You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Q: “I am 39 years old and on my second marriage. My husband and I haven't had sex in two years. We both put on extreme amounts of weight, and I just joined the gym again this week. I feel like my husband blames me for the weight gain and thinks it’s the reason he is bigger and why we don't have sex. I hate how I look, and I am not physically attracted to him either. I love him, but if we divorced, I know I would survive. How do I stay motivated to go to the gym and get the zing back in my marriage?” -- Mia
A: While the extreme weight gain you mention is unfortunate, the good thing is you are back in the gym doing something about your weight. You are only responsible for your weight gain and not your husband’s weight. (Do not let him dump his issues on you!) It is really unfair for him to blame you and/or use you as an excuse for his weight gain. If he is using the weight as the reason for not having sex with you for two years, weight may not be the only problem in your marriage. While it may indeed be more difficult to have sex when you are extremely obese, it is not impossible. People become quite creative in getting their physical needs met. Remember, sex is not just about sexual intercourse.
It appears that what you are missing in your marriage is emotional attachment and affection. That becomes much more important than the act of sex itself. While you may hate how you look, do not start hating yourself. Your looks are changeable and can be considered a temporary state. The survival of your marriage should not be contingent on your size. If you think your husband may divorce you over your size, the marriage is missing some basic elements to make it last. This is especially true given that you noted that he has gained "extreme" weight as well. In order to get the "zing" back in your marriage, you both must be committed to the marriage, regardless of your size.
I would recommend you seek individual therapy to understand and resolve the emotional issues that are attributed to your weight gain. This will also give you a chance to decide if you really want the marriage. Working out in the gym is something you should do for yourself and not anyone else. The motivation to keep working out should be related to your need to become physically healthy and do something for yourself. You are the only person who can change you! Therefore, if you do not like your size, your looks, or your life, change it! -- Dr. Sherry
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