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
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.