My Extra 15 Pounds Are Ruining My Dating Life

Hi Evan, I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time and have found it really helpful on many levels. My question is to do about weight, which I know you have written about before. A couple of years ago I gained 17 pounds due to a medical condition that altered my metabolism. I still have a normal BMI and am not considered medically overweight, however I am heavier than what I consider appropriate for my frame. I am fairly tall and have an hourglass shape so I carry it pretty well.

My problem is that ever since I gained this weight, my dating life has gone totally downhill. I do my best to follow all of your advice, and as a result think I make a good date. I was always very attractive and still consider myself so, but most of the time the men I meet on Match are not interested in me past the first date and I feel the weight is the problem. Before I went up a couple of sizes, I was always able to date the men that were interesting to me. Now the reverse is true. The only men who are interested in me now are the ones most women wouldn’t want to go out with. I don’t feel I have been overly picky, but lately I can’t even seem to attract Joe Average.

The men whom I do end up dating are highly critical of my body, even when their own looks are nothing to write home about. I am already eating like a bird and exercising 6 days a week just to maintain where I’m at now. My health is improving, but I may never be able to get back to where I was. I think I have a lot going for me otherwise: two graduate degrees, a great sense of humor, and a job that I am successful at. I’m 39 but people usually think I’m several years younger. I’m not fat by any means, but it seems that it wouldn’t matter whether I weighed 150 pounds or 200, the result would still the same. Is this where we’re at now; that 15 extra pounds on a woman narrows her choices down to a pool of short, bald and unattractive guys with little to offer in terms of education or personality? I’m not sure if I can accept this. Do you have any advice for me? Thanks! –Liz

Dear Liz,

First of all, allow me to express my sympathy for what you’re feeling right now.

Second of all, allow me to tell you, indisputably, that it’s all gonna be okay.


Let me reassure you that, even if you haven’t found him yet, there is a man who will be thrilled with you – the extra 15 lbs and all.

Very well then, let’s take a look at your observation – that men, in general, tend to be interested in thinner women, and that your dating life, in general, has been impacted by these additional 15 pounds.

I wouldn’t (and couldn’t) dispute your version of events.

What I will do is dispute that this is the entire picture. Take a look around at these ballpark statistics that I stored in the back of my brain over the years:

50 million women in the U.S. are married.
The average weight of an American woman is over 160 lbs. (Seriously!)
Women in marriages weigh 15-20 lbs more than single women.

Does this seem like an atmosphere where it’s impossible for a smart, funny, pretty woman to find a man who appreciates her? No, it does not.

So let me reassure you that, even if you haven’t found him yet, there is a man who will be thrilled with you – the extra 15 lbs and all.

However, I think it’s really important to be able to view issues from all sides. My loyalty as a dating coach is to truth and reality – not to what’s fair or what’s right.

I’d like to take a second for you to consider the plight of James. James is 39, never married, but he’s good marriage material. For years, James was a mortgage broker outside Miami, until the real estate market collapsed. At the height of his career, he was pulling in $175,000 a year. Four years later, he can’t even find work in his chosen field, and is being forced to reinvent himself – at the bottom rung of another career path. He’s now making $65,000 a year without benefits.

Do you think that James’ new financial situation will impact his love life?

Do you think that women should see him as an equally viable option on his middle class salary as they did on his upper middle class salary?

Do you think that James has to resign himself to accept that perhaps he can’t get the cream of the crop woman – thin, curvy, educated, cultured – on $65,000/year?

It’s lazy dating advice telling you to lose weight to attract more men.

I’m not passing judgment either way, but I will point out that it’s a pretty similar comparison – one which illustrates, in stark terms, that life simply isn’t fair.

Do lots of women judge men on their financial status? Absolutely.

Do lots of men judge women on youth and beauty? Yessir.

Therefore, all you can do, Liz, is to be conscious of this, and make the best of your circumstances. It’s lazy dating advice telling you to lose weight to attract more men. Would it give you more options? Sure. More confidence? Absolutely? More hope? No doubt about it. But you’re already doing the best you can.

And if you’re already doing the best you can, there’s nothing to learn, nothing to lament, nothing to complain about.

The man you’ll marry is ultimately the one who will love you and accept you at your current weight. The man who doesn’t love and accept you…is clearly not your husband.

And that is the exact same thing I’d tell any man who complains that women only want rich men. Either make more money – or find the woman who doesn’t find money to be as important.

I’m quite confident that things will turn around for you – the second you stop looking down on the men who do like you for you.

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  1. 61

    i like this website

  2. 62

    Why do women act like a victim over their weight?  Why do they think it is only them?
    Annie #26, my experience mirrors yours greatly.  I ran track, cross country and lifted weights.  I did not have the typical runner’s body weighing in at 185 and 6′ when I was in my late teens and early 20’s.  My teammates averaged 120 to 160.
    I average about 195 to 215 when in my best shape now, having added more muscle through weight lifting.
    I have also gotten up to as much as 260 lbs which does not look good on me.  I do not look hideous in my opinion, but I still look much less attractive than when I am in shape.
    I see a distinct difference when I am in shape and when I am out of shape.  When I am up to 260, I feel invisible.  If I am in the grocery store, I can see women literally avoid making eye contact.  If I initiate conversation, they respond with politeness but obvious lack of interest.
    When I am down even as low as 220-225, there is a distinct difference.  The attitude softens.  I receive more uninitiated attention.
    When I am at 195-215, I catch women looking much more.  Women initiate conversation with me.  They are often downright flirtatious, and I even get many “come hither” looks, and some very very bold looks that leave no mistake that they like what they see…even married women.  I’m talking running into each other in the aisles for the 2nd time, 3rd time, 4th time, and they boldly make eye contact, look you up and down, then back to the eyes and smile flirtatiously.  You would have to be dead not to notice.  And these are good looking women that I find very attractive.  I won’t say that it is not flattering.  It is.  I think any normal human would be flattered.
    But unlike you, when I am at my heaviest, there is NO interest from women.  Some men have made the statements that women can actually get away with being fat more so than men can.  I believe that is true for the most part, at least for actually getting into a relationship.  I think once in a relationship women might even be a bit more forgiving, but initially, they aren’t at all.  Not in my experience.

    1. 62.1

      It makes me so sad for you that you think that your extra 15 pounds which maybe in reality you are not even 15 pounds overweight) just think you are is the reason you are not dating. I really thing it is just a dry spell and online dating basically is horrible. Get out and enjoy the things that life has to offer. I really want to focus on a career. I have no interest in dating and I think when you focus less on meeting a man you become happier, more positive and that will attract the men you feel are your equivalent who in reality man or may not be. I got a kick out of a “male friend” who told me that one guy was a model and would not date me. Yet he is so super thin, balding and has two kids. So obviously not a catch for me but may be a catch for someone else. I told him that 98% of women would not think he was a model. It is what the person meeting you is attracted too. For instance i think Christie Brinkley is so beautiful yet there are other “real models” who I cant see attractive in the slightest.

  3. 63

    I am wondering if I am really out there or not but this post totally confuses me. 15 pounds is almost not even worth mentioning nor do i even consider it a issue at all. I am sure there are other factors that come into play. It just may not be the right time and online dating is such a total waste of time. I do think physical appearance is important as well as spiritual etc. However, I can see some truth to what you are saying but NOT at 15 pounds overweight. I cant even imagine how that can come into play when dating. I will say that for many years I was 5’2 and 130. I felt that was perfect for me. A dating agency said not to listen to the doctor and I should be 110. I was like this woman is totally out of her mind. Not every 5’2 in the world is 110 nor looks good at 110. i can say this because my sister is 2 years older then me and she is 5’2 at 110 So I am 20 pounds heavier then her. However, its all about body type. I have a very large chest most men like (size C+) and she is an A. I dont consider myself overweight in the slightest. Actually I always was asked out more then she ever was. I was way too picky. Hair color was an issue to me so I didnt date as much Looking back now I think I must have been insane. Frankly balding and body type and having kids is a problem for me. Frankly I have a masters degree a great job and I was totally happy at 130 and would NOT want to be 110 EVER,. Ok so now the situation changes. I am 160 ONLY due to meds. So that in my estimate is 30 pounds overweight. I get asked out less but I still think that a thin man who is bald is equivalent to a woman being 30 pounds overweight. Yet I am only overweight (still with a big chest) due to medication. So isn’t this kinda silly. I mean we are in out early 40’s we are not going to look the same as when we are in our 20’s nor should we be. I never had a problem when a man was 20 pounds overweight when I feel that 130 is perfect for me reminder with bib boobs. I would get asked out when i was on dates with other men. I am working hard to drop the 30 pounds but there are men I would not date at 160. I mean I am sure some men would not date me but its all about WHAT THE OTHER PERSON FINDS ATTRACTIVE. I am not attractive to think men nor was I ever. I tend to like large men with large arms. Getting back to the 110 issue. I would look horrible at 110 as I feel my sister does but some men like flat chested women. I think we need to be realistic for our age group. If you can look at it this way one person may think that a man with two kids is the worst thing possible to someone who doesn’t have nor doesn’t want kids. I think that it depends upon what is most important to each individual. My guy friend who is 25 is cute in good shape yet he is a vegan for ethical reasons. He married a 28 year old girl who I see as around 30 pounds overweight yet with a gorgeous face but his primary purpose was to find someone who is super religious and another vegan. He found her and they have been happily married for 3 years.NOT everyone has 100% control over their weight. Not everyone who is a little overweight is lazy and eats pounds of chocolate. I think your issue may be that you are not at this point in time meeting a man because it is not your time. Maybe in a year from now you may find a bigger pool of men. One woman I knew went on for 3 years. The first year only 5 men she had any interest. The second year 15 men. I just happen to NEVER like thin men so that is not my type. It just may be timing for you. .

  4. 64

    Great advice Evan. Whether 15 pounds would make a huge difference or not depends on how tall she is. But the bottom line is that she DOES need to find a guy who loves her and accepts her for who she is.

  5. 65

    I stumbled upon this article while perusing fitness blogs, and was just so surprised at the content. I am around 15 lbs above the “recommended” weight for my height, and have never, ever lacked for admirers or dates. After the ending of a long term relationship last year, I could hardly keep up with all the men who were asking me out, and ended up meeting my kind, handsome, incredibly smart and successful boyfriend in the process (at a salsa club!). My current boyfriend, and every man I dated prior to him, have never been able to keep their hands off me. There was only one guy I dated who was less than effusive, and that didn’t end up working out for many other reasons. That guy ended up dating a very thin woman who’s more straight up and down, so obviously that’s more his type, which is totally fine with me. I really truly believe it is all about how you carry yourself. I am a tall hourglass and choose to wear beautiful clothing, rock a unique hair color, and adorn myself with unique jewelry. Most importantly, I like who I am, so when I meet men, I assume they will like me, too. If a guy seems less-than-interested, I simply shift my gaze to the next one who seems interesting (except now my gaze is fixed on my hot boyfriend). My advice to the woman who wrote this question would be: take a bellydance class, reclaim your sexuality, own that innate fire that every woman does, and they’ll be beating down your door. 

  6. 66
    Violet V

    I find this post confusing, because I am technically 15 lbs over the clinically “ideal” weight, and have never lacked for suitors, now, or when I was 15 lbs thinner. I exercise regularly and eat well, but also have PCOS, which makes it difficult to lose weight. I’m also tall and have an extremely hourglass figure so tend to carry it well. I’m currently in a loving and healthy relationship with a wonderful, handsome guy with a great career. I’ve also never had a guy criticize my body, but I think I make it clear that I love my body and if they don’t, I’m out. When I was single, I met men easily and dated a lot.

    My hunch is that there are other things at play here that she’s blaming on the weight. Some have mentioned that perhaps she’s feeling self-conscious about the weight gain and is projecting that to the world, and we all know that self-confidence is rated as very sexy. I’m also wondering what sort of guys she’s pursuing. Is she being realistic about her options, or is she pursuing shallow assholes who are clearly only interested in arm candy? Also, is she captivating and charming? Does she take good care of herself? I just find it hard to believe that 15 lbs could make that much of a difference.

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