Dare to Ask: Help, my partner is overweight
By Phillip J. Milano
The Florida Times-Union
My girlfriend is overweight. If you have an overweight partner, how do you
deal with this subject, and what are some things you do to make things work out?
— Oscar, 31, Washington, D.C.
In my case, I am the overweight partner. I love and am loved by someone kind,
stubborn, funny, talented, putzy, annoying, messy, intelligent, silly, generous,
caring and occasionally incomprehensible — have been for the last 18 years. We
talk, read at restaurants and have periods of companionable silence. My fat
matters far more to me than it does to my partner. The operative word here is
partner. What do you want? To be a partner, or to be someone she spent time
with, once upon a time? — S., 49, white female, New Jersey
The first time I realized how much my partner cared was when I was getting
dressed for an evening out and struggling into a garter-belt and stockings (his
favorite) and standing there in nothing else … fat stomach bulging, huge thighs,
big butt, enormous breasts. I looked up and realized he was watching me with so
much love in his eyes. He said “You are so sexy! I love you!” Me? Fat, old me?
Sexy? Yup, me! And loved. We are totally devoted to each other. Weight doesn’t
matter — if it does, love is the issue and you need to move on.
— SiouxZQ, Merrickville, Canada
As someone who is overweight, I can give you a bit of advice. Compliment her,
including her body, but never insincerely. Do not make comments on what she eats
or how much. Do not suggest she lose weight, but if she wants to do it for
herself, be as supportive as possible. Do not insist on knowing exactly how much
she weighs or what size clothes she wears. Whatever you do, do not make her
weight a big issue. Just be natural. — C.P., 22, female, Montreal
Voluptuous model Stella Ellis, author of “Size Sexy: How to Look Good, Feel
Good and Be Happy at Any Size,” would like more details from our questioner.
“Who decides what’s overweight? I decide that for myself,” said Ellis, who
among other things appeared in Madonna’s racy book “Sex” and was a Jean-Paul
Gaultier model. “Was she full-figured when they met, or did she gain weight as
For Ellis, it’s all relative: if Oscar’s girlfriend is 500 pounds, yes,
that’s a health concern, but if she’s 250 and happy, healthy and sexy, he
needn’t be concerned.
“Just cherish her, love her, sex her. … Why discuss it? Would they discuss it
all if he was losing his hair?”
The key is to make your partner know that you love her the way she is, Ellis
“Take my husband: He loves who I am, loves all inches of my body, tells me I
look so sexy. He encourages me to accentuate my curves and look fabulous. This
guy should do the same thing.”
Now, if his girlfriend has issues about her weight, or if it’s a real health
“Then sit down and talk about it, and decide what to do,” she said. “That’s
when he should be there for her.”
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers. Send general
column comments to phillip. firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hear his
podcasts or watch his