My Extra 15 Pounds Are Ruining My Dating Life

conscious woman checking her weight

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.

Join our conversation (82 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    Wow. Marriage has changed you, EMK. Thumbs up on this one!

  2. 2

    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.
    Seems a little judgmental.
    “The ones most women wouldn’t want to go out with.”
    Wow. Perhaps we should just dispose of these men on a faraway planet..

    1. 2.1

      I myself have been battling hypothyroidism all year and put on 20 lbs to myself and I am tall and I don’t consider myself heavy either however I feel like everybody I date is critical of me and the men online only put down they want then athletic women and I don’t know how I’m going to meet somebody myself. I think I’m just going to have to meet a very special man in person that sees me for who I am and not just a photo online I understand what you’re going through and it’s so difficult. Lisa

  3. 3

    There are a few things in the letter that are confusing me. The OP doesn’t indicate if she is meeting her guys via online dating. If she is and guys are critical of her body, she must not have photos at her current weight. If she isn’t meeting guys online, I am confused as to why a guy who doesn’t like her body type would ask her out in the first place. Finally, I just have a hard time believing that if she really isn’t overweight that 15 pounds is making that big a difference. Most women can easily hide 15 pounds with the right clothes and a pair of spanx.

    I suspect that the OP is really the one who dislikes her weight gain
    and is projecting her feelings onto the guys dating her. If she doesn’t accept her weight, then it is going to be hard for her to accept that men will. I know because I have been there myself. Right now, I am about 30 lbs overweight and I actually wrote to Evan asking if I should go to a niche website or lose weight before trying match (I have lost 40 lbs since I sent that question in). I just decided to be honest about my weight and try my luck with match. And it was fine. I have not gotten more or better quality of Men since my weight loss. I have gone out with several guys all of whom liked by body. My current boyfriend loves my body right now and I like it a lot too even though I still am going to lose the last 30 lbs.

    Perhaps weight is a huge barrier to the infamous alpha male, but I really find it hard to believe that the average Joe is giving a woman who isn’t even overweight a hard time. I do acknowledge that in some of my experiences have been very different from the women on this site. I have been fortunate enough that no guy has ever criticized my weight — regardless of my size. The only person who has tortured me about my weight has been me.

    1. 3.1

      Wow!   Good response.  

    2. 3.2

      I just wanted to clarify that she did, indeed, mention that she was meeting these men online.   She mentioned in her post that she was meeting them on Match (, which is a dating site.   I actually have had issues with this in the past.   My take on the matter..   I feel like im a pretty good looking guy and am 6’1 and have been a fit 180 for as long as I could remember.   During the summer I was hit by a car and have had to have surgeries and haven’t been able to keep up with my normal exercise regime.   As a result I have gained about 15 lbs. However, I still had  the pictures on my profile from this last summer, before the accident.   I had a few dates from dating sites that I thought went well but that I never got further interest from.   I know that I have gained weight but I felt like if I put updated pictures on the site that I wouldn’t find anybody that was interested, out of insecurity.   However, I was only getting first dates with my current pictures.   I decided to update my pictures, and I admit I got less attention, but the dates I actually went on were a lot more fruitful than before.   It can be terrifying but I think the way to get the best results from online dating is just to be honest with your profile and pictures.   People tend to not appreciate it when they feel you are being deceitful.

      1. 3.2.1

        Im honest enough to say I would date you with 15 lbs more than YOU would like to carry.   If you were unhealthy and happy to continue that way – probably not. I’ve met lots of people who eat crap food and are lucky enough to look good on the outside.   But it’s not the weight for me, but how well someone eats.    We are such a perfection driven society.   Take a look at the person inside people and get over these socially imposed norms.   Some people live to be thin, perfect and artificially youthful.   It shows, they mostly look so serious and haggard and it makes you wonder when they last had someone hug them and say I love you for who you are.   It’s so sad, but we all think it’s normal.

  4. 4

    Agreed.   Good advice, Evan.    
    Like women, men can sometimes be fickle creatures.   They can be critical if we don’t weigh “enough” and critical again when we weigh “too much.”   Fifteen pounds on a tall woman doesn’t seem like a lot.   I’d take Evan’s dating advice one step further and purposely   keep the weight on while you’re looking for the man who is right for you.   If he is still interested in you even when you’re not “perfect,” then that should be a sign to you that he will love you no matter your ups and downs with weight having to do with your medical condition.  
    If you *do* end up wanting to lose the rest of the weight, it is likely still possible (and within reach) if it is only 15 pounds.   If you are able to still do that (even with your medical condition), I encourage you to do so for your own health’s sake and not because you are trying to impress a man.

    1. 4.1

      That’s good advice.

  5. 5

    Liz, I’m curious as to where you live?   If it’s somewhere like LA, then it may just be a little more difficult to move past the superficial right away.   Of course I’m not suggesting you move!   Just saying it may take a little more time.
    On an upbeat note, I have a friend – late 30’s, very curvy (probably rocking more than just an extra 15 pounds, and lovely all the same), who just got married for the first time to a man who adores her.   He is also a catch.   There IS a man out there who will appreciate and love you for you!   and he doesn’t have to be short, bald and hairy 🙂

  6. 6

    I have an extra ten I am struggling to lose and can relate to the OP. I haven’t had direct comments or rejection that I can blame on my weight. Instead I think I am projecting my own doubts and issues onto men before I even meet them. In my experience men are much less judgmental when they meet you through every day life. But very quick to judge on weight online.  

    1. 6.1

      I don’t think most people care much about an extra 10-15 pounds. But when I was doing OLD, I found that that too many women were…..generous with their chosen weight euphemism. Someone that is 5’5” and 230lbs isn’t “average” or   “a few extra pounds”. I knew a woman that was very large – around 320 lbs, but because there are “lots of women that are way fatter than her”, she selected “a few extra pounds” and made sure to be mindful of the camera angles in all of the photos she took. I went out on a date with a woman that was at least 100 lbs heavier than she was in the pictures she had online.   Even the OP states that she is heavier that what she thinks is appropriate for her build, but that she carries it well.  That isn’t to say that she is lying, but I have no way of knowing what she considers appropriate, or what she considers “wearing it well” to mean.   A woman that was pretty big with a protruding belly that was tucked in and hanging   down by the mid thigh region told me that she felt like even though she was a big girl, she wore her weight well.

      Those kinds of experiences made me extremely distrustful of women’s online  weight descriptors. 10-15 lbs is not too noticeable. I personally wouldn’t care. But there are   way too many people acting like their 100-150 lbs is the same as that 10-15.

  7. 7

    Try eating primal/paleo. If you aren’t ,I guarantee you those pounds WILL come off,,,,try   for more details.
    The rest of the post is totally on point.

  8. 8

    I’ll say something more: A lot of men prefer women who are on the curvier side (instead of thin). I prefer them myself. The challenge is, though, that they seem to have a certain piece of jewelry on the 4th finger of their left hand. Get what I am saying Liz?
    Liz, it ain’t your weight that is turning guys off. Especially if guys are contacting you on Match, where they see your pictures. (Your pictures *are* current, right? A discrepancy may be cause for no second date…)

  9. 9

    Men are visual, and women all know this on some level.   But do we REALLY get this?   A man will fall in love with you for who you are, rather than for your looks, but you have to use your looks initially to get him interested, to  keep him around long enough for him to find out who you are.    When I first got divorced and started dating again, I was between 10 and 23 pounds heavier than I currently am.   I looked good, felt pretty  good, although knew I needed to lose some weight to be at my bestm, but I wasn’t quite getting the interest of the calibre men I wanted.   A  male friend, upon seeing an old photo of me at my best weight, said, “If you could manage to get back down to that size, you could have any man you want.”   At the time this comment upset me, but it stayed in the back of my mind.    When I got really serious about  losing the weight and  getting fit and healthy, the comment motivated me.   Now I am a size 4 at age 51, same size as in high school, and let me tell you, he was so right.   Night and day right.   Now,  in getting and accepting dates, it is up to me.    You still have to “click” with your personalities, but this way, at your right  and healthiest size, you get the choice whether to even try.       

  10. 10
    Amy B

    Interesting statistics.   I wish we could get more of a backstory on this though.   How many of these married women who are 15-20 pounds more than single women were once thin when they were single?   Does weight gain have any impact on the divorce rate?   If the extra weight is so acceptable to so many married people, then why is the first thing a newly single man or woman do is loose 10-20 pounds?   I think there’s deeper issues here that no one has yet explored.

    1. 10.1

      Yes I have wondered the same thing! What do men do when they marry their hot thin wives and then a thyroid problem pops up  or an autoimmune disease that requires prednisone or another steroid to manage?   My friend inherited a nasty autoimmune disease, had to take steroids, and gained 80 lbs in 18 months, and she ate right and exercised as much as she could given her limitations. All the men wanted her when she was very sick and skinny, but now that she’s healthier and her body isn’t eating itself to death, she can’t get a date.

  11. 11

    I wonder if Liz is subconsciously letting her opinion that the extra weight is lessening men’s attraction to her, effect her confidence and energy on a date.

    15 pounds just isn’t that big a deal. Especially on a tall woman so I find it hard to believe   men would react so very different to her. BUT if SHE  attributes men’s  lack of interest  to her weight, she may not be her usual bubbily, relaxed, confident, self and THAT’s what they are reacting to.

    Just a thought. But Evan is right, there are PLENTY of men who will be attracted to her just the way she is.

  12. 12
    Kim Hess Divorce Guru

    Evan gave great advice. Read it again and apply it.   If you’re doing everything you can as far as losing weight, then there’s nothing to complain about or change.   The right man will come along who will love you for you, not your dress size.
    I learned this too after my divorce.   I wasn’t getting the interest of men that I desired-men who wanted long term commitment not just sex-because I was divorced with two kids.
    It took a few years and lots of work on my part as far as my self esteem, but I started meeting and dating wonderful men who didn’t mind what some perceive as flaws.
    Keep at it…your current weight may just be weeding out the “not so good for you” guys!

  13. 13
    lux aeterna

    I have the same amount of extra weight, and carry it reasonably well too. I have always been this shape so I feel I have some experience with what to expect. There are a few things in your letter that made me wonder. Your experience is so different to mine. Yes, I’ve been unlucky in love lots of times, but not when it comes to pure attraction – I get more attention than I can deal with, it’s sometimes overwhelming, and sometimes sad because it’s often very sexual.

    As a young girl I was brought up by a very slim mother who taught me that the only way to succeed with men and in life was to be thin at all costs. I failed, and entered adulthood hating my body and myself while hiding in libraries wearing glasses and big jumpers while my peers went clubbing and enjoyed being young.

    Later I discovered that no matter how much I tried to hide, certain men had a real thing for me despite my dowdiness. I now think of it as a kind of fetish. They love the big boobs, the tummy, the thighs. One ex wished I was bigger. But I steer clear of any man who would prefer me to be slimmer, dating them would be pointless. I can tell the difference between these men straight away. The ones who prefer slim tell me I have a pretty face but they show little excitement. The ones who love my body have problems keeping their eyes on my face, their eyes wander south and they get all flustered while talking to me. These are not the majority of men, but enough for me to notice quite often. I have chunky but confident girlfriends who have the same experience.

    When I first made these discoveries that not all men are into slim women, I decided to forget all my worries and instead focus on how to present myself as well as I could. One thing us girls with a few wobbles in the wrong places have to be really careful with is how we dress. There are two major pitfalls: looking mumsy/matronly or trashy/cheap. I can’t buy cheap clothes because I refuse to wear ill fitting clothes. So, it’s Diane von F dresses for me. This is something that people who are new to being chunkier have to get used to and explore. Clothes become a different concept as comfort and fit become so much more important. Christina Hendrix anyone? Hot hot hot!

    What I’m trying to say here is that your current experience might not be the whole truth about what to expect. I turned my dating life around without losing a single pound, so can you. I guess it’s about mental reframing. Acceptance breeds confidence. Confidence is attractive. A start would be to accept your current shape, make the most of your looks and switch on the radar to detect the men who are into your specific body type. They do exist, lots of them, believe me! Bigger people than us are in great relationships with great men. Like a poster on Evan’s Facebook page said, put whole body pics on your dating profile if you have one. Let the men choose to date you because they like what they see as you are right now. Any man who makes critical remarks about a date’s body has issues himself, that is no reflection on the woman – why does he date someone who doesn’t rock his boat?

    Some of you here might wonder what all the fuss is about, surely a few pounds make no difference? Is this a storm in a tea cup? The pounds make a difference to the person in question. Someone who has always been comfortably settled in the middle of the ‘slim league’ is now bottom of that category. Not bottom of all-women-everywhere category, just that one, the one she relates to and compares herself to, or so it feels. When we change or start dating we have to [re]discover where we fit in, and before we have enough ‘proof’ and experience that everything is ok, a date’s negative remark or a mother’s critical views are the only opinions to go by that can lead to very dark thoughts, and then behaviour is affected too. I felt just as insecure after breaking up with a long term partner – what was my dating market value now, years after last time I was single? I panicked… for a while 🙂

    1. 13.1

      I love this. You need to be my life coach! I am single for the first time in 10 years and now with a child. Online dating was new and an embarrassing way to meet someone. Now, everyone does it but damn, it has really gotten to be a meat market. I am now 10 years older and 30lbs heavier (depression over the split) and have no idea how to date anymore. Or how to present myself. I find myself warning guys that I’m extra curvy just so they have a chance to change their minds. What is that? Lol. Ugh… I’ve always hated dating but find it a lot more daunting now.

  14. 14

    My thought is that these heavier married women were thin when they were single, and put the weight on after getting married. Men may say that a few extra pounds is okay with them, but when I read their profiles (at least on, they all seem to list “slender” or “athletic”, and sometimes “average” as what they’re looking for. I almost never see them list “a few extra pounds” or bigger. Of course, when you meet someone in “real life”, you tend to be a bit less judgmental, but I also have to wonder if these married gals were the same weight when they were single.

  15. 15

    Why oh why when it comes to weight do some women (Donna) have to write in bragging about how much they weigh and how old they are? I could do the same but, choose not to. How much you weigh and what your age are beside the point. I am an older single women who is at a very small size but STILL have trouble attracting quality men. I am still not small enough for some of these men and never will be. Any man that wants a size 0 probably also wants a woman who will  disappear  anytime he snaps his fingers. Its the size of the heart that counts not the size of your pants. By the way, women are visual too!

    1. 15.1


  16. 16
    Karl R

    Liz said: (original post)
    “lately I can’t even seem to attract Joe Average.”

    Given your description of yourself, I’ve dated a few women your size and larger, and I found those women to be quite attractive.

    However, if a woman thinks I’m “Joe Average,” I’ll dump her.

    lux aeterna said: (#13)
    “I discovered that no matter how much I tried to hide, certain men had a real thing for me  […] These are not the majority of men, but enough for me to notice quite often.”

    As a man who was extremely thin from my teens into my thirties (and quite self-conscious about it when I was younger), I discovered that a substantial minority of women prefered the men who weren’t big and ripped. It’s quite easy to find dates amongst the minority who  are interested.

    I think this is equally true for men and women, and for a wide variety of appearances.

    Liz said: (original post)
    “The only men who are interested in me now are the ones most women wouldn’t want to go out with.”

    Most women don’t want to date me, and that barely slowed down my ability to date. If 95% of women don’t want to date me, there’s a ton of women in that remaining 5% … and some of them are amazing women.

    Most men don’t want to date lux aeterna, but she can barely handle the attention she gets from the minority who do.

    You describe these men  whom  “most women wouldn’t want to go out with” as if it were some sort of black mark against them. Most men fit into that category. It sounds like you’re only interested in the few who don’t.  Most women are ones whom most men wouldn’t want to go out with … and you apparently are now  part of that category.

    I strongly suspect that the pool of men you find interesting is the small pool that most women find interesting too. That tiny (and highly sought after) pool is hurting your chances far more than 17 pounds.

    Ruby said: (#14)
    “Men may say that a few extra pounds is okay with them, but when I read their profiles (at least on, they all seem to list ‘slender’ or ‘athletic’, and sometimes ‘average’ as what they’re looking for.”

    On, women age  35-42, in my city (one of the fattest in the U.S.)
    slender 20.5%
    athletic & toned 20.1%
    about average 28.0%
    curvy 13.7%
    a few extra pounds 8.1%
    full-figured 4.5%
    big & beautiful 1.8%
    heavyset 0.7%

    If you look at the BMIs for women aged 30-49 in the U.S.
    underweight 2%
    healthy 32.5%
    overweight 29%
    obese I 19%
    obese II 10.5%
    morbidly obese 7%

    Where do you think the women who are “a few extra pounds” fall on the BMI scale?

    Before any of you go onto a rant about how women lie on, I ran similar statistics for men.

    On, men age  35-42, in my city (still one of the fattest in the U.S.)
    slender 7.8%
    athletic & toned 49.2%
    about average 36.9%
    a few extra pounds 2.7%
    stocky  2.4%
    heavyset 0.6%

    If you look at the BMIs for men aged 30-49 in the U.S.
    underweight 1.5%
    healthy 35.5%
    overweight 37.5%
    obese I 19%
    obese II 5%
    morbidly obese 1.5%

    I’d say that people are very charitable when deciding which euphemism they should use to describe their build. After going on a date with a woman who described herself as “a few extra pounds” (morbidly obese would be  my description), I decided that I’d drop that off my list of acceptable builds.

  17. 17

    Evan – brilliant response!
    Liz, if you are posting accurate, up-to-date photos of yourself including at least one full body shot, I can’t imagine your weight is sending guys away.   While I sympathize that gaining weight is not a fun experience, your perceptions of both yourself and the guys you dated are extremely negative.
    The one statement you wrote that really jumped out at me is “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.” – How does this come up on a date?   Are you criticizing yourself to your dates?   This seems incredibly rude for a man who has seen (accurate?) pictures of you to say, and it makes me agree with the posters who said maybe it is your own projections.
    So, what I am trying to say is… Your job on the date is to be fun.   Enjoy yourself.   There are many guys I know who are short, balding, average looks and average jobs, but I think they are wonderful catches.    
    Also, have you read the book, “Marry Him,” that features Evan?   The tone of your letter reminds me of the author, Lori Gottlieb, at the start of the book.

  18. 18

    Karl R

    So because one woman was dishonest about her build, you then disqualified all women who described themselves as carrying a few extra pounds”?  

  19. 19

    Well, I’ve dated all kinds of guys of looks and social backround and for me it’s always came down to the chemistry we had. And that didn’t always translate to the rich or ripped guy. But i find a lot less men are like this ( I am not saying all men aren’t like this), but men do seem to have a much more narrow ideal about women’s bodies and age then women do about being rich or ripped and I think that’s due to a lot of the media men spend consuming and thus project on real women.  

  20. 20

    @ Ruby #18,

    A heavy woman trying to get a date is an exercise in futility. I’ve put myself on Weight Watchers and taken myself off the dating sites.   I’ll probably go back on the grid when I’ve lost a significant amount of weight.   It sounds like even when I reach my ultimate goal, it may be challenging at best. Oh well, I’m not losing the weight for that reason anyway.   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *