Dear Ms. Vicki,
My wife has gained a lot of weight. This is not the problem. The problem is that she is fatter than I am, and she makes fun of my weight gain.
I've put on a few pounds since I returned from my last deployment about a year ago. I'm making a plan to lose about 25 pounds. I'm exercising more and trying to eat better. I take my lunch instead of eating out, and I don't eat anything after 6:30 p.m.
When I returned from Afghanistan, all I wanted to do was eat, eat, eat. I enjoyed it very much. I wanted to enjoy good southern Alabama cooking from my wife, my mother and my aunts.
Of course, it was great to be home with my wife and my family. My wife has continually put on more weight than I have, and I figured one way to help her was not to criticize her weight gain but to encourage her to go walking or to the gym with me.
She surely took my suggestions the wrong way because she calls me names like "fatso" and "lard azz." I think she is angry because I am losing weight, and I won't keep eating all the time with her.
I love my wife, and I don't want her to compete with me. I just want her to lose weight, look great and feel great. That's all. Yesterday, my wife said I opened up a can of worms with all of my weight-loss efforts.
Can you tell me how I opened up a can of worms? Where did I go wrong with this?
Let me make sure I understand. Your wife has become verbally abusive because you are losing the 25 pounds you gained when you returned from deployment?
Well, military marriages face a litany of problems, and who is gaining and losing weight is one of them.
Honestly, if I were a therapist meeting with you and your wife for the first time, I would think the problem was more underneath the surface, under the tip of the iceberg. You and your wife will have to sit, talk and be honest with each other to discover this.
You should know that women and weight can be a touchy subject, specifically weight gain.
When you started with your weight-loss efforts and asked her to join you, she obviously heard the wrong message. What she heard was "Hey, Fatso, you need to lose weight."
Now she is calling you names (ugly names, to be exact.) She should be accountable for the name calling and stop it immediately. You cannot accept your wife being verbally abusive.
So often, we don't take it seriously when a woman hits a man or calls him names. However, I know that women can be abusive too. You have to let her know that you won't accept that behavior. Don't hit her and don't call her names, but let her know her behavior is unacceptable.
Now, let's see what happens if you start this train from the beginning. You should say to your wife, "I think you are beautiful, but I need your support while I try to drop some extra pounds." Or "I love spending time with you, and I would like it if you come to the gym with me or take some walks with me."
See what happens with that approach. If she refuses, then you have to keep the weight-loss train moving without her. You can initiate more cooking opportunities with healthy meals by shopping for healthier food options.
Your wife will lose weight when she chooses to do so. If there is more going on underneath the surface with your wife and her weight gain, you have to be honest, OK? Keep in touch.
-- Ms. Vicki