We probably all have had moments where we feel insecure about our bodies around our partners. But constant body shame can really cause issues in a relationship! So let’s talk about how you can start feeling less insecure.
First, if your partner says they love your body the way it is (and they’re not sending mixed messages by making critical comments about your body)… try to believe them! I know it’s easier said than done. Because you might intensely dislike what you see in the mirror. What you need to remember though, is that other people have their own perceptions and opinions and might genuinely find your body appealing, even if you don’t.
You need to let your partner have the right to different opinions about things—and that includes your body! It’s not fair for you to impose your body shame and perception on them. In essence, that is either calling them a liar or saying they’re wrong.
Neither of those is good.
Now, if your partner criticizes your weight, we need to have an entirely different conversation. Please know that no one should be treated like that. That is objectification, not love. Here’s the truth, friend…
You deserve to feel loved unconditionally by your partner, without unrealistic expectations to meet a narrow beauty ideal or to look the same forever. Period. If you are with someone who criticizes your body, try to recognize that their expectations and judgments are the problem, not your body. Bodies change over time and your partner expecting you to look the same forever is unfair, and honestly, disrespectful to your personhood.
If it’s emotionally safe for you, try to have an honest conversation with your partner about how their attitude and comments make you feel. Hopefully they will be understanding and make some changes. If not, consider drawing some boundaries about what is and isn’t ok to say to you. They should at least honor that. If not, there are some deeper (and pretty serious) issues in the relationship related to respect.
Regardless of whether your partner changes their attitudes and behavior, you don’t have to take on their stuff. Their issues don’t have to be your body shame. Again, they are a human being with their own perceptions (and biases, issues, etc.). The reality that not everything they think or say has to be YOUR truth can work both ways. Whether your partner is healthy enough themselves to realize this or not, you are good enough…
Thinner. Heavier. And anything in between.
I’m Cherie Miller, MS, LPC-S, founder of Nourished Soul Center for Healing and @foodfreedomtherapist on Instagram. We offer therapy and nutrition counseling for chronic dieting as well eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, ARFID, and other food issues. As anti-diet professionals, we are passionate about intuitive eating and Health at Every Size philosophies. Contact us here to schedule a therapy or nutrition appointment.