Ask Ellie: Wife shouldn't accept husband's fat-shaming

Advice columnist EllieDear Ellie: I’m 39, married 17 years. My husband’s early 40s, a business-owner. I’m working under him. I didn’t save anything for myself. I have three pre-teenage girls.

Our relationship and his behaviour have always gone up and down. He’ll be in top anger over small things, and next day a cooler, romantic person. But I hardly get satisfied from his sex drive.

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I was busy taking care of my kids and work and gained weight in recent years. He’s verbally abusive regarding my weight. I had to stop going to a gym due to Covid. I try to be active.

For months he hasn’t wanted me in our bed, so I’m sleeping separately. I haven’t had good intimacy for two years. Women my age normally have a healthy sex drive. My mind/body desire good love-making with him but he refuses.

I’m so stressed. I try to discuss it but he blames my weight, damaging my self-confidence. I suggested counselling but he won’t go. I don’t want to break up but I want intimacy. I never cheated. Is it okay to cheat? Does a man’s sex drive lower in early 40s?

How do I get over this?


You two desperately need the conversation you’ve both been avoiding - he by fat-shaming you and withholding sex; you by fearing his anger, accepting the stress and thinking that cheating on him might be the answer.

Trust me, cheating will make things worse for everyone, including your daughters, when it’s inevitably discovered.

Instead, strengthen your determination to air this out. Tell him you both need to decide where it’s going. Say that, if you both wish to keep the family together, he must see his doctor about his declining sex drive, which may be easily treatable.

Similarly, you owe yourself and the marriage the effort to get back your self-confidence. If getting to the gym is now possible, return to it for your own well-being. This is about feeling energetic and good about yourself, not about your weight gain.

Tell your husband that many women and men alike speak of the “Covid-fifteen” which is, at the least, a common weight gain during isolation and constant home-cooking.

If your husband persists with anger, verbal abuse and withholding sex, tell him that, without couples counselling, the marriage won’t last.

If that’s what he actually wants, get legal advice. You’ll be able to pay later because your husband can’t just walk off with all the assets to which you’ve contributed.

You may also get free information about your legal rights in a potential divorce, from a family court clinic in your locale.

Dear Ellie: My boyfriend has a work project in another city and we won’t be together for two months. The other night, on FaceTime, I asked if he wanted to have virtual sex together, thinking we’d both feel good.

He answered that he’d already watched some porn and had satisfied himself. I was shocked that he’d say that, and felt rejected.

I don’t mind watching porn together occasionally but I mind if it replaces me! How should I respond?

On My Own

Since it’s not his regular choice, there’s nothing very worrisome going on. He was being honest, not dismissive. If he’d only just finished watching porn, he may’ve also been practical and saving face too, having spent his sexual energy.

Don’t let this relatively short period apart cause insecurities and unnecessary arguments. Ask about his work project, mention loving/missing him, and looking forward to being together again soon.

A former neighbour, now a single mom, moved to my town. She also has friends nearby. Previously, she was my older siblings’ friend. She’s always been a taker, never offering help/favours to anyone else. During this pandemic, she’s constantly asking me to take care of her kids so she can go out.

I willingly helped her in medical emergencies (for the kids’ safety) but now it’s for her personal grooming. My roommate and I are socially responsible and keep our get-togethers with friends to a minimum. How do I get this person to stop seeking favours so often?

Feeling Used

Single moms sometimes need all the help they can get. You don’t want her kids left at risk. With a known “taker,” you must set your boundaries ahead.

If it’s an emergency, help every way you can. If she calls for casual reasons, suggest that this time she ask a different friend.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Don’t accept ongoing shaming and rejection. Insist on discussion, counselling or legal separation.

Send relationship questions to Follow @ellieadvice.

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