Dating Fat

When Darryl Roberts interviewed me for the documentary America the Beautiful 2 he asked me a lot of really good questions to which I had ready answers, but he asked me one that I stumbled with  – he asked me if dating would be easier if I were thin.

The answer I gave him was that it was a good screening process.  Those who want to date me have overcome the cultural brainwashing that says that “fat is bad” and I think that’s a big deal because I don’t want to date someone who will just follow the status quo.  It means that I won’t date someone who treats women like a prize, these idiots who say that they “deserve” a hot girl (where “hot” means fitting the cultural stereotype of beauty).  It means that when I find my future partner I’ll have a really good chance of avoiding that thing that happens when someone’s “perfect wedding body” changes as the marriage moves forward.  Those are all true and they are all upsides but there are also some difficulties and I think it’s important to get them out in the open and talk about them.

Let’s preface this with the fact that I know plenty of thin people who struggle with dating.  I don’t think that being thin is the magic bean that grows the marriage beanstalk.  But there are some issues that happen with fat dating that I want to talk about.

As a fat woman I know that my potential partners live in a culture that tells them that no amount of achievement, education, personality, flexibility etc. can overcome the supposed sin of having a large body, a culture that suggests that you can tell by looking at me that I am lazy and weak-willed and unhealthy.  I also know that this standard is arbitrary since when my mom was in Mali, West Africa with the Peace Corps she received marriage proposals for me almost every day, and men promised her everything in the world to try to convince her that I should marry them. Were I born in another time or place, I would be the standard of beauty.

So I think it’s important to realize that there is a nothing wrong with our bodies that a little culture shift can’t fix. Still here we are, with a dating pool inundated with the message that fat=bad.

Recently a dating company exclusively for married people looking to have an affair posted an ad with a picture of a fat woman that said “Does your wife scare you at night?” with their slogan “Life is short, have an affair.” The model, who was “under the impression at the time that people purchasing these photos from the photographer would be doing so for their own personal use”, said “I am mortified that my image and likeness would be used as advertisement for two things I am so vehemently against: namely cheating and, to an even greater extent, body shaming.”  But there’s this dating site, trying to profit by telling men married to fat women that they “deserve” an affair.  Keep it classy.

I imagine that all of this makes it Christmas every day for the diet industry since it likely drives people back to them time and again, people who might otherwise look at their 5% success rate and say “Thanks but no thanks”.  I wonder how far this idea that you must be thin to get a mate sets the Health at Every Size movement back?  I know people who have admitted to doing unhealthy things to their bodies to be thin in the hopes of finding a partner.  (And I worry that if they succeed they are setting themselves up for heartbreak in five years when they’ve gained the weight back).

But the culture doesn’t just affect potential dating partners, it affects us as well.

A recent scene from Glee illustrated one of the issues (note, if you haven’t seen the episode The First Time you might want to skip this paragraph for spoilers.)  Shannon Bieste is the large, not stereotypically beautiful football caoch played by the amazing Dot-Marie Jones.  She is a 40 year old virgin.  A traditionally attractive male recruiter is interested in her and keeps trying to ask her out but she doesn’t realize it.  When he finally very specifically asks her on a date, she is immediately suspicious that someone has “put him up to it” and can’t imagine why he wants her when he could have “any pretty woman he points at” and ends up crying.

When people who look like you are used as the to show what is unattractive and a reason to cheat, it can mess you up around dating,  and make you suspicious of someone who wants to date outside the cultural norm.  I know fat people who’ve been asked on dates as jokes.  The classic “wing-man” story is the guy who “takes one for the team” and spends the night with the fat friend.  The dating site that must not be named would like you to believe that having a fat wife is a good reason to break your marriage vows.  It’s not paranoia if they’re actually after you, and so those who want to date a fat person in this culture may have to be ready to work through some of that, and those who are fat in this culture might do well to examine how it is affecting them.

Then there are our own standards when we decide who we date.  I’ll speak for myself on this one.  I will not date anyone who is interested in me in spite of my body. I was part of a dating experiment that a grad student was doing and we self-selected into one of three groups.  A group who made being fat the first thing that they talked about on their profile, a group who made it part of the profile but not the first thing, and a third group who avoided telling people that they were fat until it became unavoidable.  In discussions that we had, the women in group three believed that their only chance was to get someone to fall in love with their personality enough to overlook their bodies.

If it works for them that’s completely cool, but before I will date someone who feels that my body needs to be overlooked I will get a bunch of rescue Great Danes and grow old as the crazy dog lady, you know what I saying?  On the other hand I’m not willing to date someone who only loves me for my body.  With some regularity I get e-mails from guys (I’ve so far only received them from men) saying something to the effect of “I didn’t read the blog but I saw your picture and you are just so damn hot, let’s get it on”.  Um, no.

So my truth is that being fat may indeed make dating harder.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m trying to get thin. My options are to try something that fails 95% of the time and is most likely to leave me less healthy than I am now in the hopes of getting a mate who wouldn’t consider dating me as I am and then rolling the dice that they won’t leave me if I am one of the 95% who gains their weight back. Or, I can hold out for someone who is interested in all of me.  I choose option two.

By way of inspiration, if you’re in an awesome relationship then today might be a great day to leave a comment and tell us about it!  Also, check out the Museum of Fat Love (thanks to reader Petra for finding the link!)

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Published in: on November 21, 2011 at 7:04 am  Comments (90)  

90 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am in a relationship with an amazing man who loves me just how I am. :)

    I’ve also never had a real problem dating or getting laid as an adult, and I get hit on by strangers at least once a week. Confidence, it is vital :)

  2. Ah, relationships while fat. It was when I was a frantically-dieting inbetweenie new to FA that I finally broke the “FA for thee but not for me” barrier – that phase I think many of us go through where “It’s fine for other people to be fat and happy and I’m so glad for them…but I still need to lose 20 lbs” – and the thing that did it was my partners. (I’m poly, was in two triads at the time for a total of four partners) They all loved my body. And told me so. Repeatedly. And it was the sheer critical mass of loving people who found me not only beautiful but desirable and helped me to see myself through their eyes that caused the biggest breakthrough for me. The women, more than the men, really; one of my partners was a thin, athletic woman, a dancer, who when I exploded at her one day that “How can you say that [nice stuff about my body]? You have what our society thinks is The Perfect Body!” quietly replied “I know. But I actually wish I had your softness and curves.” The idea that someone who *is* the ideal could actually envy me for the ways in which I *don’t* meet the ideal was amazing. My other girlfriend at the time was an even larger woman than me – I was about a 14-16, she was (at a guess) a 20-22ish, and that I was attracted to her finally helped me believe that my partners legit *were* attracted to me and not just saying so because they liked my personality.

    And now, I’m monogamously engaged to a man who overtly prefers fat women – not chaserish or anything, it’s like a guy having a preference for redheads or whatever – and something he said to me once stuck with me. We were snuggling in bed one evening and he was idly petting my belly, just running a hand over back and forth, and it felt nice, and I said so. He laughed a little and told me that he liked the softness of my belly, and that he loved that I was the first fat woman he’d been with who would actually let him touch her like that without flinching away and trying to hide it. It made me sad for his exes, full up with socially-inflicted self-hate even though – I’ve met them both – they’re both beautiful women…and it made me grateful to the FA movement and my past lovers, who together have made it possible for me to enjoy an intimate touch to my chubby belly without feeling shame or awkwardness for it.

  3. I’m a fattie who’s been happily married for 25 years. I was fat when we met, and I’ve roller-coaster’d up and down over the years, finally giving up dieting and stabilizing about 5 years ago. Hubby was slender when we met, but now he’s Santa-shaped. I love him both ways.

    He was the first man (other than my Dad) to tell me I was beautiful while keeping his eyes on my FACE (I’m rather busty). He loves my body in every shape it’s been, and to this day when we sit across the table from one another, he simply stares.

    He didn’t and doesn’t love me BECAUSE I’m fat, nor IN SPITE OF my fat, but he loves me because I’m me – including my fat.

    • “He didn’t and doesn’t love me BECAUSE I’m fat, nor IN SPITE OF my fat, but he loves me because I’m me – including my fat.” Sums it up perfectly! :)

  4. I’ve been fat for all my dating life but didn’t properly appreciate the benefits until shortly before I met my husband. I was at a speed dating event with a friend, both of us participating. Before it started we were chatting with a conventionally attractive, thin blonde woman, who was quite pleasant. About halfway through the event I was paired with a smarmy dude who was so overtly and rudely uninterested that he got up from the table and went to get snacks while we were supposed to be having our speed date. My gut reaction was to cringe – how humiliating! But then I saw the event organizer, a conventionally good-looking guy, glaring daggers at my “date.” And I realized I’d done nothing wrong and had nothing to worry about. I wasn’t the one looking like a fool.

    Sadly, as my friend and I left the event, I saw Mr. Smarm eagerly chatting up the nice blonde woman. As we ambled back to our car, I realized how much trouble I’ve been spared all my life by having the shallow jerks looking for a trophy woman self-select themselves out of my way. Yea, I’d had a lot fewer relationships than many women, but maybe it was because I was spared the dipwads and not because I’m not as good as others. It was a revelation.

    (Incidentally, I did get a date with another guy at that speed dating event. That didn’t go far, but my very next date was via a dating site and was my eventual husband!)

  5. If people are willing to share, I would be curious to know how those of you in awesome relationships met your significant other(s). I find that it’s a struggle for me to meet like-minded people who are interested in me and who I would also be interested in. I strongly suspect that it’s because I have something of a triple-whammy of not-socially-acceptable traits going on (I’m VERY fat and carry most of it in my abdomen, I don’t want children, and I’m Pagan) but it does get seriously discouraging after a while. I would really, really love to meet someone, and have tried all kinds of things, but it seems like the only guys I ever get interested in my are the ones who just want me for my body…which, like was mentioned in the original post, isn’t really something I’m interested in. I just find myself feeling lost, alone, and hopeless a lot of the time.

    • my advice: go online…and not the dating sites. if you live in a large city, there is a craiglist. on craigslist there is a personals section. I met my husband on craigslist. I am a hard to fit type too: smart hippy who likes jam bands, computer games and is poly. I straist up say “look im a 30 yr old girls gamer who likes jam bands, books and intelligence. Im very tall and a bbw, with no intentions of getting slimmer. anyone interested?” and i got like 50 responses.

      • i met my partner exactly the same way – the advantage of craigslist is you can describe yourself accurately instead of trying to select into pre-determined categories, like who gives a F what my favorite color is, etc.

      • I agree. Go online. There are probably loads of Pagan, BBW loving, baby hating men out there :).

    • I met my husband (a super fit, super thin, still considered “normal” on the BMI! man) through friends. I had been doing a lot of internet dating and had gotten good at it. I think it was all my attitude. Because I was 30 I felt that they were lucky to date me–because I am wonderful! lol Yes, I am fat, but I’m smart, witty, funny, ok-looking. I no longer was worried about being fat and just waiting for someone to think I was OK…then liking them solely for that. Giving the other person all the power doesn’t really work in a long-term relationship.

      Fifteen years later we’re still together (married 14). Just last night we were laughing our heads off together. I wouldn’t trade this for the world…

      • I am also a Pagan, although a mother of four. I know that an alternative spirituality (especially if it’s high on your priority list, which I’m assuming it is for you) can really make finding a mate challenging but I was able to find a wonderful man. He wasn’t Pagan at the time and was/is very scientifically minded – an Astrophysicist turned Actuary. His “spirituality qotient” (his term) is very low where as mine is very high. I find that many successful relationships with Pagan or New Age-y women friends work best with men who are like that. He has always been okay with my practices and spiritual needs and it’s worked because he didn’t have a strong faith that he had to “defend” against mine. I don’t know if that’s helpful, but perhaps you could turn your focus to that kind of man….
        As for my weight, I was larger when we met and my weight went up and down with every pregnancy (as did his). He wants for me the same things that I desire for myself: more energy, freedom from chronic pain (knee) and overall wellness. I’m working on becoming healthier now and he’s very supportive but we’ve had the talk several times that I’m not trying to lose weight and have no interest in what the scale says. He loves to touch my belly and upper arms, etc and says that the softness of a woman is comforting. I’ve had to get over a lot of body shame to let him do that without cringing, but knowing that he’s very sincere has helped with that. He’s not particularly attracted to larger women, but he is strongly repulsed by the super thin Hollywood type. I know I’m very lucky, but I think the most important thing is to believe that wonderful partners are out there and that they’re trying to find you just as much as you’re trying to find them.

    • I met my boyfriend of over five years now on a dating site. It was targeted to BBW’s. I put four or five pictures up and included full body shots. I found that one thing in the picture dept that helps is to put something fun up as the profile pic. One that men used to love was one where I was dancing and looked absolutely joyful. I also believed that i was worthy of having a relationship. Lastly, I put some of what I wanted in a man out into the universe….like in an asking kind of way, but also knowing that I would get it.

      • Edit…I meant to say that the web site that I met my bf on is NOT targeted to BBW’s.

    • Well, I met my husband as half of a sort of double date… my family had just moved to the region maybe 3-4 months before. I was already interested in what passed for the internet in that day and age (local BBS systems for the win!) and one of the bigger ones in this new region was called Matchmaker. It was more than just a dating site, there was a very nice chat room (including the ability to program your own space in a text based virtual world) for instance, and access to mailing lists (the BBS version of discussion forums).

      Well, my sister started using it and she WAS looking for dates… first one she got, she was justifiably concerned about meeting a strange man in a strange city alone. So she asked him if it would be ok if she brought her sister… and he said sure, I’ll bring my roommate…

      They didn’t hit it off, but the man who was to become my husband and I sure did, in spades. I don’t think it took a week before he proposed… repeatedly because I didn’t want to rush into anything and we’d just met after all. Then he discovered my weakness, proposed again and I accepted.

      How can you turn down a guy who brings you a kitten instead of an engagement ring?

      Really when it comes down to it I lucked the hell out.

    • OkCupid. My boyfriend was the first guy whose profile I read who made me think “Wow, I must say hi to this guy, I want to know who he is, I want to meet him”, and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t at least say “hi”. (Thoughts with other guys ran “well, he seems like an interesting person, but will he like me, did he indicate that chubby women were ok?” I thought this with him too, but the main thought was “I want to get to know him”.). I didn’t have my picture up, and he later told me he didn’t know I was out there, because he ruled out all profiles with no pics, figuring these posters weren’t really serious. So my advice would be to definitely put a picture out there, otherwise someone you might hit it off with might miss you. :-)
      OkCupid is free, and it’s just a fun site, worth trying.

    • I met my husband because he worked with my best fried at the time. She was the cute, skinny, bubbly girl and he was attracted to her. He called me to talk about her and 6 hours later we finally hung up the phone. My best friend never even entered into the conversation again and we’ve been together for the last 18 years. Sometimes the chance comes at you out of the blue – you just have to be awake enough to jump on it when it does!

  6. I am married over 10 years now and have gone from a size 10 to a size 18 (thanks to the dieting industry for that!) and never has my husband made any comment about it. It just doesn’t interest him. Although we’ve had lots of other problems, he’s really completely awesome in that respect.

    Totally different BTW his family … we have been on holidays with my mother-in-law who I generally get along well with, but since my sister-in-law has a new partner who managed to lose 20 pounds recently, these people are horrible. I couldn’t even drink a beer without her commenting on it. And when the sister-in-law visited with her new partner, I really flipped, because they really, literally (and you have to believe me about that) talked about nothing but eating during the first day. It was all about how he lost weight, what they had eaten before, what they eat now, what his son (who is painfully thin anyway) has eaten before and eats now, what I should eat and not eat … Jeez. I listened to that for much too long until I finally told them they should stick their dieting tips up their a**. I told them that I can be as fat as I want to and it’s none of their business. Yay :)

  7. like Redonkabonk, I’ve never had problems getting laid or getting dates and I find my self confidence has a lot to do with–I joke that I was born without the body hatred gene.

    I do want to acknowledge that while I’m very fat (about 350lbs), I do have an hourglass shape and am otherwise conventionally pretty, as well as pretty femme in appearance, all of which give me privilege.

    I’m currently in three relationships–I’m poly–one of which is a fairly serious/committed partnership and the other two are delightful, more casual romps. I met my partner and one of my lovers through online personal ads–okcupid and Fetlife–and the other through a local sex-positive organization.

    one piece of dating advice for fellow fatlings is to be actively involved in “alternative” communities, if you incline that way–ime, the geek, kinky, poly, queer/bi communities I’ve been in have all been noticeably more welcoming of body diversity than say, the tradition bar/club scene.

  8. I don’t date. Partially because I’m actually very content in my solitude and as a singer/songwriter/actor I don’t really have the time to commit to someone else. But I also don’t date for two other major reasons.

    1) I live in Los Angeles and it’s nearly impossible to find a guy out here in the Land of Make Believe who doesn’t merely find juicy girls unattractive but will often brazenly vocalize their sheer disgust. I’vve read many a dating profile that will say “No BBWs” (or worse “No Fatties”). But then again, “skinny hotties” also claim how difficult it is to date in this city too, so maybe this point is moot.

    2) I’m a hypocrite. I find myself completely unattracted to juicy men. I know…I’m the worst kind of fatty in the world! I’ve dated several shapes and sizes in the past but try as I might, big guys just don’t rev my engines. But generally, it’s big guys that are into me. So I don’t find myself taking the plunge because I don’t want to “settle” for less than MY perfect guy. Whatever that is…I’ve also never dated what I consider to be “my type”, either…so I feel like I deserve to go for what I actually want when it feels like time to start looking again. And I don’t mean a “trophy” of my own…but a guy that I don’t want to keep my hands off of. Unfortunately that hasn’t been how it went with the big guys I’ve dated.

    Honestly, I have to wonder if I’m going to hell for thinking this way. Or if I need hypocrite therapy. Or if it’s ok to just like what I like cuz that’s how The Maker mixed the chems in my body and I shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I just don’t want to come off like the speed-dating jerk from above, because I do believe everyone is beautiful and worthy of love and respect.

    Dilemma.

    • There’s nothing wrong with liking washboard abs, but I don’t think having a predetermined “type” usually works out very well.
      Also, I think a lot of us don’t find our “perfect” until we get to know someone inside and out. That may sound incredibly corny but it has been my personal experience.

    • Honestly, I do not think you are a hypocrite. Women should also be allowed to have their preferences regardless of their own body type. As long as you’re honest about it from the beginning and don’t try to change your partner into something that he really wasn’t from the beginning, I’d say go for it.

      I myself is somewhat of a fitness “freak”, and I met my “plus size” woman a couple of years ago. She’s very picky when it comes to guys appearances, but she was honest about wanting a very fit guy from the start.

      • Ok how did you two find each other??? Do you have a brother? ;-)

    • Hi, sorry about very late reply, I didn’t realize you had answered this one.

      We met through my photographer. I’ve been working partially as a model in my country and my photographer introduced me to one of her very picky girlfriends.

      Unfortunately I’m single again now, things didn’t work to well between us in the end. But as they say, back up on the horse ;)

  9. This is such a painful issue. I moved in with a guy in my 20s and my weight went from being something he was “OK” with, to something that was a problem. It was made clear to me that he wanted someone who looked good on his arm, and I wasn’t it. Comments about my eating followed, often in public. It became intolerable and for years afterwards, I couldn’t accept that any man might be interested in me. Looking back, there were men around, but I studiously ignored them. For some reason, though, the universe rewarded me with a guy who got through all that crap, who loves me for me. They are out there.

  10. I’ve had a lot of trouble dating as a fat person. I hate rejection, and I don’t take it very well, so I don’t put myself out there as much as I could. It’s funny that HAES has given me the confidence to walk into any fitness class, workshop, or training not giving a crap what anyone else thinks, but men still really freak me out. Part of the issue is that men have propositioned me for hookups and sex in the past, because they believe that as a fat person I am “desperate”. Even if a guy is attracted to me, I can rarely find one who will bring our relationship out in the open and introduce me to friends and family. I’ve become much more confident over the past few years, so hopefully I’ll have more luck in the future.

    • I hope your confidence will translate to the dating world. I have had to wade through a lot of men who thought that I was desperate, but eventually found a really great guy!

  11. I have been married for (almost) nine years to a wonderful man who not only appreciates my size but often tells me how attractive he finds me still. I have struggled with this my entire life as all through school I was tortured by my peers.

    My husband is kind, caring and loving in every respect. The one problem? I never believe him when he says these wonderful things. After years of dealing with self-loathing, it is so difficult to believe that someone could possibly love, well, all of me. I get so worried when he comments on the beauty of thin women he sees on TV. He has a ‘thing’ for Angelina Jolie and every time he says anything about it, I get insecure and worried as she is the polar opposite from me. He laughs when I ask if he’d rather have someone like her and tells me how silly I am. But somehow, in the back of my mind, I just can’t believe what he says. I wish I could, logically I know he means it, but emotionally, I just can’t accept it. HAES requires baby steps for some of us, I guess.

    • Wow, that’s my story right here. I’ve been married for 12 years now, and he tries every day to make me believe him, but I just can’t see what he sees. I try to remember that I see HIM as beautiful, too, even though he also cannot see himself that way. I try to accept that we have a special way of seeing those we love – now we just need to love ourselves!

    • I was asking someone once how he could find me attractive when he found my opposite type attractive (not body shape or size here, as it happens, but my general hairiness) and he said ‘Liking red wine doesn’t mean you dislike white wine.”
      Which I thought was a reasonable analogy.
      And from my own perspective, I need to ‘get over’ this sort of issue as I find a wide range of looks attractive myself!

  12. Dating has always been a little tricky for me. I’m painfully shy, and really kind of awkward around new people. Add being fat on top of that, and I don’t go out much. I’ve also gotten really good at the “flatter the fat girl” game some dudes (I’ve yet to have had another woman try this on me) of paying me LOTS of compliments expecting that I will be SO flattered, and because I’m fat, I’ll be SO grateful for the attention that I’ll totally let them into my pants in no time flat. Yeah, nice try bozo. It’s hilarious to call them out when dudes try it – I had one guy who was tripping over himself to pay me compliments and when he was hinting how he should totally come to my place to hang out, I told him in no uncertain terms that I was not down for a booty-call. He exploded into insults calling me fat, a pig, ugly, etc. I told him that was funny considering he was just calling me beautiful five minutes ago.

    But, I have had some decent dating experiences – my ex-girlfriend was awesome in that she showed me I can be a fat girl and be found attractive. She also introduced me to poly. The only thing I found hard in our relationship was that she would talk a lot about going to the gym, how she needed to slim down and lose weight cause she felt she didn’t look good. And whenever she started going on one of these talks, all I could think was “Do you feel that way about me and my weight?”

    My current boyfriend is by the best experience by far. We met at work and it took me forever to realize he was flirting with me and not just being nice to the new girl. I was a little nervous at first, cause he does prefer fat women but it’s like a preference, not a requirement. He doesn’t just love my body. He’s attracted to it, but he’s also attracted to my sarcastic sense of humor, my intelligence and geekiness, how I yell out nerd facts when someone on TV gets it wrong and my silliness. He even got me to love my belly. For years my belly and I have tolerated each other. But between getting into FA, HAES and the boyfriend – I now love my belly. Yes it’s fat. Yes, sometimes it makes pants shopping ridiculous. However it’s a part of me. It also reminds me of my grandpa’s belly – which amuses me that I get to have a trait of his, besides the short legs.

  13. I find that men from other countries and continents – yes, Europe, Africa, Asia- are much more receptive to dating and loving women who are fat. (Goes with what Ragen said about her mom getting constant proposals for her from men who were in Mali). They actually like women’s curves and softness.

    • I found that to be true as well. When I was in Italy, I had no trouble getting dates, and that’s a very western country!

  14. I also met my hubby when I was a size 10…it was the smallest I’d ever been, but looking back now, it was also the unhealthiest, the whole “I look great but I feel like crap” experience.

    I’m somewhere in the 14 16 18 corridor, depending on what day it is, and just last night my hubby said to me, “I am more deeply in love with you than ever, and I find you incredibly sexy”. I met him through a dating agency that I paid a LOT of money for because I don’t do the bar scene and (this is really telling my age) it was right before the internet came into being. He was my second “introduction”, and I never looked back. I went with an exclusive agency because I knew exactly what I was after and wasn’t going to stop until I found it.

    I dated a lot in high school which by the standard definition should not have happened, as I was heavy, had gappy teeth, and bad acne. But I was also not your standard girl, and now that the horrible hormonal tangoes of adolescence have died back, and I can see the forest for the trees, I really, truly do think guys want to find women who don’t have problems. Most are not good at dealing with complex, subtle yet twisty minds. So if I’d made my weight my problem, I don’t think I would’ve had nearly as many dates.

    It was still a problem in my head, however. I just kept it very quiet. I figured any guy I dated was my date, not my therapist. And not one ever made reference to it. In fact, I had one guy tell me, “I’m am NOT into skinny women..!”

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s about confidence more than it’s about almost anything else.

      If only that wonderful, magical ingredient called ‘confidence’ came in a bottle. Instead, it’s something that has to be earned through hard work for many of us.

  15. My wife and I are coming up on 32 years of marriage, and she has never fit that myopic cultural image of “the right size.” Perhaps the “dating site that shall not be named” may think that should entitle me to have an affair with someone they regard as pretty, but that ignores several things. The first and foremost is that our wedding vows did not include any provisions or exemptions to allow infidelity. That “forsaking all others” part wasn’t conditional on whether she managed to line up with the current standard of beauty. The second is that I am crazy about HER. I love HER. I desire HER. That isn’t dependent on her killing herself trying to fit an image that her body wasn’t born to fit. It’s rooted solely on who she is. I won’t love her more because she might lose weight, and I won’t love her less if she gains weight. When we make love, it’s her I’m making love with. She isn’t just a convenient stand-in for someone else I’d rather be with.

    I do have to wonder, just how many of the guys that buy into that “you deserve to have an affair” nonsense, would appreciate having the same arbitrary, selfish mentality applied to them. How many of them are “hot” by our culture’s standards for men? Would they think it justifiable if their wives/girlfriends/SO’s cheated because some dating site promised them a fling with a fit and handsome man?

    Love isn’t blind – exactly the opposite. Love sees what selfish desire cannot see, and that is the beauty far deeper than the superficial surface details. Thank heavens for that, because if it were only dependent on how all of us lined up with the cultural “ideal,” most of us would live very lonely lives. After all, I’m sure no Fabio myself.

    • “Love isn’t blind – exactly the opposite. Love sees what selfish desire cannot see, and that is the beauty far deeper than the superficial surface details.”

      This made me cry a little. The world would be a better place if there were more men like you. I’ve got a man who I cherish more than anything, and who loves me for exactly who and what I am.

      Thanks for your very spot-on post. :)

    • this was awesome to read!!!! thanks for sharing!!

    • So wonderful to hear a man’s perspective on this. I know for a fact I drive my husband crazy with telling him I feel like a failure because he is so sweet and wonderful that he deserves a better looking spouse. Not to mention he is waaay out of my league. However, I love that when a woman tries to flirt with him he is completely unaware and will be completely focused on me.

      After making a very close mutual friend with a young Italian-American man who would back my husband when I would put myself down about my weight I began to realize that for the most part it isn’t always men who are the shallow ones… sometimes it is women trying to live up to a standard that doesn’t even exist! They both would say… a little extra weight is nothing to be concerned about you’re beautiful!

      I still have a hard time remembering I”m worthy of being loved and loved well.. but I know now that maybe he really is genuinely attracted to me and I didn’t trick him into marrying me or something.. even though he totally pursued me!

  16. I am in a relationship with a great guy for over five years now. We met via a dating site…not one tailored to big people. He tends to like bigger women, but I am much bigger than his preference. He has been unwilling to state it when I’ve asked, but I think someone he likes around the 200 pound range. I am significantly more than that. On our first date I asked if he had dated anyone my size and he told me that he had not, but he was open. He has never said a word about my body size but does encourage when I exercise. Yes, we have had our ups and downs, but everyone does. Overall, he’s a great guy and we have a good relationship.

    • I’d be pretty unwilling to state my “preference” if my sweetie asked, because that is based on the appearance of some complete stranger, personality unknown. Whereas I love my sweetie’s body because it’s HIM.

      I have found, however, that my tastes in actors, etc. have gradually been moving more in the direction of my sweetie’s physical “type.” (We’ve been together almost 20 years.) Maybe that will happen with your guy’s preferences too. :-)

      • Thanks peregrin8! You make an interesting point. I am fine with the fact that I don’t meet his ideal size. One should not ask those kinds of questions in the first place and one who evades answering is probably smart. He does love my body regardless as he loves me. Since we’ve been together, I gained about 20 pounds, lost almost 80 pounds and put back on 30 of them. And, I’ve done this all without dieting! I just don’t stay consistent with my exercise and intentions to eat as healthily as possible.

    • I am in the same boat as you. My husband likes “bigger women” but openly admitted that yeah.. he’d like to see me more at about 200-250lbs mostly because he’d like to do more adventurous things in the bedroom that cannot be currently achieved because of our size differences. He is only about 135lbs and I’m currently 340 at nine months pregnant, but he still touches me and tells me I’m sexy and beautiful. Before I got pregnant I was 280 and was exercising and eating a more well balanced diet and losing weight rather quickly. I WANT to be 220-230 again…. and not just because he wants me … but because I liked that weight

  17. I’m approaching 8 happy years of fat marriage with my husband, who is average-sized (of “overweight” BMI). Prior to meeting him, my approach to dating was very insecure and timid. I thought I would likely never marry. However, there was a spark between the two of us, and we easily fell for each other.

  18. I am in a wonderful relationship with an amazing man. Best relationship I’ve ever been in. We’ve known each other almost three years and been “together” for about 2.5. He is the kindest and most supportive man I’ve ever known.

    He has issues with me being obese. He has a very narrow image of what “attractive” means, and he is ashamed and upset by this limitation. It has impacted his relationships in the past when he was with thin women who had boyish figures, and it impacts on our relationship, but working through it together is worth it to both of us because of all the good stuff we have.

    I tried dating men in my 20’s who were “ok” with me being fat but didn’t really like it, or “weren’t attracted to some parts of my body,” and that was awful. I vowed never to do that again.

    This is different, though. He has never once, never ever, seen this as my problem to fix. Yes, he has attraction issues, but he accepts that these are HIS issues. We have a loving, affectionate, and mutually delightful physical relationship. It takes work and creativity to keep it going, but that has been my experience in every long term relationship.

    Knowing we need to keep a special focus on it and both working to keep it functional and active has been a force for good in the relationship. It was one of the foundation discussions through which we learned to communicate in supportive and constructive ways. We keep reaching for each other, and working through this and other obstacles together.

  19. Dating as a thin and attractive woman hasn’t always been easy for me. Sometimes it is hard to tell if a guy is really interested or if he just wants to get me in the sack.I dated guys who played along for months, one almost a year, and pretended to really like me…only to later find out that all they wanted was sex and were just all around big perverts. It’s heartbreaking.

    • That’s a good point. I think both experiences/struggles, dating while fat and dating while conventionally attractive, speak to a deeper issues of how we all treat one another. I have been treated like crap by men, both men that have found me repulsive and men that have found me insanely attractive. And not to discriminate, I know women who use men too. It’s sad.

  20. I would hesitate to label everyone who doesn’t find fat people attractive a product of the mainstream beauty norm, but I do think that there is a grotesque exaggeration of people’s natural preferences going on with an added bonus of fetishizing the out-of-bounds (I have no doubt that at Mali there is some equivalent of “chubby chaser” they call men who are attracted to thin women…)

    I have gotten a lot of flack for my size form guys – there was one specific example of fine manhood, not, who scompared me to a circus fereak after we’d alreadybeen sloeeping together for a while – but in general, the sixze of my ass is the least of my worries when it comes to keeping a relationship going. Being an opinionatedl bitchy, feminist, skeptic, chain-smoking, geeky, kinky, music-obsessed,BPD goth rivethead DJ makes most guys run away faster than you’d think.

  21. Been happily married for 17+ years and I’ve been overweight all my life. To put it bluntly I wasn’t his type until he met me. It can happen to larger gals– so don’t lower your standards . I never thought I would get married it just took the right guy to change my mind.

  22. *Note that this is a heterosexual story, but may have content relevant to non hetero people!*

    I met my husband on OKcupid. As a size 28 woman, online dating has been where it’s at for me my entire dating life. When I began online dating in college, I posted only head shots that were carefully angled to conceal my double chin so that I could hopefully get men to fall in love the my personality in spite of my body, just as people were discussing up thread.

    This behavior netted me very little actual dating satisfaction because half of the men felt “tricked” and half of them would try to get over their fat phobia but ultimately freak out in the end. Only a few were not disturbed in some way or other when we met in person.

    Round about 2005 I finally got some body love enlightenment and began posting full body photos along with my profile (which stayed the same, content wise.) THIS was the key, everyone, to finding men without fat phobia issues. Men who weren’t interested in the whole package didn’t engage with me. WOW did that save me a lot of time and b.s.! My sex life for sure soared through the roof. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, really, during that first period of “dating” but I did have men that I saw regularly for dates and boning.

    It was on this confidence and self-esteem high that I did meet my husband. It started very very casual, and snowballed as we got to know each other. He has loved the whole package from the very beginning. When I “came out ” to him as a non-dieter, he was surprised that I was concerned that he might be expecting me to ultimately lose weight, because he didn’t really think of weight as an issue for me or anyone else. He’s a good one, I think.

    I do want to note that I have the privilege of enjoying very good health. I’m not sure how my dating life would have unrolled if I had health and ability changes added to my fat body, but I’m pretty sure it would have been much harder. I also have a “pretty face” which may or may not have contributed to sex life success, but probably did. My heart goes out to everyone who has even more social challenges to deal with than I did, but I do still believe that any person who can love themselves can attract the love of others.

  23. I was married to a man who dumped me abruptly and painfully, and now claims that he loved me so much that he couldn’t stand to see me “killing myself” through being fat and eating unhealthy food. The pain is still very much with me three years later, though I have moved on to a happy life including a kind and wonderful new boyfriend.

    To me, if you love someone, you act in loving ways toward her, and you accept her imperfections and help her to reach HER goals, not the ones you set for her.

  24. I’m 23 years old and have been fat since puberty (currently 5′ 6″/235lbs). When I was in high school, I dated a boy that, and it shames me to even type this, but a dated a guy who, when I was at the height of my anorexic tendencies, finally took an interest in me. As the relationship progressed, I got more comfortable and in doing so, I started eating again, and of course, gained weight. I remember him saying one night “You used to be hotter before you started eating more.” Anyway, that relationship lasted an agonizing two years and left me with many scars, but there was a silver lining. I met the love of my life through my ex.

    I am dating the most wonderful man I could have asked for. It’s been three years and we are still together, going strong. He loves me, loves my body, loves my mind. He loves me exactly the way I am. I know people my age think he must have some kind of fetish, a “chubby chaser” or something, but that’s not the case, he is simply uninterested in what society tells him is “beautiful”.

  25. This article and all of the comments, are really pulling at my heart strings. My husband and I have been together for 6 yrs, married for 2. All through our relationship i was slender..but miserable. I wouldnt say that i was unhealthy, but I had my ridiculous book of rules and I stuck with them. ” no eating after 7:30″, “desert only 3 times per week” ” gym everyother day come rain or shine” etc. SInce I got married 2 years ago, and since I started HAES, I have gained 65 pounds. My husband ofcourse looks like he did the day I met him, and couldnt be a better husband. He is a wonderful listener, incredibly handsome, helpful, calm, and financially supportive. HOWEVER. about 20 pounds ago, after I had put on about 45 pounds, he stopped making love to me. I asked him about it, and he said he was stressed out about work. Our love making went from a daily party to several weeks, with me always persuing. Last night after 4 months of not having sex, I begged with him to tell me why. He said ” I love you more than I have ever loved anyone, and you are the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I don’t find you physically attractive since you have gained so much weight, you transformed into someone i hardly recognize”
    I exploded at him, and he promised he will try to start having sex with me again. He is getting a prescription filled to ensure arousal and we are setting up some counseling sessions. I just cant help but feel like I am the one who should change? I should go dust off my book of rules, or I should find someone else who doesnt consider making love to me, a chore.

    • I’m so sorry that this is happening to you. I would be in way over my head to give advice here other than to say that I would suggest that the two of you definitely get some counseling sooner rather than later, and maybe work separately as well as together. I believe that you are beautiful just as you are. Good luck,

      ~Ragen

    • I’m jennigma at gmail dot com. I commented above. Since my sweetie and I have similar attraction issues, if you and/or your sweetie would like to talk to us about coping with something similar, feel free to email and we can do that. Not sure if it will help, but we may have some strategies you can try.

  26. What I have found on my road of love and lust as a fattie is that how I felt about myself most influenced who I dated/played with. When I was confident in my beauty and sexuality, I attracted the “right” type of men and women. When I was feeling bad about my body, I attracted the opposite. An extremely attractive and intelligent woman once told me that she was attracted to me because I was “comfortable in my body and with my sexuality.”
    I am a classic example of how accepting your body is a daily practice and you need to work at it. Look at yourself and love yourself. When I “fell off the wagon” and went back to looking at a scale and hating what I perceived as my body’s “faults”, I became less attractive for many reasons.
    Right now I am married to the best man I could ever wish for. He was attracted to my personality, my body, my mind… He tells me everyday how beautiful I am, and when I’m having a hard time accepting myself, he just looks at me and says “then look at you the way I do.”
    I have an amazing husband, I have amazing friends, and I have an amazingly round ass. You CAN have it all.
    The moral of my story is this: It can be more difficult as a fattie to find a date, a mate, or a play-date, but *WE* make it more difficult than it has to be. Define yourself, love yourself, and do not “settle” in any aspect of your life. When you provide good healthy love for yourself, you can recognize BS when you see it. You are defined by you, not your ability to find/keep a man or woman. You are defined by YOU not your “too fat” or “too thin” body. A wise person told me “Life is now. You are living your life right now.” DO IT! Love/sex/partnership will all fall into place.
    Much love to all! XOXOXOXO
    K

    • Thanks Kandice, I love this story :)

      ~Ragen

  27. The man that I am in love with, we were friends for over a year before we started dating.
    After the first month of dating he said something rather dreadful to me, saying that he couldn’t be with me because he wasn’t attracted to ‘bigger women’.

    I told him that he should have just broken up with me instead of saying something that, inevitably, would make me fall back into self-body hatred.
    Instantly after he said it he felt bad.

    Almost two years after the fact (we are happily together — never breaking up over his comment)he still doesn’t understand what drove him to say what he did. He loves me, all of me. He is attracted to me. He openly kisses my belly (my biggest part of me) and all of my other chubby areas.

    I love him so much, and I know he loves me.
    What I think caused him to say what he did was a mixture of him not ever dating a bigger person (he is a media-accepted form of handsome) and the pressures of the world finally becoming visible to him (having been thin/widely accepted as attractive his whole life he never really realized how much the world stigmatizes bigger people).

    He now tells me that he loves me no matter what. He loves my body now, and he would love my body if it were 200lbs bigger or 40lbs smaller too.

  28. My only problem I’ve had with dating fat (myself) or fat people(others) is confidence. If I’m interested in someone (I date men & women and find this in both sexes) and they are not comfortable with their body-it shows. In everything they do. It’s hard to feel confident as the pursuer when what you are seeing is someone not comfortable with themselves. I find a similar thing when I’m in a situation where I might get asked out or hit on-if I’m having a “I feel awful/low confidence” day I don’t get attention, if I’m confident and feeling good I get attention, hit on, etc.

    I think the number one thing you can do for yourself if you want to be pursued/be the pursuer is have confidence. Confidence, being comfortable with your body and who you are is Sexy. (with a capital S!)

  29. Used to chat with one of my husband’s coworkers who happened to live in the same apartment complex we did, oh maybe 15+ years back… she didn’t date because “I wouldn’t want to date anyone who would be interested in THIS body because I don’t date people with disgusting fetishes!”

    She was all of a size 8 or 10, maybe.

    It’s not just being fat that can stand between people and finding a relationship… this whole social construct about what you have to look like to be “normal” can really do a number on someone’s psyche.

  30. The guys I have dated have been friends first, so I know that they like me for me.

    My current b/f is tall and thin, but is very supportive, he gets that I have little control over my weight (he eats more than I do generally and barely gains any). He is encouraging me to improve the quality of the food I eat and take more exercise that I enjoy.

    I mostly avoided the dating scene by being a bit of a tomboy, a lot of a bookworm and way too odd for most boys to want to date (not enough geeks in my area).

    For the pagan looking for people, see if there is a meet in your area, or possibly start one, get a group of similar minded people together to hang out and expand your circle of friends, that will give you more opportunities to find someone you can connect with.

    Oh and I once had a guy try the fat chicks must be desperate routine on me while being so drunk he couldn’t even compliment me properly and still thought I’d be flattered >.<

  31. I didn’t date at all until my mid 20’s (barring a brief engagement to a closeted gay dude). At that time I joined a table-top RPG Star Wars game, and found that becoming friends with other geeks was a good way to get to know guys instead of hoping to meet “Mr. Right” via blind dates (which were horrible). The geeky guys I hung out with were more interested in the size of my brain than the size of my butt. I met husband number 1 and husband number 2 through chatting about D&D and other games.

    Husband number 1 introduced me to a number of friends who were completely fat acceptance types. Suddenly I would find myself in the middle of a group of folks who accepted me and thought I was beautiful, sexy, smart, funny, and wonderful. The marriage was a disaster, but I got a boost of confidence from the attention, so as I became friends with husband number 2, it didn’t seem crazy, suddenly, that he was attracted to me too.

    But we moved away from our hometown for jobs, and getting away from all the fat acceptance took a toll, and we both started dieting and gaining weight. I went back to thoroughly hating myself, more and more over the years. We’ve been married 12 years now, and, as I mentioned above in a reply, he tries to let me know how beautiful I am to him every day. It’s a struggle to believe him, but I surely want to. I just wish that I could see what he sees.

    Lala

  32. The first time I was asked out – in middle school – I thought it was a joke, got angry, and told the guy’s friend who came over on the playground to do the asking to eff off….I’m still not sure if it was a joke or just a really shy guy…

    Decades later, at my largest size, I’ve married my perfect partner. Turns out, I had to stop hating/fighting my body for the way other people treated me before I could believe that someone actually could love me, body included. My husband tells me I’m beautiful and I believe him.

    To add a bit to the conversation – I also had to get over my self-hate regarding my body before I could accept other bodies as well. I used to think I only liked skinny guys. I wonder if it was because of my own self-loathing though…turns out, I was missing out on a whole range of guys, including my wonderful husband.

    I think what it boils down to is that dating fat and miserable is miserable. Dating fat and happy makes all the difference! Size acceptance has likely saved my life – it definitely has saved my love life!

  33. Despite always having been a bit self conscious about my weight, I’ve also always been pretty quirky and confident because I usually didn’t care what others thought about me. I think on some level I knew that quirkiness would eventually gain me good friends instead of make me lose not as good friends, like it did throughout elementary school and middle school (and sort of through high school, but it was better then)

    I’ve never been suspicious about someone complimenting me just to get in my pants… I probably should have been considering I’ve heard real life accounts of people close to me going to dances and being asked to dance on a dare.

    In any case, I’ve got a handsome man that I’ve been with for a little over a year now. He takes every opportunity he can to call me beautiful, because he knows I don’t quite believe it… and he actually discouraged me from dieting. He said “You can excercise all you want. I’ll go with you. But don’t torture yourself by cutting out the foods you like. You eat fine.” (not an exact quote, but close enough)

  34. I’m 58, have been fat since before it was an “epidemic” and am married 6 1/2 years so far to a terrific man who loves curvy women. Happy? well, we lived together for over a year first, because until I ran into him I thought I didn’t ever want to get married. Yes, very happy.

  35. Hubby and I met each other through a contact ad in a Pagan magazine here in the UK (T., you might want to try that one if there’s a local mag that has small ads). We started off writing to one another, then after a few months, arranged to meet up in London, which was handily midway between where we were both living. That was about fourteen years ago and we’ve been married for eleven. He has absolutely, always loved my body; I’m maybe slightly bigger than when we met, but not by much, because my size tends to stay fairly stable when I’m happy. (He’s was very thin when we met, and while he’s a little bigger now, he’s still thin enough that he’s had his doctor weigh him to check he wasn’t giving him too high a dose of meds.)

    While I’m an in-betweenie, so may not have had as many issues on that front as some larger fat women, I’d had my self-esteem badly dented by a first marriage in which my ex married me as a size 14, fully intending he could somehow bully me into magically being a 10, but never actually telling me this until it was all over bar the shouting; so, naturally, I was a little wary. Also,my social skills are not brilliant – I’ve long suspected I may have some degree of Asperger’s, although I’ve never been through formal diagnosis – so the ‘normal’ way of dating always scared me spitless.

    I met my first husband, incidentally, through one of the early computer dating agencies, which paired me up with guys ranging from the merely incompatible to the sexually predatory. I was only in my teens back then, but had spent some years of falling for guys in my immediate school/college circle – and they were the bookish, geeky ones, what I thought were my male counterparts – who inevitably ‘just wanted to be friends’. I realize now that desperation isn’t attractive; but I’d had it shoved down my throat at home that I couldn’t be normal because boys weren’t flocking after me, and after a while you start to believe all that. Living alone for a while after the divorce was the first chance I had to really see whether I did want to be with someone, and if so, what kind of person.

  36. I’m in a loving relationship with a wonderful man, and we have plans to move in together this year. I’m obviously biased, but I think that we make an adorable couple. I’m short and fat (5’1″ and 200 lb.) and he’s tall and skinny (6’2″ and 140 lb.), and we look like quite the cute pair walking down the street. : )
    I’ve always thought that I was beautiful (at least, after the traditional teenage angst-ridden years), and he confirms this everyday. We both struggle with a bit of body image issues; sometimes I worry that I’m too fat and he worries that he’s too thin. But we only have to trade these troublesome stories with each other and immediately the other partner assuages these fears. I think he’s the most handsome man in the world, and I wouldn’t want him to force himself to gain a single pound against his body’s natural weight. He loves my curves and wouldn’t want me to lose a single pound in the same manner.

  37. Good insight!

    I’ve recently started dating a pretty thin man and it is still really hard for me to understand why he likes me but he is also patient and kind along with his thinness and he is always ready to reassure me when I voice my worries. He has said many times that he likes -me- and my size is just part of me. :)

    I know that I personally don’t judge a man by his body size so I guess I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to believe that there’s men out there who don’t judge women by their body size! I think it goes back to what the culture tells us.

    • There’s something that I know I am guilty of sometimes: buying into the equally harmful stereotype that “men are pigs” who are dumber than women when it comes to emotion and relationships, and therefore less able to see through the cultural propaganda. So “we women” are wiser and able to appreciate size diversity better than “those men.”

      When I was out on the open market I made a point of believing that I was hot and that I could get together with a fabulous guy who wanted to ravish me in a non-creepy way. Now I’m happily married 10.5 years to a great dude who loves MOI (doesn’t even care about my ginormous boobs!). Strangely, now that I am married, I find myself slipping into that thought pattern of “all men in our culture judge women by their body size” even though I know for a fact that’s not true.

      Peoples is weird… that’s all.

      • Yeah, it’s definitely not just men who walk around with harmful stereotypes! Got to give the good guys some credit. :)

  38. Happily dating a tall, strong, wonderful man who tells me every day how beautiful I am. I sometimes even catch him staring! He is my first boyfriend and I am constantly grateful for that, despite the fact that it took me over 20 long years to meet someone. I don’t always believe him when he calls me beautiful, but I know that he believes it. I never thought I would be considered beautiful, cute, desirable, etc., by anyone, but it truly is possible! And you know what, waiting this long has really worked out for me. I have seen friends be in and out of relationships, never really getting to know their SO’s, and sometimes I think I dodged a bullet by not being conventionally attractive. As someone mentioned upthread (downthread??), I think it would be very difficult to wonder if everyone I met was only interested in getting in my pants, or if they were really interested in me.

    I’m still hoping to lose some weight, as I have gained quite a bit due to quitting smoking, moving less, etc (doesn’t help that my bf is a wonderful cook with a voracious appetite who loves when I keep up with him!), but it’s not because of any pressure from him. He is incredibly supportive of whatever I choose to do, but I don’t need to look “hot” for him, as he already finds me attractive!

    Anyways, just wanted to throw my $.02 in and say that it is possible to meet someone wonderful while obese by BMI measurements.

  39. I love your blog!! I only recently read Health at Every Size (after dieting for 20+ years), and I finally am starting to feel free. Thank you for being a voice of reason in an insane society. :)

    I have been married for nearly 8 years to an athletic man who has loved me absolutely the same at my thinnest and heaviest weights. His continued affirmation is what started me on my fat acceptance journey. I figured, if he loves me no matter what shape I am, why can’t I do the same? Now my focus is on staying healthy so I can be around fro my daughter, but that has NOTHING to do with a number on a scale.

  40. I think for people who have trouble dating, it’s easy to blame everything on the weight. I know I’m fat and have a lot of other factors that complicate dating (including a visible disability, a tendency to move a lot, and only going in for women), and tend to do very little dating. Thinking logically, my weight is almost certainly one small part of the multiplicity of reasons why I rarely date, and there are a number of women my size or larger who have lots of dates and exciting sex lives. So it’d make more sense to look primarily at stuff like my ineptness at flirting and my tendency to doubt that non-creepy people could find me attractive (I’ve had some unfortunate run-ins with people who are excessively focused on my disability or my weight and not interested in treating the attached person decently).

    But it’s really easy to let my brain default to the standard cultural script of If Only I Lost The Weight and blame it all on my being fat.

  41. I would love to say that reading all of these lovely stories gives me hope that I will find someone myself but it’s not that easy.

    I’m a 25 year old inbetweenie woman who has only been on one date in her whole life. I wouldn’t say that I’m completely unattractive but people hardly ever compliment me (I think I can count on one hand all the instances in which I have been.). It’s tough. Do I think there’s someone out there for me? Maybe.

    Will I ever actually find them? I don’t know about all that.

    • I completely understand where you are coming from. I was at this point a year and half ago. Im 26 and am in my first real relationship. I have always been fat but had never gotten any interest from guys. Then I lost a ton of weight (went from a 20 to a 12) and bam- got asked out by three guys in the first month after the whole weight loss. This was quite a change from being invisible most of life. And guess what? I refused every single date. I was very cognizant of the fact that my weight loss was the only reason these people asked me out (I had known them for a while). That was quite the break through for me. I have gained back all the weight and met my partner when I looked the way I looked my entire life- and he loves me for who I am- fat, intelligent and happy! I realised that having my own life- focusing on my goals, school and career- and knowing that I am enough while holding out for the right person has helped me find the love of my life. Hang in there, stay confident and focus on your goals…love seems to bite people in the butt when they are not really looking :). P.S. Sorry if I sound like some weird version of Oprah!

    • As a fat woman who has no problem meeting men, I have a few words of advice.

      The first is to dress better, whatever that means to you. I won’t go into shit like what is “flattering” but figure out what makes you look and feel good and trust, that energy will start to spread to others and you will start to attract people. The key is to be open — once you are open to experiences, it’s funny how things will begin to fall into place. Too often, fat women assume that no one could possibly be interested or that they should not even bother trying, and nothing could be further from the truth. With that, I would say to learn to flirt. It sounds so 50s but a cute dress and a smile will take you take a long way.

      Anyway, the truth is that thin women have just as many shitty relationships as fat women do. I have friends who are conventionally model gorgeous and who have the same dating issues that I do (commitment phobic men, cheaters, etc). Sure, the pool for them is larger, but it’s a larger pool of losers, trust me. And here’s another thing: men who are attracted to fat women tend to really love them. It’s revolutionary to meet someone who loves your body, and not just the boobs and ass.

      Anyway, things have gotten easier for me as I’ve gotten older (I’m 30 now) and I used to internet date exclusively, but as time has gone on, and I’ve become more confident, travelled, and just plain more interesting, it has become much easier to meet men. The last few guys i’ve dated have been men I’ve met at bars or through friends. it IS possible.

      So, work on yourself, develop your own style, and just get out there and live. The men will follow.

  42. I’m in a wonderful relationship with a man who tells me my body is amazing and who loves me for my personality, intelligence, and values. But it wasn’t all magic and unicorns and fat acceptance right away. I did have to have the FA 101 talk with him… and FA 201… I’m working him toward an FA masters. In the early part of our relationship, after a particularly difficult doctors appointment where the new doctor had berated me about my weight and pulled out the the vague future health threat because of my white coat hypertension, even after I told her she was using the wrong sized cuff, and I had been misdiagnosed with hypertension before – all while my pants were off (captive audience much?). I told him about it, and he said that she might be right but she was wrong to present it like that… I took that opportunity to calmly explain some HAES principles to him as well as some evidence concerning the ineffectiveness of weight loss, even though I was terrified that I’d have to either let him go or struggle our whole relationship with the issue of my weight. At 6’3 and 185lbs, he’d had the privilege of never having to examine the way we think about health. Even though at that point he rarely exercised, tended to eat less healthful, quick, processed meals, didn’t sleep very much, and had ignored a minor medical concern for more than a year, he thought of himself as healthy because he was thin. But he listened with an open mind, and I was afraid that he was just paying me lip service when he thanked me for letting him know about this alternative perspective. He is a man who will do anything to make me happy. But over our time together HAES has benefited the health of both of us, and FA has benefited our relationship. I love this man! :D

  43. This was a escellent post and this subject is pretty close to my heart. I’ve been many sizes throughout my life so far and can relate to what it feels like.

  44. I never dated in high school. The one guy I liked who came on to me once wouldn’t own up to it, and the two who did like me I was too shy and scared to go out with. The most recent guys are the one for whom I was the “experimental” fat chick – he only wanted to know what it was like to have sex with a fat woman (he did NOT find out), and the ones who think that I am desperate enough to date garbage just to get laid. Last night it was the former bank robber recovering from federal prison looking for a good time. (I am not making this up.) I’ve had guys who LOVED talking to me, but the minute they learned I was a large woman couldn’t run fast enough, and the guy who sent me the anonymous message: “Step away from the sandwich.” The two guys from high school, one from college, and two more recent men are the only ones who seem not to have cared about size. The more recent ones were duds for other reasons, so….still single, and sick of it. *sigh*

  45. I toyed with the idea of replying for a whole 10 minutes before finally deciding, what the hell, perhaps seeing some of my thoughts typed out in front of me will help me come to terms with some of my issues.

    I’m 18 so not exactly experienced on the whole dating scene, unlike a lot of other teenagers. I had tears in my ears when reading everybody’s success stories, they’re all truly beautiful as well as inspiring. I can only wish to have as much luck in the future.

    So far, I’ve had no luck at all. I vary between an 18/20/22, which, when taken into account alongside my age deems, me wholly unacceptable for the dating scene judging by society’s conventions. So far I’ve only ever drawn attention from a guy who would’ve had sex with anything that had a pulse in order to boost his own status amongst other lads, another who basically used me in a desperate attempt to convince people (including himself) that he wasn’t gay, a miserable drunk friend who was basically on the rebound, and a creepy perve who himself wasn’t considered ‘hot’ by society and I believe was just trying to find consolation in a fellow ‘reject’ – something I’m definitely not willing to sign up for.

    As others have pointed out, I think it’s all down to confidence. The whole dating scene is difficult enough anyway, but throwing in a load of insecurities and self-consciousness turns it into a double whammy of toughness and psychological mind games. I find myself overthinking everything. In clubs for example, if a guy shows interest – tries to dance with me or resorts to crude drunken gestures like slapping my behind – I ask myself: Why? It must be the alcohol surely? Nobody would find me attractive unless they were glaring through some pretty decent(?) beer goggles, would they? Well, what if he doesn’t find me attractive? What if it’s a bet? What if he’s taking one for the team? After all, my friends certainly are considered ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’.

    Oh, and this doesn’t just apply to sleezy situations such as nightclubs, but in all areas of my life that result in interaction with males (Yes, this is how big of an issue it’s become.) When customers in work flirt with me, I can’t help but think it’s done to entertain their friends who they’re out shopping with, or a sad attempt at getting some kind of discount (I work on a mens department in a retail store.) The same with work colleagues. They all seem to think I’m hilarious, but I’ll never be more than a friend. In fact, they seem to include me in conversations about the other, prettier girls who work in the same store. I’ll never be more than ‘one of the lads’…

    My friends and family constantly tell me how pretty I am, how I should definitely recieve more male attention than I do, how anyone with brains could see that I’m a catch. Well, maybe that’s it. Maybe I’ve just not come across any lads with ‘brains’, other than those that reside in his pants, of course. Or maybe their reassurances (If i can call them that because it’s not like I actively seek them) are just lies designed to prevent me from putting them in an awkward position and using their shoulder to cry on.

    I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds. As part of a generation that is contantly bombarded with ideological suggestions of what is considered ‘normal’, I can only live in hope that there’s somebody else out there who can see through what I can only describe as society’s attempt at “brainwashing” and love me for ME. Not in an act of rebellion against society, but because it just so happens that the real me comes in a pretty large package.

    • I am glad that you replied. I wish at 18 that I realized so much of it is confidence. I hope you can get past the suspicions and accept that some men prefer larger women, while some men don’t care if a woman is large or not. My BF prefers women who are larger than the standard but significantly smaller than me. Still he was open to dating me and now really enjoys all of me, body included.

      My wish for you is that you see beauty when you look in the mirror and that you see beauty when you look inside yourself. I also wish that you find your heart’s desire and don’t feel that you ever have to settle for less than you want/deserve. By the way settling is different from compromising. Much love and confidence to you!

  46. I just got myself involved with an amazing boxing instructor who loves me and my body the way it is. I must admit I always get snubbed in the dating scene but I don’t pinpoint my body size as the ultimate reason for it. I know some guys think I’m too intimidating (and I don’t have plans to downgrade myself just to appear okay) or some guys assume I’m already attached (even if I’ve been single for the longest time). I’m super glad I waited out until someone amazing expressed his interest.

  47. I wish that I could find someone who would like me for my personality. It seems like the only men that approach me have some kind of fat-fetish, and I find that to be such a turn-off. I mean, I want someone who is physically attracted to me, and I would assume that anyone who does approach me would be attracted to me, so why feel the need to start talking to me about my size and how much you like curvy girls? I don’t know, it really skeeves me out and if it means a life alone, I’m okay with it.

  48. I met my S.O on a free dating website(the first thing I mentioned was my BBW stature, on my profile). I was just settling in to taking a break from dating when he messaged me. We talked for 2 months daily and spent a lot of time on the phone. Finally we met and nothing ever felt so right. We just had our 2-year-anniversary this month. He has never taken issue with my body. I don’t think we’ve ever discussed it.

  49. I am in a relationship, have been for 2 1/2 years with a great guy, who thinks I’m just fabulous. ^_^ I think the same of him. He’s sweet, he’s funny, he pays attention, and he’s mature (ie I don’t want to beat him about the head and shoulders with a rolled up newspaper for being like a 2 year old).

    I spent years feeling like a lost cause though. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to have a boyfriend, and being in college was a nightmare because everywhere you turned there were happy (thin) couples making googly eyes at each other.

  50. I have been married to the man of my dreams, the kindest, most sincere person I have ever met, for 3.5 years now. I was fat when we met – on the dance floor of a nightclub, when my then- (asshole) boyfriend had left me all alone so he could go dance on the stage with the skinny girls. My now hubby found me irresistable then (as I did him) and he finds me irresistable now (I am somewhat fatter now than I was back then). I still struggle accepting my body, but I can be naked with him, in broad daylight, and not feel bad at all. And thats a remarkable thing for me.

  51. I’m fat. 270ish pounds. I was an online dating addict. But, I fell into that third category. Hoping that a guy would fall in love with who I was inside and be willing to accept the outside. And then I met Andrew. Right away everything felt different with him. So I clued him in sooner than later of my body size. He said he didn’t care about that kind of thing, but I just rolled my eyes and waited for the texts from him to slowly dwindle down to non-existance. They didn’t. He asked to come see me. I was beyond terrified. I could take pictures at the right angle to make myself appear a bit thinner, but I could hide nothing in real life. He came to see me. He kissed me. He whispered in my ear that everything about me was beautiful–inside and out. Dating fat, as you call it, can be tough. But, it is so damn worth it when you find the one.

  52. DH and I met on the internet but not on a dating site and not on purpose! He saw my profile picture, thought I was cute and a musician and asked if I’d like to come out and play a Christmas show with him (he is a hot guitar player type). That was Dec 2007 and as of Dec 2011 we have been married for 3.5 years and we’re expecting our first baby :)

    We talked for a few days before the show at the coffee shop and I really started to like him. When we went to meet in person I was TERRIFIED. I just knew that after that he would magically disappear. I made sure I dressed nice and tried my best to put the best foot forward. I was so shy I barely looked up the whole time but everyone there that day said he couldn’t take his eyes off me. Later he told me that he saw me walking up the street before he saw my cello case behind me and thought to himself.. wow! She’s hot! I hope she listens to my show! Then he saw my bright pink cello case and was so excited that that was me! He could tell I was feeling incredibly self conscious and tried really hard to make me feel comfortable. He said he wanted to hug me but knew that because we just met… that probably was inappropriate and a little creepy.

    A few weeks later he went out of town to Florida and called me twice while he was away. He didn’t have internet connection and couldn’t stand not being able to talk to me. I should have known then that he was smitten. I remember him making some kind of joke about guitar being such a sexy instrument because it has such wonderful curves… *eye roll* he tires…

    Slowly he started making comments during our chats about how much he liked curvacious women and how he dated a skinny girl because everyone said they’d go together only to find she had way too many issues. And he hated hugging her and his elbows hitting… he said there is just nothing natural about htat… Yet, he had been burned by the big girls he had crushes on as a teenager because he wasn’t big enough for them. He’s 5’11 and about 135 lbs and I love his scrawny little butt! haha

    His mom gave him a lot of crap when we first got together but he explained to his mother that a heart as big as mine had to come in a box that would hold it!

    He’s not very good at expressing that he finds me beautiful -he never really had to compliment a girl before- but I know he loves me and my body. He fell for me first and then realized just how much of his dream girl I was.

    I was 18 and about 260-270 when we met. I slowly gained weight and got up to 315 by the end of last year. I dropped back down to 275 and then got pregnant with our first baby. He still loves me and treats me with respect but I think he would prefer if I lost some weight but mostly because this pregnancy weight has made me so immobile and he likes to get up and go.

  53. I am happily married and fat. My husband is a sweet, wonderful man who loves me for who I am. He’s never had a problem with how I look (as he shouldn’t).

  54. I’ve been asked out as a joke many times, but fortunately not since high school ended. But it still makes me pretty suspicious when folks ask me out for real. I’ve actually been known to straight up ask them if they’re fucking with me or not.

    I’ve realized, recently, though, that part of me is afraid of losing weight. I know some of this comes from my history of sexual abuse (thanks to which being called “pretty” makes me physically ill), but much of it comes from this fear of future resentment. I know it’s nuts, and that letting any external factors control my behavior around my body is a kind of failure, but that fear exists nonetheless. In short, I’m not interested in dating anyone who doesn’t love me for me the way I am right now, and as a result I fear weight loss. I fear getting closer to the beauty standard, having people treat me differently because of it, and becoming completely bitter and resentful. How could I date anyone and trust that they would still love me if/when I put the weight back on? I’m sure my fat mother calling me “unloveable” over and over again hasn’t helped either.

    But it’s not all bad. My last girlfriend was skinny as a rail (and I rarely date people who are not comparable to my size), but she sincerely thought I was beautiful.

    Ultimately, I think dating is hard period. Fat, skinny, whatever, dating is rough.

  55. On another note, can I just say how annoying it is that under “body type” on just about every dating site, there’s no real option for “fat”? I mean, the closest I’ve seen is “more to love.” But, seriously? Can we just be honest? Can I just say I’m fat and we’ll be done with it? Why all these euphemisms? Like “cuddly” or “curvy”? I’m not, I’m okay with it, why can’t dating sites be okay with it too?


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