real life

"I fat-shamed my husband in the worst possible way."

“Twenty years ago he was the fittest person I’d ever met…before he and I knew it he was thirty kilos over weight.”

My husband has been overweight for a while now, and I’m okay with it.

I really am.

When I first met him almost 20 years ago he was the fittest person I’d ever met and I was, well, I was chubby. “Chubby but cute,” my husband always says. He never pressured me to lose weight but I eventually did, just by joining in on his very active lifestyle.

We’ve been married now for a while and slowly, slowly, he’s put on a substantial amount of weight. It happened gradually and before he and I knew it, he was 30 kilos overweight.

He doesn’t wear it well.

Image via Getty

You know how guys boast that they still use the same hole in the belt they’ve been wearing for decades, except they achieve that by pushing it further and further down until it is resting under an enormous belly?
That’s him. “So what,” I said to him. “I love you just the same.”

“But you’re not as attracted to me as you used to be,” he suggested.

“Yes I am,” I insisted.

I feel really badly for him. He’s been trying to lose the weight for quite a while now because his health is starting to suffer from it. He has gout, is at risk of diabetes and has constant sore joints.

However part of the reason he put on so much weight and has so much trouble losing it is because he works such long hours working to support us, his family. I decided to go out of my way to make sure he didn’t feel any pressure from me to lose weight.


Then I took it too far.

My kids talk about ‘Daddy’s big belly” and rub it and poke at it and wrap their arms around it Image via Getty

I stared off by assuring him of how much I loved him and how I was still attracted to him every time he referred to his weight. I did my best to support him in his weight loss efforts by not stocking up on junk food and looking after the kids while he exercised. My kids talk about ‘Daddy’s big belly” and rub it and poke at it and wrap their arms around it while we all laughed.

We’ve had to change sex positions so it doesn’t get in the way which isn’t ideal but not a problem.

Then, at a recent dinner, we were seated on a table with a couple who looked like a physical copy of us. The wife was dark-haired and slim and her husband was another tubby hubby.

We all got along like a house on fire and soon our husbands were egging each other on while making their way through gigantic plates filled with food, talking about failed weight-loss efforts.

It started with the wife and I assuring them that we don’t care if they lose weight or not, as long as they are healthy. We talked about how supportive they are of us.

Then I made a joke about how my husband and I had recently changed sex positions because his stomach kept getting in the way. She burst out laughing and said, “Same with us!”

Then I said, “Otherwise I can’t breathe.”


And then she said, “They might accidentally suffocate us!”

As we both kept laughing uncontrollably we noticed our husbands had fallen silent. I glanced over at my husband and he was red in the face. Not angry, but embarrassed.

I apologised to him, which made it worse. I apologised again after we’d arrived home and he assured me that he wasn’t offended, which made it even worse.

I felt terrible.

“I glanced over at my husband and he was red in the face, not angry, but embarrassed.”

I went too far in my efforts to try and communicate my acceptance of his weight gain. By going out of my way to assure him that it was okay by me, it was clear that it wasn’t okay.

If I really dig deep down inside, I’d love it if he lost the weight. I don’t mind him being a bit bigger, but he is extremely overweight.

I just never imagined that he would ever get like this. I worry about him and I just want to be able to fit my arms around him again.

I love him just the same – even more – than when we first met. Deeper and stronger the longer we are together. But I want him to lose the weight, for his health, for our children and for me. I know the best way to support him in that effort is to make sure I never fat shame him again.

It was unforgivable. It’s something I will always regret.

Is it ever okay to tease your partner about their weight?

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