When I was in college, I was good friends with this guy Zach and this girl Lucy, whom I met in the guitar club our freshmen year. I soon grew to have a huge crush on Zach, but after months of obsessing and fantasizing about our life together, I learned that Zack and Lucy had a thing for each other, leaving me out in the cold. Now, in college, Lucy was very athletic and had an awesome body and was extremely nice, while I was chubby and overweight and just as nice. We’re now out of college and I’ve lost a ton of weight and, not gonna lie, I look really good. The thing between Zack and Lucy broke off and we’re all still good friends and have started hanging out with each other again. Out of the blue, Zach has started hitting on me and giving me the kind of romantic attention I longed for in the beginning. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s mostly because of my weight loss. I’m still the same person, just in a smaller size. So, now I don’t know whether or not I should give him a chance … he broke my heart long ago, and didn’t seem interested in me when I was heavier, but part of me still absolutely adores him. — Downsized
You know, I get why you’re sensitive about this issue, but it’s a little unfair to judge Zach for perhaps not being as physically attracted to you when you were heavier as he might be now that you’ve “lost a ton of weight” and “look really good.” We really can’t help who or what we’re attracted to and in Zach’s case it may be that your curvier bod just didn’t do it for him even if he did love your personality. You’ve still got that great personality he always liked but now it comes in a package that’s more sexually appealing to him, so it’s like a win-win for him: you’re a cool girl he’s already built a great friendship with and now you look hot, too. So, can you blame him for putting the moves on you? I mean, you’re not really so naive to think that looks don’t matter when it comes to dating, are you? They do. Come on, you know they do. Personally, I’d have a bigger issue going for a guy a good friend of mine already dated, but if Lucy is totally cool with you having her leftovers, so to speak, I’d say go for it — give the guy a chance if you still “absolutely adore him.” Maybe it’ll work out and maybe it won’t, but I think it’d be a little foolish and stubborn to sabotage potential happiness with him because you feel slighted he wasn’t as interested in you when you were “chubby.”
I’m in my mid-20′s and married to a military man I’ve been with since I was a teenager (first boyfriend, etc). Most of our relationship has been long distance and maybe that’s why I’m so confused right now. I’m a slightly fragile, dusty, bookish sort of girl, but my husband is the polar opposite of me. Now that he’s home from two years of shore duty, for the first time in our lives we’ve really been spending time together. On one hand, he’s very sweet, he compliments me and does his share of the housework and even cooks! On the other hand, his compliments are pretty back-handed and are interspersed with criticisms — mainly about my personality and cleanliness (I can be a bit of a slob sometimes, but I try to generally keep the house clean). He sometimes even threatens jokingly: “I’ll smack you if you do (don’t do) this or that.” We also have a beautiful 2-year-old boy, and I’m worried about the effect my husband’s snarks and criticisms will have on him. Part of me thinks this might be emotional abuse, but also hopes that it is fixable, because despite the criticizing, it is obvious that he loves us and wants the best for us. The other part of me wonders if this is just a normal relationship, because this behavior isn’t constant, and I know I can’t expect him to be completely perfect. However, I don’t feel very confident, and haven’t felt much like having sex in a long time. — Military Wife
Your husband constantly criticizing you and threatening to smack you around is NOT normal, healthy behavior, period. Even if it were “normal” — and maybe it is within your community of military wives, I don’t know — if you don’t feel loved, supported and appreciated in your relationship, something’s wrong. If you weren’t married and didn’t have a 2-year old son together, I’d advise you to dump the guy immediately, but since you have so much invested in this relationship you owe it to yourselves and your son to try to salvage what you can of it. Luckily, the military offers lots of family support services, including individual and family counseling, as well as family advocacy programs that provide assistance “for situations involving child abuse, child neglect, or spouse abuse. Classes and groups geared toward preventing family problems are generally offered. Confidential victim advocacy is generally offered.” The counselors offering services are trained in the specific issues that arise in military families where service members are often separated from their spouses and children for extended periods of time and may have trouble assimilating back into a “healthy” routine at home. Seek out help from these services immediately, as well as reach out to friends and family who love you. What you’re going through is a tough challenge for anyone and you need all the emotional support you can get.
*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.