My Fitness-Trainer Boyfriend Insults My Body and Insists I Wear a Shirt When We Have Sex. Is that Normal?

My Fitness-Trainer Boyfriend Insults My Body and Insists I Wear a Shirt When We Have Sex.

Dear Evan,

Your blogs and advice has definitely changed my life into a positive direction in regards to relationships, understanding men and myself. I just have to say I’m very grateful for the knowledge about relationships, men, dating, communication etc., that you have shared. Thank you so much!!

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year now. He’s a personal trainer and manages his own personal training business, so his purpose in life is based on health and fitness. He’s told me the majority of women that he has dated/prefer have been “fit”- flat stomach, abs, etc. I on the other hand, am fit, 130lbs, 5’5, I believe I have a great body (great legs, arms etc.) except that I have some fat in my stomach. My stomach is not flat and I hardly have abs. He says I’m beautiful, I have nice legs and that I’m fit but I still need to lose some fat.

When we have sex I keep my shirt on because of the fat I have in my stomach and he says for now it’s a good thing to keep it on because he may get turned off, he says keeping it on will motivate me to lose weight but at the same time he supports me on my weight loss. He says he’s not going to just end the relationship because of my weight but losing weight will increase his sexual attraction to me. He doesn’t even prefer seeing me in a bathing suit and says he gets turned off, which does hurt and he’s aware of that and has empathy towards me and I appreciate his honesty.

I understand his purpose is health and fitness but is it wrong to be with a man where I don’t feel comfortable being naked around, who doesn’t prefer seeing my stomach, who prefers that I keep a shirt on during sex but at the same time supports me losing weight? He does give me nutrition advice and sometimes I’m afraid to eat a cookie around him because he’ll think I’m not serious about losing weight. I understand he’s a fitness trainer and a fitness trainer would most likely want a woman with a nice physique but I just feel like it’s wrong to not feel comfortable being naked around your boyfriend or accepted when naked. What is your opinion on this?

I appreciate you taking time to read and offer your advice.


This makes me furious.

Furious at him for being such an insensitive dick.

Furious at you for not even realizing that you’re dating an insensitive dick.

So listen up, and listen good:

You’re not his project.

You’re an independent woman of normal proportions.

You may want to lose weight for your own purposes.

I know, I know: Your boyfriend is into fitness. He’s “just being honest.”

Your boyfriend may even be a useful tool (word carefully chosen) to help you in that process.

But his demeaning treatment of you is completely unacceptable.

Love is about relaxing and being yourself, you cannot relax or be yourself if you are afraid of being judged or dumped.

I know, I know: Your boyfriend is into fitness. He’s “just being honest.”

But insulting your body and insisting you keep your shirt on during sex so he’s not turned off is completely different than not agreeing that you look like Angelina Jolie. And you should absolutely, positively, not spend one more second in this kind of relationship.

I know it’s a lot easier for me to say than for you to do, but here’s the quick script:

“Hey, Dick (I’m presuming his name is Dick),

I just wanted to tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot about the things you’ve said about my body. The way you always make me feel insecure. The way you always tell me to keep my shirt on during sex so you won’t lose your attraction to me. The way you seemingly threaten to break up with me because I don’t look like a personal trainer. I understand that fitness is important to you. But you know what’s important to me? Unconditional love and acceptance. I don’t want to walk on eggshells if I have a Coke or eat a cookie or order a steak. I don’t want to feel shame when I take a shower in front of you, or go in the pool with you, or undress during sex.

And so there’s nothing left for us to discuss here. You go find a woman whose body you don’t have to micromanage. I will find a man who accepts me as I am. For what it’s worth, I think I’m going to have a far easier time than you will.

Goodbye, and don’t contact me any longer. I only like to associate with people who make me feel good, not people who tear me down. No hard feelings, but I don’t have any room in my life for people like you.”

How about you dump his ass so you can both find what you’re looking for?

He will stammer. He will flail. He will apologize. He will backpedal. He will say he’ll never do it again. And you will not believe him.

He is a shallow and narcissistic personal trainer looking to mold you into his clone.

You are a normal woman looking for love and complete acceptance.

How about you dump his ass so you can both find what you’re looking for?

Join our conversation (92 Comments).
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  1. 2

    hi amanda, evan’s right. When i was reading through your question certain things you told me about your bf made me pause and think this is totally wrong. A guy who loves you shouldn’t make you feel bad about your body b/c by doing so defeats the purpose if he wants you to lose weight for his purposes. He’s mean and insensitive especially during sex when women are most self conscious about getting naked. You should say bye and find a man who doesn’t need to change you to get turned on!

  2. 3

    “Hi Dick (I’m presuming his name is Dick)” Lol!

    And this part isn’t very impt, but 5 feet 5 and 130 pounds is quite a healthy weight. Like Evan said, if u wanna lose some weight because u’ll feel more confident, that’s fine. But a bf acting like this, especially when u’re a normal weight, is not right. I promise u that there are better guys out there who will think your figure is slim and sexy.

    And don’t take his criticisms to heart. U’re not fat, he’s unreasonable. I once had a guy diss me about my weight (although he looked a bit sheepish when he did, and I wasn’t dating him), and at the time I was 5 feet 4 and 115 pounds. U can’t please everyone.

    I pity this guy’s future wife, can u imagine how disgusted he’s gonna be with her when she’s pregnant..

  3. 4

    It sounds to me like she has her own issues with self-esteem. Of course, most women have insecurities about their bodies, but this guy absolutely should not be twisting the knife by criticizing her and telling her she’s better off keeping her shirt on so he doesn’t have to see her belly (and she shouldn’t be tolerating it). Most women, even at a healthy weight, have a little pooch, especially if they’ve had children. I’m about 20 pounds overweight but when I lose it, my belly will still be there. It is part of being a woman and I actually wouldn’t change it. They need to break up so each of them can find the partner they really need.

  4. 5
    A Reader

    Reading this made me wonder if the boyfriend bats for the home team, if you know what I mean, as I’ve never yet met a hetero guy who’d react like this to a woman’s body, especially a body in such good shape, that he’s lucky enough to view and enjoy au natural on a regular basis. Maybe his closet isn’t as roomy as it once was…

    1. 5.1

      Great point !! Sounds like he’s looking for male abs

  5. 6
    Tracy L

    I totally agree with Evan; she needs to move on and soon. This guy is an emotional and mental abuser–highly toxic. I believe men like this deliberatately seek out women like Amanda who may have flaws that these men know they feel insecure about, focus on that in order to mentally, and emotionally abuse them–that’s why it is always a bad idea to announce certain insecurities you may have to anyone.

    Why would a fit guy (a personal trainer even) who claims that he wants an extremely fit woman as partner get involved with a woman who he feels falls short of his expectations physically to commitment to and why is he still with her? I believe the answer is, he really enjoys putting her down to build himself up due to his own insecurities and finding a perfectly fit secure confident woman wouldn’t be worthwhile for him–he would probably try to find something wrong with her in order to constantly put her down as well if she allowed it.

    My advice to women is try to look the best you can and not focus too much on you physical flaws and if you are finding it hard to do so when you are with your partner try to muster up all the false confidence you can find and never let them see you sweat.

    I feel that if Amanda hadn’t let on about how bad she felt about her belly fat he wouldn’t have made it an issue however he would have just found something else wrong.

  6. 7

    I don’t know why this woman is with this guy. He reminds me of those cosmetic surgeons who try to make their perfect woman. I don’t get it.

    However, being a guy reading this, I’d like to share a few thoughts knowing it will stir the pot a bit.

    First thought was like I stated above.

    Second was women make projects of men all the time. Reminds me of the saying, “Men get into relationships hoping the women will stay the same. Women hoping that the men will change.” A bit different I know. But can we at least agree that trying to change someone is wrong?

    Third is I support this guys right to be a narcissistic prick. He’s not being hypocritical and he’s upfront about it. He wants his clone but needs to find that fitness buff and not try to create it.(And just to be clear. He is being a real douche about how he is going about it.)

    Not sure why some posters are talking about this woman being a healthy weight. Not really relevant when someone really fit is looking for someone really fit. He shouldn’t have to lower his physical standards, that he himself meets, and she shouldn’t have to put up with his crap. I just can’t believe she put up with it for a year.

    1. 7.1

      Classic double standard.

      It’s OK for a woman to want to and actively try to change a man into what she wanted before she met him, but it’s not OK for him to try to do the same.

      Women want it both ways- they want to be treasured and adored exactly the way they are, but they unabashedly show that they feel no obligation to do the same when they try to change a man.

      Women rationalize it and deny it by manifesting it with incrementalism- they try to make small changes, one at a time, over a period of time. She buys him a shirt ‘here,’ she suggests a different haircut ‘there,’ she trys to get him to like the music she wants him to like, etc. Incremental but accumulative.

      As for him- this guy has every right to want what he wants and to say what he wants. Isn’t communication important in a relationship, or is it important only when she hears what she wants to hear because he says only what she wants him to say?

      As for her- this gal has every right to want what she wants and to say what she wants. If she wants acceptance as she is, outside of the bedroom and in, she can easily find it. The expression “for every woman, there is a man who would love her” is only too true and could be modified as “for every woman as she is, there is a man who would love her as she is.”

      There are plenty of guys who would accept her and love her as she is.

      The problem she has is the guy who treats her poorly is the guy who she really wants. He is obviously more fit than her, maybe more overall physically attractive than her… He has a high Sexual Market Value or Marital Market Value- one or both- and she tolerates him because of his high value.

      The guy who would treat her well would probably have a lower SMV or MMV, so she wouldn’t want him.

      Many women set this trap for themselves and then self-sympathize when they find themselves ensnared in it.

      What is the solution? There isn’t one because she is bombarded with advice to “never settle,” that she should “never lower her standards” of what she wants in a man and that she “deserves more.”

  7. 8

    Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. This is not okay or normal, Amanda. He has made his needs clear: he wants a woman who has a goddess body with rock hard abs. Good for him. That is his prerogative. You are not that girl so either he likes you the way you are or not at all. He’s not wrong for wanting what he wants, however crazy that might be. He’s wrong for making you feel bad for not matching his ideal. He knew what he was getting.

    If you want to lose weight and he wants to help you, that is fabulous. However, I’d like to give you another perspective on the situation. My husband is a body building nut. It’s not how he makes a living but he’s a muscled beauty 🙂 and is as knowledgeable as some of the best trainers I know. He’s VERY hard on himself; even when I think he looks great, he finds something he’d like to improve. I realize that his yardstick is different from mine; he measures himself by body building standards and I measure him by good looking, well muscled man standards! I am just shy of 5’6″ and I fluctuate between 130 and 135. Like you I also have a small belly fat problem. It is of endless surprise to me that my husband loves my figure. He makes jokes about there being “more of me to love” in the years since we met because I keep bemoaning my weight. I’ve never been in doubt about his attraction and he has never suggested that he would like me more if I lost a few pounds. I can’t imagine having to hide my figure around him. He is the one person who is supposed to accept me, flaws and all.

    I really hope your boyfriend is a good, misguided guy who thinks he is helping you with his hurtful actions but I suspect he is really just a giant jerk. In any case, it will become clear once you tell him how you feel and you get a chance to see his reaction.

  8. 9

    Bam !!! Great response Evan .

    Amanda you may want to do some reading about narcissists and how to recognize them easily so you don’t get involved with someone so destructive again

  9. 10

    Ya just can’t make this stuff up. Anytime you feel like the bad little three year old who has to sneak the cookie, that’s beyond ridiculous.

  10. 11

    C’mon girl! Listen to your gut and stand up for yourself. It’s nice to get confirmation from a professional dating expert (and Evan is the best), but God blessed your great self with a mind and a voice. Don’t ever be afraid to use them. There are too many douche bags roaming the earth.

  11. 12

    Excellent advice and so well said. I hope Amanda uses those great legs to run, not walk away from this douche.

  12. 13

    Girl, really do run for hills. I have a friend, her BF is into extreme fitness, healthy eating. Girl is not keeping up with his desire of slimness. She looks great but just can not attain his desired proportions… some bodies have its limits… meaning stick slim. U think she is happy… noooo. That she does not leave him is her choice.
    I dated a bf that complained about my weight. Mind you I run 5 days a week 5 miles… and I still was not skinny enough… Enough said, he did not get me in bed anymore…

  13. 14

    I don´t think this guy wants to hurt her, after all he is in a relationship with her and he sure loves her. also while he may like to look at really fit people he might love to touch chubby girls. i bet if he wanted to be with a super slim fitness girl he´d be with one. he might just be teasing her and she is having so strong insecurities that she is aggravating the situation.
    My fantasy would go like this. she thinks: oh i am so fat, i have to hide my belly, so i´ll keep on my shirt.
    he sees that and says: huh? why that? well never mind, it motivates you to lose weight. let´s just have sex.
    what she hears is that he is turned off, even though he is not!
    i think better advice would be for her to learn to like her body as it is.

    1. 14.1

      I think you misread the OP’s letter. She clearly states the following: “When we have sex I keep my shirt on because of the fat I have in my stomach and he says for now it’s a good thing to keep it on because he may get turned off.” AND “He doesn’t even prefer seeing me in a bathing suit and says he gets turned off, which does hurt…”

      This is abuse. I hope she dumps this sore loser ASAP.

  14. 15

    Ughh…cringeworthy. I could barely read past her quoting him about wearing a shirt so “he doesn’t get turned off”.

    Perfect advice Evan. Dump him. Don’t even give him a chance – he’s not worth it.

    A good guy *wants* you to feel good about yourself, and will promote you feeling good about yourself. This guy is nothing but selfish. And you’ve been dating him for a year? I know this is hindsight, but you should’ve dumped him the first time he criticised your body/looks.

    Excellent advice, all-around Evan.

  15. 16
    Jenny Rugeroni

    Amanda, I am almost 40 years old and overweight. I will never have the body of a 20 year old girl, but still I love myself and think I am beautiful. I have been with my boyfriend for 6 years, and both of us put on weight in this time. Sometimes we make fun about it, but still he thinks I’m attractive just as I am. A man who can’t love you as you are does not deserve you…

  16. 17
    Kimberly Pittsley

    Every woman is different. From the sounds of it she has an amazing body she should be proud of. I doubt it is far but rather a pouch that a lot of us have when we aren’t working out for toned abs. But that really isn’t the important part. The important part is this dick who can not and will never accept someone outside his narcissist body image for his partner. Great advice, Evan. I hope she takes it

  17. 18
    Kim p

    Tell him to wear a “bag” over his face while having sex cause your use to dating better looking guys. Then tell him he can take it off after sex this way YOU wont get turned off … Better yet. Move on… Fyi. Im a personal trainer too and unfortunately many are very superficial. Your justice here is that NOBODY will be perfect enough for him and he will die miserable and alone

    1. 18.1

      This is the best comment that you could give more than any..!!!

  18. 19

    A year? A whole year spent dating this turd? Amanda needs to work on her self-esteem. I think she feels so happy to have such a hunky boyfriend that she’s all-too-willing to overlook the fact that he’s a creep. I also think it’s weird that he is dating Amanda, but he probably has a strong need to be controlling and/or abusive. Run away.

    1. 19.1
      Karl S

      I also had to wonder if the OP was allowing herself to be blinded by the looks of Mr Fitness, who presumably has his own set of chiseled abs. The guy is clearly obsessed with physical perfection for himself and his partners. The OP might need reflect on what men she’s choosing. It’s not wrong to want to share an interest in exercise if that’s your thing, but the script Evan wrote out for the OP outlines the qualities that are truly important.

  19. 20

    I’m usually only motivated to post when I have a challenging or contrary viewpoint, and this is really an open-and-shut case. Obviously, his treating her like a project is unacceptable. However, I think a lesson that much more of us can take away from this story is that it shows us how much it can hurt when we have a partner who treats us like a project, while realizing that most of us aren’t really as different from this guy as we’d like to think. Think about the times when you may have wanted your husband/boyfriend to change the way he dressed, or eliminate certain mannerisms, in order to be more “presentable” (i.e., look how you want him to look in the presence of your friends). Think about the times when you may have wanted him to quit certain hobbies and change career trajectory in order to “maximize his potential” (i.e., make more money). A lot of people do these sorts of things… this guy simply is more socially inept because apparently he hasn’t learned to apply euphemisms, or present it under the guise of “coming from a place of love”, to get what he wants. I see women all of the time trying to get their husbands/boyfriends to lose weight – so often that it wouldn’t surprise me that some of the commenters here have done the same at some point in their lives.

    Another interesting thing is the response/lack of response to the choice to use the term “dick” to describe this guy. No one’s offended, and some have chosen to join in and call him a “dick” as well. Some preferred the term “douche” to describe him, and one person chose to go the homophobic route and question the man’s sexuality. Meh, call him whatever you want, I suppose. I don’t think people should really be offended by words. However, I have to wonder if many of the commenters would be offended if someone chose to use the c-word to describe a woman did the things I noted in my first paragraph. For example, would you be offended by someone saying: “that c*** has no business asking him to change for her.”? I bet you would, but it’s the exact same thing as calling a guy a “dick”.

    1. 20.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Fair point, Chance. I was the one who called him a dick, so I’ll be the first to say that you’re right. I was doing it to give the OP the courage to dump him, but is absolutely the same thing as calling a woman a name because she tried to change her boyfriend.

    2. 20.2

      1) Your point about name calling is well taken but I think your comparison is unfair. Even though they are both body parts, “dick” does not have the same negative connotations as “cunt”. Neither is nice word but one is a lot worse than the other. Replace with “bitch” and I agree with you. In any case, I saw the whole “dick” thing as more of joke than anything else.

      2) I liked the fact that you looked for takeaways in a horrible situation but again, your examples are unfair. All of us can be improved in some way and it is natural for our partners to wish, in their secret hearts, for change. I mean if my husband could have me without all my flaws, why wouldn’t he want that? Most of us understand though that it is not correct to change a person for our benefit and we fight the instinct to effect change, some more successfully than others. Sometimes we succumb to gentle prodding anyway, couched in words of love and caring. That’s not what OP’s boyfriend is doing though. Under the guise of truth he’s actually being cruel. It’s akin to saying: “your penis (or substitute other appropriate part here) disgusts me, please make sure it is covered before it comes near me.” A comment like that cannot be described as anything other than hurtful.

      I was willing to cut the guy some slack because he may be under the impression that by being tough, he is actually motivating and helping his girlfriend. If this is the case, an honest conversation will resolve the situation. Also, we only have one side of the story. I’m sure OP’s own insecurities play some part in how she views the situation. But these two sentences clinched it for me: “he says for now it’s better to keep [the shirt] on as he may be turned off [by my stomach]” and “he doesn’t like seeing me in a bathing suit”. With a boyfriend like this, who needs enemies? 😛

      1. 20.2.1

        Skaramouche, I agree with you completely, and you articulated what I tried to say better. I do believe that his intent was both, to innocently motivate, and just his own hurtful selfishness

      2. 20.2.2

        Good points Skara.

        You’ve made me stop and re-think my blanket condemnation of the guy. I still say she should run from him (and shouldn’t have stayed past the first criticism of her). But I do have to wonder about the conversation that produced those two sentences you quoted:

        “he says for now it’s better to keep [the shirt] on as he may be turned off [by my stomach]” and “he doesn’t like seeing me in a bathing suit”

        Not that it matters much now, but did he offer those two statements, or are they her paraphrasing of them, or paraphrasing his response to a question of hers?

        This was covered in a recent post by Evan (the one where the OP was hurt because her boyfriend “said” he though she wasn’t as pretty as Angelina Jolie, when it turns out she *asked* him if she were). So I just wonder how this conversation came to be – it sort of goes to the idea you mentioned of “tough love”.

        Not to defend him, I’m just curious to understand his (and her) perspective and how this kind of conversation occurs in the first place. I wonder if both of them demonstrated some shallowness early on (i.e. “I only date people in great shape”), and this sad situation came out of that.

        Again, the answers won’t affect the advice to her – dump him, now – but would provide some clarity as to avoiding this kind of situation.

    3. 20.3

      Oh sure, so now we cannot call the emotional abuser with what he is, cause at some point of our lives we hurt someone? Please.
      How you approach someone about certain changes and how you react to their effort or refusal is the major key in here.
      Encouraging your SO to get fit by asking to join you at the gym is not the same as shaming him/her everytime they get naked. Asking your man to wear the new shirt you gave him is not the same as mocking any outfit he puts on.
      Healthy people can bear little flaws of others (and if they consider them huge, they just don’t get into a relationship with someone *that* flawed or leave them) and they don’t strive for perfecting their “project” (some progress, if at all achieved, is “good enough”).
      The thing with people like Amandas’ bf s that they have an unhealthy need for control. They will not stop until you became exactly what they want and nothing less (destroying your self esteem on the way to their goal).
      So yeah, the guy IS a dick, douche and whatnot.

    4. 20.4

      “Think about the times when you may have wanted him to quit certain hobbies and change career trajectory in order to “maximize his potential” (i.e., make more money).”

      Or the times when your boyfriend asks that you watch a porno together so that you can ‘get ideas’ (code for: be more like said pornstar and his fantasies).

      Both sides sometimes have a had time truly accepting their partner and wanting to force their partner into roles.

      But this guy takes it to a new low. This is probably my most favorite response ever by Evan. I guess that’s my own biasedness because I also struggle with my experience of men being critical of my body.

    5. 20.5

      I would never stay with somebody who used a negative term to address me. C*nt, dick, bitch, ho, A-hole, etc.. one is NOT better than the other if used in anger or said in a manner that is not joking. I can also think of better ways to joke than to call somebody names.

      Also, when is it OK to be demeaning to the other person because you don’t like something about them? I’ve seen both men and women do this. Most recently, a friend calling her husband names because she thought he spent too much time playing video games. She spends about the same amount of time watching sitcoms and dramas, so does she have a right? No. She wants him to sit with her and watch TV together. For him, that is torture. He wants to be active while he is entertained. So when she turns on the TV, he grabs his laptop, or goes to his gaming computer. She has said some very unkind things regarding his gaming. The nicest thing simply being that he is immature.

      I was the only female that took the guy’s side. Why is it so hard for other women to see that there is no difference between gaming an watching TV other than one requires you to be actively engaged, while the other does not. And why do some men and women think it is OK to mentally and emotionally beat up their partner?

  20. 21

    Yeah, dump this guy. I seriously doubt any girl will be perfect enough for him. It’s not wrong to try to help someone change, lose weight, develop to their full potential, etc. IF that person WANTS to change, but it’s very wrong to undermine someone you supposedly love by telling them to wear a T-shirt during sex. That’s just mean and wrong. If he thinks he can do better, don’t stand in his way out the door. It’s very unrealistic to expect a woman to have ripped abs her entire life; how would he ever deal with a pregnant woman? It’s a life of constant dieting to have ripped abs, so it’s going to be hard to find a woman who’s up for that sort of thing 24/7. Sometimes, you need some chocolate. (:

  21. 22

    Speaking as an ultrarunner, and all round fitness chick, this dude is five kinds of an [email protected]#$%.

  22. 23

    “Word carefully chosen.” Classic!

  23. 24

    Oh please. This relationship is incredibly codependent. LW thinks she’s fat. LW seeks out relationship that validates her obsession with her “fat” stomach.

    While most of the statements DO sound dickish for a regular guy, they DONT sound all that dickish from a trainer who spends 24/7 motivating people to get fit and thin. He is just a little too thick to realize he’s in a relationship, not at work, and the LW is depending on him being in constant “trainer mode” to feed her neuroses.

    I have a good male friend who is a trainer / health nut and he often offers unsolicited advice, especially when individuals complain about their body. He views himself as being helpful and that he’s helping his friends to be their best.

    It’s also hard to comment on the weight loss thing. The LW seems to want to lose weight and thinks her stomach is fat. Nowhere has she said she loves her body. There is no magic rule that states your partner has to find every inch if you attractive, but bc he’s a trainer, not only can he not find her stomach attractive… She offered him a golden ticket to try to “fix” her.

    1. 24.1

      Angie, I agree with everything you said except for the part about her being co-dependent, because I don’t know. I just can’t believe how easy everyone demonized this guy, I think he is trying to motivate her and she is the one who offered to wear a shirt. I get it, women want honestly as long as it’s not something they don’t want to hear.

      If she is that bad, he should find someone else and she should find someone else. And before everyone jumps on my case, I once dated a sensitive person, you just can’t win with someone like that. They want honestly, but they call you a demon for being truthful, so just lie and smile. The boyfriend needs to accept her or let her go, but again I just feel that their is more to this story.

      1. 24.1.1

        So after some thought, I realize that I was wrong and Evan’s harsh criticism toward the guy was right.

        It is the job of the person you date (though I feel sometimes, some of the commentators on here feel it’s just the man’s job) to make you feel safe and comfortable with them, the relationship and yourself.

        So the Amanda’s boyfriend -regardless of his intentions- is wrong.

        1. Angie

          Amanda’s boyfriend is being far too demonized here. His biggest fault is that he IS a personal trainer. Someone who didn’t have professional knowledge about fitness would not trigger Amanda’s self-doubt.

          A normal guy would get tired of his girlfriend complaining / discussing how fat she is – especially when she is not. A normal guy would get tired of his girlfriend comparing herself to his exes and resenting his career. Amanda has made it 100% clear that it is HER opinion that her belly has excess fat. While a regular guy would get irritated and probably dump a 130 lb girl who complained excessively about being fat, a trainer just sees it as something he knows how to fix. (If she were unemployed but her boyfriend was a recruiter, he may edit her resume and send her job links. If her credit were a mess, a banker boyfriend may create a budget for her. If she needed to find a house, her realtor boyfriend may pick one out. Just because that person doesn’t WANT to be told what jobs to apply to, how much she can spend, where to live… the reality is when you seek advice from someone with a professional understanding of your “goal”, you open a can of worms.)

          From Amanda’s letter, she entered this relationship WANTING to lose weight, WANTING to be fit, and feeling insecure about her belly. I genuinely can’t fault a trainer for treating her in the same way he treats his clients, and I can’t fault her boyfriend for still expecting Amanda to pursue her goal.

          I can fault Amanda for not being honest and telling him she is sick of trying to lose weight. Like I said, I have a trainer friend. Whether I ask or not, he advises me on diet and exercise. Sometimes I listen. Sometimes I say “Oh please, I’m never doing that.” Sometimes if you don’t like something, you need to speak up.

          Treating your significant other like a client is insensitive… but it’s also what actually works for his clients. (Also please keep in mind fitness types have MUCH higher health/appearance standards than others, but I doubt the average person would make their partner feel “safe and secure” about living off a diet of McDonald’s. You just have to adjust your expectations accordingly with these people).

          It doesn’t seem there is anything wrong with the boyfriend. He met a girl who conveyed an interest in fitness and “fixing herself up.” He likes THAT version of Amanda, and Amanda never stood up for herself and told him that she just isn’t that interested in being THAT Amanda anymore. If she tells him to back off and he doesn’t support her decision to quit working out, he’s a jerk.

          He isn’t a jerk because he supported her in a goal that she made out of her own insecurities.

        2. Angie

          Also: He treats her like a CLIENT, not like a project.

          Evan, you have clients and I’m sure you’ve dished out plenty of tough love… in fact, you call yourself a personal trainer in love.

          But your clients love you for it. And in fact, you’ve stated you’ve advised your sister, mother, etc, in dating. It would be cruel to say you treated your sister as your project. You wanted her to find love and be happy. I don’t get why you would call this guy a jerk – “insensitive”, maybe, but that’s a lot of people. Amanda just got tired of being coached, but I bet the reason they’ve lasted over a year is because the first 4-6+ months, Amanda was fully onboard with being trained.

          Another example was, imagine you are dating someone and you both said you want to have your own children. A year and a half passes, and you find out you have fertility issues and that your only chance of conceiving is through IVF. This sounds horrible to you, and you no longer want to get pregnant. You don’t tell this to your partner, and he’s like “No big deal, you’ll just do IVF then.” (I know it’s not the same thing, but I wanted to pick something body-centric). Is he a jerk for assuming you still want to have your own children? Or are you a jerk for allowing him to continue thinking you will be fine with something you aren’t, that you will be someone you aren’t, etc. Again, insensitive for assuming you are fine with the original goal… but if you don’t say anything, that’s not totally fair.

    2. 24.2

      Well if this trainer is treating his girlfriend like a client …then she should still dump him for his training “style”
      Ive been training with a trainer for the last few years. My trainer for the last year is always positive, encouraging and has never said anything that would make me feel bad. He has a girlfriend who he seems to adore because I’ve seen her many times at the gym. His girlfriend is pretty and plump looking. My previous trainer got promoted to manager . He married a woman with an average looking physique and he doesn’t hesitate to say how awesome she is. My coach at my canoe club is the best coach we have had because he always uplifts and encourages people . My experience with coaches and trainers is you can achieve great results with people without diminishing them.

      The OP sounds like she’s insecure or has been worn down by this narcissist, so Evans advice couldn’t be more succinct ,persuasive and looking out for HER best interest.

      1. 24.2.1

        I’ve worked with personal trainers and NONE of them were ever cruel or insulting to me. And I still lost weight and got a lot fitter. 
        Abuse isn’t motivation. Sorry that maybe reality TV makes you think it is, but it’s not.
        Ppl do better when they feel better about themselves. Insults make you feel hopeless.
        So if anyone ever winds up with a trainer like him (or therapist or doctor), LEAVE. 

    3. 24.3

      I completely agree with Angie here. LW shouldn’t be with the guy, but she also set up this type of ‘tell me about my less than perfect body’ dynamic and then got mad that he played into it. He doesn’t demand she keep her shirt on, SHE chooses to do that. How much do you want to be she asked how he felt about her in a bathing suit vs him just offering that info?
      She should leave, but she should also take care not set up this relationship dynamic with the next guy.

  24. 25

    Strangely enough most normal men don’t like cuddling up to a hard slab of muscle and gristle. I’m all for being fit and healthy, I follow a primal/paleo lifestyle and I have never felt better. But – I still have curves and I like it that way, I’ve never had a complaint from any guy I’ve gone out with.

    Tell this dude not to let the door bang him in the a$$ on the way out, you can do way better than this man.

    1. 25.1

      Katt, every guy I know does want a woman with a flat stomach, even guys I don’t know, just look at all the movies, magazines, tv shows, music videos, posters, model calendar, etc, they are full of women with thin bodies and flat stomachs. Even tv and magazine ads that have nothing to do with beauty, if they are marketed to men, they are full of women with good slim bodies. If men didn’t crave flat stomachs, it wouldn’t be so popular, few ads are full of overweight women or at least I don’t know of any that are targeted toward men that have overweight women. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, I’m just saying that men and women wanting slimmer bodies is reality.

      But most “normal” -as you say- men are smart enough to not say something to the woman he has or likes if her body or stomach isn’t completely flat. Why hurt someone, just don’t date them or unfortunately some guys sleep with them a few times before he does the fade away. I’m not saying this is what happened with your guys, or that they lied to you, I’m just saying I think the OP boyfriend was being honest, something most men/women don’t do in new relationship because of fear of scaring the person off. He should have remained silent about her belly or just left her for someone with a smaller belly.

      He could have done like most smart men, when she said she needs to lose weight, he should have “lied” said: “you are perfect they way you are” or “why I love your body” or “I think your little belly is cute” and then remained silent on the subject. I’m sure there is so much more to this woman than just her protruding belly, most people (men and women) focus on those things, looking at the overall person, not just one flaw/fetish that he can obviously live with, since they’ve been together for a year.

      Maybe the guys you knew really didn’t care about a stomach or maybe they just found something in you they liked more and felt they could overlook it, the point is no one is perfect, and most people have the tact to not mention something to another person that they are sensitive about, but Katt if you asked most “normal” guys would they choose a woman with a flat stomach or a belly, most “normal” guys would say flat stomach… unless they didn’t want to hurt your feelings then I’m sure he would say he doesn’t care. And most women are the same by the way, not wanting to date a man with a beer gut.

      1. 25.1.1

        I am almost embarrassed to admit I may have met someone because I wasn’t looking and rather prided myself on being a loner. Now I have to actually deal with some stuff or I stay where I’m at and maybe miss out on a great guy. So, helpful hints please. But I need to be realistic because I still have kids at home who like somewhat normal food. And I am going from sedentary to active so I won’t be starting off high impact. I need the fitness trainer in question to whip me into shape, but hell no, I wouldn’t date him. 😝

        1. Adrian

          Starthrower68 I’m glad you met someone, since he sees you as you are now, I wouldn’t rush the weight loss. Doing it right will cause it to be more of a habit then something that will fade if you miss a three or four weeks of working out.

          But I have to ask, if you met a guy, that means he knows how your body is, so why lose weight for him? Or is this just someone that you are interested in and you feel that losing weight will gain you a chance with him? If it’s the latter, then I would recommend you don’t wast your time on someone like that, or you may find yourself in the OP’s position.

        2. starthrower68

          Adrian, update: the guy turned out to be the type Evan warns us against. Maybe I’ve had a breakthrough. I’m not devastated. I was well-behaved, fun, flirty, and charming. I have nothing to feel badly about in this situation. I opened up and was vulnerable and that he callously tossed aside someone not in his corner is not my problem. I didn’t judge him for his past (which he feared I would do) but then he judged me.

          So, as far as the weight loss goes, that is about me. I don’t intend to be looking for a boyfriend while I work on it as I don’t need the distraction. But I do admit that when I’ve reached my goal, I bump into him, looking like a million bucks and he eats his heart out. 😉

      2. 25.1.2


        I didn’t say I have a fat stomach, far from it, mine is flat. I’m not super thin or have rock hard abs, I’m normal and have curves, ie: I don’t took like a boy!
        And (thanks for the back handed insult) no one is being kind to avoid hurting my feelings as I get appreciative compliments from men. I do know the difference between genuine people and sleazy creeps of either gender.

        Most guys I know go out or are married to “real” women who don’t have perfect bodies but do have 2-3 or more children, and let’s face it, none of their boyfriends or husbands have never looked like Brad Pit ( substitute whom ever you like) in their wildest dreams. They actually love their wives/girlfriends exactly the way they are.

        If you choose a partner on looks or body shape only, that is superficial and in the long run won’t last. Sooner or later you are going to run out of younger fitter models to upgrade to who will take you on but you’re going to get dumped a lot in the process.
        Look around you in the normal world, men and women come in all different shapes sizes ages looks and guess what? There are lots of very happy couples who don’t give a rats about looks or an inconsequential bit of fat around the middle or any where else when they have a great guy or girl that has actually got past looking at their bodies or faces every time they pass a mirror. Is that narcissism or what?

        Seriously, how do you think you are going to look when you are 50+.

        The OP’s boyfriend works in the fitness industry and has to look the part or he would never get another client, he’s selling an ‘image’.
        Unfortunately he now thinks he’s a legend in his own lunchbox, he’s childish and he’s a total douche to boot.

        In other words find someone who loves you exactly the way you are, millions of other people have done and still do, every day.
        Don’t give waste of space guys like this one another minute of your time.

        1. twinkle

          I think Gabriel is just saying, men do like slim or slender women, and doesn’t like the subtle put-downs of thin women, usually by other women. I myself get a bit tired of the new PC trend of denigrating slender women, apparently they’re not “real” but just fake zombie dolls.

          That said, I agree with u that there are plenty of men around who don’t mind more ‘average-sized’ women. I’ve gained a good 15 pounds since I was a thin high-schooler (and I had a ton of guys who found the very-skinny me very attractive back then), now I have a bit of a tummy and I still have enough guys who find me attractive). As long as a woman’s BMI is not significantly above the ‘healthy’ range, a majority of men are okay with that size IMO.

          I think that as women, while we may object to unrealistic body standards being promoted in the media or by certain guys, we should be careful to not misdirect our negative feelings onto the women who happen to fit that beauty norm. It’s unfair and a bit catty–though maybe not intended that way. I’m happy to be at my curvier size, but Gisele became famous at 18 with a 5 feet 11 inches and 110 pound body, and it’s silly to pretend that lots of men aren’t attracted to a figure like hers.

        2. Gabri'el

          Twinkle thank you. Katt, nowhere was there a back handed insult in my comment. If you are looking for a fight or feeling attacked, then you won’t find one here. I don’t care how big or small your stomach is, as long as you are happy with yourself.

          I noticed how you missed all the times in my post when I said that most men know to look at the bigger picture and the whole person not just her belly, because there’s so much more to a person.

          I didn’t say one time that you were fat, nor did the original poster say she was fat. Yes we guys (and women) lie about the person we likes body if they ask us about something that we think the truth will hurt them or make them angry. How does that make them a bad boyfriend/girlfriend?

          Why didn’t you notice the point of my comment: that “if given a choice”. Most people if given a choice would choose the man/woman in better shape.

          I’ve noticed that most people (especially women) know how to wear clothes that hide their figure if they don’t have a flat stomach or whatever. But most people after they meet, they fall for the person, or at least really like them before they have sex and see each other with their shirts off. So at that point, they see more to the persn than just a stomach

        3. Gabri'el

          Twinkle you are so right, people never think twice to talk negatively about or put down people who are attractive or fit, but they don’t ever do the same with unattractive or overweight people, because they say then it’s wrong.

          Just because a women/man is attractive and in great shape, doesn’t make him a jerk or means he will make a bad boyfriend. Katts warning about dating a person for their looks is a good example. Looks are important, even the old Evan use to admit that in both his book and even on this site when he would get upset that people misunderstood what he meant by saying compromise, he wasn’t saying date a person who you aren’t attracted to. Why do you think he wants you to get professional pictures?

          Looks are important, every evolutionary study will tell you that, all I’m saying is, just because a man is handsome and in good shape doesn’t mean he will be narcissistic and treat you wrong and just because a man is average looking, with an average body, doesn’t mean he will treat you right.

  25. 26

    SO I read this… and your response…
    And then Is tarted to cry! I realise THIS is what my ex was like… I didn’t leave him – he left me – because he wasn’t attracted to me because of my tummy.
    My index says I’m on a “normal weight” scale… Yet he called me ugly – even disgusting (because I have big boobs and he could see my cleavage!)

    When we went to see a therapist – she said he was abusive. I (in total denial) said he must think he’s ugly/feel ugly in himself, and if I loved him enough he’d stop. I know CRAZY!!!

    1. 26.1

      Nah, gurl, you’re not crazy.
      Once you’re on that road of emotional abuse you can’t really see it – been there, done that, worn that T and it wasn’t nice nor well-fitting. The silver lining is that you learn to recognize that type of behaviour and will never ever let a man treat you like this again. My one and only response in such situations is now: oh, so I’m not good enough for you? I can help-please shut the door firmly after leaving.

  26. 27

    Damn straight girl. No one has the right to tear you down. What will happen if forbid in an accident end up in bed with few extra pounds and maybe one less limb. He WILL dump you quickly. Leave his ass now.

  27. 28

    Well said, Evan!

  28. 29

    When you think you’re not enough.. you find someone who thinks you’re not enough. I guess by dumping him, she’s taking a first step to self-love. And I have to admit that I smiled when I read that “dick” word.. maybe because I used to date someone like that (almost marry him) and I would’ve loved someone gave me that hard -honest advice; somehow, It empowers you.

  29. 30

    Saw a good quote this morning: Don’t let someone change who you are to become what they need.

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