What it means and what you should do if your girlfriend has gained weight and is letting herself go physically.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a viewer whose girlfriend of 2 years has gained about 20 pounds and is starting to let herself go physically. He is losing attraction for her and is becoming interested in other women. Then he feels guilty after a week or so and starts making the effort to open up and romance his girl once again.
He wonders if he should just date other women or not be with only one woman and asks my opinion. My comments are in bold italics like this below in the body of his email.
This is a good email because this is what happens to most people in relationships. I was having this conversation with Caroline, Chunky and Jocelyn yesterday when we were filming, because there was a similar viewer question about that, and we were talking about exercising and health. I know when I was in high school, most of us guys, we worked out and lifted weights because we wanted to look good, because we wanted to attract women. And then, typically, what happens is you work out through college, and then you get into your early twenties, you start working, you get busy, you work late, you work weekends. You’re tired, you’re trying to spend time with your friends. Then, what happens is you start skipping workouts, and by the time you’re 24, 25, you’re not going to the gym anymore.
I know, myself, I was still exercising, but I stopped lifting weights, and I just gained weight. My normal weight was 165 lbs. That’s what I had been in high school. I was lean and mean, like Steve McQueen. And then by the time I was 29 years old, I was 190 lbs., and it was like I had no neck. And I wasn’t fat, I was just thick everywhere. It happens slowly. It happens over many months. And so, this is like over a period of five or six years that I wasn’t exercising like I had been when I was younger.
Plus, as you get older, your metabolism slows down a little bit, especially if you’re not exercising. And the next thing you know, I go from being a size 29, 30 waist to almost pushing size 34. And I wasn’t feeling too good. I had a lot of health problems and things that were starting to come up because of it, and I wrote about those in Mastering Yourself. And then I changed my diet. I started eating a lot better and healthier and started exercising more, and I lost about 30 lbs. over the course of about six months.
It’s not that I was trying to lose weight, I was just trying to be healthier. And when I ate healthier foods, the weight just slowly came off over time, just like the weight slowly gets put on over time. And so, this is typically what happens. Most people get married, and for the average guy, they stop exercising. They’re both fit and in shape when they meet.
One of the podcasts we did this past year with Kwang, who owns a CrossFit gym, he’s kind of got it down to a science. Somebody comes into the CrossFit gym, and it’s typically because they just had a break up. They work out, and it takes about three months to get back in really great shape. They’re coming in the gym, religious with it. Then they meet a girl in the CrossFit gym, or somewhere else, they start dating, and he can see it coming. I don’t remember what the actual dates were or the time frame, but he knows exactly when they’re going to stop working out.
So, what happens is they get into a new relationship, and then both he and the girl just start missing classes. And then a few months later, neither one of them are coming to the gym anymore. And then about a year and a half, two years later, a breakup happens, and then guess what? The dude’s back in the gym, losing the weight that he gained, getting fit and in shape, and then the same cycle kind of happens all over again.
As a self reliant human being, the reality is you’ve got to take care of your body throughout your life. You don’t have to be big and giant and roid yourself up, because those guys aren’t healthy anyway. They can’t even run to the stop sign without losing their fucking breath. But you’ve got to take care of yourself. You’ve got to weight train and you’ve got to do cardio.
But what happens is guys get married, they’ve both stopped working out. Then she has a couple of kids. She doesn’t lose the baby weight that she gains. She doesn’t feel beautiful. He’s not as attracted to her, so he’s not opening her up as much. She doesn’t feel heard and understood, and therefore she doesn’t feel beautiful. And since she doesn’t feel beautiful, what happens? She cuts all her hair off. She stops wearing makeup, she’s wearing baggy clothes everywhere.
And because she doesn’t feel heard and understood, and doesn’t feel loved, and doesn’t feel beautiful anymore, she’s kind of bitchy and grumpy all of the time. And then, the sex life kind of grinds to a halt.
All you’ve got to do is go out in public and just look around you. You’ll see couples like this everywhere. And the guy does the same thing. He gains a bunch of weight as well, and they’re both kind of dumpy looking and out of shape. She’s walking around, leading the pack, the kids fall behind, and the husband is like the caboose. His physiology is all bent over, and you can tell he’s just beat down by life and beat down by his wife. He’s like a defeated man.
I mean, 74% of Americans are either overweight or morbidly obese, and those are pretty sad statistics. When you look at video from the 1970s, 1980s, like when I was growing up, everybody was thin. People that were overweight or fat, you just didn’t see them very often. And now, pretty much society at large has just been super-sized because the diet and the lack of physical fitness. They don’t have physical fitness and gym like they did back when we were kids growing up, because they want to keep everybody safe. They don’t want people to get hurt in gym class.
If you want to see something really crazy, go look at some of the jungle gym sets back from the 1800s, early 1900s, the 1920s and the 1930s, and some of those jungle gyms were two stories tall. The kids were just hanging like monkeys climbing all over these things. Obviously, if they fell, they’d get hurt pretty bad. But compare that to now, where it’s like a bubble wrap nation. The kids aren’t allowed to do anything. They don’t get any kind of physical activity. There’s no gym class in a lot of schools, they don’t even teach this stuff anymore. Physical fitness is not even on the radar.
And so, what do you do when you’re in these relationships, where you continue to take care of yourself and your girl is just letting herself go? Because remember, us guys are visual creatures. And if our girl doesn’t love herself enough, and if we’re not opening her up enough to make her feel beautiful, and then she lets herself go, you’re not going to be attracted to her anymore. And so, that’s basically where this guy is at.
First off, I wanted to thank you for your material, as it has changed my life in such a positive way. I was able to quit my miserable job I had been working for nearly 15 years and start my own company, which is starting to see some success. We have been in business for a little over a year, it has grown exponentially, and it is so much fun.
I’m 38 years old and after leaving a 13-year marriage that went south, due to her infidelity back in 2018, I found myself desperate to find my next love.
Well, as Edwin Chapin said, “Impatience never commanded success.” If you’re desperate to find the next one, typically, you’re going to settle and get into a relationship with somebody that you shouldn’t. “Slow and steady like the river that never grows stale. No hurry, no rush,” as Rumi said.
I went through dating for a good bit, where I continued to ruin it with hot women with my neediness and desperate behavior which was at its worst. And what made me seek out your work was having a beautiful dentist who owns her own business friend-zone me, due to my beta behavior after having quite a bit of interest the first couple of weeks.
Yeah, attraction’s not a choice. And this is what most guys’ experience is that I talk about in “3% Man.” Every once in a while, maybe 1 to 3 times a decade, you meet somebody you really like, you really click with. It just feels like a soul connection. And for the average guy, it lasts for two or three weeks, and they get friendzoned because they display such unattractive behavior that they completely turn the woman off ,and she loses all feelings and romantic interest in him. The key is to not talk her out of liking you when she already does like you.
It was at this point, after ruining multiple opportunities with women, that I did some Google searches and discovered your work. Once I put your material to work, I noticed success immediately. I ended up in a relationship with a beautiful woman who is a little older than me. We have been in a relationship now for nearly 2 years, I love and care about her, and the feeling is mutual.
The problem I wanted to reach out to you about is a cycle that I keep going through. I run into other women sometimes that I find more attractive than my girlfriend, and It tends to cause me to temporarily lose interest in her.
At the end of the day, if you’re with a woman who knocks your socks off and she stays fit and in shape and keeps looking hot, you’re definitely going to be interested. And if she doesn’t love herself enough, despite what’s going on in your relationship or your life, physical fitness and taking care of your body and being healthy should be your number one priority. And when somebody gets into a relationship, like I was talking about, back when we were in high school, we did it because we wanted to get girls. And then once you get girls, or you get a girl, or you settle down, “Eh, I don’t need to work out anymore.” You just slowly let yourself go.
Like me, I gained 30 lbs., and that was over the course of about five or six years. It just comes on slowly. You know, it’s like the frog slowly boiling to death in the pot of hot, boiling water. The next thing you know, you go from a size 30 waist to almost pushing 34. And when that happens, guess what? You’ve got to buy a whole new wardrobe. And then, when you lose the weight like I did, I had to buy a whole new wardrobe again. I had to buy all new pants, all new shirts, because everything was just baggy as hell on me.
Sometimes I become completely uninterested and don’t have sex with her for a week or longer. It doesn’t help that she has put on about 20 lbs. since we started dating.
Think about it, she hasn’t even had kids yet. The other thing is, I mean, people will get pissed off about this, but what does her mother look like? Typically, the daughter ends up looking like the mother does later in life. If you haven’t even had kids yet, and in two years she’s already packed on 20 lbs., just think where she’ll be 10, 15 years from now, especially if you have kids together. That might be 100-150 lbs. that she packs on. Your dick’s going to have a hard time getting hard for that.
Some guys like that, but the majority of guys would prefer a woman who is fit and in shape. And a woman who loves herself and values herself is going to take care of herself, not just for the man in her life, but because of personal pride and self respect. She wants to be healthy and she wants to look good and feel good. And when people don’t love and value themselves enough to continue working out, that’s a reflection, because our physical bodies are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves.
However, I always eventually decide that she is well worth it, open her back up, and things go well for a couple weeks. So, I started doing some research and found out about a term called the Coolidge effect. I’m sure you already know about this, but for the audience, the general idea is that in some different animal species, the male only mates with a female once per season before moving on to mate with the rest of the females.
Well, there are many animals in the animal kingdom. I think ravens mate with the same female raven for their whole lives. There’s there’s a bunch of different animals that do that. And then there’s a lot of them that are just basically promiscuous and they spread their seed far and wide.
I have certainly noticed in the past that the honeymoon phase or the excitement of getting with a new mate can cause the refractory period to be pretty much non-existent. My girl and I went at least the first year with not being able to keep our hands off each other.
Yeah, when she’s fit and in shape and it’s new. But the reality is she doesn’t love herself enough to take care of herself. And it’s not your job to fix her or to save her. You want to lovingly encourage her to do those things, but if she’s just content to let herself go, and get out of shape, and get flabby, and gain a bunch of weight, and just stop wearing makeup and not be attractive, I mean, you come together to share your completeness. You started out as two happy, whole, complete people, and for whatever reasons, she’s just decided that it’s not a priority taking care of her body. And the reality is, as she continues to gain more weight, she becomes more unattractive. That’s just reality.
However, the honeymoon phase ended and now I feel more attracted to other women. Is this just a common thing most people go through?
Well, the honeymoon period, the infatuation, is going to wear off after 6 to 12 months. But if the woman continues to take care of herself and continues to stay fit and in shape, the reality is, when you go to a relationship, you’re there to give. So, you want to be with somebody who you love so much that, even when you don’t feel like it, you give anyway. You do things for her, you take her out, you romance her, you make love to her, just because you want to see her smile. Just because you enjoy making her happy and she’s worth it. You feel she’s worth it, and vice versa.
I sometimes find myself feeling that I’ve aged like a fine wine, and it causes me to want to end the relationship so I can pursue other younger, more attractive women while I have the opportunity, with my best looks and knowledge.
Well, it’s understandable. I mean, you either grow together or you grow apart. And it sounds like, at least right now, in the present moment, that you guys are growing apart. So, what you need to do is you need to have a heart to heart with your girl. And it’s going to hurt her feelings, but if you love her, you’ve got to tell her the truth. And you’ve got to let her know in a tactful way that you love her, but she’s gained a bunch of weight, and you’re concerned that the longer you guys stay together that she’s just going to let herself go.
Because physical fitness and health are important to you. And from a value perspective, if she doesn’t value taking care of her body for herself, it’s not up to you to be her motivating factor or to be the one to kick her in the ass, even though you love her and you will, but you want her to take care of her body and to look hot, just as a personal point of pride within herself. And so, you’ve got to tell her, “If we’re going to stay together long-term, you’ve got to stay fit and in shape. You can’t just start packing on the pounds and let yourself go.”
I’ve often joked around with my girlfriends like, “Yeah, if you ever get fat, I’ll leave you.” But I say it in a playful way. I know it sounds kind of harsh, but we do it because we’re giggling and laughing. I’ll tease her. If she doesn’t want to go to the gym, or whatever, I’m going to break her balls about that. I’m like, “Well, if you become fat and ugly and you don’t take care of yourself, I’ll just have to find somebody cuter and younger.” And we have a laugh about it, because she still looks hot and in shape, but there’s a lot of truth in jest.
At the end of the day, if I’m taking care of myself and I’m continuing to look good, I expect her to do the same. But it takes two people who make the effort to take care of themselves, because it’s not your job to fix her or to save her, or to run her life. You gently and lovingly encourage her, and then you lovingly and playfully mock her when she’s not doing the things that she should be doing. You call her out.
But, at the end of the day, she’s got to participate in her own rescue. And if she doesn’t want to do that, you’ve encouraged her several times, and she just continues packing on the weight and doesn’t care, then you can say, “Hey, we’ve had this conversation several times, and I love you, I think you’re a great girl, but you’re just letting yourself go, and I want to date other people.”
Or, “I want to break up. I want to go our separate ways, because I want somebody that’s going to take care of themselves, that’s going to be a good teammate for me. Because I have days where I don’t feel like going to the gym, or exercising, or eating healthy, or whatever it happens to be. And it’s nice if I’m not feeling it that I get encouragement from my significant other. Not where if I’m feeling like being lazy, you’re always feeling lazy, because eventually then we’re both going to become super-sized.”
Because you typically become like the person you spend most of your time with, or the five people that you spend most of your time with. And if you eventually have kids, guess what? Then your kid is going to grow up and they’re going to be overweight and they’re going to have health problems. And that’s just not part of your value system.
I also know that if I did end it, that she is a wonderful person that would be pretty much perfect to grow old together with, and I’d risk losing that.
Well, you don’t want to grow old together with somebody that’s just going to let themselves go and get to the point where they’re your 600 lb. bride, or whatever. Most guys aren’t into that. I mean, that’s reality. All the body positivity movement and all that crap, the reality is men are visual creatures and men and women both are attracted to people who are more attractive, people who are fit, in shape and take care of themselves. We’re biologically driven to be this way.
As much as they try to normalize this crap in the media with the body positivity movement, there’s been so many of these body positivity people, especially these girls that have just become morbidly obese, that are dropping dead of heart attacks at 35, 40, 45 years old. You know, they’re stuffing their face full of cake, and laughing about it, and being 300 or 400 lbs, saying, “Oh, body positivity. I’m beautiful, I’m healthy,” and then they drop dead of a heart attack. It’s like they ate themselves to death.
And if you’re somebody that doesn’t want to eat yourself to death, you don’t want to be in a relationship with somebody that’s eating themselves to death. And you certainly don’t want to be with somebody that’s eating themselves to death, because then that’s what they’re going to teach your children. It’s harsh, but this is reality. You’ve got to have these honest conversations with people. Because you can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.
It’s a dilemma I’m battling on and off fairly frequently.
Tell her. Just say, “Honestly, as you’ve gained weight and you just keep letting yourself go, I have a hard time staying attracted to you. Because what I loved about you when we first met was you were fit and in shape and you loved yourself enough to take care of yourself. And now, it’s like you don’t love yourself as much as then, or you just don’t care.”
Because here’s another piece of reality; if a woman neglects herself and neglects her body, and just lets herself go, and refuses to exercise or take care of herself, eventually, she’s going to neglect you. And if you have kids together, she’ll neglect you and your children and not be a great mother. And you want to be with somebody who is a great mother, who takes care of herself, who takes care of you, and who takes care of your babies. You don’t need another child. You need a teammate, an equal. You need somebody who makes equal effort.
I found the piece about the Coolidge effect interesting and wonder if it or some form of it might be a factor in us as humans.
Well, like I said, a big part of it is your wife’s not as attractive as she was. The reality is, the first thing we notice about a woman is her beauty, her body and her looks. That’s what gets us interested enough to go over and talk to her. That’s reality. As the old saying goes, women fall in love through their ears, men through their eyes.
I wonder if you’ve pondered the same and what your thoughts might be on how to address this issue.
Thanks again for all you do. Without your work I don’t think I’d have come this far to even have this dilemma in the first place. At least not as quickly as I have.
Gratefully and with the utmost respect,
Well, Bob, like I said, you definitely need to address, pun intended, the elephant in the room, if you will. You need to have a heart to heart with your girl. You need to tell her exactly how her letting herself go is making you feel and how it’s having a negative effect on your romantic attraction to her. Tell her your fears. Just say, “What if we had kids and you put on 20 or 30 more pounds when you have kids?”
Women that are behaving like she is now, not only do they not lose the weight that they’ve gained so far, when they have kids and they gain baby weight, they never do anything to lose the baby weight. And you don’t want to be with a morbidly obese woman, because then your kids are going to be morbidly obese. And, more than likely, over time she’ll wear you down, and then you’ll become morbidly obese.
She’s got to participate in her own rescue. She’s got to be a great teammate. And right now, because she’s letting herself go, she’s not being a great teammate. So, tell her you love her and encourage her to come to the gym with you and exercise, and eat healthy, and to do healthy things together. And give it 90 days. See if she turns things around after you have this heart to heart, and makes the effort, and starts dropping the pounds, and getting physically fit, and looking hot again. Because if 90 days go by, and she does it for a little bit and then just kind of goes back to it, then that’s who she is. She’s not making the effort.
And then, after 90 days, I would break it off with her and go find somebody else who shares the similar value system that you have and has the same goals. Because right now, I’d say it looks, just based upon her actions, that she doesn’t have the same value system as you. You can encourage her through love and brutal honesty, but she’s got to participate in her own rescue. And at this point, we don’t know if she will do that consistently.
Like I said, look at her mother. What’s her mother look like? If her mother has completely let herself go and she’s housed, she’s 300 or 400 lbs., or whatever, that’s probably who your girlfriend is going to turn into. That’s the harsh reality. But it doesn’t mean that every woman who has an obese or overweight mother is going to become obese and overweight as well. It just means the trend lines, the likelihood. If you’re in Las Vegas and you want to bet, “Hey, is my girl going to become like her mom, or not?” the numbers and the stats show that she will become like her mother, unless she makes different choices.
And so, bottom line and look at her actions. Give her 90 days after you have this conversation to see what she does. And if she doesn’t clean up her act and take care of herself, then I’d break it off after 90 days. I know it’s harsh, but it’s like, I’m not going to stay with a woman that’s going to let herself go. That’s the harsh reality. I’ve had girlfriends over the course of my life that fitness was not important to them, and they had overweight mothers.
Obviously, me being 52 and having several decades of experience in the real world, several of them that I looked at, the reason I didn’t stay together with them was I knew they were going to let themselves go and get bigger, and they did. And it’s a tragedy. It’s fucking heartbreaking. It’s just soul crushing to see women that you loved and you adored, to just let themselves go, gain a bunch of weight, become flabby, out of shape, and just look like they’re 20 years older than they actually are.
You deserve to have somebody that’s on the same level as you, but it requires effort on your part and it requires effort on her part. And if they are not participating in their own rescue and they’re not maintaining the standards, sorry. I deserve what I deserve, and I want what I want. I’m going to take care of me. As Jim Rose said, “I’ll take care of me for you, and you take care of you for me.” And right now, she’s not taking care of herself for herself, or for you, or potentially for your children.
This is not somebody I would want to marry or have a family with, if after two years she’s already letting herself go like this. She’s got to turn things around, otherwise, in 90 days, she’s going to be out of there. I know it’s harsh, but I want what I want, I deserve what I deserve, and I want to be happy. And you deserve to be happy, too. You’ve got to have a set of standards, and you’ve got to maintain them, and you’ve got to hold everybody, including yourself, accountable to them.
So, if you’ve got a question or a challenge and you’d like to get my help, go to UnderstandingRelationships.com, click the Products tab at the top of your screen and book a coaching session with yours truly.
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