Dear Readers - Weight gain issues, increased alcohol intake and depression are all recognized by-products of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions for safety’s sake. Here are two among many personal situations dealing with these issues:
I’m a woman, 51, married with three children. We’ve all been struggling with this pandemic and have had to deal with stress. Life hasn’t been normal.
I’d just joined a gym and was getting into a great workout routine. But like many others, I started to feel the “Covid body” happening. By summer, I was trying to enjoy life again, including eating and drinking on the weekends.
My husband works very hard, likes to indulge with drinks and loves his big meals. With returning to the gym still unlikely, I bought a workout machine to get fit from home.
I’ve started to eat better, work out and look after myself. But my husband’s gained weight, won’t exercise and gets angry when I try to discuss it.
I love my husband but don’t feel as attracted to him. I remember my marriage vows well, but as his weight climbs it’s getting harder and harder to feel the spark.
How do I talk to him about this in a way that won’t hurt his feelings or have him upset with me?
Fit Wife Losing Spark for Husband
There are few topics as delicate to handle as weight gain. As a loving wife, you need to proceed without blaming and shaming.
You eventually chose energizing fitness, a self-image boost and healthy eating, while he chose passing comfort from alcohol and food. We all handle stress in different ways, often related to how we grew up.
You’re different. Meanwhile you still love him.
Say so, without also pushing the benefits of your health/fitness regime. Instead, encourage getting outside together for a walk, especially on days when the sun is shining. Don’t label it as exercise or weight control, just enjoy that time outside together.
How you respond in your bedroom is a different matter. Do not “punish” him for his weight gain. He’ll already be aware that there’s a divide between you.
Instead, finding a moment of tenderness together may be the opportune time, to say that you “miss” his past energy and good spirits. No lecture, just let it sink in.
If he’s going to make any changes, they have to come from his own choosing.
My son, who graduated high school last spring, suffers from depression and anxiety (ongoing since he was young, and for which he’s receiving support and treatment).
He lives at home with my husband and me, doesn’t have a job and isn’t looking for work partly because he’s fearful of Covid.
He’s also not ready to return to school. My concern is that over the years he’s gained a lot of weight, and now even more.
I’m concerned for his health. He doesn’t exercise nor eat well, though he knows better about both.
I’m unsure how to approach my concerns with him, without him getting defensive or feeling hurt. Should I bring it up at all?
Here too, avoid an approach that may shame him. Stress your maternal love which is why you’re so happy that he’s getting support and treatment.
Ask if he’d consider getting help with his nutrition, too, since healthy food and fitness are often mood-boosters. If he rejects the idea, don’t persist, he’s already dealing with a lot. When the pandemic eases and his life prospects improve, his self-care may follow.
Readers’ Commentary Regarding female colleagues having flings with married men (a topic repeatedly in this column, raised by wives whose husbands cheated on them):
“When I was working with married men who were earning the same salary as mine, a few would suggest that I phone in to work sick and they’d drop by to see me.
“I guess they expected me to run home in joy, clean my apartment, clean my sheets, and prepare some gourmet treat. All for a visit from a married man who has nothing to offer me.
“I guess they thought I’d be overjoyed. I would lose a day of sick leave and they would get sex with no obligations. Do these men have a brain?
“In reply to these suggestions, I would say "Are you out of your mind?" It never occurs to them that a single woman can get sex whenever she wants - if she so wishes.”
Tip of the day:
Fight COVID-19-stress with fitness for energy and self-care for positive feelings.