My husband and I have been together for over 20 years, married for the last 11 years. We have three beautiful children and a neurotic dog, and he still gives me butterflies when he walks into the room. He is supportive, kind, and my best friend.
Since our daughter was born seven years ago, my husband has been monitored for serious health issues. No formal diagnosis has ever been found, but the general consensus is that it all stems back to his weight. He is tall and handsome, and hides his weight well, but he’s gained about 40 pounds since we met.
The problem is that he binge eats, usually at night when I have fallen asleep putting our two-year-old to bed. He says he can’t help it, has “no self-control,” and that I shouldn’t keep high calorie food in the house. I am naturally slender and actually have trouble keeping weight on.
This year we were having 10 people to Thanksgiving dinner. I bought three blocks of fancy cheese and a baguette. The night before company was to arrive, he ate the baguette and the last block of cheese (apparently, he finished off the other two a few nights before). I was livid because I had nothing to give our guests (the stores were now closed); and because he knows he needs to lose weight for health reasons. This is not the first time this has happened; in fact, it happens pretty much anytime we have treats in the house.
His eating is literally killing him and the thought of him leaving me alone to raise three kids makes me incredibly sad and angry. On the other hand, I don’t feel like the rest of us should have to forgo SHARING the occasional treat because he might sit down and eat the whole thing in the middle of the night. I have resorted to buying a lockbox for the fridge. Is that ridiculous?!
I don’t think it’s ridiculous, though others might. I knew a mom who put a locked chain around her fridge every night because she had four teenage sons. Before that, she used to come down in the morning to an empty fridge!
But your husband needs help, not just barriers. So besides locking the fridge at night, which is a great deterrent, it would be a good idea to refrain from buying snacks for a while. Yes, your kids need snacks for school, but you can keep those separate, somewhere he doesn’t have access.
Perhaps for the next reason (holiday, birthday, etc.) you could get him a few sessions with a personal trainer and/or a nutritionist.
He’s correct that at the moment he has no self-control, but he CAN change that. He just needs help to change his mind set. And his health is paramount. Go with him to the doctor and tell him how you feel about the thought of losing him.
My friend doesn’t stop. She is an accomplished lawyer, a partner in her firm, has four children, two dogs, and a husband who travels often for his own work. She also volunteers at a local hospital and is on the Board of at least two charitable foundations. I’m truly in awe of her capacity.
But I worry about her. I don’t think she’s ever just sat with her thoughts. I’m concerned that one day she’s just going to implode. How can I help her?
It’s her life and she sounds as though she’s living it fully. Just be there for her. Be her friend. Listen. Let her unload on you when you’re together. She’ll appreciate your love and support.
FEEDBACK Regarding the child hoping for hugs (Oct. 11):
Reader – “I feel like I was in a similar position as the 14-year-old who was craving human touch, connection and hugs. I dearly hope that she gets some help to stop her from taking the route that I did. I got involved in an emotionally abusive relationship just in order to be held. Of course, I didn’t realize that at the time; it took years of therapy to feel better about my decisions. All it probably would’ve taken was for my mother to occasionally sit close to me with her arm around my shoulder, watching TV with me, or sharing a moment. This young lady is smart enough to have identified what’s missing in her life. I hope her mother, and all parents reading this, give their children caring hugs on a regular basis. It may prevent your child from being easily manipulated.”