Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Change You Can Live With?

A long, long time ago (in a land far, far away) I was dating the most shallow of boys.  And to be fair, our relationship was pretty shallow.  We liked each other enough, as people, and cared about each other.  But we had nothing in common and not much to talk about.  We were just really attracted to each other and we were young and and that was enough.

One night we were out, hanging out at the club we hung out at (the place we met, in fact) and a very attractive woman walked up to us and started to talk to him.  He introduced her to me by name and we all made small talk for a while and then she walked away.  After she left he told me that they used to date but that he’d broken up with her because she’d gotten fat (this woman was a size 6 at most!).   Then he quickly added, “But I’d never do that to you.  I care about you.  I wouldn’t care if you gained weight.”

This story came to mind this weekend as I was reregistering for .  I decided to give it another try.  I kept hearing and reading such positive things about the site, I figured that maybe I didn’t give it a thorough enough look.  And so over the weekend I created a brand new profile and set about taking their tests and answering their questions all over again.  This time, though, I tried to answer different matching questions so that maybe my results would randomly match me with different people.

And several times I was asked to answer a variation of the same question:

If you were dating someone and then that person gained a lot of weight, would you break up with them?  I answered, NO.  And I also said that my “perfect match” should say no and that that was very important to me.  Not because I plan on gaining weight but because I just think the very idea of a person ending a relationship with someone over a weight gain is shallow and immature.

How about you –  Would you end the relationship if the person you were dating, or your significant other, gained weight?

  • Yes. Otherwise it’s false advertising. If someone is thin when we meet then they should stay thin. (5 votes)
  • No. I wouldn’t care at all. I care about a person’s inner beauty. (25 votes)
  • No, but I would encourage and support them to lose the weight. (77 votes)
  • Maybe, it depends on how long we’ve been together. (10 votes)

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28 to “Change You Can Live With?”


  1. derek7272 says:

    Ummm, why would it be any more shallow and immature than refusing to date someone based on what car they drive, whether they have back hair or are sweaty, or have bad teeth?

    I don’t think anyone ever wants to break up with someone based on them gaining weight. But it’s hard to have a fulfilling romantic relationship with someone if you’re no longer attracted to them…

  2. CHFBrian says:

    Another “wow, it really depends” question. Why did she gain weight? Was it because upon marrying me, she decided her life need not being anything more than Jerry Springer and cupcakes?

    Still, I can’t imagine wanting to break up with someone over weight gain. If I’m with someone past even more than a few dates it’s because there’s something more between us than just looks.

    Then again, I cook a lot, and might end up being the cause of such a change. Woe is me!

  3. onedatewonder says:

    This is for derek7272:

    Lots of guys have hair when we meet them. Full heads of nice hair. And as the years go by, some of them lose it. Some of it turns gray. Most of the time no one does anything about it. And millions of women do not consider dumping a guy because he developed a bald spot. And do you think if we did, that would be ok? I mean, after all, you had hair when we met you. That bald spot is simply not sexy. Right.

    Attractiveness is not solely a physical thing. It’s a state of mind. And if the only reason you are attracted to your partner is because her boobs are perky and her stomach is flat, then you have no idea what it means to love a person. Romance is not about looks alone. If you’ve never had cause to understand that in your life, I’m very sorry for you indeed.

  4. recklessstudio says:

    I’ll be honest here. It’s not about the weight gain – at all actually. It’s the lack of discipline that really irks me. As a woman, you’ve spent so much time to keep yourself healthy and in shape in hopes of finding an attractive man and then when you find him, you think that it’s ok to stop trying to look good.

    It’s very comparable to if you met me and all I wore were really nice clothes and then once we got comfortable together, I wore nothing but sweatpants – everywhere.

    I think it’s acceptable to put on a few pounds as I think it’s natural as we get older and our lifestyles change, but to lose desire or not make effort to maintain yourself to the best of your ability tells me a lot about how you feel about me, the relationship and yourself, in some cases.

    Like, I said, it’s not at all about the weight. I don’t think I even scrapped the surface with this but I’d be more than happy go deeper into it. I’m not positive that “discipline” is the proper term to use – but I’m hoping people can understand where I am coming from.

  5. Hypatia says:

    I think you need another option… – It would depend on how much weight they gained.

    Because weight isn’ t just weight after all– I mean, 10-20-30lbs over the years isn’t a big deal… but when you start getting into the 50-80-100lb weight gain range, well– something else is going on. And so I thing it would depend on what the issues are that caused that person to gain weight too… Were they sick (did they just have my baby???), did a traumatic event happen- death? Losing a job? etc….

    Or. Did they just lose motivation? Stop caring? (Of course, this may also be a symptom of depression, in which case I would say they’re “sick”… But if they make no effort to get better? That would be an issue.)

    I have cousins who put into their prenup that if either of them ever went 10lbs over the weight they were married at, that would be grounds for divorce. But then again, they’re crazy people.

  6. derek7272 says:

    >> “And do you think if we did, that would be ok? ”

    Onedatewonder, I’m always a bit uncomfortable with people using terms with that smack of moral judgment when it comes to someone else’s dating preferences or reasons for a breakup. “Shallow”, “immature,” “okay”, etc. — those aren’t words I really like using.

    As long as you are being honest with your significant other, you can do what you want … what is “okay” is simply what works for you. And if you are no longer fulfilled by your significant other then I think in general you have every right to end it. (With some exceptions like illness or accidents etc., if you’re married). Of course, it might be more practical to invest in a toupee or hair restoration than end a years-long relationship, but again: whatever works for you. …

    SG has talked about relationships requiring work — I’m not sure I really agree, but I do think that people in a relationship do have a duty to keep themselves as attractive as possible. Of course age takes its toll on all of us, but there’s nothing inevitable about gaining weight. If someone stops working on their appearance, I think they’re doing their partner and their relationship a disservice.

    And of course love and romance aren’t based on looks _alone_. But physical attraction is a big component of sexual attraction, and I think relationships eventually flounder if the sexual attraction isn’t there.

  7. onedatewonder says:

    I think perhaps you object to such terminology because you felt it might have been aimed at you. And I find it difficult to take a speech on being judgemental from someone who is preaching about leaving one’s partner if they aren’t pretty enough anymore.

    I think I’m awfully glad I’ve never dated anyone like you. I take care of myself for me. I always have and whatever I do will always be for that and only that reason. And while physical attraction is certainly a component to a relationship, it should be one of the smaller ones indeed in a truly LTR.

    People who threaten to leave when someone gains weight are the same people who make me uncomfortable about wearing PJ pants in my own house. In my experience at least. The bottom line in that being, if you make your partner uncomfortable, how do you think that affects the romantic component of a relationship for them? If your girlfriend is constantly terrified you’ll leave her if she puts on 25 pounds, then how do you think she feels around you? Do you think that’s conducive to getting naked?

    I’ll tell you, it isn’t. Likewise this aghrument about weight and looks being extremely important is *usually* (and yes, I recognize not always) one that’s subscribed to by men. And it’s a matter of soceital standards. Women are taught that their partners will lose their hair on their head, grow it in other alarming places, and get beer bellies. Seriously. Men are taught that their ladies should be hot no matter what. Look at TV for a minute. How many sitcoms can you list where there is a hot wife and a chubby oafish husband? And in how many of those did the female star put on weight at some point which triggered a storyline about him being dissatisfied with her weight gain and saying something to her? Even though he could probably roll over and smother her in her sleep? (That one was a freebie…. it’s happened in every single one.) It’s a double standard.

    Committment is committment regardless of what your partner weighs. If you think you need to bail if they put on 25 pounds, then don’t ever offer anyone long term committment. You’re not equipped for it.

    And don’t get me started on that ridiculous pre-nup upstream there. I’m pretty sure those folks need to be isolated on a desert island and never allowed to mingle with other people again.

  8. dmplgrl says:

    I’m afraid I’m probably going to end up being the odd girl out here, but I have to somewhat agree with derek7272.

    My ex-fiance was fit when we met, as time went by he started letting himself go – bad. He went up about 70lbs and quite a few pant sizes and after a while, seeing him naked simply disgusted me. I still loved him, but was no longer turned on or attracted to him physically, and as someone who’s dealing with a little dissatisfaction in the bedroom onedatewonder, I think you may understand how much of a strain that can put on a relationship. Did I leave him b/c he got fat? No. But that’s not to say that I was right in sticking around after I was no longer happy with our physical relationship – which was terribly hot until his weight gain.

    I’m a big girl myself but I’ve simply never been attracted to bigger guys, and competely understand that there are guys who haven’t returned my interest because of my size. My boyfriend now thinks I’m beautiful – inside and out, top to bottom, jelly rolls and all. He expresses his attraction to me – and my body – on a regular basis. He often tells me he’s quite turned on by me just as I am, and doesn’t encourage me to lose weight b/c he thinks I need it, instead he supports ME and whatever changes I feel I need to make to get my health back to where it once was.

    I guess I said all that to say – you need more choices in your poll Simone lol

  9. derek7272 says:

    Uhhh, who are you, onedatewonder, to dictate what should or shouldn’t be important in a long-term relationship? People are different and they have different things they care about. For me, I know physical attraction is very important to me. It tends to be, for guys … we are much more visual than women.

    And I never “preach[ed] about leaving one’s partner if they aren’t pretty enough anymore.” It is always v. hard to make a decision to leave a long-term relationship. Some people are fine continuing a relationship where there’s no more sexual attraction or that fiery spark with their partner. They maybe have a nice comfortable relationship with someone who is their best friend and that is good enough for them. But for others that physical chemistry, that I-wanna-rip-your-clothes-off-feeling is indispensable. I’m not preaching to anyone (you’re doing that); people have to make their own decisions about what is best for them.

    By the way, if you’re so against people using physical attraction as a dating criterion, where were you when all these women were saying sweaty guys, men with back hair or bad teeth would be dealbreakers?A little consistency, please!

    >> How many sitcoms can you list where there is a hot wife and a chubby oafish husband?

    Oh please … This is just some tired feminist argument you read on some website somewhere. I don’t really watch sitcoms, so I can’t list very many, but from what I do watch I don’t see your point. I did used to watch “Everybody Loves Raymond”, and I thought they were a pretty good match for each other. “How I Met Your Mother” — I watched that once or twice, those guys certainly seem plenty hot from the website. “Rules of Engagement” –I’ve never watched it, but Patrick Warburton is pretty smokin’, no? “Eight Simple Rules” — never watched it either, but John Ritter seems relatively attractive. “Friends” and “Cosby” – about equally hot. “United States of Tara” — the wife is crazy, what’s the lesson there? I certainly never remember any show about the wife gaining weight, can you name or describe any of them?

    If anything I think people are “taught” that men age gracefully and become more distinguished (e.g., 47-year-old George Clooney), while women go downhill as get older… although that view is changing with these v. attractive older actresses out there. Demi Moore and the woman in her 60s whose name I forget.

    I certainly never intend to get a beer belly, or grow hair in alarming places (!) … what’s that about? Will confess to a little hair loss, but have spent a pretty penny on Propecia and Rogaine to fight it.

    You talk about commitment, but do you really think people should stay in a relationship where they are unhappy, dissatisfied or unfulfilled? If you give your partner a chance to fix what is bothering you, and he or she doesn’t make the effort? (I’m not talking about weight gain from an illness or somesuch). I feel like in that set of circumstances it is the other partner who is not living up to their responsibilities in the relationship, same as a S.O. who doesn’t clean up after themself or do their share of household chores.

    dmplgrl – thank you for understanding what I’m trying to say!

  10. onedatewonder says:

    No, I don’t think people should stay in relationships where they are unfulfilled. But I think people who’s fulfillment is skin deep are not aware of what it’s like to be commited to someone. If you’re in a long term relationship with your partner and something changes, you try to talk about it and fix it. You don’t run off. That is, unless physical things were all that mattered to you, then you run.

    You should also note that the situation I talk about is the one in the post…. a situation where a commitment exists and someone bails due to weight gain. Not meeting someone in the first place. If on a first date you don’t find someone attractive, that is an entirely different ball game. Or if the first time they take off their shirt you think “oh hell no” and leave, that’s different. But if you’re married or commited, that is an entirely different ballgame. Surely you can see that difference.

    You will probably get back hair, and ear hair, and nose hair. Most men do. You will probably put on weight as you age. Most people do. You may even lose more hair. And you may go through something that causes your physical self to change a lot. Many people do. But long term commitment means finding solutions, not running away. Wedding vows say “forever”, not “until you get too fat”.

    And thanks, but I’m not a feminist. But that particular snap judgment says far more about you than about me. For the record, I don’t have to read other people’s thoughts to come up with ym own.

    Who am I? I’m a chick who used to be married to someone whose weight fluctuated wildly. That’s who I am. And that’s not the reason we’re not married anymore. But I’m sure you’ll find a reason that’s just some feminist BS I read somewhere too. That still won’t make it the truth.

    Love and commitment are not tied to how much someone weighs. If they are? Then you’re doing it wrong.

    Dmplgrl – I know you a bit. I bet if there hadn’t been other problems in that particular relationship, you may have been motivated to see if there was a solution. Especially since it’s not the reason you left.

  11. recklessstudio says:

    I can actually understand what both sides are saying here.

    We should all know (or at least be aware) that physical attraction isn’t a foundation to grow a relationship on because physically attraction will just naturally decrease over time. There’s no ands, ifs or buts about it. So obviously, there needs to be more than that in order for a very long-term relationship.

    In the end, I think everyone is right in their own aspect because I think we can agree on one thing. It’s the effort that is put in to maintain themselves is what’s important to us (medical problems aside).

    Am I wrong here for thinking this?

  12. derek7272 says:

    >>> you try to talk about it and fix it. You don’t run off.

    Well, of course. If this is what you’re saying, then we agree. If you’re in a committed LTR you should encourage your partner to be his or her best, support them and communicate when things are bothering you. Talk and try to fix it, as you say. Negotiate: If I do such-and-such for you, will you try to take better care of yourself?

    Ultimately, though, you can’t force someone to lose weight (or do anything else) so if they won’t cooperate it really comes down to what’s important to you and what you’re willing to put up with. You’ve said 25 lbs wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for you, but what about 75 pounds? 150? 250? If they aren’t even making an effort to try and lose it? I think most people would in fact run off at some point.

  13. Teifion says:

    I think that the issue you’re missing here is that if you were not going to be happy with them even if they changed a little you shouldn’t have gotten together permenantly. Everybody will physically change in some way and for the worse in just about every case.

    I’m not saying that you are a terrible person if you want to leave somebody because they are fat and I’m not saying that you’re a good person if you don’t. I’m saying that you’ve not communicated well enough if one person lets themself go and the other person can’t accept it.

    In some cases love will be tied to physical appearance, in others it may be something else. Not all men are repulsed by fat ladies just as not all ladies are attracted only to rich men, they are steryotypes and as for how accurate they are I will leave for you to decide.

  14. aGirlNamedMe says:

    I don’t think a few extra pounds would (should) bother most people. But the truth is that when someone gains a significant amount of weight (especially in a short period of time), there is something else going on there and if that something else cannot be resolved, the relationship could be in jeopardy.

    Gain a bunch of weight and men can have sexual performance issues, women become more inhibited. Both become less active and can become depressed. These are all things that could negatively impact a relationship.

    Honestly, I don’t think it’s ever one thing that causes the end of a relationship. Isn’t it always an accumulation? Sometimes there’s one big event to point to — but that is rarely the first, hm?

    xoxo
    AGirlNamedMe

  15. ExPrincess says:

    Being in a situation where my partner gained a few pounds I can say it’s not the weight gain that bothered me. I could live with him putting on 30+ pounds. It was the attitude that lead to and followed the weight gain. He stopped caring. He stopped caring about his weight, then his appearance, then his environment. Given I’m living in that environment made my life harder. I will admit over the years I put on a few pounds but I did something to lose the weight in hopes he would join me, but in the end his lack of caring got to me and I put it back on.

    It’s not just a matter of did they gain weight, it’s a matter of the attitude they have about it. If they know they slipped and want to fix it or want to stop it from getting worse, that’s a lot better than them just giving up and saying to hell with it and letting it get worse.

  16. recklessstudio says:

    Good points from the three of you.

  17. HyperDuke says:

    This Was a hard one to answer, cuz i currently going with some that is fat, just a lil pudge. But If she were to put on like 35 lbs in the next month id probally be kinda sceptical to stay with her cuz of the fact the Iim not attracted to larger woman at all, But if we had been together for like 8mths- 2yrs Then Its Based on what you’ve experienced with them, and their personality is what will keep you together.

  18. onedatewonder says:

    Derek, it seems like maybe we fundamentally misunderstood each other. I came out of the gate a bit emotionally charged, and I’m sorry. Yes, that was my point. Commitment = working things out whenever humanly possible.

    From my end, the issue is that I saw terror in my husband’s eyes because he thought I’d leave when he put on weight. In the interest of full disclosure, he fluctuated between 250 – 320 pounds when I knew him. Even though I assured him I wouldn’t, it remained an issue because he was unable to believe me.

    For the record, if you go on a few dates with a gal and can’t get over the junk in her trunk, I don’t have an issue with cutting and running. There’s a lid for every pot and she just isn’t yours. No big deal.

    Truce?

  19. SINgleGIRL says:

    First – before I do anything else – here are a couple of comments that were sent to me by readers who couldn’t post them because of technical issues with the site. I apologize to anyone else who was having tech issues. Luckily OnSugar tech support is on the case and it should be fixed soon.

    -As usual, I think it depends on circumstances. I knew a really cool couple some years back that seemed ideal for each other. They were both honest with each other and loved telling anyone that would listen about communication. Short version: she gained weight and they eventually split because of that. Was that a wrong reason for the split? It depends on who you ask. They both understood that the guy wouldn’t be happy with her if she gained too much weight. They also both understood that he would probably not stay with her if she did gain too much weight. If asked was he wrong, I would say no. Doesn’t mean that I agree with his decision, but because they both understood how he felt and she agreed with it, then I’m forced to say he was right in the decision between them.
    Bobby
    http://relationship-digest.com/

    -I’m actually in this situation. My lady has almost doubled in weight over
    the last four years – she used to be quite skinny and is now overweight. And
    you know what? She’s still the only woman in the whole world who’s perfect
    for me (no offense to any other women in the world). It’s not her size I sit
    and talk to and hug and laugh with and love. It’s HER.
    Spike(TheLobster)
    P.S. Hope your blog feels better soon. ;)

  20. SINgleGIRL says:

    -OK, now for me. I think I’m going to keep my comments on the general side tonight (except to say WELCOME to ex-princess, am I mistaken or is this your first time commenting).

    Yes, like Bobby said, as with all things I guess it depends on the specifics. I had no idea that the response to this would be so strong (or mean – I’d really love it if we could get away from the mean). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, everyone should get to love/like/desire whoever and whatever they want. I don’t judge. This question wasn’t about that, I thought. But different people have different way of interpreting things.

    I clearly started us out on the wrong foot by saying that I wouldn’t want to date a guy who would dump a women because she gained weight because “ending a relationship with someone over a weight gain is shallow and immature”. It was a strong choice of words. I did mean what I said, though. This is a big issue for me. I want to know that any man I open my heart to will be there for me no matter what. Because who knows what the next 20 years of my life will bring. I could gain weight, I could get cancer and need chemo and lose my hair or have an accident and end up in a wheelchair or a dozen other things that might make me less physically attractive (and yeah, they’re not all in the same category – but the net results are the same – I wouldn’t look like the same girl).
    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

  21. TheB0y says:

    It’s one thing to be asked a question in a void, “what would you do if…”, it’s a completely different thing actually being in the situation and being faced with the decision. I would venture a guess and say that while it’s easy to say “I’d leave that person”, it won’t be as easy when that person is real, you’ve been with her and you love her.

  22. derek7272 says:

    TheBoy, absolutely. And I don’t think anyone has actually said that they’d leave that person — I certainly haven’t. But I stand by what I said at the beginning — ultimately it is so much harder to carry on a romantic relationship with someone if you’re not physically attracted to them. If you’re not turned on by your partner and aren’t really into having sex with them, that just places a big strain on the relationship.

    Of course we all want reassurance that our partners will stick with us through good times and bad. But gaining weight ’cause you’re not exercising or eating right is of course a lot different than having your appearance change through some illness or accident where you are essentially blameless. IMHO, this is more like, “Would you leave me if I stop doing my share of the household chores?…”

  23. ShaySpot says:

    I can’t imagine breaking up with someone simply BECAUSE they got fat, but I could see someone using that as an excuse when really they were just sick of the person or became more interested in someone else.
    Weight change (usually) happens so slowly too, how would you decide when it’s too much? So yeah, I agree, someone that could just break up with their partner over their weight doesn’t sound like someone I’d want to be in a relationship with (doesn’t sound like someone who SHOULD be in a relationship either).

  24. anonymous says:

    the person is still the same person inside. maybe there’s a reason they gained so much weight.

  25. SINgleGIRL says:

    -ShaySpot
    I’m so glad you were finally able to post your comment and thankyou for continuing to try. My initial reaction was pretty much the same as yours.

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