Too Large to Love

Why I hid my overweight body from my husband

My weight has been an issue since I had my children some 20-plus years ago. I never lost my pregnancy weight—instead I have added extra pounds to it. Because I grew up in a physically and emotionally abusive home where a thin body was idealized (along with many other issues), I have struggled with lots of self-loathing concerning my body. The problem is I use food to comfort myself when I don't like my emotions, which has just complicated the body-image issue.

Because of my own contempt toward my body, I have physically hidden from my husband, Vince, for at least 20 years. I have not allowed my husband to see me naked because of the shame I’ve been carrying around. I have always made sure that I was covered while making love. I would dry off in the shower, grab my bathrobe, and put it on behind the shower curtain so he wouldn't see me naked. I spent so much effort trying to keep safe and protect myself from his eyes. I truly believed that if he saw me naked he would reject me and want nothing more to do with me. Many times, I said no to intimacy with him because I didn't want him to touch my body. I really never took into consideration how all of this was affecting him.

Did I ever ask Vince how he felt? No. I didn’t give him a chance to tell me that he loved me despite what I looked like. When Vince did offer compliments, I would push them away and respond with something sarcastic. My belief system about myself seemed more true and became more important than what he tried to offer me. I was putting my comfort above our relationship.

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