When two people enter in a relationship they each bring their own quirks, habits and baggage (for better or worse) to the table. And to make the relationship work on the mature, adult-level we all want, partners need to be able to take the time to decide if those habits are things they’re compatible with — or at least things they can live with or come to understand with kindness and compassion (you know, that whole being in love thing).
A 30-year-old man on Reddit is running into that situation with a woman he has been seeing for two months, noting that he has a problem with some of her dietary habits — particularly the sugar he’s seen her consume.
“I’ve been with this girl for 2 months and she is awesome. We love spending our time together. She is a good match for me. She likes the music I like, same sense of humor, and is down to go on any adventure with me,” the OP writes in his initial post. “She is super addicted to sugar though. She doesn’t drink water, only sugar drinks like Gatorade, soda, and milkshakes. It’s gross but I like her enough to get over it, but an ick might be coming on.”
If you’re not new here, you know that we’re not really big on making shame-y or blame-y commentary on people’s food habits. It’s not all that effective or kind — particularly with someone you love — and a lot of times can come from a place that’s less authentically concerned with someone’s health and more-so from a judgmental and fat-phobic place. And, unsurprisingly, in just the next line of this post that rears its ugly head.
“I know it’ll eventually destroy her body and right now she’s kind of tiptoeing that line of being too big for my comfort,” he said. “Idk, I’m confused about my feelings.”
Uh, ‘Too Big’ for Your What-Now?
See, this is where these kind of nutritional concern conversations always go south — because it feels much less about her well-being and more about her body staying attractive to this individual she’s only been dating for two months.
“I addressed it with her in some unserious ways but then in a pretty serious way about a month ago and she got pretty sad and said it brought thoughts from her past where her mom pressured her to stop being fat (she was pretty obese in her teen years),” OP wrote. “The next day she sat me down and basically told me that her addiction isn’t as bad as I think and that I shouldn’t bring it up to her because it makes her feel like she’s being judged.”
What that looks like is a boundary an person decided to draw with a new partner who over-stepped and made her feel terrible. There are thoughtful ways to ask loved ones if they would care to do some wellness journey stuff with you — inviting them to cook with you or to read up on nutritional and exercise information with you that might help you both have positive relationships with your bodies and the stuff you put in them. But this ain’t it. When the concern isn’t actually someone’s health, but the hypothetical fat they might eventually have on their body? That’s when it requires some more introspection before raising concerns with your partner.
And these feelings of hers don’t seem to have been high on his priority list as he went directly from telling Reddit “she told me not to bring this up as it hurts her and reminds her of past trauma” into asking how he can bring this up and make her change.
He Wanted to Send This Message
“Is this an ok text to send her?” the OP asked before sharing the aforementioned multi-paragraph drafted text that included the grams of sugar in the drinks she likes and how it matches up with the American Heart Association’s recommendations and explicitly saying that “it’s almost giving [him] the ick.”
“I tried to pretend it’s not a big deal to me after you said it affects your mental help when I bring it up. But idk how long we should avoid this. I like you so much and I just want things to be good now and good forever but this is scaring me,” he said. “I’m developing some weird emotions around buying these things for you that will eventually fuck you up. If it wasn’t almost every day then it’d be totally fine. I want to go get ice cream with you but it sucks knowing you have been pounding sugar all day beforehand. You said you were able to go a whole year without these things before you knew me and now you just don’t care as much as you get older. I’m not asking you to stop enjoying the things you love, I just want you to know that I know it’s excessive.”
The preoccupation with her diet — and her body hypothetically changing — and once again pushing her to make changes that she doesn’t want to make (and has said are tied to traumatic parts of her past), had quite a few commenters concerned.
Like, if this is such a sticking point for you and you can’t possibly imagine that another person has a different relationship to food and their body than you, or if you can’t control your need to control and/or change them — despite them saying they felt those criticisms were unkind and made them sad? You might need to start looking inward instead of pushing for them to change for your happiness.
TL;DR: Reddit Told Him Quit Being Condescending
The text he drafted was a lot. And commenters noted that it points to a lot more of an issue that he is having than anything she needs to change. That’s kind of a recurring theme in relationships — if you find yourself preoccupied with something you think of as your partner’s problem, something they need to change, chances are you aren’t doing enough looking inward.
“No, do not send the woman who told you that you remind her of her fat-shaming mother a multi-paragraph text about how she needs to cut down on her sugar,” one commenter wrote. “Just break up. You obviously can’t get over this and she doesn’t deserve to be browbeaten about it.”
Another noted that the text was really “condescending” and violates the boundary she tried to place around talking about this issue: “She’s already told you that she doesn’t want to discuss this with you and you know that her relationship to sugar is connected to some really deep family and childhood issues that you don’t fully understand because you still barely know this woman. Do you really think this fully adult woman doesn’t know what a nutritional label is and can’t read one? Two months is pretty early to try and force someone to do really deep emotional work and unpack her relationship with her weight and her childhood. If you’re not able to be patient with her and let her deal with things on her timeline, then this probably isn’t a good match for you.”
And to just hit the reality home a little bit harder, another commenter noted that bodies change! Weight is gained and lost throughout life and if there’s already this controlling, unkind energy around the potential change in this person’s body, this dude needs to check himself and maybe even check himself all the way out of this relationship.
“If she gains weight, you need to break up with her now. Every human being on earth will gain and/or lose weight in their lives. If you already can’t cope with the reality of ‘what she might someday look like’ in even a hypothetical way without shaming and trying to control her (especially this soon into a relationship) you’re just going to cause her serious harm down the road,” they wrote. “So do both of y’all a favor and break up with her now. (But for the love of all that’s holy, please at least have the decency not to tell her why you’re breaking things off.)”
And, Ultimately, It Comes Down to Maturity
The “dump them”-type advice is kind of plentiful on Reddit but this was an instance where commenters were willing to give the dude some tough love: If you cannot accept a partner’s boundary around a vulnerable but really “has nothing to do with you” issue like this, you might not be mature enough for a relationship with another human.
After one commenter said plainly that his partner’s relationship to food is her own journey to navigate and she doesn’t need a dude she’s been seeing for two months weighing in (mostly due to fatphobic concerns about her gaining weight), OP asked if there was any advice for the break-up.
The advice was pretty solid: Realize that this is a matter of your own maturity and you not being ready for a relationship between adults, where your adult partner can make their own decisions and set their own boundaries and you can accept that.
“‘They drink too many sugary drinks’ is an insane reason to break up with someone. The truth is, you want her to lose weight or are at the very least worried about her getting fat and you’re trying to dance around it. Which is why she’s so triggered by you bringing it up, because you’re doing the same thing her mom did,” user r/citruschapstick wrote. “You’re right that both people need to invest in a relationship but that doesn’t mean changing what you eat because your partner of two f-cking months told you it bothers them. Should she drink less sugar? Yes, definitely, but the fact that you’re willing to end the relationship over this is your problem, not hers.”
And in a rare instance (for Reddit and the real world alike) this OP sorta seemed to get it? Or at least acknowledge that the fatphobia he put on her (like her mom’s before him) just shouldn’t be her problem.
“Looks like it is a me problem. And you’re right, I am afraid of her getting fat. Dating is hard and I’m not great at it,” he said. “Tbh I never considered breaking up with her just because of the comments on this post. I’m still going to work this out with her and adore her very much… She has mentioned the habit came from stress and that recently she’s been way happier. So maybe it will work itself out. I just know I like being with her more than I dislike the weight issues.”
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