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Norman M.
Norman M., Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DHP, ECP, UKCP Registered, 10 years in relationship counselling, over 2,000 satisfied mental health customers.
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Hello. I have been married for 38 years. Yes, its a long time,

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Hello. I have been married for 38 years. Yes, it's a long time, but doesn't necessary mean I'm happy. Here's where I need your help.

There's a delicate situation here, where my husband is overweight, and I've been on him about it for a long time. Keeps saying it's my perception, and his weight is fine. A lot of his problem is in his stomach. (huge).

Like today, for example, we got back from vacation last week, and he put on a new t-shirt, that was a size large. It barely fit him, tight. Especially once it's washed, it will be even tighter. But he would rather wear a tight shirt than say, "yes, your right, this shirt is a big snug"

He sits down, and his stomach protrudes out, therefore making his clothes tight. That is the one thing most sensitive about and causes the most fighting
You say your husband is overweight. What is his height and weight?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Height and weight is really irrelevant. He weights 180, 5'8. But the bulk of the weight is in his stomach, not admitting to anything wrong.


You can weigh 200 lbs, and be very thin. Weight isn't really the issue here. How much body fat. But this isn't a medical question.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

weight has nothing to do with my question. This is a relationship issue,not a medical one !!

Icleary understand that. However I wanted to get a feel for exactly where your husband might lie on the underweight/overweight spectrum. As it happens, he is overweight, and should be 164 pounds or thereabouts in order to avoid future health problems.

You've been married 38 years, so that puts him at least in middle age, exactly the time body fat begins to accummulate around the middle.

However, from the relationship side, it appears that either he is (a) happy with his appearance or (b) chooses to ignore it. You say, too, that he is in fact very sensitive about it, which suggests that he is aware that he could look a lot better. You also say that this issue causes most of your agruements.

You want him to look better, so what do you do to achieve that? My guess is that you frequently draw attention to his size and make negative comments about it. Has it worked so far? NO!!!

Sochange what you are doing. Just nagging about it is going to make him even more stubborn, and dig his heels in. After all, he IS entitled to take the line that it is his body, his appearance, and that your wishes in the matter are outweighed by the effort he would have to make to change things.

There is an old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

Therefor, using a stick to beat him with is NOT going to work. He needs to have a carrot as well!

First off, your husband needs to be confronted with your feelings about his behavior, and made to understand that, because you care for him his failuer to deal with this issue causes you a lot of discomfort and indeed sadness

We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Therefore, you need to give him a reason to change, otherwise he simply will not do do. Why should he? He has gotten away with his behaviour until now, so it works for him.

You have been married so long that YOU know what he likes, wants, desires - in other words, how to press his buttons. Use this to your advantage. Positively encourage him to take things on board - constant negative comment IS NOT GOING TO WORK!

Make fullfilling his wants partly conditional on him starting to take care of himself. Chenge his diet to cut down his calorie intake. Find some sort of exercise that you both enjoy, and do it together - even if you don´t enjoy it so much. Reward every one of his little successes in some way - perhaps as little as a kind word of encouragement. even something as small as his being willing to discuss the issue. Make it clear that you really appreciate that he wants to listen.

A final word - never, never be blaming and never, never lose your temper over this. It may be hard, but if you get mad, you have lost!!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you for all the information. Yes, he should be around 164. I don't know if it's a guy vs female thing about not "wanting to be right". It's ok if he's overweight, but the problem here lies in admitting that he is and he cares about it, which obviously he does not. He rather wear extra tight clothes than admit he needs a bigger size. Maybe it's an ego thing, don't know. He packs a triple decker sandwich every day to work, I'm not about to start off the day arguing, so I let it go. I stopped commenting on what he eats, it simply isn't worth it.


I don't want to be the first one dead dealing with all the stress, while he could care less.


Yes, I've been married for a long time, doesn't necessarily make it a very happy one.


Easier to catch a fly with honey, as you say. Do you have any suggestions on how a man is to admit something. If a shirt is obviously way too tight, there's nothing to deny about it.


This weight issue is the only one he is sensitive about talking He likes french fries. Dare I stop him. Heck no. It simply isn't worth it, cuz he won't listen anyway.


I know he has listened to many others before he listens to his wife. Open for suggestions

I rather suspect there is more wrong with your relationship than simply the issue of his weight. If that is the case, I would be able to help you better if you were to tell me about it.

Can you do that?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Actually, it's not really about the weight. It's the denial of the problem. Or for that matter, any problem.


He said it's "my perception". It's the way I see it. I'd be ok with it, if he just admitted, "your right, this shirt is a bit small, I need a bigger size"


But I doubt that will ever happen.It hasn't in all these years. I can't seem to understand, because by admitting, that will mean that he concedes.


He would rather squish into something than get a larger size just so he isn't "wrong".


It's not even about being right or wrong. Who would want to be wearing tight clothes anyway? I think by me saying that shirt is too tight on him, it implies he's fat or gained weight, to that effect. I think that's the botXXXXX XXXXXne.


I know there is an easy way to talk to people without sounding like a complaint. But I haven't figured it out. Seems the wording I use, comes across as complaining

It will come across hard, if he is sensitive. So basically, he is a person who has a problem about being wrong. That is HIS problem, so try not to make it yours! Let him wear his tight shirts, tyhen enxt time, or sometime soon, buy him a size that fits.

As I suggested though, work on the communication, gently.

Remember, your life is important, and his hang-ups are not worth getting your blood pressure up!
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