Even happy couples can experience a bit of a bumpy road when one of them decides to go on a diet. Suddenly the person who vowed to love and honor you seems to be doing everything in his or her power to keep you fat and unhappy. Why would they do this? Don’t they want you to be healthy and happy?
If you’ve asked yourself these questions before, or if you’re asking them now, it’s important that you don’t take your spouse’s behavior personally. Almost always, a negative reaction to your new healthy lifestyle stems from an insecurity about the relationship, not a desire to make you miserable. For example, your spouse might worry that you’ll be less attracted to him/her when you lose the weight. Or he/she might not want to change their eating and exercise habits, and you doing so makes them feel pressured to join in.
Whatever the reason for the unsupportive behavior, there are a few good ways to handle it:
– Talk it out.
Explain to your spouse that you aren’t happy with your body the way it is, and you’re doing this so you can be happier both as an individual AND in your relationship with him/her. Reassure him/her that you aren’t looking for a new spouse just because your habits and body size are changing. Most often, just talking it over can clear the air and encourage them to be more supportive.
– Respect their feelings.
One of the best ways to diffuse an argument (whether about diet or anything else) is to say to your spouse, “I respect your right to feel the way you do, and I want you to know I hear your concerns.” You can also add, “I would hope that even if you disagree with the changes I’m making, you can at least respect my right to make choices about my own health and well-being.” When you word it like that, how can they say no without sounding like a stubborn jerk?
– Be responsible for your own decisions.
It doesn’t really matter if your spouse agrees with your diet or not, because you are the one who is responsible for what you eat. Take responsibility for your own decisions, regardless of what your spouse says or does. Likewise, focus on your own decisions, not his or hers! Don’t try to force him/her to diet with you if that’s not what he/she wants. A lot of arguments take place because of one spouse trying to coerce the other. If your spouse doesn’t want to diet, don’t force the issue. If you do want to diet and he/she doesn’t want you to, be strong enough to do what’s best for you.