Uh... there is a whole world of judgment in this comment that is really unappealing.

I'll just stick with I'm glad I will never have to cope with a depressive episode AND your emphatic feelings about food and disgustingness.

@everyone Yeah, please, could we just separate the health of fat (complicated) with the attractiveness of fat (complicated but not the same). She's not obliged to be attracted to her fat husband, but she is obliged to own what is attractive to her and be as kind about it as she can be with her dude while being honest.

Also, I cannot agree more with the idea that if he was eating gallons of ice cream and not gaining weight, she wouldn't care so much. Nor would she lay off the issue if her dude was running five miles a day, eating kale, and not losing a lot of weight.

Veronica Lemmons

@PistolPackinMama I don't know how you can defend the compulsive consumption of fast food. I'm not so much judging it than calling it what it is. It, the food, not the people eating it. That. Food. Is. Disgusting. You can still eat it and enjoy it and at least acknowledge that it's disgusting! It's right there in the nutrition information, or on the AMA website, or the Mayo Clinic website, or in any licensed nutritionist's office. Fast food being bad for you isn't exactly news.

PistolPackinMama

@Veronica Lemmons I am not saying anything about the goodness or badness of foods, or the compulsive eating thereof.

I am saying if I was concerned I had disordered eating problems? I wouldn't voluntarily make it your business, or want to ask you for help.

I am sure you care about the wellbeing of compulsive eaters, and that's great, because it's a problem. But you sound like you care more about being right than you do about wellbeing and health.

I get enough of that in my life when it comes to food and weight already. Add mental health and disordered eating problems in the mix? Oh god. I want to crawl into a hole and pull the dirt in after me just thinking about it.

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama Is there room in that hole for me? Because this comment thread is giving me FEELINGS.

PistolPackinMama

@Xanthophyllippa I'll start engineering a hole ON THE SPINSTER BALCONY. Where the last of the eggplants are coming in, and the last of the tomatoes.

No disgusting fast food, though. I bet we can have it delivered...

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama Or I could just bring this Wesson oil I have here and we could take turns drinking it straight from the bottle.

MoonBat

@Veronica Lemmons
There's a lot of self hate and projected hate going on. Please, seriously, get yourself to a counselor. What you eat does not make you disgusting. What you look like does not make you disgusting. Eating well and going to the gym does not make you 100% healthy. Please get some help and heal yourself from all of that bitterness and blame.

PistolPackinMama

@Xanthophyllippa Ooh. Or we could roll Crisco in sugar, to make sure we have extra transfats?

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama Excellent! I also have some leftover deep-fried butter from the state fair that I can contribute. We'll just have to save enough Crisco to reheat it so it's nice and oozy when we bite into it.

PistolPackinMama

@Xanthophyllippa Right right. Or maybe just use bacon grease I've got in my fridge?

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama Hey, I have a 28oz. jar of old bacon grease in my fridge that I haven't known what to do with until now. We can double down!

Veronica Lemmons

@MoonBat Ok, first off, imploring someone to seek help as a means of insulting them is so transparently passive aggressive I just had to laugh. As someone who values therapy and hates seeing it stigmatized so strongly in mainstream culture, it's sad to see you wield it as a shaming device against someone you simply don't agree with. In no way did I say that one's character is defined by what they eat. Those were your words, not mine. I'm simply talking about the food LW3 described her hustband bingeing on and the effect it has on one's body, mind and overall well-being. I'm talking about the difference between loving food and being emotionally addicted to food that is DESIGNED to be addictive. To me, food like that and the damage is does to your health is disgusting. If you don't agree or if that makes you uncomfortable, that's your deal, but don't try to shame me into seeking out therapy because of it.

MoonBat

@Veronica Lemmons Actually, I don't do passive aggressive. I'm a very in-your-face person, and I had started writing a cutting retort to yourcomment about being "disgusting", by stopped myself and wondered if I would be that unkind to, oh, my friend or little sister, and then saw you as an actual PERSON typing such extremely negative, judgemental things, and felt like there was some sort of self hate going on. I'm sorry that I made you even angrier. I have much love and admiration for counselors, and for those with the courage to seek counseling. It's helped me through several tough periods of my own life. Please ease off the defensiveness, there's a LOT of love in the 'Pin, it's an amazing web family, ok?

carolita

@Sarah Rain My BF isn't overweight at all, he's actually quite buff for an older guy, but when I see him overindulging in junk every now and then, it affects me the same way his smoking used to (thankfully, he quit smoking), or the way one of my ex's excessive imbibing of gin used to. It repulses me. So maybe she's not necessarily shallow, and is simply not articulating the problem very precisely, since the weight-gain is so connected to the new and disturbing eating habits? Or am I shallow for being disgusted when my BF can't stop stuffing nachos into his mouth and it makes his breath smell like dog feet? I don't know! Sexual attraction is not to be confused with love. Sexual attraction (or the diminishment of it) can hinge upon the smallest things, even random things. I once read about how in the middle ages just changing a sow's feeding time or amount can make it stop eating for long enough to ruin a family who'd been counting on fattening it and slaughtering it. It reminded me of certain boyfriends, who'd get turned off by the weirdest stuff, and never get over it. People can be really weird! They can't help not being turned on. There's no way you can morally judge a person who suddenly is not turned on anymore by their spouse. It could be weight gain, or it could be a change of politics. Seriously, if my BF went Republican on me? It would be curtains for us! No joke! Call me superficial.

saul "the bear" berenson

@Veronica Lemmons There is nothing disgusting about people who are fat. I don't see anything in your comment saying that kind of thing, at least that's not how I'm interpreting your intent. We can sit here and parse each other's comments, or we can acknowledge the point I think you were raising: the fast food industry IS disgusting. If we can't talk about the horrors of the fast food industry, we're in trouble. Let's not conflate these two crucially distinct topics.

thecityunicorn

@Veronica Lemmons Hi, I see the same passive-aggressiveness in the retorts as you do and I also applaud that you kicked an unhealthy and unattractive habit and were brave enough to mention it. I agree with everything you've said about the LW, her husband, and the comments directed at you. I know I'm not really contributing to the conversation, but I wanted you to know other people in Pinland feel that same as you. if it wasn't already pretty evident by the amount of 'thumbs up' you have on your comments.

MoonBat

@thecityunicorn
Get Rid of Your Fat-Shaming Reformed Food Addicts, Seriously. They are Insensitive and Revolting.

....or was that too passive for you?

Xanthophyllippa

@MoonBat I like you. You can come hang out in the Hole of Non-Shaming on the Spinster Balcony with PPM and me if you want. We have enough dirt.

@Veronica Lemmons You seriously don't understand why a comment that associates fat with "poisoning themselves with garbage;" characterizes people who gain weight as callous, obnoxious, and intentionally self-destructive; and states that people are obligated to stay sexually attractive to someone else are problematic? Because if that's the case, I don't think there's really much else anyone can say to you. By all means, proselytize and crow about your witnessing all you want, but don't be surprised when folks here start calling you out on it.

Just for the record, any partner who informed me I had a "responsibility" to stay sexually attractive to them would get a right hook to the jaw and a firm kick out the door. I'm responsible only to myself to stay healthy, and anyone who wants to fuck me can get down with that or they can go fuck themselves instead.

MoonBat

@Xanthophyllippa
Week. Made.
BRB, packing a bag for my stay on the Spinster Balcony!!!

sceps yarx

@carolita I like carolita's response the best out of this whole thread. Sexual attraction is weird! All long term relationships go through phases of grrater/lesser sexytime attractions. How you deal with and get through the hard times says more about your relationship than the amount of hard times you have. What's sexy to me is knowing that my husband thinks of me as a priority, and has a desire to be attractive to me. It seems like the problem in this marriage isn't that her husband is fat, it's that he is blatantly deprioritizing being sexy to his wife. And she, in turn, seems like she is using her own weight successes as fodder for being cranky. In situations like this, the crankyness and bitterness and stress-behaviors just build and build in a vicious cycle. Lets ignore the fat trolling and health trolling and focus on what's actually going on: bad communication and a lack of following the golden rule.

PistolPackinMama

@MoonBat Not to worry. I ordered in extra lard. Turn left at the heirloom eggplant, then right at the brandywine tomato plant.

MoonBat

@PistolPackinMama
Hellz to the baba ganoush!

PistolPackinMama

@MoonBat @XP Is this the time for me to tell my sad/enlightening/amusing/endearing lard story? It is? Ok, I will!

A student and I were discussing home cooking once. He observed that his grandma made The Best Frybread.* But, she'd stopped using lard to fry the frybread because it's really unhealthy. She'd started making the low-fat version of frybread. Which meant she fried it in vegetable oil instead of lard. It wasn't as good, he said, but it was still better than no frybread.

[[insert convo about Smoke Signals here]]

We had a quick conversation about the difference between low fat and full fat, and trans fats and non-trans fats and LDL and HDL and cleared up the nutrition misinformation pretty quickly, then went back to discussing home cooking. I suggested to the program director later that maybe some nutrition education wouldn't go amiss.

The point of all of this is:

1) *His grandma's frybread is probably great, but it's not as good as my BFFs grandma's frybread. This is A Fact.

2) Information and education is important.

3) Feelingswords like disgusting about people's food habits, choices, the content of the food they eat is thin ice.

4) People want to make good decisions, by and large. If they aren't, it's not usually because they are bound and determined to be offensively unable to.

5) Frybread tacos are the jam. Or the salsa.

Kira-Lynn@twitter

@hands_down Thank you for this. Best comment ever.

Mila

@hands_down Okay, I have literally this exact situation in my life, down to the amount of weight gain, and while I understand the feelings, I also know they are MY problem, not my husband's. He is a grown man, he can eat whatever he wants (oh, one difference from the LW is he doesn't eat a lot of junk, he just eats compulsively and is bad at portion control). Yes, I am uncomfortable with it, and he knows that (and I also know it is probably tied to some of my own issues with eating and control that are MY issues). And yes, I find his body less sexually attractive, but really, when I am honest, except maybe in the very beginning, what turned me on about him had very little to do with his body, and very little to do with what an amazing and considerate lover he is and how freaking much I love him. Also, when I am honest about it, the issues I have with his weight gain are not all about how it pertains to our sex life, but more about my own issues with how people perceive me, and then him as an extension of me. And that is my shit to work on. He can work on his eating compulsions if and when he feels like it. And if he can keep overlooking all the ways my body has changed (I may have lost the weight, but my body is not the same as the 20 something he once dated), I will do the same for him.

entangled

The significant other weight gain questions are always such a minefield, but I think this was a pretty good answer. Secret, shameful eating, feeling deprived by something 30 years ago, and binging are not issues because they cause some people to gain weight. They are issues in and of themselves because they are an unhealthy relationship with food and often masking a larger problem. The fact that it then becomes couched in issues of weight and repulsion only makes it harder to deal with the problem in a compassionate, helpful way. I think A Lady's answer here really hits on the deeper issues, though.

The telling people to stop being naked in front of friends, though? What IS that? Clearly this lady has not been to any of my parties.

Better to Eat You With

@entangled Any behavior that involves sneaking food is a symptom of something much larger, in my (personal and observational) experience, for sure.

Queen of Pickles

@entangled Yes. This exactly. It's not having a partner who looks different than before - it's having a partner who is performing unacknowledged, secretive, self-destructive behavior while you share your life with them. It puts a big ol' rift between the two of you.

And I think the posts a little ways above that shame her as "shallow" are not a useful response. We're all animals, for better or for worse, and sometimes our animal brains don't respond the way we want them to. I'm sure this woman would prefer to keep being attracted to him no matter what, and he'd prefer to not have the urge to eat. We do the best we can.

purefog

@entangled I nominate you to host the next 'Pin-up in your area code.

Cat named Virtute

Ah man, this Lady was really great. I liked that she was empathetic and not fat-shamey to LW3 and her husband. Solid advice too.

And oof, yeah, Renee friends are tough. I wonder if she is seeing a counsellor or therapist or something? Because I wonder if maybe that's something that LW1 and her friends could suggest, as a step before breaking off contact totally. Sounds like Renee is in a bad way, but at the same time, her behaviour is something most people would never put up with in a romantic relationship, and I feel like that can be a good metric to figure out what one is willing to put up with in a friendship/other kinds of relationships.

WhiskeySour

@Cat named Virtute
It seems to me LW1 and friends have tried to suggest therapy. At least that's the impression I got from the "not equipped to help her" comment. Though the fact that it was kind of a subtext to the letter might mean that it needs to be (like you suggest) stated more clearly than that to Renee, too. It sounds like such a tough situation. I thought the advice was really solid.

Oh, squiggles

@Cat named Virtute I think she was a little 'fat-shamey'. She compared eating habits to morality. " And now he's being the kind of person who doesn't make the food-ordering choices you wanted your baby to mirror." Because fat people make bad parents?

Cat named Virtute

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Ugh, yeah. I didn't parse that the same way (more like, it's good to set good food examples for your kids while they're young if you can because it's only going to get harder), but I definitely see your reading too, and it's such a fine line between wanting what's best for your family and making people feel bad about their choices, especially when those choices come from being in a hard mental health place.

Ellie

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I don't think it's that "fat people make bad parents" but that you want your kid to grow up in a climate of being healthy and active and having a positive relation to healthy food, not in a climate where it's normal to eat a thing of ice cream at a time with great frequency. (Sometimes is OK!)

Oh, squiggles

@Ellie But the thing is, that sets the precedent of expecting a parent to always serve as a perfect example of a human being for their child. How can that be possible? It is possible to teach your children what healthy is, even if you struggle with making those choices yourself. And those people can still be good people, and good parents.

Ellie

@Awesomely Nonfunctional No, I agree, and I think the bigger concern is that she isn't attracted to him anymore. After all, she's half the "example."

Oh, squiggles

It just kind of sounds like ways to phrase "you got fat so I don't want to be with you anymore" in a way that is excuseable. And trying to excuse it is problematic. Just be upfront about it if that is what you feel.

maevemealone

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I didn't see that at all. He binges on junk and fast food, eats half gallons of ice cream in one sitting. He didn't used to do this pre-pregnancy. He's gone to an extreme in his eating habits and she's grossed out by it. She'd like their kids to have healthy eating habits and it sets up a bad situation where you tell your kids "Eat like me, not like Dad".

Xanthophyllippa

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Oh wow - I didn't read that as "fat-shamey" at all. I read it as A Lady saying, "shame on you for being 'fat-shamey' by acting like fat is about health and being all, 'I can't love you anymore because you're teaching our kid Bad Habits'." I thought she was calling out the LW, not her unhappy husband.

MsChilePepper

@maevemealone Am I the only one thinking that the husband is reacting to the stressors of parenthood by overeating? Like, he's maybe realized, "Holy shit, I really fucked up because I do NOT like this life we created when we had this kid and I am SO UNHAPPY and what the hell am I gonna do now?" Because that scenario happens a LOT more than most people will ever admit or accept in others. I would have been thinking precisely those thoughts had I procreated with my ex, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I didn't go there with him, 'cause it would've been the end of me, straight up.

sceps yarx

@MsChilePepper I am very close with a person whose dad had suger-binging as a stress behavior and it pretty much ruined that person's parent's marriage and their dad has type-two diabetes, tons of medical bills, and it's really, really sad and terrible. Let's remember the difference between size and health. Eating a ton of sugar really is as dangerous as smoking or driving without a seatbelt, and both of those cases, it would be valid to say "please stop modeling this behavior to our child." But, like smoking or any other addiction or stress-response, shame makes the problem worse, not better. It's a tough situation.

Oh, squiggles

#3...wow. I have gained weight in my relationship, and yes, weight gain can often be associate with health and depression issues, so it is something to be concerned about with an S.O., but saying that you find him repulsive...wow. I am so grateful that my S.O. would never think or say that to me.

As a fat person, it is already hurtful and awful to be constantly told by society that you are 'repulsive'. It would be even more heartbreaking to hear it from someone who supposedly loves you. Hearing these things just makes it harder to make healthy choices...especially when the unhealthy choices are made because of feelings of shame and depression already.

TLDR: fat-shaming is awful, does no good.

And! genital-size shaming...what is that about? yeesh.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Awesomely Nonfunctional SERIOUSLY. I just can't like...oh my god. If my dude ever used the word "repulsive" to describe my body (my actual body, not a bad fart or something like that) we would be splitsville IMMEDIATELY and I would probably drown in tears.

Sarah Rain

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Pretty clear that depression is not this woman's concern, she just thinks his body is gross. So sad.

Jennifer Culp

@Awesomely Nonfunctional She didn't call him, personally, or his body repulsive, the sentence reads "the fact is that I am less attracted to his changed body, and the way he binges on sweets and unhealthy food is becoming repulsive to me."

fabel

@Jennifer Culp Thank you for pointing this out.

Guys, she didn't call his body repulsive-- that would seriously be a terrible thing to do. I'm really not getting the impression that this writer is all "ew, gross!" about her husband's thicker body. Her wording is sensitive & she sounds like she's being sensitive about the issue IRL as well.

The Attic Wife

@fabel I think half the answer is good - calling for a little more understanding and being concerned that the binging and weight gain and lack of sex might indicate that there's some depression issues to talk about is all solid advice.

That said, the idea that LW3 is being cheated out of the man she was "promised" when they got together he's gained weight is kind of a dick thing to say. It sets her up to feel more resentful of him than she already does if she now is being told that he has an obligation to remain as thin as he was when they first met. Think about it: If some dude was writing in that his wife gained 40 pounds and he was "repulsed" by her eating habits, everyone would probably think he was being an asshole. If the husband was advised that since the wife presented herself a certain way/was a certain weight when they were dating that she needed to remain that way for the duration of their marriage and he should feel free to tell her that, people would be blowing up the comments section talking about how unfair that is.

Inkling

@Awesomely Nonfunctional
Man, my FWB got fat a couple months ago.
It just added huge man-butts to my voracious sexual appetite.
I dunno, I thought that's how it worked. Love the person = love their quirks.
That's how I want it to work :(

PistolPackinMama

@The Attic Wife Yeah, one of the things they promised if they did the standard civil ceremony is to love that person in sickness and health. I mean, people gain weight for all kinds of reasons. You don't promise to stay 27-bodied forever. You don't. If your partner isn't interested in sex with you when your body changes, that sucks and there things you need to do to deal. (I favor "it is ok to leave if your partner doesn't like you when you are fat.")

But I thought we, as a roomful of pro-choice people by and large- knew already you and your body don't owe anyone anything. Your body is yours, and expecting your partner to stay sexually attractive to you is like expecting them to want to fuck you on demand. It's treating their body like your property.

Megasus

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I gained a lot of weight over the last few years (mainly because of health reasons that means I can't exercise like I used to), and I am like 90% sure the ex thought this about my body.

Roaring Girl

@Awesomely Nonfunctional The "you should be able to tell your partner about all this" struck me as being an exceptionally bad idea in this case. No one's partner in the history of the universe is prepared to hear "I am not physically attracted to you anymore," no matter how nicely it is phrased or with what intentions. LW needs to address the obvious depression here and take it from there, NOT potentially destroy her husband's self-esteem and sense of safety with her by trying to shame him into losing weight.

queenofbithynia

he presented a version of himself that you decided you would like as a partner and role model to your children. Then you went, together, and MADE THOSE PEOPLE OUT OF THIN AIR. And now he's being the kind of person who doesn't make the food-ordering choices you wanted your baby to mirror. Hold him accountable for the bait and switch.

This is loathsome garbage. If you aren't attracted to him, don't fuck him; if either of you can't stand a fuckless marriage, get a divorce. I know, it must suck that he's doctor-certfied as healthy and so she can't use 'concerned about his health' as a cover for 'wants him to eat and look the way she wants.' So no, she should not feel obligated to feign an attraction that isn't there and sure, it's fine to bug a life partner about eating better if you're not a dick or a pseudo-parent about it.

But this bait-and-switch thing is no less disgusting when it's about a man instead of a woman. He's not a fucking retail product that failed to live up to the catalog description. Who thinks like that? What the fuck.

also, you can be a jerk even if you do love your husband, it's not either/or. and yeah, she actually might be repulsed purely and only because he got fat, not because he is theoretically depressed and she is just sensitive to that. It does happen.

Sure, he may be a sensitive person and it'll hurt his feelings a little bit, but he's making choices that affect other people in the house and he should have to answer to that.

brb, have to go not get married ever.

Oh, squiggles

@queenofbithynia Thank you! This!

queenofbithynia

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I was so grar that I couldn't italicize the first block quote and my pronouns are all over the place. It is like, which is worse, telling this dude he owes it to her to stay slim because that's how he sold himself to her, or telling this woman she doesn't understand how her own libido works??

Oh, squiggles

@queenofbithynia Well, it kind of ignores the fact that people, personalities and bodies, change as they get older. I think if you choose to get married, you are willingly committing to someone who won't stay the same. Are we going to be holding people responsible for ageing now too? Oh wait! We already do that.

anachronistique

@queenofbithynia Who wants to join me for a belly-jiggling dance and some cake?

entangled

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I agree with this. I don't think people should feel compelled to be attracted to everyone, and if the spark fades when the relationship isn't new and exciting, then it's okay to get out. But at the point where you're married and having children, then it's time to work past lack of sexual desire rather than seeing it (if it's the only issue) as reason to bail. That's what that commitment is, and I think it's fine not to sign up for it, but once you have leaving someone because you're no longer attracted to them does make you the villain.

Ellie

I'm not married or as old as the letter writer but I really disagree with this. We all change as we get older, so you are obviously (in most cases) not going to be as hot as when you first met your SO. However, 40+ extra pounds on a previously slim and fit person is seriously a big deal and not really within "Haha, the ravages of age!" It's not as minor as the person you committed to simply not "staying the same." I can get behind giving the exact same advice to a woman.

queenofbithynia

@Awesomely Nonfunctional yeah, and even if you make age a special category, there is this creepy, creeping consensus growing, somehow, that there is an implicit contract that whatever you look like when you meet somebody, that is what you have agreed to attempt to maintain until age and disease take the ability from you.

Everybody can have their own private contracts, but I am not ok with this being some kind of society-wide consensus. Not that I have any way of stopping it. it is like how robots would negotiate relationships. If you cannot maintain a boner for someone who gains or loses a couple clothing sizes, it is on you to say that upfront when you have the conversation about where you will live and how you will share finances. If your (lady)boner is that delicately calibrated and that contingent, you are the one who ought to warn people. It should not be on the person who might or might not get bald or fat someday.

And of course when people enter a relationship fat and lose a bunch of weight, they might get left over it or their partner might lose their attraction, it's totally possible, but who would blame them for letting themselves go and pulling a bait-and-switch for losing 40 pounds? Fucking nobody is who.

Sarah Rain

@Ellie I think that when you get older, especially if you end up in a marriage-type relationship with someone, you'll understand why this perspective is problematic. And the fat-shaming is a big part of it. If her husband were in an accident and had his arm amputated, that'd be a MUCH bigger change in his appearance and lifestyle than weight gain, but I don't think people would be saying, "Oh yeah, totally understandable that you don't want to fuck him anymore; that's so gross."

Kristen

@queenofbithynia God I just want to endorse this times 100000x. SOMEDAY WE ARE ALL GOING TO BE UGLY. That's just a basic fact of life and we run around like idiots pretending it's not true. We act as if getting uglier is a moral failing rather than literally the world's #1 guarantee. Your husband is fat now? Well, odds are you're going to get fat too once your metabolism winds down. Plus, your skin is going to get crinkly and leathery and your husband's hair will fall out and you'll start sprouting hair in weird places and your hands and feet will get all gnarled and your spine will get twisty and bent and someday probably no one who doesn't love you will want to fuck you at all and that's it. Do people not think about this before they get married? Or do they just figure that if their SO gets ugly before they do, they'll trade them in for a new model and hope that they die before their next spouse has the chance to do the same thing to them?

queenofbithynia

@Ellie but what is the particular import of them having previously been slim and fit? 40 pounds is just as noticeable on an already-fat person (if you're sleeping with them, though I suppose possibly not otherwise) and any potential health issues certainly exist in that case as well.

The vibe I get is that you have more of an obligation to upkeep if you're starting with a socially-approved body (slim and fit). That a fat body is yours; it's already blemished so do what you like with it, but a thin body is like a public park -- keep it well-kempt so everyone can enjoy it. It's a bigger deal and a greater tragedy if it goes into decline.

As a newly-thin-ish person (thanks in part to some fun health problems) I have extreme feelings, you might say, about this. I am not going to say it is easier to be fat, cause it isn't, but this is one point of pressure I never felt before, and I wonder if people who have always been slim&fit are somewhat numbed to this mindset by habit, and find it normal and rational and unobjectionable. I am not and I don't.

supernintendochalmers

@Ellie I'm with you. We should all be sensitive to fat-shaming and I don't think the LW would ever tell her husband she finds him too repulsive to fuck in those words, but when you've made a monogamous commitment to someone I think that you should make an effort to maintain yourself: mentally, physically, emotionally. It sounds like this guy is depressed or at least overwhelmed, so he should be working on that, maybe with a therapist.

The LW mentions the stress of work and parenting-- maybe they should hire a babysitter every few weeks so they can have a night off and do something together? It seems like stress is an issue. Does the LW's husband exercise? That would probably help with stress, depression, libido, let alone weight/health. What if they joined a dance class together or went for walks in the evening? Doing something physical together might help them reconnect. The key is to frame it as their alone time and not "heyyy maybe we should exercise" in a fat-shaming way.

PistolPackinMama

@queenofbithynia You are just batting it out of the park today, yo. So much the thumbs up for you.

@twinkiecowboy Okay, so I don't know what your relationship with depression is like. But. I will say this. If it is the case that he is depressed, and she is not, or is less depressed?

She needs to quit fucking worrying so much about how his depression contributes to his looks/fuckability. And start worrying that his depression is limiting his own life and feelings and state of being.

Really, depression is a real thing and you can't just positive attitude your way out of it. It'd be like telling a cancer patient or person with PCOS that they need to concentrate on their fuckability for you rather than a huge, overwhelming, time and emotion consuming illness and how it actually affects them being them.

If marriage is about partnership, and depression is in his picture right now, then it sounds like a really good time for his wellbeing, not his obligation to maintain his wellbeing for her, to be the priority.

Goddamn. Depression fucking sucks, trust me he is feeling bad already. Or (and this is worse) he's not feeling anything at all.

Better to Eat You With

@Kristen In the 14 years since we got together, my husband and I have both gained a significant amount of weight. I don't *think* most random strangers would outright characterize us as fat, but we're nothing like the slim athletic young 'uns we were when we got together.

But, damn, my husband is so much hotter now than he was then. He gets better looking all the time, partly because age has been kind to him, partly because he has a much stronger sense of who he is and what his style is, and partly because our relationship has deepened over that time. (I can't speak to his secret impressions, but he says the same things about me.)

ETA: @PistolPackinMama: Thank you. "Working on" anything when you're profoundly depressed is...not even an option. It takes everything you've got to get yourself out of bed in the morning and off to the job you have to do in order to provide for your wife and kid. (Something in her letter made it sound like she's a SAHM--the chasing the toddler around, maybe.) And the eating is a really sad attempt to fill up the empty space. What she needs to do is have a serious talk with him about his emotional wellness, but it sounds like she'd have to actually become concerned about that, first. I mean, who doesn't recognize that a person who eats a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting or sneaks fast food isn't suffering from something larger? Does she really think he's doing that for fun?

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama I'll just add this goes for any major health or mental health issue, not just depression.

Xanthophyllippa

@Sarah Rain I hope you didn't mean that to sound as condescending as it did: "Once you grow up and your life looks like mine, you'll see why you're wrong."

Slapfight

@Kristen Except Helen Mirren. Her rotting corpse will still be hot as hell. ;)

Xanthophyllippa

@Slapfight See also: Emma Thompson.

PistolPackinMama

@Xanthophyllippa Also Katherine Hepburn was a fox till the end. And let us not forget Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart. And Cary Grant. Ooh Paul Newman.

Foxy old people. Mmmmm.

Actually, there are a couple of professorial types on the faculty here that are aging really well. And some of the nuns and monks. Although the nuns tend to project Sensible Blazers over their glowing fresh faced looks. The monks you tend to see swooping around in their habits, looking like Professor Snape.

Oh, hey Gary Oldman.

Judi Dench. Mmm.

WaityKatie

Something about the first letter makes me uneasy. I agree about cutting off toxic friends in principle, but the fact that all of this woman's group of friends have gotten together behind her back and decided that they all need to ditch her simultaneously? It seems a bit mean girls to me.

wharrgarbl

@WaityKatie I don't know. If she's going to stalk you for a year because you friend-dumped her, at least that way she'll only be able to stalk any individual a certain percentage of the time.

SarahP

@WaityKatie Yes! I thought the same thing! I have dumped a toxic friend in the past, but I didn't know entire groups of friends exiled individuals after 6th grade (when the popular girls TOTALLY gave Allie R the cold shoulder!).

charlesbois

@WaityKatie I very much agree. It sounds like EVERYONE in that letter needs to grow up, including the letter writer. Has she even thought about saying this to Renee, instead of talking behind her back and writing an advice column? Communication is key. If you want Renee to change, you have to let her know. If you want Renee out of your life, you still have to let her know, and not by omission. It sounds extremely middle school that everyone is going to dump Renee after being friends with her for a long while. Did she change overnight, or has she been this way for a long time? If the latter, why has no one talked to Renee about it or why have they remained friends. It does sound like Renee is fairly toxic but my god, have a heart and tell her that you aren't comfortable being friends with her for the exact reasons you mention.

thebestjasmine

@WaityKatie Having been in a friend situation like that before, I disagree. I think that calling anytime a group of women discuss something relevant to all of them "mean girls" is kind of weird. If a group of women all had a terrible boss, and said "Um, she's seeming really weird/she yelled at me today/are you having problems with her?" no one would say that they were acting like mean girls, they would say that that's just how you talk about someone affecting all of your lives. And especially if one of their friends broke up with Renee and she started stalking her, it is pretty relevant for them to all figure out what to do.

Olivia2.0

@WaityKatie interestingly, a very close friend and I had to friend-dump our "Renee" (sidenote: Is "Renee" now a defined thing on the hp? Like, DON'T GO ALL RENEE ON ME JOLIE!") and it happened around the same time, but part of the reason it happened that way was a) her behavior got progressively worse and then finally intolerable and b) she kept writing emails and just cc'ing one of us on it? Like we were the same person? It was so weird. And I can see how you would think "mean girls" but it was more just like "we can't take it starting now."

EternalFootwoman

@thebestjasmine I definitely agree. From the letter it sounds like this woman calls her friends constantly and needs a lot of emotional support for issues they either don't feel equipped to handle or that are constantly recurring. It also doesn't sound like she gives much back. You shouldn't dread the sound of your friend's voice every time you pick up the phone. And the behavior she showed toward the woman who did friend-dump her creeps me out. I see it more as a growing awareness in the group that no one likes Renee, possibly culminating in someone saying, "So...Renee..." and everyone else exclaiming, "I KNOW! Thank God it's not just me!" Not as a secret meeting.

WaityKatie

@thebestjasmine I don't know, it's just the dynamic of a group of friends taking a decision to start excluding another friend. It could be guys, also, or a mixed group. It seems very sort of cliquish and high schooly to me.

SarahP

@EternalFootwoman Your version is a lot more comfortable for me. I know the LW says they came to the decision separately, but... asking for her friend group made me feel like they were all like "Everyone, we need to stop talking to Renee." Like WaityKatie said, it felt cliquish.

charlesbois

@thebestjasmine I agree if it is a boss/co-worker/neighbor/etc. But this is apparently someone they have called a friend, at least in the past. If you need to dump someone, fine. But when friends are talking behind another friend's back without talking TO the friend, well that certainly isn't very friendly behavior.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@WaityKatie Yeah, I'm all for phasing out toxic friendships and have done so in the past, but something about EVERYONE cutting her off at once just feels so harsh that I feel really bad for Renee. What if they got together and staged an intervention or something instead?

thebestjasmine

@charlesbois But they have all tried to talk to her! At least, the letter writer has, and the one friend who broke up with her and then was stalked has. Why is it cliqueish to say "Um, so Renee stalked Julie, how can I get out of this friendship without that happening to me?" It's okay to break up with friends, really it is, if they're toxic. Doing it doesn't make you a mean girl, even if a number of you do it, when you're all grownups and the friend is stalking your friends, or not listening to you, and not actually being a real friend.

CubeRootOfPi

@charlesbois Yeah, I wonder what happened between university and now. If Renee was always like that, they tried to talk to her but to no avail, then yeah. But if they never mentioned it to her and are now deciding to dump her, then that's unfair to Renee. If something's caused her to change, then it may be horrifically unkind of them to dump her without a word depending on what that something is (e.g. recently left abusive relationship).

(Not saying Renee is perfect, but there's a lot left out)

charlesbois

@thebestjasmine You're right, if they have been talking to her and she hasn't been listening. Cause that's not friendly behavior either. I hope at least one person had a heart-to-heart with Renee, even if they had to repeat over and over that she needs to listen, because it does sound like someone needs to set Renee's shit straight.

Fiddle dee dee

@werewolfbarmitzvah

I agree. I got dumped by a friend last year and I was absolutely crushed. I do not how a person could get through being dumped by several friends at once. I would be very afraid that she would do somethign extreme to herself as a result.

Kakapo

@WaityKatie Thank you, thank you, thank you. I got the feeling throughout the letter that the response should have actually been to Renee: "Your friends are creepy and incredibly immature. Run from them." I also suspect the stalking story was... embellished.

MilesofMountains

@WaityKatie I wonder if they could have brought it up along the lines of "Hey Jane, I really just can't take Renee's behaviour anymore, so I'm planning on cutting off contact. Can you support me/have any ideas of how to handle this?" and then if it turns out EVERYONE is contemplating this, where do you go from there? Does someone have to jump on the hand granade of Renee's destructive emotional needs so the others can get away? That seems like a terrible idea too

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Kakapo " Like, if I would blow her off to hang out with Kyle, she'd be like, "Why didn't you call me back?" And I'd be like, "Why are you so obsessed with me?" So then, for my birthday party, which was an all-girls pool party, I was like, "Janis, I can't invite you, because I think you're lesbian." I mean I couldn't have a lesbian at my party. There were gonna be girls there in their *bathing suits*. I mean, right? She was a LESBIAN."

blueblazes

@charlesbois I've been in this situation, and we more or less elected the closest of close friends to talk to our "Renee." The thing is, that conversation inevitably feeds into those feelings of insecurity and paranoia. She thought that we were leaving her out of activities on purpose (and we were!). She was afraid no one wanted to hang out with her (she was right!). The happy ending is that regardless of how she feels in her heart of hearts, she did change the way she interacts with the group. And that change allowed us to re-integrate her! I think she realized--for the first time?-- that other people get left out sometimes too, and that most people have ways of coping with their feelings other than passive-agressive facebooking and driving past all of our houses each night to see whose cars are at home.

maevemealone

@WaityKatie But why is there an obligation to liking Renee? Is every group of same thinking women suddenly a mean girl clique? I've had a friend I had to dump, and I certainly talked to mutual friends about it and they also felt the same way I did. As it worked out, we had to dump the mutual friend at the same time. I don't feel like I acted like a pack when we went through this, but when someone else is feeling the same way or getting the same treatment from a person, it's nice to have a sympathetic ear to know it's not just your personal reaction. Until they tie Renee up and throw her in the river, LW and her friends aren't mean awful people for not being her counselours or staging an intervention on an annoying personality. It's just bizarre to me that people argue for preserving a friendship with someone who sounds as potentionally unstable as Renee.

Daisy Razor

@MilesofMountains I've cut off a friend who made me extremely uncomfortable, and I definitely told our mutual friends that I was planning on doing it so they didn't find out second or thirdhand and feel like they were caught in the middle. I made a point of saying that they didn't have to choose sides and I'd still be happy to attend parties that they invited her to.

Over the next year or so, I realized that I wasn't seeing her around anymore. Everyone stopped inviting her to things, not because we had some sort of Mean Girl sit-down, but because she was emotionally disturbed and people hit their limit independently. Just because a bunch of people come to the same conclusion doesn't make it cliquish.

thebestjasmine

@maevemealone It's a Mean Girl clique if they all decide to stop being friends with Renee because she wore pink on Thursday and not Wednesday. Or if she wore skinny jeans when everyone knows they're over. Not because she's a toxic personality and upsets all of them.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@thebestjasmine What about ponytails twice in one week?

whizz_dumb

@WaityKatie I'm gonna make a gender generalization, don't get mad: dudes just stop hanging out. We do the radio silence without the breakup talk. I know it's non-confrontational and annoyingly passive, so I'm not suggesting it but the thought of all those friends actually breaking up with her makes me feel sorry for her even though she seems like a horrible person. Maybe there's another way to confront her like single out the most annoying trait and insult her a bunch? Half-joking, I don't know, that would suck. There is a toxic dude I'm thinking of where this other friend and I were like: "No more hanging out with him right?" "Oh never again".

thebestjasmine

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Everyone would just turn around and walk away from her. No discussion even necessary.

wharrgarbl

@whizz_dumb That tends to only really work when you're not friends with someone to the point where they keep trying to be a friend even if you want them out of your life. "I don't want to be friends with you anymore" vs. spending the next three months not answering their calls/texts/emails and being cordial but brusque at accidental run-ins until they get the hint...just tear off the band-aid.

"I'm gonna make a gender generalization, don't get mad"

Man, don't do that. Just say what you're going to say and leave it at that. "Don't get mad" or "I know I'm probably gonna get killed for saying this" either prefaces something that really doesn't need to get said at all (see also, "I'm not a racist, but...") or begs a special treatment that really didn't get earned. Just kick off with "From a dudely perspective," and say your piece.

whizz_dumb

@wharrgarbl Shewt you're right. I did the, "Not trying to be a dick, but this is me being a dick right now" thing. I'm a little off, duly noted. I meant to kick off with simply, "GENDER GENERALIZATION,".

Xanthophyllippa

@WaityKatie I assumed it was more along the lines of an intervention, since it sounds like they've all tried to talk to her already and she's either blown them off or gotten worse.

@whizz_dumb I kind of liked the disclaimer because it warded off all the anecdata of "WAIT NO I KNOW THIS ONE DUDE" in protest. But that's just me.

D.@twitter

@SarahP And let me just say, BEING ALLIE R. SCARS YOU FOR LIFE. I've never been able to trust anyone since. Er, SHE hasn't. You know, Allie.

Scandyhoovian

@all as someone who has been in a similar situation in which a few of us all came, around the same time, to have hit our limit with our own Renee, it is really hard to "Get out" in phases. Using my own experience as an example, our Renee felt friend-dumped by one person (me) and she proceeded to react by clinging EVEN HARDER to the other friends that I know were considering friend-dumping her as well, guilting them into staying by talking about how upset she was by the first friend-dumping. When the next girl said she couldn't take it anymore it got even worse for the last one, who felt so bad that she gave up on her friend-dumping and now has grudging pity dates with the Renee, who spends all her time asking about the two of us that don't hang out with her anymore. It's even more awkward, and friend #3 is miserable and complains all the time. It's gotten toxic for her and now the two of us that got away from Renee are getting sick of hearing about Renee from friend #3.

It's hard, sometimes, to be someone who has pushed away more than one person at once, but it does happen, and I think it's unfair to paint the people leaving the friendship as "mean girls," because at least in my own experience it is incredibly hard to come to the decision to friend-dump someone as it is. I know I look back and think that I put up with far more than I honestly should have before I finally excused myself from the relationship. If a friendship is adversely affecting your life there is absolutely no reason you should have to stay in it. No reason at all.

fuck fuck fuck

i did not get "depression" from LW3's letter at all....her husband gained weight, and it sounds like he has some bingeing issues, but i didn't see anything that would make depression a better conclusion than chronic stress, or anxiety, or some other issue entirely. i want more info!

wee_ramekin

@i'm a self-rolled man Yeah, one thing that seemed a little off about the Lady's advice was that she suggested depression at the beginning of her answer which, okay, fine, maybe he is depressed. But by the end of the response, she was operating off the assumption that we have all accepted this "diagnosis" as fact, when there could be so many other things going on.

fondue with cheddar

@i'm a self-rolled man Agreed, though depression is something to consider. It may be off-base but it may not. Or maybe it's just stress-eating.

entangled

@i'm a self-rolled man It's not necessarily depression, but it sounds like this isn't natural age-related weight gain or just having a higher set point. It's more like she can't keep anything "treat"ish in the house because he eats it all in one sitting. Eating more ice cream and cookies than is optimal is one thing - eating a half gallon of ice cream or an entire batch of cookies without being able to stop at or even beyond fullness is disordered binge eating. That is a mental health issue and not an aesthetic one, and if she frames it to herself and to him as an aesthetic one, it's only going to make whatever guilt/depression/compulsion/issue is driving him to binge eat worse.

fuck fuck fuck

@arrr starr oh yeah, i totally agree that that kind of eating is likely symptomatic of a mental health issue, i just didn't exactly see why the advice focused so conclusively on depression, as if there were any actual evidence pointing to it in the letter aside from the bingeing.

PistolPackinMama

@i'm a self-rolled man If he's having mental health problems of any kind, expecting him to be firing on all cylinders when it comes to lifestyle decisions is not going to be a fruitful path to follow.

Which, addressing the mental health problem is going to be a thing for a pro to work out with LWs dude. But expecting him to be able to "fix" the weight problem by just not eating so much or whatever will be a constant for LW.

Better to Eat You With

@i'm a self-rolled man Depression seems generally to be the most common cause of this kind of behavior, though no, it's not the only one.

Diana

I had a Renee once, and it took me a long time to wimpily phase her out of my life and every once in awhile I see her online presence and exhale out of great satisfaction. The best part about being a grownup is that you don't have to be friends with people you don't want to be friends with. You can't necessarily choose your family or your co-worker, but there is no excuse to have friends you don't like. And having you guys as friends isn't good for Renee, either, she deserves to have friends who truly want her friendship. WALK AWAY, RENEE.

I really hope people are kind to #3 because I think she tried to phrase this in as nice terms as she could manage. EDIT: Actually I forgot she used the word "repulsive" which is...harsh. There's always an impulse to couch this kind of thing in phrases like "concerned about his health" - and that might be completely true! But I don't think she should be apologizing for not finding her husband sexy after gaining 40 pounds. He looks like a different person than the one she started dating, it doesn't make her shallow to find this entirely new person less attractive than the first one that she actually married. Or even if it does, who cares? So what? Then she's shallow - admitting it doesn't mean she's magically sexually attracted to him. Making her feel bad for sexual feelings she can't control won't solve her problem. Please go gently, Hairpin commentariat!

Oh, squiggles

@Diana Well, to be fair, I think there is a difference between "not being as attracted" and "repulsed". She used the word repulsed. If you find someone repulsive, it is because have lost your ability to be compassionate.

paperbuttons

@Diana Yeah, when I broke up with my own Renee I felt like I had reached adulthood in this weird way. But it was strange how our breakup was seen by a few mutual friends. It was like it was a betrayal. Like breaking up with a pal of a nine months is somehow unforgivable. One was like, "Why'd you 'drop' Renee?" And I felt like yelling, "Because she was obsessive and controlling and mean and if a DUDE was behaving like that you'd give me props for dumping his creepy ass!!" But instead I said something like "We just grew apart." Which I guess means I'm a wimp?

City_Dater

@Diana

"Repulsive" is really harsh, but she uses it to refer to his new, bizarre eating habits, not specifically the way she feels on looking at his weight gain. And honestly, if I were in this woman's situation I might be frustrated enough to be throwing around some less-than-diplomatic word choices. The man is sneak-eating gallons of ice cream alone and blaming his deprived childhood, but not seeking any sort of professional help.

Ellie

@City_Dater I agree - I know it's a slippery slope and I don't think this always applies but I think that in her specific context she makes a fair distinction between repulsed by specific habits versus repulsed by person - I agree with A Lady that she obviously genuinely loves (and likes) her husband.

CubeRootOfPi

@paperbuttons Sounds like you're taking the high road, not being a wimp.

pistolwhip

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I actually think it's pretty normal in a marriage to sometimes find your partner repulsive, and it doesn't make you a horrible person. Like sometimes my husband is sitting next to me on the couch snarfing potato chips, and I'm like OMG MURDER-SUICIDE. Or maybe I am a horrible person, I dunno! A horrible person who hates mouth sounds.

Oh, squiggles

@pistolwhip It is normal to be temporarily annoyed my someone, sure. But to think of them, and refer to them as repulsive? Like on a semi-constant basis? That is a red flag. It means you can't think about them from a compassionate stand point, of trying to see that they are another person, who is going through a completely different experience.

Sarah Rain

@Diana The writer, columnist, and the commenters' responses have basically been about getting the husband to change. If the problem is that she has a very narrow window of weights she finds attractive, why not suggest ways she can get over that?

Ophelia

@Sarah Rain I got the impression less that she *couldn't* be attracted to her husband, but that she considers his behavior destructive and unhealthy, and finds THAT repulsive (which I think the Lady tried to reflect in the last paragraph).

pistolwhip

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I didn't really get that from the letter. Her feelings of disgust seem pretty balanced by caring about him/wanting to be married to to him. I don't mean to minimize--they obvs need some help. I guess I'm just trying to make the point that marriages (and long term relationships) are complicated and full of mixed feelings and ambivalence. Intimacy is hard! And the whole dynamic changes when you have a baby. I think I'm rambling, sorry. Anyway to me the LW sounds honest and human, and not like a terrible person. The key is to catch it early, and work on it before it hardens to 24/7 revulsion and disgust.

fabel

@Awesomely Nonfunctional She said the binging habits were BECOMING repulsive. Which honestly, yeah? The husband may be in good health, but binging is not a healthy behavior & I can see being "repulsed" after a while of watching someone do it. Maybe that is a strong word, but overall, this LW sounds caring & aware of how sensitive an issue this is.

KatnotCat

@Sarah Rain The problem is that her husband binge eats, possibly to the point of it being reflective of a mental health disorder.

Sarah Rain

@KatnotCat I didn't get that from the letter. I got that she was grossed out by his weight, and was talking about how the weight gain was his fault because he does all these "gross" things because she wants to be able to say that he can lose the weight if he wants to. First paragraph, she says the issue is her diminished attraction to him. THAT'S what she should be working on, not inciting body shame in her life partner.

Letter writer 3

@Sarah Rain I just wanted to clarify (in addition to my response downthread)that I am not "grossed out" by my husband or his body; using the word repulsed may have been strong but it was pretty clearly in response to a change in attitudes and habits toward food. We are both involved in a wellness industry and as the sole food shopper/ food preparer in our household I work really hard to provide meals that reflect our common and discussed philosophy of (working towards/attempting to be) conscious in our daily activities. We don't have a restrictive household as far as food-choices go (other than that we choose not to buy processed-foods and eat animal products minimally), but we do set an intention of purchasing, preparing, and consuming mindfully (this is for ourselves and also because this is what we actively discuss and try to model for our child). This may give larger context to why the fast food, ice cream, sugar binges are of concern for me.

hotdog

Why isn't anyone commenting on the fact that this question was just answered by a spider on August 3??????

THE LETTER IS CALLING YOU FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.

fondue with cheddar

@hotdog A couple of us did. :)

hotdog

@hotdog ok, phew-I just refreshed. I felt so alone here.

Xanthophyllippa

@hotdog THEN WHO WAS PHONE?!

Blushingflwr

OMG I have a lot to say about rebound dating. Many of my formative relationships were with guys who were on the rebound (the guy I lost my virginity to compared me to his ex - a friend/roommate of mine - WHILE we were doing the deed).

And I think that I am often a good rebound girlfriend, because while I do admit that I like a lot of attention, I am also relatively low-maintence and I am very good at affirming people's self worth and being patient with their issues. Sometimes too patient, but I digress.

Anyway, the analogy I came up with is that it is like flipping a house. I get it, I fix it back up, and then it ends up back on the market. Which is great, except it leaves me homeless. So I don't do it anymore (now that I am in a lovely polyamorous relationship I might considering doing it, since I have a wonderful "house" in my fantastic gentleman friend).

There's nothing inherently wrong with dating people who are on the rebound, you just have to know that there is a high likiliehood that you will not last forever. A good deal of happiness in life is dependent on expectation management, I find.

A Lady is totally right in that you need to ask more questions. And you need to be willing to turn a guy down for a date if you think he is not interested in or open to the same things. It's not a guarantee (e.g. when aforementioned gentleman friend and I got together we were not sure if we would be serious or casual, and it ended up pretty serious), but nothing in life is. I would also suggest that if you have a good friend who can be honest with you (and everyone needs one of these, they are The Best), you talk to hir and see if you can spot a pattern in what you're doing or who you're attracted to. For a long time, I dated a lot of wounded guys because I was a sucker for the sad puppy eyes and the tragic backstory - they made me feel maternal and nurturing and needed. See if you can find similar patterns in your dating history.

Blushingflwr

@Blushingflwr And of course I have comments on social nudity too!
So, in my experience most dudes are way more interested in their own penises than anyone else is.

But also - I spend a fairly large amount of time around other naked people, sometimes they are doing sexy things, sometimes they are just being naked. And while I have very little voyeuristic tendencies and am thus not a representative sample, my experience is that when people are naked together, any appraising of bodies that happens is quiet and subtle and not talked about. Most people recognize that hanging out au naturel takes a certain amount of gumption. If your friends are making assumptions about your sex life because they got a brief glimpse of your partner's penis, who cares? The ones who know the truth will know the truth, the ones who make assumptions will just be wrong. Sometimes people are wrong about things. I know it's frustrating, but you can't let the possibility that someone might possibly think something untrue about your sex life stop you from having fun. My mantra for situations like this, where I fear judgement, is "haters gonna hate."

supernintendochalmers

@Blushingflwr I just gasped at "the guy I lost my virginity to compared me to his ex - a friend/roommate of mine - WHILE we were doing the deed." Oh, girl! What a juicebox!

Megasus

@twinkiecowboy SERIOUSLY. I would have kicked that dude off me and then sacked him!!!

Vera Knoop

@Blushingflwr Also, I would have to guess that the assumptions they'd make about him, given the LW's apparent satisfaction in the relationship, would be along the lines of "goes down like a champ."

Blushingflwr

@twinkiecowboy He really, really was.
I should mention that it was a positive comparison. But still, Not Cool.

Lemonnier

I know this is the exact wrong answer, but in Evil Fantasy World, where I sometimes live, I'd love to tell that mother-in-law that I'm going to cook a dinner that will give her explosive diarrhea and gas pains, and that she has to eat it, and when she protests, ask her: "Then why do you think you have the right to do the same thing to me?"

City_Dater

@Lemonnier

I think everyone with a real health issue that someone insists on treating as imaginary will happily join you in Evil Fantasy World.

lora.bee

@Lemonnier Definitely read that as 'gas pants', which is now how I am going to refer to being gassy.

Lemonnier

@City_Dater PLENTY OF ROOM, MUA HA HA HA

entangled

@City_Dater I'll join you there, for sure, and my dietary issues are pretty minimal. But both my mother and law and I are people with zero filter, so this sort of conversation would probably be pretty acceptable.

TheDragon

@Lemonnier I'm allergic to shellfish, but luckily I've only been forced to eat them once, by my aunt. My aunt believes that allergies are purely a mental block. My reaction to shellfish is projectile vomit half and hour to an hour afterwards. She's never let me touch shrimp since.

Ophelia

@Dragon I hope you were sitting right across from her.

TheDragon

@Ophelia Nope. But I got her Burberry (sp?) trench coat!

Bebe

@City_Dater My stepmother-in-law makes her own jam, but only ever makes strawberry. Which I'm sure is delightful, but I am allergic to strawberries so I will never know. HOWEVER - every time we visit them, she serves it, offers it to me, and then says, "Oh that's right, you don't like my strawberry jam," and rolls her eyes like I'm being some sort of berry-hating princess pain in the ass. I am thisclose to just taking a HUGE spoonful of it, shoving it down my throat, and then making her watch as my throat swells shut. (OK, not really, but proving her wrong once and for all would be sooooo sweet).

baked bean

@Bebe Yeah the gluten-free person that wrote in should just eat the bread and stuff and then try to poop really loudly, with grunts and farts and stuff and no fan, or announce her constipation.

TheDragon

I worry that I am the Renee friend.

SarahP

@Dragon So, Dragon, there's something we've been meaning to tell you... we've all talked about it, offline, and no one on the Hairpin wants to be friends with you anymore, okay? Maybe try therapy?

LaLoba

@Dragon I think if you have the self awareness to even worry that, you are not. The Renee friend is usually deeply delusional.

TheDragon

@SarahP OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO STAND OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE SOBBING
sob.
sob.
sob.
sniffle.
sob.

@LaLoba Thank you for that perspective!

Cat named Virtute

@Dragon I have also worried that. Especially right now, as I'm going through this big depressive slump that I am going to go mope out all over the open thread. So hard. But yeah, I think part of it is self-awareness. I hope. Ugh.

WaityKatie

@SarahP Guys, the last time someone tried to friend-dump Dragon I heard she ran around the neighborhood *breathing fire*.

SarahP

@WaityKatie That's why it's best to do it together. She can't breathe fire at everyone, right?

Kristen

@Reginal T. Squirge This is fucking amazing.

Reginal T. Squirge

All praise due to Natasha Vargas-Cooper.

I read it on her tumblr about a year ago (yeah, I've been reading her tumblr for that long, what of it?) and it changed my life.

The woman just gives and gives and gives.

TheDragon

@SarahP HA! That's what you think.

Xanthophyllippa

@Reginal T. Squirge This just pretty much sums up my suspicions about what all my friends are doing without me.

LaLoba

I have friends who live at a Hot springs resort that is clothing optional everywhere... except probably the dining hall? That's never come up when I'm there. Usually though you just wear a robe to the hot springs and then take it off and get in. I always thought it was etiquette to not look obviously and directly at others' genitals even when you're all naked, and for god's sake of course never COMMENT on them. And I would just feel horrible if someone was embarrassed for MY body FOR me, so don't do that either.

stonefruit

@LaLoba wait wait wait HOLD UP. Your friends just straight-up live at a hot springs resort?

How do I sign up for that gig?

selenalynn

@LaLoba Breitenbush?

TheDragon

Also, was anyone else a little sad/surprised by the "visit them once a month and stay at a hotel?"
I grew up living far away from my grandparents and only got to see them once a year or so. I would have loved to see them every few weekends. Also, I have a wonderful relationship with my parents, and if my family ended up living close to them, I would love to see them frequently.
I guess it just made me sad to see family treated as a horrible obligation rather than a wonderful support system.
(Though, I guess if my in-laws were that dismissive of me, I may feel differently)

entangled

@Dragon yes, me too. My husband and I live across the country from our families (both of whom live in the same metro area) and we usually take 2 trips a year of 2+ weeks to stay with the parents and in laws. Sure, there is some arguing (we both come from argumentative but loving families) but mostly it's awesome.

Lily Rowan

@Dragon If every meal turns into a huge to-do with the hosts unwilling or unable to provide eatable meals to their guests? Yeah, I'd stay in a hotel.

Also, once a month isn't that different from "every few weekends."

I don't know -- I love and like my parents, and would definitely kill one of us if I spent that much time staying with them -- and that's not in-laws! I think a lot depends on the size of the house, too.

Hooplehead

@Dragon I would guess that your family wasn't trying to force food on you that would make you violently ill, hence the difference in attitudes. The issue is less that family is such a burden and more that her MIL refuses to acknowledge or avoid triggering a serious (and completely avoidable) health issue. That is abusive behavior, and less visits are a completely reasonable consequence for that.

Vera Knoop

@Dragon Sadly, some families are more the former than the latter.

sevanetta

@Dragon Congratulations, how wonderful. For some people, calling family a 'horrible obligation' is a nice way of putting it.

OhMarie

I was going to wait until the Open Thread, but since there's a relevant letter--can anyone tell me how to convince my husband not to get in his family's faces about their weight?

As backstory, my father in law is in his late 60s and significantly and unhealthily overweight and out of shape (easily 150 pounds overweight, makes you drop him off at the door to a restaraunt instead of walking from a parking space, that kind of thing). My husband and his older sister both gained a lot of weight through high school and college and lost it in their mid-20s, and he wants to go to their dad with a kind of "here's what you have to do" talk.

It's too much to get into, but the way he plans to go about this whole thing (set up an elaborate competition between his dad and his younger sister???) is also completely insane.

I just feel like this is a terrible idea that is not going to work and is none of his business. He genuinely believes that his dad is going to die early if nothing changes, which isn't baseless, and it's hard to counter that. His dad has made some noises about being interested in losing weight, but it's always insane stuf that will never work--hypnosis, starting tai chi when he retires in question mark years, that kind of thing. There's no way this will be what does the trick.

fuck fuck fuck

@OhMarie my family has a sort of similar situation. my father was also easily 150 lbs overweight, and he has a lot of the health problems that often go along with having a very poor diet (he was also an alcoholic, which contributed A GREAT DEAL for most of his life). before college, i was also overweight, by about 60 lbs. my freshman year, i lost about 80 lbs by being totally obsessive and purging, etc. i started to feel like, "well, i did this so quickly easily, he's being so selfish by not even trying to lose weight!" i really was just still thinking with a food-deprived, eating-disordered brain; i wanted him to want to lose weight to validate what i'd done. i was ashamed of him.

a year or so later, after i had dealt with my own issues, i still wanted my dad to try to lose weight. his diabetes was getting harder to control, and it was a big financial burden on my mom. when i could remove MY weight obsession from the situation, it was easy to have a discussion with him about things like getting his blood sugar under control, for the financial good of the family, by eating more healthily. this line of reasoning made a lot of sense to him, and he has been working hard to eat better since then, with no shame about his current weight.

i don't want to imply that your husband is eating-disordered, or that he's a jerk, like i was. but there could be factors relating to his weight gain and loss clouding his judgment about what really is the best way to go about this talk with his dad. i think there are definitely ways to frame it that are not insulting or concern-trolling, provided that your father-in-law ACTUALLY has health problems or high risk.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@OhMarie Ahhhhhh I want to answer this and give constructive advice, but everything I type comes off as sounding like I think your husband is a terrible human being. I don't! Just projecting!

But I will say...as a Fat Person, the only way I would ever, EVER!!!, welcome ANY conversation re: me losing weight is if I initiated it. And people who have tried to have those conversations with me - my relationship with them has never been the same. I know I'm fat and I don't need someone to come to me wringing their hands and talking about my health. MY health. MY body. MY fatness. Full stop, forever, shut the fuck up.

Ophelia

@sudden but inevitable betrayal I'm curious what you think about someone who's overweight in an unhealthy way (diabetes, disordered eating etc), and is also a parent to young children? In my head, that's kind of the only time I can think of where someone could/should step in and confront them, because their health could directly and negatively impact kids too young to take care of themselves.

I'm not sure I'm phrasing this right - and I don't think it's necessarily tied to weight, but to overall health. I'd probably feel the same way about someone who chain-smoked and was diagnosed with emphysema or something similar that could be life-threatening.

Then again I think of all the totally fucked-up things people who are physically healthy can do to kids (and I'd probably say some of those deserve intervention) and/or the random ways people die every day.

I guess what I'm wondering is...is the line people draw different when those affected are all adults vs. kids involved? Urgh, I'm not sure.

(ETA: I say this from the privileged perspective of someone whose husband seems to think she's lovely at whatever end of a 40-lb range she's at.)

OhMarie

@i'm a self-rolled man This sounds pretty close to what is going on--I wouldn't say my FIL is an alcoholic, but he drinks A LOT, and I my husband is definitely not eating disordered, but he definitely has that "this wasn't even that hard" mindset about the whole thing (never mind that he lost most of his weight from running, which clearly is not an option for FIL).

@sudden but inevitable betrayal I am right there with you. If his dad was starting the conversation it would be totally different. He has a doctor. He is a smart guy and can make his own decisions. I think my husband would agree with this generally, but his argument is that at some point in the forseeable future his parents will become dependent on us and therefore it is his business. But they're in their 60s! It's not like they're 97! That day is far away.

PistolPackinMama

@OhMarie Yeah. proceed with caution, is all I am saying to your dude. This sounds like a Bad Idea capital BI to me.

@Ophelia Just about the only time I can think of where I would say it's important to risk the fallout of talking to a person about health and their kid's health is if the parent is being abused by a partner. Even then, I'd be careful about how I did it.

Or, maybe, vaccinations. But that's because it could affect MY kid's health, really.

And if I was going to talk to parents about decisions that affect their kid's health, I'd start with healthy sexuality and sexual safety, personally.

packedsuitcase

@OhMarie Oh man, tough situation. Honestly, I think anytime he brings it up, just (strongly) point out that his father is an adult and capable of making his own decisions, and it's an insult to his intellect and him as a human being to assume that he does not have the information to make the choices he wants to make for his body. Plus, it's not always easy for people to lose weight, and it won't stick if it's for somebody else, so he just needs to accept that his father is fine with his body as it is (or not unhappy enough to make a change, which is along the same lines if not totally the same) and all he can do is accept and love his dad. I really don't know how else to approach it - my Dudefriend is one of those people that thinks he knows what's right for everybody, and whenever he tries to make a decision for me I have to give him a very firm "Well, it's a good thing this isn't your body/happening to you, then, isn't it? Because I'm going to do what's right for me and you can either support me or kiss my ass." He responds well to that, so YMMV with this tactic with your dude.

OhMarie

@all You are all right, and I made another case to him yesterday. I tried to make some analogies of things that he would hate (if someone was trying to convert him, or if his dad was trying to get up in our finances). His retort is that I am too afraid of hurting someone's feelings to bring up something that will extend their life, and that makes me an asshole. So. I'm pretty sure I have been unsuccessful.

charlesbois

@thebestjasmine You're right, if they have been talking to her and she hasn't been listening. Cause that's not friendly behavior either. I hope at least one person had a heart-to-heart with Renee, even if they had to repeat over and over that she needs to listen, because it does sound like someone needs to set Renee's shit straight.

charlesbois

@charlesbois oh crap, double post. sorry!

SheWhoReadsInSkirts

Uuuugh ugh ugh ugh LW#3. ._.

My husband and I each gained like 50 pounds when we settled in together. I was coming off of a relationship that had lead to extreme calorie restriction, he was coming off of poverty-induced calorie restriction, and together, I fed him since I was employed, and he loved me even when I ate full meals with dessert. Neither of us was underweight when we met, so the weight gain caused eyebrows from all the family, but let me tell you something.

Fat!husband is just as sexy as not-as-Fat!husband was to me, because his appearance is so completely linked with his personality to me, and his personality still intoxicates me.

If LW3's husband's behavior is really the problem, and that is what is turning her off(which I suspect), then they should have a conversation about the behavior(binging, secret eating), not the results of that behavior(the weight gain). At least that way it's not "you're too fat for me" but "the way you are eating concerns me; that you feel the need to hide what you're eating from me is a red flag for both of us."

P.S. Being deprived of certain foods can CERTAINLY affect your adult behavior with those foods; to call it weak is to dismiss his only lived knowledge of his body which...eh.

Carrie Ann

@SheWhoReadsInSkirts I also suspect it's the behavior, not just the fat, that's bothering her, but I could just be projecting because I'm in a similar boat (though it hasn't become a big problem for us). My husband is currently carrying about 20 pounds he'd like to get rid of, and he beats himself up about it ALL THE TIME. But then he continues his terrible eating habits and finds any excuse not to exercise--even sometimes dragging me into his guilt/excuse cycle by making me feel responsible that he's not able to work out if we have plans that conflict with a potential workout time.

I don't care about his 20 lbs. He's got some cholesterol things to work on, but is otherwise healthy. And I'm very attracted to him physically. What I am not attracted to is the behavior. The whining and excuse-making and guilt-tripping behavior, which I see as indicative of the underlying unhappiness that is preventing him from changing in the first place.

So I don't know if this is what's going on with LW3's husband, because she didn't really get into whether he is unhappy with his weight. But that really makes a difference. It's really hard to have a partner unhappy in one area of their life where change is possible, and to have them not take steps to make that change.

baked bean

@Carrie Ann I'm not in the same boat as you guys, but I can see how it could happen. I have a roommate who beats herself up all the time about being fat, I used to always say, "You look fine, you're beautiful, don't worry about it, no one else thinks that," but then she doesn't stop. And she doesn't do anything to help herself change what she doesn't like about herself. She eats junk food and cheese all the time. And I could see, if I were dating her, that that could become a big problem. That she does seem less attractive to me now than before, not because of her actual weight, but the way she is acting.
And I am not a body-shaming person. At all. So it pains me to admit that her behavior bothers me, and I'm sure it would x1000 be worse to admit/deal with if this were someone I was married to and expected/wanted to have sexual relations with.

Vera Knoop

@SheWhoReadsInSkirts All of this. But also, I wonder whether it's even possible to honestly disentangle ideas about his body from his behavior. In the fat-hating culture we're all soaking in, there is a huge conflation of fatness with undesirable personality traits like laziness, lack of self control, etc. It's possible that his behavior is what's causing her to react in disgust, but it's likely (as other commenters have mentioned) that she wouldn't read his behavior the same way if he were a naturally skinny person.

Edit to add: Okay, I reread, and an entire carton of ice cream at a sitting is extreme for anyone. I was just wondering what, for instance, the difference is in how we view a thin person vs. a fat person having a midnight snack. And even with the actual binging, there are probably grey area behaviors that get interpreted more extremely because of his body size. Like my partner has a procrastination problem. She's aware of it and works really hard to improve it. And sometimes-- I'm not proud of this-- I just assume she's procrastinating, because it's been a safe assumption in the past and it's almost a reflexive thought on my part. Which is totally unfair to her and sets up a dynamic that neither of us wants. I wonder if something similar is happening here.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

I feel like I always bring this up when there's any rumbling of a conversation about the old "my spouse got fat and now I'm not attracted anymore" question, but...it's always so good!

Dear Not Attracted to Your Spouse Anymore,

Get over it or get a fucking divorce. And I truly mean you should consider both options seriously. If you believe it is actually possible for you to get over it — by which I mean, you find a way to reframe the way you look at your fat partner, find him attractive again, and go back to whatever you both agree is a normal sex life — then by all means, work on that (provided everything else in the marriage is good and worth saving, which it probably isn’t if you’re not even a little bit attracted to him anymore).

If, however, you’re so hung up on your partner’s weight that you can’t even conceive of being attracted to him anymore? Get a fucking divorce already. And I don’t just mean that because your partner deserves better than your shallow ass, though he probably does. Believe it or not, I think you deserve better, too — or, perhaps more accurately, you deserve different. Everyone who wants to be in a relationship where mutual physical attraction is a core part of the deal should have the freedom to pursue that goal. Nobody should have to have sex with someone who repulses them (and certainly, nobody should have to have sex with someone who’s repulsed by them). The downside of ending it is that people like me might call you shallow. The upside is, both you and your current partner might be able to find fulfillment with someone better for you. So suck it up, accept that you’re the kind of person who can’t be attracted to a fatty even if you’d like to think you’re better than that, and cut him loose. Neither of you should have to endure a sexless marriage if either of you is not OK with that bargain.

Did you notice how I didn’t include badgering him to lose weight as an option there? Yeah. That really doesn’t work, as you’ve already gathered, or you wouldn’t be writing for advice. Not only are you unlikely to succeed in getting the thin hubby of your dreams that way, but you’ll be fostering mutual resentment out the wazoo, which doesn’t put anybody in the mood. So scratch that.

Work on figuring out how to change the way you see him or get a fucking divorce. That’s it.

Love,

Kate
a la http://kateharding.net/2009/08/21/let-me-fix-that-for-you-e-jean/

hotdog

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Huh. I don't completely disagree with you, but I completely disagree with your rant. And I think that your personalization is clouding your opinions. Annnnnd I don't appreciate that you assume that other people are shallow because they don't agree with you.

Yours is not the only valid opinion, and you don't have to shut down discourse by name-calling, and pretending everything is black and white. The world is FILLED with shades of gray; so is conversation about weight.

We are all attracted to many different flavors of the rainbow, but lines like: "So suck it up, accept that you’re the kind of person who can’t be attracted to a fatty even if you’d like to think you’re better than that" speak to the fact that you think someone who IS attracted to a 'fatty' is somehow superior? Really?

aubrey!

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Man, I love Kate Harding. That said, I'm going to give the letter writer the benefit of the doubt and assume it's the sudden change in behavior that is worrying her rather than just the weight gain.

Big Rig and Jesse

@hotdog Here's the (two) thing though: @sudden but inevitable betrayal's post didn't "shut down discourse" or erase any of the other pro, con or gray area comments that abound here. Sudden also couldn't have "personalized" this post because it wasn't even in hir own words. (Love Kate Harding.)

The awesome thing about believing sincerely that everyone owns their own body and that no one should be submitted to undue judgement or coercion regarding what they do with their body is that you can have sympathy, compassion and respect for the autonomy of BOTH the LW and her husband. He can still be fat, and she can still be shallow, and they can work it out in any number of ways, but pretending that either his body and habits or her attitude are easy to change, or rather obligated by their relationship to change, is a losing proposition. It denies them both the right to control their bodies and minds.

You might think that "shallow" is a derogatory name, but really, it's just a description for someone who bases their feelings and choices on external appearances. Which she admits to. Now it's time to own that. And compared to how fat people are treated, sometimes by people who purport to care about them, shallow folks aren't doing so bad, anyhow.

Vera Knoop

@hotdog That comment was a quote. From a fat-acceptance blog. Not a "rant" from the person who just posted it here.

skyslang

@Big Rig and Jesse Sorry, but we all base our "feelings" of attraction on appearances, at least in part. The LW is not "shallow", she is being honest about what does/does not turn her on. The fact that she is attracted to a certain body type does not make her "shallow" ... it makes her a human being.

MilesofMountains

I know people who are regularly naked around their friends (skinny dipping, just not wearing pants, etc.) and the thing is that adults who do that usually are comfortable enough with bodies not to do any body shaming about penis size. So my recommendation, LW#4, is to dump your gross judgey friends until they grow the hell up, and not say a word to your boyfriend about how his penis embarasses you.

Jennifer Culp

Poor LW3 and her poor husband. What a rotten situation. I hate seeing people rip her up here, and I know I'd hate being in his position, too.

I've been in a similar place to the LW, when a long-term partner gained a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time and my attraction to him diminished. In my case (and it's a lot easier to see in hindsight), the diminished attraction wasn't only about weight gain, but tied up with a myriad of changes in the way he behaved that made me feel disrespected and undervalued. It was all wrapped up in a big bundle of "my partner is changing into someone else who I don't know and am not comfortable with," basically. The weight gain just seemed like a visible manifestation of the change. At the time, I fooled myself that our sex life would improve if he lost weight, but the reality is that I wouldn't have been psyched about sleeping with him even if he'd morphed into a Ryan Lochte lookalike overnight. The LW's situation is different, obviously, but I remember feeling "repulsed," to use the loaded word, by my partner's eating binges because they became symbolic of broken promises and disappointed expectations in my mind. Bad relationship all-round, good for both of us when it ended and we were able to move on. (Good for me, anyway; I don't know what he's up to now. I assume it was good for him, too, as I know he wasn't happy with me.)

The situation with LW3 and her husband is different, just as every relationship is, but I guarantee that weight gain is not the only thing affecting their intimacy now. It's not constructive to immediately denounce LW3 as an awful person for her feelings, just as it wouldn't be helpful to approach her husband with a Dan Savage-style 'just lose the weight!' line. I really think couples counseling is necessary here, and I wish them the best.

fabel

Okay, the nudity thing isn't that weird. My friends & I are a naked-y group so I get where that LW is coming from. But, uh, I DON'T get why she's worrying what her friends will think of her man's dick? Anyone who owns or is familiar with a penis knows they grow. Nobody should be judging size when the cock isn't even hard!

RNL
RNL

@fabel Or - nobody should be judging size.

Letter writer 3

Ok, first I'm grateful to this Lady for her perspective and advice. I'm not sure that depression is THE underlying issue, but I am inspired to work with my partner on focusing on and working through whatever the underlying issues are that are contributing to his changed behavior. I knew the risk I was taking in submitting to an anonymous online forum, but because of the wisdom I've found here, both from the columnists and commenters, I submitted an admittedly personal and potentially controversial problem. First, I'd like to apologize if my question raised feelings of pain or discomfort in anyone reading out there; my intention was never to fat-shame or to imply that I have any feelings of disgust or ill-will to any individual, whatever type of body they may have. I did use the word repulsive which, yes, is harsh, but careful reading would show that I was using it in reference to a behavior, not my partner or his body (if this question had been about, for example, increased alcohol-consumption rather than food, would repulsion be such a reprehensible reaction?). Second, I love my partner and my health concerns were genuine and legitimate; he is over a decade older than me and I come from a family that has been dramatically and painfully affected by both diabetes and substance addiction of various types-- I have seen more than a few people close to me have their lives cut drastically short by unhealthy life choices and I am terrified of that happening to my husband, especially now that we have a very young child. I chose him as a partner and father to our child for many reasons, one of which was his overall healthful, balanced attitude (which, please don't take that to mean that I think people of larger sizes are not healthful or balanced!). There was a rapid and dramatic change in how he treated his body and this led to a huge change in his body (and one of the reasons it's affected our sex life is because his body is changed so much that the sex we previously enjoyed very much is now physically uncomfortable, as in, it hurts to have him on top of me and I pull muscles when I am on top of him-- TMI, but whatever at this point). Like I said, we approached it with a sense of humor initially-- i was growing a human baby, he was growing a food baby-- but, I don't think it is completely unreasonable or shallow to admit that after a couple of years I would like to see some action taken towards change (and yes! we both have to be a part of that and yes! counseling is definitely in our future). To the people who have suggested that when we marry we agree to deal with whatever changes happen or else just get divorced already: I think this is a somewhat naive stance to take. Long-term relationships are complex and sometimes hard. I am absolutely committed to my partner and will support him in any way I can. If he had to have an arm amputated as someone mentioned above I would not think twice about my attraction to him or my willingness to stay in our relationship. But, what I'm describing is something that is not totally out of our control. Absolutely, depression, anxiety, disordered eating are all serious psycho-physiological issues and could be contributing factors, but there is also treatment and ways to mitigate their side-effects. This Lady reminded me to look at the bigger picture and find ways to support my partner in regaining the balance he has previously enjoyed in life.

leonstj

@Letter writer 3 - Hi. I don't really have anything helpful to add, but I hope for the best for you. I guess maybe just...you know, you care enough to be looking for ways to improve the situation, not just to whine in solitude, get a piece on the side to fulfill that set of desires while keeping your stability at home, or something else denial-ish. And that has to count for something.

I'm sure none of this is easy. But I guess I like to just have hope that people who look for answers and try to make things work out will eventually find...maybe not complete success, but as long as you are on a road where things are generally getting better - measured in months, not days - that can be a happy life.

As someone who's struggled - still struggles - with living right, I guess the only thing I'd say is that positive reinforcement (of that non-condescending variety - if he loses 5lbs, tell him his ass is looking better. Don't be all "Good job not eating half the roast chicken!") always works better than criticism in the moment, even though he does deserve to know how you feel.

You'll get there! I feel like if he knows that it is not about weight, but ultimately about lack of self-control (even if it is about weight, just pretend it's about the gluttony) he'll make an effort to get back to his old self.

Veronica Lemmons

@Letter writer 3 Glad you chimed in. Fat is an issue that gets everybody's dukes up (mine included). America's relationship with food is complicated; so much of our food system is designed to turn us into addicts. Some of us grew up addicted, so even if we break the addiction and become healthy, studies show we're far less likely (than people who didn't grow up overweight) to keep off a lot of weight. But your question isn't about starting out fat and staying fat. You're talking about a partner who has developed a dangerous habit he didn't have before. If it was drinking or drugs, the Pinners would be uniformly on your side urging you to seek out al-Anon. But no -- apparently, we now live in a country where not only are 35.7% of us obese (not just overweight -- obese), but it's also unacceptable to even *suggest* that rapid weight gain and binge-eating is bad. WHAT. THE. So anyway, LW3, I feel for you, and I think a frank discussion is going to have to happen sometime. Good resources to check out: "The End of Overeating," about our brains' relationship with fatty/sugary/salty foods, and "The Power of Habit." FWIW, my dad has never stopped loving my mom since she gained about 60 lbs 15 years ago. He's remained skinny healthy; she's remained fat and less healthy; and they are happy. But I know it's been very hard and painful for both of them.

Letter writer 3

@Veronica Lemmons @Leon S, many thanks to you both for your empathy, encouragement and reading recommendations.

PistolPackinMama

@Letter writer 3 I hope things work out for the best in your relationship- it's good to know you are committed to making it work.

I would say... you can't make your husband do anything. But you can do things for yourself. One thing I would suggest is work-- reallly work--- on divorcing the concerns for how your husband is doing health-wise from your attraction to him AND from social norms about fatness and health and whatever.

They are related issues, but they aren't the same issues. And maybe, then, figure out which ones are really crucial for him, for you, and for himandyou.

You'll notice people were kind of confused about what your actual problem is/was. Some of that seems to be about reading carefully. Some of it was projecting. Some of it seems like your own language is running issues together that might be approached best as individual things.

If you can be super clear in your own head about them, and not accidentally conflate them when talking to your man, I have a suspicion things will be much, much easier to talk about.

I would take "I love how balanced and whatever whatever your attitude about food, exercise, pleasure and health were- they are great qualities in a dad. We need to make sure Little Tyke learns that wonderful habit" better than "Little Tyke repulsive sex OMG."

Also, about the sex thing. I... feel like there have got to be workarounds? People who have spinal injuries or other limited mobility as well as fat people, learn how to have pleasurable sex. Even if your husband commits to losing weight or whatever, in the meantime... I dunno. Someone has to have some ideas for you somewhere?

Because you can't be the only person this happens to? And having sexy sex times might help with reducing the anxiety around bodies and such?

Like I said, good luck. Weight is a minefield, and so is health. Weightandhealth... so much to navigate.

Better to Eat You With

@Letter writer 3 I suspect many of us have responded to the focus of your letter--the weight itself--rather than your underlying concern. And your description of your expectations for your family's eating habits may sound a little bit draconian to some of us.

Binge eating and--especially--sneaking food/eating in secret are never the source of trouble. They're always, always pointing toward something deeper. Most commonly that's depression, so that's probably why A Lady suggested as much.

Linette

@Letter writer 3 I just wanted to add that I understood what you were trying to communicate with your letter, and it seemed to me that many people in this thread were reading a great deal into it. I'm guessing that most people have had issues with their weight at one point or another, and in getting over those negative feelings, sometimes it can go too far the other direction, where no one is allowed to say anything negative ever about weight because IT IS ALWAYS FAT-SHAMING.

I don't think it is. And I don't think this was. And I just wanted to say that I believe you care about your husband and that your concerns about his weight, the way he's been eating (compulsively), and the way he's communicating about it (not very well) seem legitimate concerns to me. I'm sorry so many seemed to think it was you saying "My husband is fat and gross now and I don't like it." That's not what I heard at all.

I'd also like to add to anyone who got upset about the 'repulsive' comment - LW3 was talking about his behavior, and I am absolutely certain that everyone in this thread has had the experience of being initially attracted to someone but then turned off by their behavior, and vice versa, being initially unattracted and then extremely turned on by their inherent awesomeness. LW3's husband essentially made a pretty extreme change in behavior, and she is not attracted to that behavior. I don't understand why this should be all that surprising. Someone said that she'd still be repulsed if he'd gained weight but wasn't binge eating - really? Because that seems unlikely. I've known objectively unattractive people who I would bed in a heartbeat, and objectively attractive people whose touch would make me feel ill, because they are GROSS. Their grossness is to do with their behavior, not their looks.

Letter writer 3

@PistolPackinMama I can see why my question was misunderstood, I was confused in asking it and in reading the responses and thinking it through I've definitely find a bit more clarity. My problem is not simply attraction, though that's how I phrased it; it's the betrayal of a mutually agreed upon philosophy/approach towards health, it's what is being modeled for our child, AND it's the deterioration of our sex life. I am well aware that change can only come from within which is why I've by and large refrained from any comments or suggestions (the health concern being the only verbalization- I had hoped that checking in with a doctor would provide motivation to exercise at least)- I guess, in my concern and frustration, I was coming from a place of thinking that if my partner knew his weight gain was contributing to our decreased sex life it may motivate him to take some action (I knew this was cruel, hence my fear in writing, but I really couldn't think of anything else to do). For what it's worth he is aware of his food issues (why he has worked with a dietician in the past) and says simply that they are something he has to work out on his own. Although depression is the main reason people are mentioning, I'm not sure, my husband would almost certainly say absolutely not. If it means anything I wa diagnosed with clinical depression as a teenager and manage it with therapy and medication- I'd like to think I'm a little more sensitive to the illness than some. My partner would say (has said) that aside from food stuff he is the picture of mental health, totally happy. Denial? Maybe... Anyway, I don't want to be defensive even as I try to be more clear. In all, I'm grateful for this forum and the chance to get perspective from mostly helpful strangers.

Letter writer 3

@Better to Eat You With Out of genuine curiosity, does not buying processed foods and fast food and preparing meals at home (for financial, philosophical, AND health reasons that were mutually discussed and agreed upon as we've built our relationship and family) really come across as draconian?

Letter writer 3

@Better to Eat You With Out of genuine curiosity, does not buying processed foods and fast food and preparing meals at home (for financial, philosophical, AND health reasons that were mutually discussed and agreed upon as we've built our relationship and family) really come across as draconian?

harebell

@Letter writer 3
Aw, letter writer 3, good luck. I'm sorry you got so piled on. It would be scary to be the parent of a small child and to see one's partner change their behavior drastically.

I'm a little weirded out by all the comments along the lines of "you can never bring up his weight first -- he has to do it," "you're shallow for caring," etc. It seems obvious that it's a sudden change, and that it's accompanied by some very anxious, secretive, or even phobic behaviors (hiding what he eats?). Couples should be able to talk about most things, and eating habits should definitely be one of those things. Not because you guys work in the wellness industry (whatever), but because it affects all three of you and you care. For lots of people, food is about love, and sharing mealtimes is important because it's about sharing what links you together -- it's social time but also a kind of family communion. So of course this is an emotional issue if it has changed unilaterally and in apparently destructive fashion. Good luck finding a way to a new equilibrium.

mwittier

@Letter writer 3
Not draconian perhaps, but it sounds like a very controlled/controlling environment you're describing. Given the personal history you've described, it sounds like these are very important issues for you: health, wellness, nutrition. Does he really truly share the same level of investment in these matters? Had he, prior to your relationship?

A lot of eating disordered behavior is about control. It sure seems like he's bucking that level of control (that perhaps he now identifies with you, and your values, re food and nutrition.) Sneaking food, and violating your unspoken food oaths (and consequently the control you seem to exert/influence: shopping, meal prep, baking) seems like a part of his motivation, from my experience. Passively preventing consistent sex is another control thwart.

Maybe it's time to re-assess how much these values are in synch presently? Maybe it's more than his body that's changed, and he can't bring himself to acknowledge it inwardly or outwardly. There's an ice cream for that: Chubby Hubby.

lizaboots

@leon s Do you think your perspective has to do with being a man? Maybe the stakes of weight don't seem quite so high somehow? Because I'm definitely not saying you're wrong, but for me, if my SO told me my ass was nicer after weight loss it would hurt my feelings about as much as "Your ass looks worse now that you've gained weight."

Also, because this is pretty buried anyway, I'll just stick it here: the marriage vows are "for better or worse," and surely that trumps the implied, impossible "promise" that "what you see is what you get, even decades, children, and grandchildren later."

I'm also curious (truly! curious! I don't claim to know either way) if part of what makes the behavior "repulsive" is... I don't know... somehow related to how the culture sort of genders food issues? Like, I don't think someone is nearly as likely to describe binge drinking as "weak" the way they might say that of ice-cream binging. Maybe part of the attraction waning is a sense that the husband is emasculated. I don't know, just a not-really-fair possibility that might be worth considering?

Jane Dough

@Letter writer 3 You said it yourself: "my diminished attraction toward him is the big problem." Not his health or behavior-- your diminished attraction. Whether or not it is appropriate for you to feel this way is besides the point, in my opinion. The fact is, you DO feel this way, and you probably can't change that. I think that you would have, if you could have. So, what can you do? Being totally honest with him may not be such a a great idea. What are the possible outcomes? Maybe he loses the weight and you are attracted to him again. But would he still be able to feel that he is sexually attractive to you, knowing that your attraction to him is conditional? When someone doesn't feel desirable, it is difficult for them to feel desire. So you could end up with the opposite problem, where you feel like it, but he doesn't. Or maybe he can't lose the weight, and now he knows that you find him undesirable, and that erodes your relationship even more. It's a tough one. I feel that there is something else going on with him, since the overeating started when you got pregnant. Whatever it is, that's the thing to focus on.

I'm Not Rufus

@Letter writer 3 Just wanted to chime in to say that I completely sympathize with your letter. This is a difficult topic because it's so thick with neuroses and insecurity, but I hope you're able to talk about it in a constructive way with your partner. Part of being in a relationship should be that partners work together to please each other, and part of pleasing each other is finding reasonable ways to remain physically attractive to each other. And you are entitled to be physically attracted to whatever you are physically attracted to.

I'm Not Rufus

Ok, I decided I wanted to add more, since all the discussion above has been about whether or not finding your husband less attractive makes you a shallow person or not. Aside from the fact that you wrote in asking for advice rather than judgment, it is completely normal for aspects of your partner's body to affect how attracted you feel, and I don't see any reason why you need to feel ashamed to be a normal person.

I think you have to let the ball be completely in your husband's court. It's not your job to manipulate him into losing weight by saying "good job!" whenever he eats a healthy meal or by nagging him to see a dietician. People resent it if they feel like they're being told what to do.

But it is absolutely your job to communicate your feelings. Tell him straight up that you feel less sexually attracted to him after his weight gain, that you feel turned off by some of his new eating habits and by his apparent lack of interest in being healthy. Tell him that you feel bad about this aspect of yourself. Tell him that you love and appreciate him for who he is and that it is his choice about what he wants to do, and that you are still going to love and accept him no matter what. (I think this captures how you feel.)

The key here being that then you then let him run his life. He gets to pick what he eats, how much he has, and whether or not he sees a dietician. You are not telling him what to do, or trying to put only so much pressure on him as it takes to get him to do what you want him to do. You are not punishing him by continually reminding him that his eating habits are unhealthy until he decides to change. He's an adult who gets to make choices for himself, and your job is only to make sure he accurately understands the dimensions of the choice, not to make sure he chooses in a way which is most desirable for you.

And if you've already had this discussion with him and he fully understands how you feel, then you've done all you can do.

skyslang

@I'm Not Rufus Nice reply! I feel like yours is the only measured, honest response on this thread. It IS completely normal for aspects of your partner's body to affect how you attracted you feel!
Your advice to the LW is so spot on and perfect. I sincerely hope she reads it and disregards all the rest.

meaux

@skyslang. I agree with skyslang's endorsement of I'm Not Rufus's comments. I knew LW3's request for advice would bring out the fat-shaming police and I admire LW's courage in subjecting herself to that. I was in the same situation when my ex-husband kept all the pregnancy weight that I'd lost, and wish I had communicated this more directly, as I'm Not Rufus suggests. LW3, I wish you all the best in working out this difficult situation!

Letter writer 3

@meaux @i'm not rufus @skyslang, thank you for your kind words, suggestions and support. I had decided to stop checking this thread because I realized my skin may not be thick enough for the internets, but then decided to punish myself once more and found your comments (and @Carolita's! after which I almost fainted with joy that the fabulous Carolita offered her opinion!)and was so pleasantly surprised. Not that I was just looking to be validated here, certainly I've been given lots to think about on a lot of fronts, but I am grateful that there are some who really seemed to strive to understand my admittedly clumsily described situation and offer useful perspective; rather than deciding I'm a terrible person who is cruel and controlling to her husband and family, hates fat people and cookies and should just leave now before I do any more damage.

Briony Fields

Whoa. I generally find myself in harmony with most 'pinners here in spite of our varying backgrounds and cultures, but LW4 and the response to her question have shocked me. I mean, I know North American culture is stereotypically more 'prudish' than some other cultures, but is skinny dipping with friends really such a strange thing? I was quite surprised by that overwhelming response upthread. It's very common where I live, and therefore everybody and their (totally different) bodies are no big deal. No one would dream of a) staring at someone else's bits or b) judging them. I suppose because nudity is just a lot more normalized.
Hmmm, interesting!

muddgirl

@Briony Fields Co-ed skinny-dipping with friends in the daylight is definitely an unusual thing in most US cultures.

PistolPackinMama

@muddgirl Except in the Indecent Exposure Tank at the jail closest to your local skinny-dipping spot.

But yeah-- I was surprised at how much non-nudity feelings people expressed. I mean, whatever, it's pants. But did no one who reads the pin go to college in the '90s? I swear I saw everyone's bare naked selves at some point in those four years.

Better to Eat You With

@PistolPackinMama I went to college in the 90s (in fact, it took most of the 90s for me to finish) and never saw any of my friends naked, a fact I remain pretty glad about.

thebestjasmine

@PistolPackinMama Well yes, I went to college in the 90s...which is the last time I've skinny dipped with friends. But I don't think that was ever during the day.

Jinxie

@PistolPackinMama I've made a few jokes above re. not wanting to see close friends and/or their significant others naked but really, I was more shocked by the LW's assertion that her friends would be a) looking at her dude's wang, b) judging it, and c) expressing a negative opinion about said wang to LW 'cause how else would she even KNOW they don't approve of the wang unless she can read minds? I can imagine going skinny dipping with a group of friends*, but I can guarandamntee you that I would never spend so much time looking at my friend's husband's weiner that I could pass a judgment on it one way or the other.
*That's a lie: I live in San Francisco, and it's generally too cold for me to leave the house sans cardigan, jacket and scarf so there is no way I'm getting into ANY body of water in the area, swimsuit-clad or not. I've lived here long enough that my whole sense of weather and temperature is screwed and I often forget that there are parts of the world where people are not only NOT cold but are, in fact, actually hot.

thebestjasmine

@Jinxie Hahah, yes, this is true. This, fyi, is why the whole "Californians go skinny dipping!" idea is false: it is too cold in the Bay Area to go skinny dipping most of the time, the water is basically always too cold, and at night time it's always freezing. LA is warmer, but the water is still not that much warmer, and it's still chilly at night.

PistolPackinMama

@Jinxie Oh, yeah. The commentary ABOUT his penis size is totally not okay. Lady, chill out. It's his dick, not yours. He can skinny dip with whoever he likes and it's actually kind of not your business unless it involves sexytimes.

Queen of Pickles

@Briony Fields In my experience, the people who are most worried about others judging are the ones who judge the most often themselves.

Megasus

@Briony Fields Yup, never seen any of my friends naked either, certainly have never gone skinny dippig enough that it is a huge issue about the bf's wang. Which yeah, chill out girl! You'd think someone who was chill enough to go naked skinny dipping during the day all the time would be a little more relaxed about that sort of thing!

Vera Knoop

@PistolPackinMama I know you meant "tank" in the "drunk tank" sense, but an Indecent Exposure Tank sounds like an ideal place to skinny dip.

PistolPackinMama

@Vera Knoop That... that is GENIUS!

For a second there I was also imagining repurposed Bradley fighting vehicles...

Vera Knoop

@PistolPackinMama Oh my. With the right paint job, that could be quite indecent indeed.

PistolPackinMama

@Vera Knoop

Let's all make...

Also, we could paint the Indecent Exposure Tank, and take it carnivals and college campuses and BE RICH (in our dreams).

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama It would be even more hilarious if the Indecent Exposure Tank and the Weinermobile showed up at the same event.

demac

Just wanted to say about Renee, as a soon-to-be psychiatrist: we don't make these diagnoses lightly (or quickly), but she sounds like she has Borderline Personality Disorder. This is sadly more common than one could wish in our society, and the advice given here makes a lot of sense. I'd suggest also, though, recommending that she seek some professional help, because there's a fairly effective treatment called Dialectical Behavior Therapy for BPD people. It involves recognizing that one's emotions in reaction to events are improper, and changing one's behaviors accordingly. Good luck with everything!

WolfieBMcWolfe

Re: Renee- I'm one of the friends of Renee who is cutting her out. And I just wanted to respond to some of the comments. We have spoken to Renee about these issues, it's been ongoing for about 2 years now. We have recommended that she speak to a professional about her issues, I have even provided her with names and phone numbers. She sometimes would take our advice, and sometimes not. We officially "broke up" with her about a month ago and things are not going to well. She still phones and text's us all on a regular basis and insists that she has changed her ways when we all know that she hasn't. She has even begun using guilt to try and "win" us back. Saying things like "I'll be all alone", "I can't go through this by myself" ect... I don't like the idea that we need to all ignore her completely, but for our own mental health I think it's necessary. Thanks for the advice!

skyslang

@WolfieBMcWolfe Good luck to you! You all did the right thing.

skyslang

The advice to #2 is terrible!
I'm all for honesty in dating, but saying "Listen, what are you looking for? I'm looking for something SERIOUS" is going to really scare people. Mostly, people want to have FUN, and get to know each other in a pressure-free environment. Getting serious just happens naturally when people really like each other.
Telling someone you want a SERIOUS relationship so early piles on the pressure and takes all the fun out of it.
LW 2: I've been there. You don't want to get hurt or disappointed. Unfortunately, you can't predict if that's going to happen. Just try to relax and enjoy yourself, and lower the stakes. If the next relationship doesn't work out, it's ok! You can handle it. No big deal. You're not doing anything wrong. And you are eventually going to meet the right guy.

Letter Writer 4

Letter Writer 4 here-- i think that's the number right? Skinny dipping girl?
thanks everyone for your advice and mantras! this was actually really helpful (even though a lot of people made fun of me, understandably). I had actually never heard the "grower vs. show-er" phrase and I'm glad to know it has a name! i also like @Blushingflwr's comment a lot.. any many others. Just to clear a few things up-- no i am not like constantly skinny dipping? It's just that I got an invite to go daytime skinny dipping (in a secluded pond) and this worry came to my mind. Also, other naked related activies= saunas, hot tubs, strip poker, whatever... not that weird! and it's not like these happen all the time. Also, one commenter was right in that i didn't think my friends would actively talk shit about it, just that they would silently judge, or feel superior about their boyfriend's giant dicks. but I am greatly comforted by the general consensus that a) people try to avert their eyes and NOT check out other peoples' junk; b) if they do check it out for some reason, then if they are cool they wont care, and if they do care, they are assholes, and c) most people are aware of growers vs. show-ers and size variation and motion of the ocean etc so even if they DID look, they would still know that he could very well be good in bed. which he is. as for me being an asshole for being concerned about this at all, well, that's why i called it a stupid question and submitted it anonymously! as if i would ever say this in person to anyone!

dennishobson

An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers madeira palsticaOn

mikealbert

Thanks for sharing this so interesting post! I really want to be thankful for the way you have putted it here
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