DEAR AMY: My wife recently told me she was disgusted with her weight and how she looks. She wasn't skinny when we married nine years ago, but over the last several years she has gained weight. I've encouraged her to go to the gym with me and to eat healthy, etc. She joined the gym, but after a few months (and even a 10-pound improvement) she stopped going. I am in decent shape. When she told me how she felt about herself, she also said she was worried I would cheat on her -- something I've never done and never would do. I love her the way she is, but she's at the point where she doesn't want to be intimate with me because she doesn't feel sexy. How can I help her lose the weight and feel more attractive without making her feel worse about herself? I think she's beautiful, but it's hard to convince her when she doesn't feel that way herself. Can you help us? --Confused
DEAR CONFUSED: Your wife's problem is fairly common. You put on weight, feel bad and the self-assessment then depresses you and saps your will. Then you feel worse.
Your wife isn't being good to herself. She is also not being good to you because she is projecting onto you behavior that you would never do, involving you in her problem to the extent that she is pushing you away, and then she's feeling unlovable and (now) also unloved. She would benefit from a thorough medical work-up and nutrition counseling. Yoga and meditation might help; so might getting a bike, a dog, new sneakers or one of those fancy new wristbands that senses your every move.
You can't really help her lose weight. You can help her feel loved. Reassure her she is beautiful. Say you want her to be happy, but tell her the lack of intimacy makes you feel like an accessory to her weight issue. Sometimes people disappear so much into their own insecurities that they forget that having sex is something that can make you feel great about yourself (and your partner).