I wonder what is so frightening to your middle-aged boyfriend about a woman looking like a woman, says Annalisa Barbieri. What does he look like?
I am a 30-year-old woman and for the past 10 years I’ve been in a relationship with a man 30 years older. I was much thinner when we first met and have since gained a little weight. My partner has started calling me fat, often pointing out that my hips are growing wider, that I eat too much, have a double chin, my stomach is flabby and so on.
When we met I was very conscious of my weight and I had low self-esteem about my looks. There was nothing wrong with my eating; I just weighed a bit less than the average. My partner encouraged me to have a more positive view, and it helped with my self-confidence. But since I started gaining weight a couple of years ago, he has been increasingly negative. I have told him it does not help that he calls me fat. He says he is not being disparaging, but wants to encourage me to exercise, lead a healthy lifestyle and eat moderately. He says I will be the one to suffer if I become fat because it will have an impact on my self-esteem and I will let myself go “like ugly middle-aged women with big thighs” (and I would not want to end up like that, would I?). He thinks he is telling me for my own sake as it will be bad for my mental health if I think I am fat.