Wife obese and snoring, unrepentant

We have been married for 20+ years, and our family is faithfully and actively Catholic. We have five children, with a two in college and youngest in sixth grade.

When we were married, my wife was 120 lbs., but she has not managed her eating and exercise, and her weight has steadily increased over the years. Currently, she is obese at nearly twice the weight on our wedding day. All the weight has caused her health to suffer, I believe, as she has had pneumonia once, and is frequently catching colds and the flu more than anyone in the family.

As she added weight, snoring became regular, and I could not get a good night’s rest in the same bed. We have not slept in the same bed for five years, which has significantly curtailed our love life.

As far as we know, she has no medical issues that would prevent our impair weight loss. Diabetes runs in her family and mine, and she is all too aware of the health issues associated with the disease. So far, no signs of it in her health.

She has tried dieting and exercise, but has never fully committed to managing her weight, and has never succeeded, but not for lack of support.

She has always been a stay-at-home mom. As the kids are older / away, she has plenty of time for many. We have an eliptical machine in our basement that she almost never uses. We bought a house on a large park, and are only a three minute walk from a fully-equipped YMCA.

We have talked consistently about he weight and health, and have made many “new starts,” all of which have produced no improvement.

I don’t feel wanted as a husband, and have begun to feel like I represent little more than a steady paycheck to her. In addition, I am feeling like the only adult in this marriage, as her lack of self control has spilled over into money management and a reluctance to discipline our children.

I have talked to a marriage counselor and he recommended a “Healing Separation” to ease the strain on our marriage and attempt to generate a positive change. I’m leaning toward this as it seems a reasonable step for us.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas.


What is a Healing Separation?? That sounds like a VERY bad idea to me, if it means you leave the home.

It sounds as though your wife may have an over-eating problem. I mean, that sounds like a no-brainer, right? It’s not a diet thing. She has to figure out what she is trying to use food for - probably to get her emotional needs met - and then determine to change that. I’m sure she’s not happy being obese, but it can be a difficult cycle to break unless you realize that you are using food like an alcoholic uses alcohol, and you get support and start changing from the inside out.

Would she get marriage counseling? You could start with both of you and then hopefully the counselor would pick up on her food issues and perhaps start seeing her alone.

She could be depressed, too. The lack of discipline and over-spending might suggest that she is self-medicating and doesn’t have the energy to actually enforce rules.

As we have no control over another person’s free decisions, you can’t get your wife to change anything unless she decides to and follows through. She needs to decide she wants to do it, not because of anyone else’s desire or urging, but her own choice, or nothing works or lasts. Urging someone to lose weight takes the responsibility from her. She then feels it’s something the other person wants not what she wants. She mayn’t know that consciously but form my understanding of human nature that’s how it goes. You possibly assumed the responsibility of being her weight-conscience years ago, so it’s not her responsibility psychologically, but yours. Not true of course, but that’s how it works. I might wonder if she has psychological problems/baggage of some sort or she’d not have been obese 20 years ago and not exceedingly more obese now.

As for your question there’s no way I’d answer that! Up to you and your priest to discuss.

Ahhh… Gluttony. The 'acceptable’ sin. :blush:

I have known cases where the husband makes sure that he gets to the gym daily (and he’s able to because the wife is home all day taking care of the children and ALL the chores). . .and then he rags at her, “why aren’t you getting fit?” BUT. . .Mr Fit refuses to pay for her gym fees (and she isn’t working outside the home so she has no income.) OR he offers to pay, but the catch is that if he does, he has to see ‘proof’. . .“You must lose 10 pounds per month or I’ll stop” (and he makes sure that it isn’t a gym with a month to month policy, so if she doesn’t lose those 10 pounds each and every month, SHE is left with the bill and the embarassment). OR he ‘thinks’ she can get out every day but fails to take into consideration that he also requires her to be available for tasks that involve her being on the go to take care of his and family needs virtually every hour of the day. Unless she goes to the gym at 10 p.m. or gets up at 3 a.m., there really is no time available she can carve out of the day because hubby and kids would raise too much of a fuss.

Also, consider the gym. Is she going to be pressured into joining a tough, high impact aerobics right off the start? Is the gym geared to the young and fit where she is going to look way out of place and not have a personal trainer and the kind of help to get her into exercising wisely and not getting injured?

If you’re carrying around 100 extra pounds, it is NOT going to be easy to change but it can be done. However, it’s not likely that the wife is going to commit to changes if she is treated as a fat, lazy pig and also as if all the burden is on HER to make changes.

If hubby and the kids for example are lucky enough to have high metabolisms, and spend their days grazing and enjoying high calorie goodies, but HE gets to the gym daily and the kids get gym and aerobic activities as part of their days through school etc., and SHE is pretty much doing activities like getting in the car and ferrying the kids to soccer practice, then hubby and kids ALSO NEED TO DO SOME CHANGING. They need to start helping Mom by stepping up and cooking a healthy low-cal dinner. . .while MOM takes that hour or two and gets down to the gym or outside playing badminton with hubby. If Mom doesn’t have gym time because she has to take kids all over, have the kids help Mom arrange with other moms to do car pools so once or twice a week Mom has a couple of free hours for the gym.

And instead of focusing on ‘obese and snoring’, back off from "YOU are broken and need fixing’ and more on, “Now that kids are growing up, wouldn’t it be nice if you and I could have more time to ourselves to do fun things; let’s start preparing now for that.”

Also, be sure you check for hypothyroidism and do NOT accept if the MD says the tests show no problem. Lately studies have shown that older more ‘generic’ tests do not measure hormone levels accurately and a lot of people who should be thyroid meds are not. There are other diseases (fibromyalgia for example) which could contribute. And if she is snoring and has sleep apnea, it could be that she is genuinely exhausted because she is not getting enough oxygen. Also anemia could be causing fatigue. There are lots of possibilities.

This is awful and I am so sorry. :frowning:

I know this is expensive, but have you tried getting a personal trainer to work out your wife maybe 4-5 days a week?

I can understand that it can be hard finding the motivation on her own to go out to the gym everyday, but if she has a set schedule with a professional who will meet with her at scheduled times each day, it’ll make it a lot easier for her to be there and stay committed. Personal trainers can also help with making healthy meal plans.

It’s not a cheap route, but it’s one that is very guaranteed to work…

…That seems to be the trend around here.

People usually like to target the sin of homosexual behavior around here because it’s a sin that they themselves don’t struggle with. :shrug:

But gluttony? You’d hardly ever see any threads about that.

I can relate to the wife here. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. I’d gander she’s probably got some depression going on. What’s her support system like? Is she involved n any groups? If she’s down she not going to feel like going to the gym or meeting with a personal trainer.

Praying for you both.

I am sure you did not mean that the way it sounds, Debora. One “works out” a horse on a lead in an arena. Not another person. His wife is not motivated to change, so getting her a personal trainer is not going to be guaranteed to work. In fact, if his wife is like I am, I would be insulted and angry if my husband dared to arrange for such a thing without my consent/desire for it. Even if I need the help, it is up to me to decide that I want to change and then take the steps necessary to change.

Not everyone is a gym rat. Not even with an expensive personal trainer.

I’m sorry your wife has eaten herself into a state where she is failing at her wifely duties to meet your needs. Have you considered enrolling her in an obesity and depression support group? Maybe go with her a few times so she’s comfortable and feels your support. Perhaps you can help take over a chore or two if she’s stressed out.

The fat can sometimes kid themselves into “size acceptance” which is dangerous. Gluttony, depression, and indolence are nothing to be proud of. But show her support, offer a gym membership (“I’ll go with you, honey, and we could make this our ‘us’ time”), and encourage her to seek out psychological support if necessary.

Don’t separate. As a child of a broken marriage, its no fun all the way around.

Good luck!

Rigth now, my heart bleeds for your wife. To actually remember her exact weight on your wedding day and post on the internet that it is twice what it used to be makes it seem YOU value her worth by her weight. What a horrible way for a woman to feel.

And not sleeping in the same bed as her has probably made her feel REALLY rejected.

I suggest you start looking at her as the woman you vowed before God to stand by for better or for worse.

Not once do you mention asking her about HER feelings. All these diets ‘she’ started, I have to wonder if they were not your agenda. Perhaps if you asked her about her day, asked her if she would like some help with the house work (and you do it instead of telling the kids to help her) and then maybe offer to take her on date night, she just might start to believe in herself.

If she has been a stay at home mom and you have kids in colledge, I am going to assume she is in her mid forties at least. She has devoted her whole life to being a mom and now her kids are grown up and she no longer knows what to do with herself. And trust me, entering the workforce after a 20+ year absense from it is a VERY scary prospect.

No man deserve to feel like a pay cheque, but when a woman feels she is no longer needed because her husband is now repulsed by her, what else is she suppose to see?

Take the focus off of what she is doing wrong and put it on what you can improve. And nagging her to loose weight is NOT something you should do. Being attentive to her is


I would not recommend a separation that will not repair your marriage. Is this a catholic therapist?? If not you need to look for one who will understand the marriage covenant/vows. I can’t imagine that you would get support here for a separation. I would only support that if there was domestic violence.

retrouvaille.org (Marriage retreat for struggling marriages)

Being overweight does not mean you are a glutton. And furthermore are you in the confessional with her to know if she is repentant or not?? I suggest this: the retreat above to help you as a couple with your comunication. Also let her know that you love her no matter what her weight/size and that you are willing to help her anyway you can if she wants to go to the gym, weight watcher meetings, whatever. That you are willing to help with the children, household chores, cooking etc. whatever she needs to succeed(and mean it–set it up on a regular schedule so she doesn’t have to ask you–). Because you are “one” and when she is hurting so are you. This is not about you!! I am also certain that you are not the same person she married 20+ years ago…we all change. I think that there is more to this than her weight, sounds like you are looking for an easy way out and there is not one!! Don’t you think in the long run working it out will be better for your family. You have graduations,weddings, grandchildren etc coming in the future and being together will make all that so much better for your family. Suck it up, for better or worse, sickness and health, and get some real help from someone who wants to see you together not separated.

Oh gosh, of course I didn’t mean he’d FORCE her to agree to a personal trainer! You’re right, that sounds awful! :eek:

This is all assuming she’d be up for it, of course. I guess I just assumed she would be, considering the problems it’s causing on her marriage and the danger to her health.

Other than that, getting a personal trainer 4-5 times a week truly is almost guaranteed to help, unless she starts cancelling her daily appointments. But I don’t see that happening if she recognizes the expense of it, and if she truly wants to change.

I don’t believe you have to be gluttonous to be overweight. Being overweight is not a sin. I do agree that people tend to get the nastiest about sins they couldn’t possibly fathom. I’m betting there is a lot going on here.

I’d be curious. How old is DW?

Let’s see, she weighed 120 when she got married. And now weighs close to 240? How tall is she?

Sleep apnea, which is probably weight related, which reportedly only started 5 years ago. (which seemingly would be when she had 5 CHILDREN in the house ranging from 5-18ish?). That seems like a mad house to me. But I have 2 6 y/o’s that can bring the noise level to window shattering it seems.

She’s a stay at home mom? How active are the children in outide anything. Dad, how much of the children’s schedule do you manage as a work outside of the house person?

Let’s go back 5 years. What does a day look like dealing with elementary school children, middle school children and probably high school children?

Who makes sure homework is helped with and such?

Who cleans the house, laundry and cooks meals?

Who gets up with sick children in the night? Or was everyone healthy this whole time, sleeping through the night. Go back to when they were babies. All of this is cumulative.

How far apart are all these children? I assume wife’s body was taxed with all these pregnancies? Or were they all adopted? Meaning at least she wasn’t pregnant, and exhausted with toddlers to chase after?

I’m very curious about how easy this woman has it? Does she sit and watch tv all day, popping bon bons?

If you do ANY research, you will see that a sleep deprived individual will NOT lose weight. Short of absolute starvation. A sleep deprived individual will also have a hard time fighting illness and such. It all becomes a very vicious cycle. A person with sleep apena IS sleep deprived. I bet her O2s are quite low.

Honestly, having a husband that does’t want sex is probably the ONLY thing not draining her last bit of energy. Why fight that?

I can see how easy it is to get here.

So, I’m wondering just how easy this woman’s life is that she can’t find time between the schedules of 5 children and a husband’s schedule to plan her food menus so that she doesn’t have to cook different meals for each family member, and get in a workout for herself.

I don’t know anyone who was 120 on their wedding day, fighting to get under 200 lbs not horrifyingly depressed about their body. I used to be thin and fit. A twin PG, and major exhaustion has sent me batteling the buldge in a way that is off the hook. It’s too depressing to discuss further.

fitness can happen if you put the effort into it and stop making excuses. Everyone is busy, but if you want it you’ll make time. It’s just whether or not you’re willing to give up the things that would otherwise occupy that time.

And fitness and thinness are not the same thing. Being thin doesn’t mean your fit, and people who are muscular and overweight are usually in much better shape than those who are quite skinny. Train for performance and form will follow

I’m hoping I read your remark “eaten herself into a state where she is failing at her wifely duties to meet your needs” the wrong way. How does her being overweight fail at her “wifely duties”? He’s moved into another room because of her snoring. Let me assure you, thin, skinny, muscular, and physically fit people all suffer from snoring and sleep apnea. It tends to worsen with age, too.

Agree that the OP should sit down and tell his wife that he loves her, her weight and all. Because of that love, he wants her to be happy and be around for many years to come. Her weight is putting her health at risk and he will do whatever necessary to support her, not only in weight loss, but what ever she needs. That way, he wouldn’t be neglecting his “husbandly duties”, which include putting aside his selfish wishes or desires for the betterment of his wife. As others have mentioned, we’re only hearing one side of this story and chances are, the wife has a pretty good reason for filling a void with food. I don’t think she intentionally set out to gain 100 pounds.

Still trying to figure out why she’s unrepentant"? Because she’s not sorry she couldn’t stay looking like Cindy Crawford?:shrug:

How’s about accepting and loving your wife THE WAY SHE IS. Sorry, you vowed “for better or worse, in sickness and in health”, you don’t do a separation because your wife is fat! Are you kidding me?

I really feel for your wife. She must be in so much pain dealing with your rejection. And I’m sure it’s only adding to her weight problems and depression.

I’ll tell ya what. My husband and I have just celebrated 15 years and after 4 pregnancies I weigh almost 100 lbs. more than I did when I wore that white dress. My husband LOVES ME ANYWAY. He is fully, 100% supportive when <<< I >>> decide to try a new diet but he doesn’t hold it over my head when I fail.

I think it’s time to find a new therapist.


Having read the whole post, I would say you are an abusive man, and need to start counseling.

Did the OP ever say he does not love his wife?? :confused:

I don’t believe so.

I also don’t believe he’s thinking about separation “because she is fat.” Didn’t you read the whole post? The OP feels his wife has become lazy, negligent towards the children, careless with money, and detrimental to herself. There’s a lot more going on here besides just her weight…

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