Ask Dr NerdLove: My Wife Left Me Because She's Hot And I'm Not

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Hello all you horsepersons of the Twitter Apocalypse, and welcome to Ask Dr NerdLove, the only dating advice column that’s the latest competitor in Smash Bros.

This week, we’re digging deep into some failing — and failed — relationships. Where did things go wrong? Is it possible to pull things back from the brink? Was it just a case of goals and lifestyles that changed, or were their deeper issues?

Start warming up your air-dashes and flex those fingers for a mid-combo cancel. Let’s see if we can keep your love life from a ring-out.

Dear Dr NerdLove,

My wife and I have been a couple for 15 years, married for almost six, and a couple of weeks ago, she told me that while she still loved and cared for me deeply, she was no longer "in love" with me and hadn’t been happy for a while. She wanted a separation and left that day.

We’ve been having some trust issues for the past two years, and while I didn’t think things were this bad, I knew that there were unresolved problems. Sadly, she’s saying that she isn’t interested in getting counselling, which I’d be all for.

For a large chunk of our time together, we had an honest and supportive relationship that both of us were very proud of. We stressed open and honest communication and, while we would have the occasional fight, we would always deal with it in a mature and non-explosive manner, stressing love and support for one another.

The problem is this: When my wife and I first started dating, we were at, what I would call, balanced levels of attractiveness. I’m a good-looking guy, but I have a life-long weight problem. My wife, who I’ll call N, was also overweight and had some other physical issues. These were never issues for either of us, but around the time that we were going to get married, things started to change.

N started fiercely controlling her diet and working out (she even became a marathon runner), she had significant dental work done, along with some minor plastic surgery. In a period of about five years, she went from a chunky, kinda average-looking woman to a literal stone cold fox that had men falling over each other to talk to her and getting drinks sent to her from randoms on a regular basis.

We went from a couple of sixes to a 10 and a six. Then she started wanting to go to clubs and concerts without me because she knew they weren’t my thing and "didn’t want to worry if I was having a good time". This is where the trust issues started.

That new attention had a profound effect on her, and I’m sure it contributed to things not working out. So, now I’m asking if what happened here is my fault. I know I’m not as healthy as I could be, but was my reluctance to join her in a journey of self-transformation the reason I lost her? Or would it have done any good if I had?

I’m a bit lost at the moment and trying to make sense of things, so any guidance you could provide would be stellar. Thanks!

- Separated and Scared

OK, S&S I want to cover something right from the top: There are a lot of folks who make a big deal out of the idea of “leagues” and social status, especially when women are involved.

People love to make a lot of noise about whether someone is capable of dating a woman who’s “out of his league”. They’ll throw around phrases such as “assortative mating”, hypergamy, social standing and the like — often without understanding what most of those actually mean — and tell you that it’s all because your wife realised that she could do better than you now that she’d ascended out of your league.

And it’s bullshit. In no small part because there’s no such things as leagues. There are people who want what you have to offer, and those who don’t. If someone wants to date you — or, for that matter, stay with you for 15 years — then you’re in their league.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that the changes that she made didn’t make a difference — they did, obviously — but not in the way that a lot of people may think.

There’re a few things that happened here. The first and biggest issue is that you two grew apart. This happens a lot in relationships, especially in long-term ones.

No individual is static; we’re always changing and growing, especially over the course of years. If you’re the exact same person you were 10 years ago, five years ago, or even last month, then you’re doing something profoundly wrong. Or you’re dead. One or the other.

Just as individuals change and grow, so too do relationships. A relationship isn’t just two (or more) individuals, it’s its own entity, a gestalt formed out of the people involved like a fleshy Voltron. And the nature of your relationship will change and grow, just as you two do.

The tricky thing is that sometimes couples grow together, in ways and directions that complement one another. Other times they grow apart; their own individual needs and journeys take them in directions that the other can’t follow.

And so it goes with relationships; sometimes the relationship will grow in directions that ultimately conflict with the growth of the partners… and at other times, it simply comes to the end of its natural lifespan.

This isn’t a bad thing, per se. We treat it as one because, hey, it means the relationship ends. But that happens; every relationship you’ll ever be in ends, until one doesn’t.

We assume that for love to be “real” or for a relationship to “work”, it has to last until someone dies. But that ultimately devalues relationships that were never meant to be lifelong.

Not every love story is meant to be an epic poem. Some are meant to be novellas. Some are meant to be dirty limericks. The fact that you didn’t die in the saddle doesn’t mean that your relationship was a failure; it just meant that you reached the end of this particular story.

The trigger in this case was your wife’s growth. She made incredibly significant changes to her lifestyle — working out, changing her diet, even becoming a marathon runner. These aren’t the sorts of changes that one can do lightly. Becoming a marathon runner isn’t something that you can just do on weekends and alternate Tuesdays. These are the sorts of things that one builds his or her life around in order to accommodate them.

That’s something that can be hard to do in a relationship when only one person is involved. It’s like the line from Pulp Fiction - “My girlfriend’s a vegetarian, so that pretty much makes me one too.” The dynamics of trying to schedule around two radically different lifestyles, prepare meals for radically different diets… those are the sorts of things that can strain a relationship to its breaking point.

The fact that she went full-tilt-boogie to becoming a competitive athlete over the course of five years and you didn’t is a bigger indicator of why things ended than anything else did.

But let’s talk about that elephant in the room: The fact that she got some work done, was Suddenly Sexy, and now is out clubbing and partying.

Despite how this may have seemed at the time, this wasn’t a radical or unexpected turn. If you were to ask her, I strongly suspect that your wife would tell you that this was something she’d always wanted to do… but until she made those changes, she didn’t feel as though she could.

This is something that I see a lot in clients I work with: They have things that they want to do, but feel that they don’t have the right to because they aren’t hot enough, thin enough, buff enough, whatever enough. So it remains a dream, locked away in a potential distant future that ultimately never comes because there will always be another reason why they aren’t permitted to achieve it.

Once your wife crossed the threshold with her initial transformation — becoming a marathon runner along with the healthy lifestyle she adopted — then she felt empowered to take the next step, and the one after that. Those changes were ultimately Dumbo’s magic feather; they were just the tokens that allowed her to give herself permission to do what she always could have done.

But therein lies the conflict. Because while she was always a club girl… you weren’t a club guy. It just isn’t who you are. And while having separate lives and separate interests is part of what makes a relationship work, this was one more incompatibility, stacked up on top of the others.

It would be one thing if you all were in sync in most areas, so she could go out and party without worrying about you, and you could do your own thing without worrying about her. But that difference on top of those other areas where your lifestyles just didn’t sync up? Those were what ultimately showed her that she had outgrown this relationship.

So, to answer your question: no, this isn’t your fault, if there is even any fault to be had. Not every relationship’s end is because somebody did something wrong. Sometimes relationships end just because they’ve reached the natural end of their lifespan.

Now to be perfectly frank, the lack of trust likely ended things a little sooner than it might have otherwise. Yeah, suddenly getting a lot of attention can be flattering. But if you want a relationship to work, you need to trust that your partner means it when they say they love you and want you.

If you’re constantly questioning that… well, that’s something that can damage even the strongest relationship. Even, or especially, when there’s no reason for distrust.

But even without that issue, this relationship would have ended on its own. Not because she was suddenly hot or because you weren’t keeping up with her, not because she let all this new attention go to her head and decided you weren’t enough for her, but because your lives just grew in different directions. That’s neither bad nor good; it just is.

Yes, it’s a shame that your relationship ended. That’s something to be sad about, something that you are right in mourning. But the fact that it ended before death did you part doesn’t mean that the relationship was a failure.

You’re hurting now, and that hurt is legitimate. But you will heal. And if, as you heal, you can hold onto the core of affection and respect for one another that kept you together for over a decade, if you can hold onto the memories of the times when things were good… well, that’s a sign that your relationship was ultimately a success.

Your story together came to its end. Now it’s time to turn the page to the next chapter in your story. You have the chance to shape it any way you choose.

Good luck.

Hi Doc,

I’m a 27-year-old bi woman in a seven year relationship with a 33 year old guy. We’ve been living together for five years and have a relationship that seems pretty perfect - we like doing a lot of stuff together, we both support each other’s separate hobbies, we get along with each other’s families, et cetera, et cetera. Besides some of the classic LTR stumbles, such as not always making enough time for sex or dating, I think most people would consider us a pretty good partnership.

Here’s the issue: When we started the relationship, we were both in university and had just exited emotionally (and in my case physically and sexually) abusive relationships. This meant that we both had our guards up pretty high and took things really slow and carefully at first.

At the time, being 20, I wasn’t sure about things like marriage or kids. Since then, we’ve learned to be really close, open and honest, and my partner has been mentioning marriage frequently over the past five or so years, and we’ve both agreed that we would like a kid.

Why is this a problem? Well, now I’m ready for marriage and a kid. And by ready, I mean feeling like I must be going crazy because after my partner having told me hundreds of times over years that he planned to marry me, now he doesn’t want a legal marriage, and suddenly doesn’t want to have a kid in the near future, after agreeing to a set date to start trying and encouraging me to switch birth control methods to something that’s cheap and easy to stop.

His rationale is mainly that we are typical millennials who don’t have a hope in hell of buying a real house, we live in an expensive city, and my job is seasonal and therefore not the best in terms of adding to our household income. I think he wants to feel financially secure enough to have student loans paid off and to own a place instead of renting before having a kid, but I have no idea why this is a holdup on the marriage thing.

I’ve learned through much therapy to be a pretty good communicator, but all of my attempts at understanding what’s going on are just dead ends. He’s still as affectionate and supportive as ever, but if I mention wanting to get married he says things about how he’s just so happy with our relationship and life now he doesn’t see the need to change anything, and it ends up making me look like some kind of villain who doesn’t appreciate the good things we have.

I’ve proposed a bunch of compromises on the marriage thing, but all he’ll say is to trust him, and that if I propose to him he will say no. Besides being helpful for us financially, I really want a commitment between us and to build a family together, and I feel like I’ve either been led on and gaslit, or I’m actually a bad person who doesn’t value what is mostly a good and supportive relationship.

I had started making medical changes in preparation for pregnancy, because we had agreed on a timeline, but as soon as I came home with pre-natal vitamins he told me that we weren’t actually ready for kids, I had to hide the vitamins from our friends, and he has started checking daily on whether I’m taking my birth control, despite me assuring him that I don’t want to have a child who is not completely wanted and adored.

I really only want a kid because parenting with him would be a dream, and I love him so damn much that I want us to have a family together. I don’t know why my loving and kind partner has suddenly turned into someone who won’t even talk to me about these things that are making me miserable daily. Am I some kind of nagging, ring-obsessed girlfriend stereotype? Or is this an unfixable relationship mess?

My anxiety is being so triggered by this daily that I’ve had to up my medication, which in turn has my partner saying that I’m clearly not ready to be a mother. I have the same feelings coming back that I had with my abusive ex, that I can’t possibly “win”, that I’m being held hostage somehow. If I act like I’m happy, he tells me that we’re so happy we shouldn’t change anything, if I admit I’m anxious and sad, I’m told that means we shouldn’t have a kid.

To add to this situation, my father has recently had a recurrence of melanoma and I’m now facing the very real possibility that if a marriage and a kid don’t happen in the next couple years, my dad won’t be there when they/if they do happen, which I can’t even think about without falling apart.

I know you can’t mind read what’s going on with my partner, but what is going on, and how can I make it better for us?

- Confused and Miserable

First of all, I’m so sorry about your father and I hope that he’ll be OK.

I don’t think you’re being gaslit, C&M, not in the traditional sense of the phrase. But that doesn’t mean that everything’s kosher here.

I think your boyfriend, like a lot of folks, liked the idea of marriage and children in theory. But when rubber started to hit the road and it was beginning to look like it might go from “theory” to “actuality”, your boyfriend had what those of us in the dating advice biz call “a pants-shitting panic attack”.

Now in fairness, your boyfriend’s given you some understandable reasons for not wanting to have a child yet. But the fact that he isn’t making any moves to change things tells me that those are excuses that he’s handing you because he doesn’t want to tell you the truth: He doesn’t want kids, period, the end.

I don’t necessarily think he was lying to you at first when he was talking about marriage and kids. It’s easy to like things in theory. It’s especially easy to like something when it’s something that’s so far down the road that you don’t really have to think about it in more than just abstract terms. Theoretical children are television-perfect, where they grow up on soap-opera time and the inconveniences they bring to your life are minor and ultimately reaffirming.

Real children are squealing, pissing, shitting messes that will turn your life upside down, twist it inside out, and make you confront things that you may not ever want to engage with.

If your boyfriend is the kind of guy who has Someday dreams — he’s gonna be a professional musician Someday, he’s going to write a novel Someday, he’s gonna start his own business Someday — then the reality of a child means that Someday is likely going to mean Never.

Someday is awesome, because it’s always full of potential, just out of reach but still within sight. And as soon as he has the responsibilities of a wife and kids? Well, that’s the time when he has to be willing to let go of Someday and its attendant dreams and focus on the needs of the here and now.

Being a parent means that your life is now secondary to your child’s well-being, and some folks just aren’t ready or willing to make that sacrifice.

All of that, in and of itself, is one thing. Some folks don’t want to have kids for whatever reason, and good on them for knowing that about themselves. That isn’t the problem, and in other circumstances, this would be less of an issue. As with S&S up there, it would be a sign of a lifestyle conflict, but it wouldn’t be causing you as much pain as you’re feeling now.

The problem is that your boyfriend is being a goddamn cowardly arsehole about it. He isn’t willing to take ownership of the fact that he doesn’t want to have kids. In all likelihood, this is because he knows good and well that this is ultimately a dealbreaker for you. You want kids and you want kids with him. His saying “look, I just don’t want children” would probably trigger a break-up.

But he isn’t willing to take that step. He’s trying to square this particular circle and have things both ways: You and a child-free life. So instead of saying “hey, I don’t want kids”, he’s putting this on you. He’s saying “this is why you’re not ready”. He’s using your emotional state as proof that things can’t or shouldn’t change.

You aren’t a nagging, ring-obsessed girlfriend, C&M, and you aren’t a bad person because this relationship is making you miserable. He may be happy with how things are now but you aren’t. And it isn’t because you’re being unreasonable.

You went into this with expectations that the two of you agreed upon — that you were going to have kids and here’s the timeline upon which you were going to have them. Your boyfriend changed his mind, but isn’t willing to admit that he has. And because he isn’t willing to take responsibility for what he actually wants, he’s hurting you instead.

I don’t think he has malign intent, but intent ain’t magic. Especially not when he’s being a selfish dickhead about things. He may not realise how much he’s hurting you… but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s doing it anyway.

To be perfectly honest C&M, and as much as I hate to say it, I’m not sure this relationship is worth it for you. It may not be bad to make your boyfriend take a seat and have a straight-up Come-To-Jesus conversation so that you can at least get confirmation about how he actually feels. But that’s more for your own peace of mind and reassurance that no, you aren’t the one at fault here.

I don’t think he’s going to change his mind about having children. If this is how he’s acting about it, that’s a good thing. As much as you may love him, and as good as your relationship was? I think this is an indicator that your relationship has changed and it’s time to let it go.

Good luck.


Did you have to make a radical change in your life? Were you able to pull your life back from the brink… or help someone else turn theirs around? Share your stories in the comments below and we’ll be back with more of your questions in two weeks.


Ask Dr Nerdlove is Kotaku's fortnightly advice column for matters of the heart, hosted by the one and only Harris O'Malley, AKA Dr Nerdlove.

Harris O'Malley is a writer and dating coach who provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr NerdLove and the Dr NerdLove podcast. He is also a regular guest at One Of Us. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and on Twitter at @DrNerdLove. Dr Nerdlove is not really a doctor.


Comments

    Not sure I would entirely discount the possibility that the wife in the first case is not having an "I'm hot now, I could do better" mentality. While there's a chance that indeed it's a development of personal growth, it could very well be a case of trading love and stability for a shallow "what if" gamble.

    I mean, there's no salvaging that relationship, alright, but the response comes very close of blaming the husband for lack of growth while praising the wife as an objective assessment. If the wife is actually trying to "shop for a better alternative", the guy is the victim in this scenario and doesn't deserve to just deal with it because his wife is so self-actualised and praiseworthy.

    The current amount of information is not enough to give a verdict either way, but I'd be suspicious if the wife is dating somebody else within the next couple months.

      I've been on the other side of the fence, it's very hard to stay in love with your partner when you're active, healthy and motivated and they're on a diet of cheeseburgers, cigarettes and jack.

      There's no victims in that scenario, their directions in life were no longer the same.

        Exactly this. If he saw her changing his ways why not join in?

          In all fairness, if you married somebody because you felt they were the perfect match, and then they start changing away from that, I don't think that anybody should tell you that you need to change along. If you are supposed to do something to stay together, why couldn't the other person try not to change instead?

          At this point, I could agree that there are no victims, but neither should there be any blame.

            What do you mean by "why couldn't the other person try not to change instead"? Maybe I'm misreading it (so please, correct me if I'm wrong), but that almost sounds like blame towards the woman, it's like saying to someone "Why do you want to lose weight? You don't have to get fit. Just stay lazy, like me." That's how I'm interpreting it.

            Change is a healthy part of life and vital for growth, and if you read the story, this person (the ex-wife) started to change because she found joy in new things like healthy eating, exercise and, as much as I personally dislike that scene - the nightclub life. By the sound of things, not only did her physical health improve, but her mental health, including confidence and self-esteem, would have grown as well.

            Unfortunately, her partner didn't want to tag along with those things, some of which is understandable (like I said, I'm personally not fond of the nightclub scene, so I don't blame him there). Sadly though, situations like this can unwillingly create emotional distance and of course, jealousy. The jealousy comes from the trust issues that the man in this situation developed (which sucks, but it is understandable to a degree) from the fact that men started paying a lot more attention to this woman and that she was going to things without her partner - which should be okay, couples do not have to be stitched together.

            I am a fan of health and fitness and I too used to be overweight. I get really annoyed when people say things to me like "Why do you want to change?" "Why do you go to the gym?" "Just eat what you want and enjoy life." etc. It's incredibly ignorant, that these people think just because I do what I do that I probably don't enjoy doing it or life in general, because they certainly wouldn't (and most of the time, clearly don't). Quite the opposite, actually.

            I enjoy achieving goals and doing these things (healthy eating, exercise etc.) makes me feel good about myself. It's not about looking good for other people, it's about feeling good for me. I imagine that like a lot of people, the ex-wife in "Separated and Scared's" story may have had similar feeling.

            I think honestly, if "SAS" joined his partner on her journey of health and fitness, then that could have strengthened their bond and they could potentially still be together... on top of that, SAS has mentioned that he has dealt with weight problems and could be healthier, so he could have found himself living a healthier lifestyle and having better, more positive habits. I will admit, the first step in regards to weight loss is probably the hardest.

              You misread, slightly. Is not blame towards the woman, rather, I'm trying to say that from the point of view of saving the relationship, both changing yourself and declining to change along the one changing are damning. Both are things that each of them could have done in order to save the relationship. That's why I agreed that we can't talk of victims and shouldn't talk of blame: both of them are exactly as guilty (or not).

              I had to say that because (as you further clarified in this response) you are more likely to blame the man. It's easy to see why, you are someone who changed as well, so for you "not changing" is worse. However, both are just as damaging to the relationship yet neither of the parties involved should feel forced to do the opposite.

              Understand this: If the man was interested in changing his habits and needed some inspiration--or at least didn't mind having a wife with those interests he would have married a person like that. But he did not. He married a person who was not like that. He either cannot be blamed for refusing to change along, OR he can be blamed but so can be his wife, for stopping being the person he married.

                I personally think change is a healthy and important part of life and we as people do evolve over time. Over the course of our lives, our interests change, our passions can change and unfortunately, it is very possible that our love can change.

                I've been with my partner for almost five years. When we first started seeing each other, I
                didn't quite realize at first but my partner was actually fairly immature and irresponsible, but over time she changed and grew as a person. She's matured, she takes responsibility for her actions and she has become incredibly proactive and I'm super proud of her. She has also helped me to become more mature and proactive with a lot of things as well.

                If she remained immature/irresponsible whilst I did not, then I suspect our relationship would not have survived. Vice versa too if she became mature/responsible and if I did not.

                With all due respect, I think it's wrong to suggest that he "married a person who was not like that", a person who should not change, especially when it comes to physical and mental health.

                If the woman of this relationship began to pursue health/fitness and the man turned around and says something like "Hey, you're changing without me, I don't feel comfortable with it, could you stop doing what you're doing and just go back to how you used to be?" you know, the wife may actually conform with that, but that's actually quite selfish on the man's behalf and the woman may unwillingly build resentment toward her own husband, which could cause further damage to their relationship.

                Now that I think about it, it's not so much the physical transformation and bettering of lifestyle of the wife that negatively impacted their relationship. It was the trust. The woman was going out to things without her husband, like night clubs, concerts etc. and due to her physical transformation, more men were noticing her, more often... and he became jealous because of it. Jealousy can unfortunately be a natural occurrence in relationships, but it also shows that he did not trust his partner while she was out doing these things.

                  Well, I can agree that change is, in a vacuum, a positive thing. I can also agree that love sometimes changes as well and there's really not much to do about that. However, I also believe that when you commit to a relationship you strive to make it work til the bitter end. One of the ways to do so is to think of the two as one: welcome change (or rather, improvement) as a person, instead of each pushing for their own side. This means a huge amount of communication (and a certain amount of compromise).

                  You want to become healthier? Discuss with your partner ways in which both of you can move towards it, or at the very least, terms under which each can tolerate different speeds of improvement. Set goals and honest reasons. For example, aiming to stay healthy and able as you grow older is reasonable, laudable, even. Wanting to get a "club bod" so you can go out every other night and be ogled by strangers is not a reasonable goal for a monogamous couple. (Not saying that was the woman's goal, just saying that it could have been, given the result.)

                  With enough communication and compromise, you can get either the shared improvements or the trust that was lacking in that relationship.

        Fair enough, that's a good way of putting it.

        I'm curious: I'm sure that you are pretty happy with yourself right now, but can you remember the time when you first fell in love with your partner and you were happy with him? If back then, when you were about to start changing your diet and activity habits, somebody would have told you that it would end up driving you guys apart, would you still have done it?

          *her, I'm a guy.
          and in isolation that's not a fair question, you would also have to tell me the other outcomes of my getting healthier.
          Sorting out my personal health has had positive knock on effects in my career and mental health.

            Yeah sorry, didn't know other circumstances but I thought you could fill in. The question was not trying to trip you but genuine curiosity.

    If your wife is that shallow that she left you because of your looks. You are better off without such a person anyway. Let them have a relationship with their mirror. Not you.

      I don't think it's about the looks, dude. There's more to it than that. My cousin went through a similar situation. Personally, I think you didn't actually read or understand the whole thing, as to me, it sounds like you're blaming the woman for this one.

      My cousin was with a man, her now ex-partner, for almost ten years. They were engaged and due to be wed. At the time, they weren't exactly the healthiest of people, as they both didn't really do any exercise and they both had put on weight. Honestly, her partner was the bigger/heavier person, but that's not super relevant.

      Eventually, my cousin got tired of her lifestyle and wanted to change. So, she started to eat better, consumed less alcohol and started exercising at the gym. She lost weight, she got fit and healthy and she started getting interested in physical activities - running, bike riding, rock climbing, hiking, camping, swimming etc. Through these newfound activities, she made new friends who shared similar interests and essentially built a larger social circle and she became more independent, which to her, was quite empowering.

      Unfortunately, her ex-partner did not share these interests and the pair sadly grew apart. She would try and encourage him to do these things but he didn't want to. Now, I'm personally someone who went through a similar phase, e.g. I used to be very overweight, then I lost weight, got fit and became interested in health and physical activity, so I know for a fact that -starting- a journey in health and fitness is incredibly hard, and the first step is honestly the hardest.

      And... similar to the story and situation of "Separated and Scared", the pair drifted apart to the point where my cousin was no longer happy. Just like the author of the letter, he became distrusting of my cousin as she started to spend time with other people, doing activities that he wasn't involved in (to be fair, he didn't quite want to be involved in these activities to begin with) and basically, my cousin was walking a path that her then-partner could not (perhaps did not want) to follow, and they parted ways.

      It's a pretty shitty situation for both parties involved, as a lot of relationships that end will have pain and regret, elements that generally can't be avoided. In the end, my cousin was able to move on with her life and her ex-partner was able to move on with his (and hell, he too eventually got into fitness, lost a lot of weight and met a new woman through these activities). It's not anyone's fault, people just grow apart.

    Onwards and upwards S&S. There's no point holding onto something that just isn't there anymore. It takes two willing participants to make a relationship work. People grow and change, and unfortunately in this instance, you and your wife have grown apart.

    Also: the Doc is right about "leagues" - we need to move past this shallow ranking system as a society.

    If my partner was getting on the healthy bandwagon I would be too. Why wouldn't you? The benefits outweigh every thing else. You have something to bond over, shopping for a new wardrobe, finding healthy places to eat. The sex gets better, like a hell of a lot better. In doing that you get close because you have these new goals.

    Why wouldn't you want to look good for your partner? There has to be attraction, if its not there why hang around?

    Good on her.

      Because people are lazy.

      Lowering body fat is hard work. Managing your diet requires effort and self discipline.

      Lots of people don't have that type of self control.

        Maybe this will be a catalyst for him getting back on track because the dating world will be pretty tough going back to.

        Have you ever thought that some people just are not interested? I'm not lazy (nor particularly unfit) but if there's a choice of using the scant hours of free time I get each week doing something that I find mind-numbing or something that I find stimulating and brain-engaging, why should I go with the former?

        Similarly, have you thought that some people are naturally interested and predisposed to exercise, are really engaged in physical activity or experimenting with food, and are driven by measurable goals? For such people exercising and dieting comes if not easy, naturally. They are also the first ones to blame the people who are not interested in that for being lazy or lacking self-control. People who actually have to sacrifice and fight their nature are usually more compassionate.

        There are surely some mental activities which I feel fascinating and that are for you a waste of time or body-atrophying or whatever. Would you like me to say that I think that you don't like them because you are mind-lazy or dumb, or lack concentration?

          "If there's a choice of using the scant hours of free time I get each week of doing something that I find mind-numbing or something that I find stimulating and brain-engaging, why should I go with the former?"

          If you're suggesting that exercise and fitness is "mind-numbing", then I'm afraid you're going about it completely wrong. That's honestly setting yourself up to fail. The key to successful exercise is to find something that you can enjoy doing.

          When I was overweight, I got beat up by two dudes at a friend's birthday party, leaving me hurt, humiliated and scared. As a result, I took up judo to learn self-defense. Nine months later, I lost over 30kg in weight and 10 years later, I am still doing judo.

          Not only did I lose weight and get fit, but I made new friends, I learned a lot of cool new skills and I discovered that my body was capable of amazing things.

          I also started weight lifting about three years ago, but under the guidance of a qualified, professional strength and conditioning coach, someone who tells me exactly what I need to do in a gym and why. I took this up because I believed it would benefit my judo but also, benefit my overall health and it has. Lifting weights isn't just about picking up iron, but there is an interesting science behind it, especially if you want to be injury-free about it.

          When it comes to exercise, I encourage martial arts as a gateway to fitness because A - you will learn many new skills that could potentially (but hopefully not) be used to help yourself in a dire situation, B - you'll meet new people and make new friends, C - you can get fit and do exercise and D - you can improve your confidence and self-esteem.

          TL;DR - If exercise is boring to you, you're doing it wrong.

            No. If you find something boring, it may just not be for you. Not everybody gets enthralled by the same things and that's ok. I'm positive that there are a number of things that greatly entertain me that would do nothing for you or be considered straight out wastes of time. I will not tell you that it's because you are doing it wrong.

            Certainly, if you have to do something, it's a good idea to create a positive mentality and learn to love it. But if you don't have to, why would you? Why not use that time and effort in doing things that you naturally love?

      Agree with @zhyr - losing body fat, building lean muscle mass and generally just getting fitter and healthier is hard work. It requires discipline and dedication, you basically need to change your life style. We are all creatures of habit, so "change" can be quite difficult, more so than others, really.

      What's easier? Changing your lifestyle, or keeping it the same? In a day and age where we need to work "full time" to survive, a lot of people would rather keep their life as it is outside of work, because it's easier.

      My partner is becoming like that too. I'm not overweight but neither terribly fit. However, to answer your question, I simply don't like it. It's not that I'm lazy or that I don't know the benefits. I am a person who prefers and needs mental stimulation and I find exercising mind-numbingly boring. Every time I have spent time exercising or worrying too much about dietary stuff, my brain is constantly hammering a "why I am not doing with my finite amount of free time something that I actually enjoy instead?"

      The things I actually like to do, I enjoy even better when I can do them with my partner. But she's little by little starting to want to spend more time doing health stuff and less the stuff that we used to enjoy together. If she goes much deeper into it, unhappiness awaits me whether I go along with her or not.

        Bro, there is a bunch of stuff you could do that could stimulate your mind, rock climbing is a good one. looking at a wall and seeing the best way to get up it. I don't want to say it, but cross fit is a good one. Looking at what you can do and the best way to attack a work out then trying to do it under a set amount time.

        I was in the same boat, now I just find stuff I haven't done and just give it a crack. It might not work for you. But if unhappiness awaits why continue?

          No, no, that stuff is engaging to the people who find it engaging. For example: trying to beat one's time? If you are physically competitive, I'm sure it's both exhilarating and motivating. To me? It seems inane. I know there's a physical limit no matter how much I try and improve. And the time it takes to improve? Hours and hours of doing nothing but the same, focusing on a repetitive movement or pattern. Even if you have to think and plan some stuff, the bulk of your time is spent in the physical, chorey (for someone not interested) aspect of it.

          What I'm trying to say is that it's ok to be wired differently. I'm sure that if I tried really hard at it, there will be a point where I'd start liking or at least not minding it (adrenaline is a hell of a drug). However, it would come at the cost of investing my time and effort on it as opposed to using it on the stuff I naturally feel inclined to do. In the end, I'd be changing my preferences, my interests, my self. Why should I?

            But you didn't answer the last question if unhappiness awaits why continue?

              Unhappiness only awaits if she goes as deep down that hole as the person in that letter. At that point, I'd have to make the choice of becoming like that against my wishes or seeing her drift away. For now, things are great and hopefully will continue that way.

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