April 12, 2024
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April 12, 2024
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How Can I Date When I Am Overweight?

Dear Dr. Chani,

Dating is so superficial, and it works against me specifically because I am overweight. I have been dating for 20 years. There seems to be no hope for me. I just dated a guy on and off for two years, and, in the end, he was pretty clear that he would not marry me because of my weight. As upsetting as it is, I am beginning to resign myself to a life of singlehood forever.

The guy I just dated for two years was nice, intelligent and fun to be with. We really connected and had a great time together. He is the first guy I thought I could marry. Every so often he would make subtle comments about my weight. Like when I suggested we go to pizza, he would say, “We should eat something healthier.” I thought it was just me being paranoid.

Then, one of our friends met me for lunch and told me that he is really having a hard time getting past my weight. He really likes me and he would want to marry me, but he thinks that if I cannot lose my weight, it means I am lazy and unhealthy. I was so embarrassed and angry. Who is he to judge me and write me off because of my weight? I told him that if he could not accept me for who I am, then our relationship is pointless.

My whole life I have struggled with my weight. Even when I was as young as 6, I remember my mother limiting how much I ate at supper and instructing me about what snacks I could not eat. It is not my fault. Even when I diet and exercise, it is really hard for me to take off the pounds and stay that way. It is unrealistic for me to try to diet to the point that I will be thin enough to be considered attractive. I doubt I could keep the weight off. It is simply impossible for me because of my metabolism. It was hard enough to grow up with this burden of not looking the way I was supposed to look. Now that I am dating, I am tortured by a daily reminder that I am not good enough because I am overweight.

I am barely set up. When people do make suggestions, I find that the people are not as intelligent, as personable or accomplished as I am. I have tried going to singles events to meet someone on my own. Usually, the few normal guys migrate towards the most gorgeous and glamorous girls in the room. It is like I am not even there. When it comes to online dating, I cannot get away without providing a picture of myself. I know that people judge me based on how I look. I cannot blame them. I also jump to decide how attractive a guy is based on his photo.

Is there any hope for me? What can I do to attract a decent guy and get married?



Dear Talia,

It is unfortunate that people make decisions about who to date and who to set up based on external characteristics. As you pointed out, even you tend to form an opinion about who you are attracted to based on a dating profile photo. People’s opinions about what is considered attractive are often based on the standards that society portrays as ideal. It is challenging to navigate a dating world in which your weight is noticed and perceived as a disadvantage. Your difficulties in dating are real.

Your struggle with people’s perceptions of you has not been limited to dating. It sounds like your mother instilled a self-consciousness and self-doubt in you from an early age. You internalized a message that you did not look “the way you were supposed to look.” This usually contributes to an issue that is more than just skin deep. Feeling that your weight is an emotional burden you have been carrying for your whole life leads to a lack of self-acceptance and self-confidence.

Before you focus on how to date successfully regardless of your weight, first ask yourself how you view your weight when it comes to other situations in your life. To what extent has your weight been an issue when you applied to schools or to jobs? Does your weight hold you back in relationships with your friends? If you feel that your weight is a pervasive issue that disrupts your life, you might want to seek a therapist to help you explore your self-image and self-confidence. Improving the way you perceive yourself is the first step to changing the way others perceive you.

Here are some ways to think specifically about your weight and dating. It sounds like despite your struggle with your weight, you have discovered that it is not consequential in many aspects of your life. You mention that the people you are suggested to date are often “not as intelligent, as personable or accomplished as I am.” You clearly recognize that you have many wonderful and desirable qualities and capabilities. You may have realized these strengths from your interactions with people in areas of your life other than dating. Schools, jobs and friends often do not care about your weight when they decide to choose you.

Confidence is very attractive. Try to channel your experiences of self-worth in these other areas of your life into the way you approach dating. Allow your success in those areas to build your general sense of self-confidence. When you meet people you would like to date or people who might help you network, keep your personality strengths and values in the forefront of your mind. Remind yourself that you are a great catch. You have a lot of wonderful qualities for someone to appreciate.

In addition, having the emotional bomb dropped upon you after a two-year relationship can definitely shake your self-confidence. Rather than focusing on the ending of your story and throwing in the towel, look at how far you have come so far. You were able to develop a long-term relationship with someone who had a lot of qualities you are looking for. It is often said that when one door closes, another opens. Celebrate your victory within the negative experience. This can help you build and restore your self-confidence, which can pave the way for you to develop a relationship with someone who will truly appreciate you as a whole person.

Wishing you much success,


Dr. Chani Maybruch is a social psychologist and relationship coach, specializing in teaching emotional connection and communication skills for over two decades. She coaches individuals and couples, teaches courses on how to become a master of relationships, and provides free relationship resources at chanimaybruch.com. Learn a step-by-step method to improve your ability to emotionally connect with her new online course: The RELATE Technique™—Seven Steps to Emotionally Connect Through Conversation. Reach out to her at [email protected].

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