Wife Is Becoming The Elephant in the Room

I created a new account here to ask for Catholic advice anonymously. Basically my wife has put on a lot of weight and it is affecting our marriage very negatively. She now weighs a considerable amount more than I do and has shown zero interest in changing her diet or in exercising. The extra weight is repulsive and I am finding it difficult to be attracted to her physically. Worst of all she is starting to look like her mother more and more every day, and to put it very gently, her mother is not a beautiful woman. :crying: Even though I do my best to hide my feelings it has manifested itself in that I am unable to finish the “marital embrace”. She is hurt and upset even though I feel she is being unfair – I can’t help that I find the weight unattractive. She says that she would be more inclined to lose the weight if I found her attractive in spite of the weight. But I really don’t know how to just reprogram my mind to find it attractive.

I am a man and I have been around these forums before so before anyone asks: I don’t watch porn, look at dirty pictures, masturbate, drink, or do drugs. I know it might be difficult to believe for many but just go with it. Fire away. I can take it. How do I help her?

I don’t know how you’ve phrased things with your wife, but your post here has come off as pretty insensitive. Women are generally extremely sensitive, ESPECIALLY about their weight.

Your marriage is about more than just how your wife looks, right? Focus on other things that you have in common. People grow, people change, things happen. If your wife was in a terrible car accident (God forbid!) and had a permanently disfigured and scarred face that you found repulsive… would you let it negatively affect your marriage in the same way?

There are lots of reasons that people gain weight… childbearing, stress, etc. If you are constantly badgering your wife about her weight, it’s probably not helping the problem. How about you offer to exercise and diet WITH her? Everyone should eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps your wife would be more inclined to lose weight if she had support (more than just “you need to lose weight”).

I am going to try to put this very kindly because I understand I am in a very hard situation and need to be charitable - so this is what I can recommend before you say anything to your wife about her weight - picture yourself as you were when you got married - you probably don’t look the same either. Think about how you would like your wife to approach the subject with you and that is how you should approach the subject with her.

Also you may want to pick up a copy of Theology of the Body and read through it with your wife because to understand the true beauty of the marital embrace as a renewal of your marital vows you may find yourself resparking that flame based on something other than that physical attraction - good luck and God bless. :thumbsup:

Does your wife take your advice about her health and medical issues? Speak to her about her heart, her blood sugar and cholesterol levels. I know we women are sensitive about our weight…but a doctor won’t be able to sugar coat the reality.

Do you cook? Maybe try to make her some healthy foods for a special occasion? Ask her to go on walks with you.

I bet she isn’t happy with her weight either. Putting it on didn’y happen over night…taking it off won’t either.

The other posts are good enough. If you talk to her at all though as you do in your posts as an “elephant” than you should be slapped; if it was s’posed to be funny, it was not.
Learn to be a bit more sensitive.
And you forgot the cardinal rule that men have known about for eons, that your potential future wife will probably look very similar to her mother in her later years. You married your wife I assume not just for her body, our bodies degenerate not so “gracefully” for pretty much everyone, don’t forget that, focus on other things.

Maybe your wife is stressed out because she does not want to tell you how unattractive you have become. Or maybe she is stressed out by the fact she is sleeping with me and not you, but cannot tell you – because she knows you will blow up.

Now. How does THAT feel, brother?


You married her for better or worse, in good times and bad. You could turn this into a real positive, a turning point for the both of you. This could be the point where you really step up (man up) and work with her.

There is a reason for the weight gain. Your wife has not put on the weight “on purpose” to hurt anyone, especially you. Your wife loves you. If she did not love you, she would not stay with such a sorry guy who writes such terrible things. So much of weight gain comes from stress.

Wouldn’t you want someone to help you – to be there for you – when you were stressed out?

Just sayin’…

Why is she so overweight? Is it babyweight that just won’t come off? Has something about her health changed that has caused the weight gain? Is she eating a lot of unhealthy food? Is it emotional eating to fill a void of some kind?

It’s hard to answer unless we know the reason for the dramatic weight gain.

How to help your wife:

  1. Stop referring to her as an elephant.

  2. Take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Are you Brad Pitt?

  3. Tell your wife you love her, and care about her health. And then encourage her to join you in evening walks, and start cooking healthy meals for you two to share.

As an overweight woman (who has a boyfriend who thinks she is beautiful, weird huh). :slight_smile: I’ve had guys say they would like me if I lost weight, and it hurts. And food is a comfort. So the worse I felt, the more I ate. And the more weight I gained. If I’m unattractive, why take care of myself.

Now that I’m in a relationship where I feel beautiful, valued, and sexy, I find that I have naturally taken better care of myself. I have been noticing that my clothes are looser, so I weighted myself. And I’ve lost ten pounds (in two months) without really trying. I know that isn’t a rapid weight loss, but better than when I would try to lose weight using pills, extreme dieting, or living at the gym.

Making someone feel bad about themselves is not going to help them be healthier. It just tears down their self esteem. A person has to be ready to lose weight. And saying that they are ugly is not going to do that.

Even if you are not able to perform the marital embrace with your wife, you can certainly act lovingly toward her in all the other ways. Are you?

Due to your attitude, you have to accept the fact that you are completely unable to assist her in losing weight. Any efforts you make to help or encourage her to lose weight will only be seen as self-serving. So assume for a moment that her weight is never going to return to a number that you find acceptable – What do you want out of your marriage for the rest of your life? If you had to choose between abandoning ship now, or living with your fat wife for the rest of your lives, which would you pick?

Okay, I personally think some of the responses are harsh. The OP is stating that he finds the extra weight unattractive. I can understand where he is coming from. You can NOT force yourself to be attracted to someone. Obviously he is distraught about his feelings or else he wouldn’t have posted this thread.

Furthermore, this is something the wife is doing to herself so you can’t really compare it to an “accident” or something else of that nature. Isn’t glutton and sloth a sin? I don’t think its a bad thing for her husband to want her to change. Of course, it need to be done gently and respectfully.

Calling an overweight human being an “elephant” is about as far away from respectful as you can get.


It would be like me walking behind a skinny person calling them “Skeleton”.

Why on earth would you automatically assume that an obese person is guilty of gluttony or sloth, and that she has done this to herself?

Yes, weight gain can very much be an “accident”.

I have never been an overeater and never cared for fatty foods, desserts or sodas, etc. I was the skinniest person in my graduating class. And then I got Grave’s disease, which resulted in a non functioning thyroid. That throws off metabolism, makes it hard to lose weight, and if the meds aren’t just right it can cause depression and exhaustion and a whole host of ****** symptoms.

Add pregnancy to the mix, I gained more weight, because you’re supposed to. And for some reasons my body finds it hard to lose that babyweight while breastfeeding, so there the weight remained, until BAM! I was pregnant again…At my heaviest I was 70 pounds heavier than the day I married, and no, it wasn’t MY fault.

That all said, I’ve just recently lost almost 40 of those 70, and my husband was never disgusted by me. If I’d ever found out he had referred to me as an elephant…:crying:

Just to let you know, I have been in your wife’s shoes. My ex- husband used tell me I was overweight and unattractive. He said couldn’t complete the marital embrace because I had become too unattractive. You know what… that made me eat all the more.

I wanted him to love me for the person I was inside, not how I looked on the outside. I still thought he was handsome even though he was 8 years older than I was. He was almost bald and was starting to have a saggy chest and a little pot belly. To me it didn’t matter what he looked like on the outside, I still loved him.

After I left him, he was so happy that he gave me the most expensive gift he had ever given me before; a membership to a weightloss group. He said it would help me feel better and find another man.

So, here are a few words of wisdom for you… you had better start seeing all the beauty your wife possesses on the inside or she might not be your wife for much longer.

Please checkout Theology of the Body or Holy Sex by Gregory Popcak.

I can feel for you brother.

I think society today, at least in the US anyway, has gotten just plain sloppy. We don’t dress well anymore and we don’t care about our weight either. I cannot tell you how many couples I see, both young and abit older that just don’t care about how they look. It’s disgraceful! Go to Church and look at how shabby people look today. How about going to a nice restruant and see how people are dressed. Even worse, go on a cruise and see the most obese people you ever will see in one place anywhere.

This sloppiness is detrimental to a marriage. We are living longer today, hence we are married longer, so couples must learn to work abit harder to stay attractive to each other for alittle longer. Attraction is an important component to a strong marriage. Certainly not the most important, but it’s right up there. A man or a woman should not have to settle for someone that doesn’t care what they look like. They have every right to ask abit more from there spouse, at least alittle effort on there part. I’m 51 years old now, and I still work to keep myself in decent shape and dress well and appropriately and so does my wife and after 22 years of marriage, we are still madly in love with each other. We still are physically attracted to each other.

To those here that don’t think obesity or sloppiness is detrimental to a marriage, I think your just plain wrong. The OP, if he is gracefully trying to get his wife to lose some weight, is not wrong to want the attractive wife he married…

can you start taking walks together in the evening or early morning? buy a couple of standard bicycles and bike around a park together? get a wii fit and do some of the workouts together (they’re a lot of fun!)

these things will help you connect, communicate, AND get in better health…and it’s her good health you should focus on, not her hourglass figure :wink:

My advice is to take that which CountySinger and others have offered one step further.


First: Weight control is often tied directly to self esteem. If you tell her that she is beautiful, even though you may not consciously think so, it may help her self image and you will both benefit.

Second: There is a saying, “Bring the body and the mind will follow.” If you act as though she is sexy, you will start to see that she becomes more sexy to you.

I might just be the only woman on this thread who isn’t going to lambaste the OP for trying to be transparent about where he is (while probably knowing where he “should” be) and wanting answers to a very real problem. :frowning:

So,* to the OP*, here’s the thing:

Being obese, your wife probably has both physical and emotional problems. You may indeed be contributing to one or both sides of it, whether your know it or not. But the fact remains that she needs help. You can bet she knows it, too. You also have to realize that **you can’t be that help, **because spouses don’t like being doctored or coached or micro-managed by one another. So the help is going to have to come from the outside.

Now, your best chance of getting her to accept this and act on it is to treat her with kindness and compassion and emphasize your love and concern for her. **Stay away from discussion about how this is affecting you - that doesn’t help matters. ** Who’s got the bigger problem here, anyway? She does, both internally and externally. As much as this is hurting you, I guarantee it’s hurting her more, and in more ways.

If you can **be her friend, her ally **in all of this, she will open up to you and the two of you can work at getting her help together. As long as she sees you as an adversary with selfish interests, she’s going to stonewall you and resist, and that’s not good for either of you or for the marriage.

Talk to her. But most importantly,listen to her*. * Be there to support her and love her. Be her strength so she can do what she already knows needs to be done. And you? You offer up your care for your spouse “in sickness and in health” and ask God to help you be there for her. She can do this if she knows you’ll be by her side. She truly can. :slight_smile:

God bless, brother,


Yes… best answer yet. :thumbsup:

In addition to what Mary wrote above… take proactive steps to improve the health of the entire family - out of LOVE for your wife.
It shouldn’t be about “looks”… but there are very valid reasons for wanting your wife to loose weight. Refocus on your true love for your wife - for WHO SHE IS, not for what she looks like. That love should motivate you to want her to be healthier and live a longer and happier life… and that love (not your sex drive) should be the source of your motivation.

YOU start to cook, YOU start motivating the family to take evening walks together or join a gym together… and then you need to actively tell your wife that your motivation is out of LOVE not lust.

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