Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fat as Intimacy Avoidance

I know, I know, no one ever wants to be overweight, right? I think that's generally true on the conscious level. However, there are certain subconscious payoffs/enticements for keeping the pounds on. One very common inner reason to stay over weight: it can effectively keep potential intimate relationships away. This seems ever more true today with our current looks-obsessed culture.

Specifically, we often stay heavy to try to minimize the chance of getting involved in a couple relationship, along with all of the potential pitfalls, heartache, and rejection risks that may go along with it. Such heavier individuals often possess traumatic emotional scars from their past and often feeling unlovable. Therefore, the extra pounds can serve to validate how they already feel about themselves.

We generally assume that people who feel bad about their weight, therefore feel sad about themselves. However, sometimes a person feels bad about themselves first, and then they gain the weight afterwards to be consistent with their inner selves. True statement: our outer selves often reveal what is going on in our inner selves.

So, what do you do if you find yourself sabotaging your weight and appearance to stave off potential mates?

1) Ask yourself: if I was my perfect weight, would I really be ready to date right now, or would I find another reason to avoid relationships? If so, why? What am I so afraid of?

2) Next, choose to reject this self-defeating approach and replace it with something productive. Instead of avoiding dating through being heavy, choose to give yourself a voluntary sabbatical from relationships. During this break, devote yourself heavily to learning about healthy relationships: what they are and how you can choose and nurture one. Also, work on your confidence and self-esteem.

To prepare yourself for healthy relationships, I recommend going to a licensed psychotherapist to work through your barriers and insecurities to healthy relationships. I also recommend the following self-help resources:

*The Assertive Woman by Phelps --or-- Your Perfect Right by Alberti. Both of these bookes will train you in assertive communication.

*Tongue Fu by Horn. This is a book on how to respond to criticism through deflating, disarming, and defusing there the other is coming from.

*The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work by Gottman. This is a book from the world's leader marriage expert on what makes for healthy relationships that last vs. what interactions predict will eventual divorce.

*The Secrets of Successful Relationships by Gray. This is a comprehensive 12 CD audio set with a lot of good info in it and is only available new through www.marsvenus.com.

3) Raise the bar of what you now looking for in a potential healthy partner. May a written list of your wants and needs. Now, commit to yourself and others that you will never settle again on less than a healthy partner and a healthy relationship ever again.

4) Choose and print off a number of profiles of what you now feel are potential "healthy" dating prospects from a respected online dating site. Have your selections reviewed by a wise, trusted friend or family member to confirm or reject the health and potential of your profiles.

5) Continue to elevate your self-esteem, your confidence, and your overall knowledge of healthy relationships during your break. When you feel strong and prepared enough to enter the fray, begin your search. Remember: never settle on less than you want and need. I've never seen a problem in life with someone being too picky in their partner search. The problems I've seen come from lowering the bar and not being picky enough.

I hope you find this information to be helpful.

Dr. Randy

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