By Thomas Whitfield
There is a lot of pressure to be physically perfect in NYC, society as a whole, among gays at the gym, clubs, walking up 9th Avenue. What about when the call is coming from inside the house?
Over the last year I’ve gained about 30 pounds, and I’ve never felt more like myself. For the last decade I’d worked out every day (sometimes twice), regularly denied myself sweets and did hard drugs, because alcohol had too many calories. I was miserable, but I loved the attention of having the perfect physique. Once I gave up the drugs, started eating desserts, allowing myself pasta and cut my gym time in half, I almost instantly gained weight. But I also became happier. I have more time to do the things I really enjoy and honestly love some of my new curves.
My boyfriend, on the other hand, isn’t happy with this change. We’ve been together for over five years, and 12 days ago (yes, I’m counting), he told me that he’s no longer attracted to me, and he’s going to leave me if I don’t lose the weight. He’s the love of my life, and I don’t want to lose him, but I also love myself and my new-found freedom. I’ve been very upset and don’t know what to do. – Male, Gay, 34
When we enter a long-term relationship, we also enter into an unwritten contract that we won’t entirely change who we are over time. That we won’t be one person in the beginning and then someone else in the coming years. What I’m hearing is that for a long time you’ve spent a lot of energy on trying to be what maybe you thought would make you happy, and you’re finding out that there are actually other things out there. Sure, maybe you’ve changed, but what you’re describing seems like growth as a human being. You’re allowing yourself to enjoy your life, you’ve cut out drugs and are engaging in more activities you love.
All of this seems positive to me. But I also see how it could be difficult for your boyfriend, and I don’t like his ultimatum: essentially, “Lose weight or I’m gone.” I think your response should be, “Love me for who I am, or I’m gone.”
There is never going to be a relationship more important than the one you have with yourself. And you’re discovering that this relationship can actually go deeper and be more fulfilling than you previously thought. What is it worth to you to give that up? I honestly believe that if you have to give up yourself to be with this person, you’re only going to regret it and feel tons of resentment. You can’t be in a relationship with someone else if you don’t love who you are. Do you think it’s possible for you to go back to who you were before (miserable) and still love yourself the same knowing that you were happier when you were larger and had more free time? Personally, I’d rather be with someone who’s happy than someone who’s physically perfect.