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

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 (93 Comments).
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  1. 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. (:

  2. 22

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

  3. 23

    “Word carefully chosen.” Classic!

  4. 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.

  5. 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. ðŸ˜

        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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 28

    Well said, Evan!

  9. 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.

  10. 30

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

  11. 31

    Dear Amanda,

    I know that you have thoughts and feelings and worries and concerns and just want to make the right decision. Inside of you is a war between your feelings and your instinctive courage to be free. Saying the script to Dick will require all the courage you have to overcome your fear of being alone and never being in a relationship again. HOWEVER, the woman who emerges on the other side of that choice will have the courage to only choose men who uplift her and encourage her. You won’t recognize her at first. She will act differently in social situations, and be less accommodating and anxious to please. You will come to love her quickly though. 😉

  12. 32
    Tracy L

    It sounds like “dred game” ( a PUA term I learned in the manosphere). He is instilling fear and self doubt to break her down…sociopathic. I really doubt the goal is to change her.

    1. 32.1

      Whatever the motivation is, I’d be telling him to go pound sand

  13. 33

    Evan is so right. This guy is a narcissist. And he is controlling. And he punishes and demeans you. Each of which should be deal breakers; all together they are toxic-to-the-power-of-three. Get o-u-t.

  14. 34

    A man who loses his erection upon seeing a woman’s naked upper half (i.e. boobs)?? Two things. He’s got some sort of erectile dysfunction issue he’s trying to cover up, or he’s having sex with the wrong gender, and trying to cover that up too!

  15. 35

    Honestly, this letter is so obvious that it’s as if the LW is trolling…

  16. 36

    Yay Evan! I haven’t had a chance to read the comments but this guy is INSANE. Run away. Find someone normal. Because believe me, he has massive issues that are soul sucking.

  17. 37

    First off, if this guy is a personal trainer and he treats his clients the way he treats his girlfriend, his motivational style isn’t going to work for a lot of people. Just putting the relationship advice aside for a minute (I’ll get to that) ask yourself what it is a PT is supposed to do. Criticizing a client’s body in such a harsh way is NOT part of the job description. A trainer is supposed to 1. assess a client’s current physical fitness; 2. identify the client’s fitness goals (e.g. strength training, endurance training, weight loss, sports-focused exercise, flexibility, injury management, etc.); 3. provide general nutritional counseling to support the client’s fitness goals; 4. teach the client how to safely perform aerobic and anaerobic exercises at full range of motion to procure desired results; 5. encourage overall wellness and health awareness (e.g. asking if the client is feeling any pain, checking for healthy sleeping and eating patterns, addressing emotional issues regarding body image, etc.) A good PT is like a doctor, therapist and friend all rolled up into one — who just happens to kick your ass on a semi-frequent basis. The best PTs support their clients; they don’t tear them down. The same way there are good marriage counselors and bad ones, the same way there are good doctors and bad ones, the same way there are good teachers and bad ones, there are good PTs and bad ones. LW, I’d really ask yourself if the best person to give you fitness advice is one who treats you this way. There are OTHER authorities here.

    And if he’s such a knowledgeable PT then he’s knows it’s impossible to spot-reduce anyway! At your already healthy weight and height you might *never* lose the extra stomach weight you dislike so much, even holding plank, doing pilates and going carb-free for a year. It would be a different story if you had a significant amount of weight to lose or had very little muscle tone, because then you have the opportunity to make big body changes, difficult as that level of body transformation is. Unless you’re a competitive body builder, health is about what you can do with your body, not how it looks. If it’s important to you, keep working on toning up your body — nothing wrong with that. But I’d also put some resources into fixing what’s going on in your head.

    On to the relationship. I second/third/fourth/whatever Evan said. This guy’s an assberet. If he knows you’re sensitive about a part of your body, the LAST thing someone who claims to care about you should do is shame you about it and give you reasons to pile on to those negative feelings. He’s NOT doing this to help you. This is about HIM. It’s a billion times easier for people to criticize and focus on other people’s problems than it is to criticize and focus on themselves. It’s a classic distraction technique that’s totally manipulative. If he keeps you on tiptoes, engages in controlling behavior (food policing) and makes you spend your time worried about how to please HIM, then you’re not spending your time asking whether he’s pleasing YOU. And you deserve that. People deserve partners who actually give a shit about the other person’s happiness. I mean, can you imagine turning this around on him? “Honey, I think you’re really hot and everything, but when we have sex and go out in public can you put a bag over your head? It’s a real turn off for me to have to see your face, because I really prefer green eyed men and you have brown eyes.” Would it ever REMOTELY seem okay to you to say such a thing to someone?

    I get the vibe from the tone of your letter that you already know this and are just looking for validation to stand up to this guy; so I’m giving it to you: his behavior doesn’t pass the “reasonable” and “healthy” smell tests by a long shot.

    If this guy wanted to encourage you in a positive manner to continue to tone your body in a way to his liking, he could say things like, “hey, I’m going outside for a run. Wanna come?” Or, “I know you’ve been trying really hard to get fit and I think that’s great. I know a lot about nutrition, so would you mind if I took over more of the cooking?” Or, “I know you love the occasional munchie, so if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to cookies let me know and I’ll send you the name of some low-calorie snacks you might like.” Or, “sweetie, nobody’s perfect but I think it’s awesome you’re working so hard on your body. What can I do to help you stay motivated?”

    So short-term I advise you find a new trainer and stop taking fitness advice from this guy. Long-term I advise you find a way to extricate yourself from this seriously unhealthy relationship and DTMF.

  18. 38

    The saddest part about this is that she accepted (I’m putting in past tense hoping that Evan’s perfect response and all these encouraging responses have prompted her to take action) this treatment of her. If she held herself in high regard, she would never accept from a man (or anyone) anything less than what she believes about herself. The fact that she allowed this and questioned if it was ok indicates that part of her buys into it. Own your power girlfriend, I WISH i had your proportions, belly or not, and any man worthy of you would not give a damn about it.

  19. 39

    I agree with Evan. This man’s head is not screwed on right. When he tells her to put a shirt on during love making, he clearly demonstrates his lack of maturity and shows no concerns whatsoever about her feelings. He disrespect a loyal girlfriend of one year. He doesn’t seem to understand that killer abs has nothing to do with sustaining a long healthy releationship. However, I can sense from her letter that she loves him deeply and not quite ready to walk away from 1 year invested in this guy. Have a heart-to-heart talk. Tell him that is not okey to address you in such manner, and point out the concequences if he should continue to do so. Couples therapy might help, but if she doesn’t see any drastic changes within the first two moth, I say walk and never look back.

  20. 40

    This is my first post, but I’ve been reading Evan’s blog for awhile now. This letter from Amanda really struck a chord with me. My husband is an abuser and I think Amanda’s bf is one too. Right after I got married my husband was putting me down about my body. He said I had great legs and arms and my wrists are so thin etc., but my tummy isn’t flat. The last time I had a flat stomach was before puberty. A curved stomach isn’t the end of the world and I’m not some hideous beast. I exercise regularly. He had the nerve to say one day while we were intimate that if I lost more weight he’d enjoy the sex act more. Ahh, I was the one who got turned off. He would talk about mutual female friends of ours and how they were sexy and attractive….he’d also go on about how Russian women are the most beautiful etc. So why didn’t he marry a sexy Russian then? If he likes 5’8 tall women with almost no body fat then why didn’t he go date someone like that? Because he couldn’t put them down about how they look and control them in that area. The first year of marriage was negative comments about how I looked (body), the second year was financial control and the third year he became physically abusive and that was the last straw for me. I separated and am in the process of divorce. He lessened in his hurtful body image comments when I made it clear to him that I didn’t care what he had to say about my body. He knew how I looked when we dated, got engaged and married. If he didn’t like it he could’ve left. And I actually lost weight after I got married. Then he tried the financial control and he wasn’t 100% successful with that (he had the nerve to say I was a financial disappointment and I make more money than him) in the end he turned to physical abuse. My point in telling all of this is that Amanda should get out now while it’s easy and she shouldn’t put up with his abuse. It’s already damaging her self-esteem. Be happy with your body Amanda and find someone who accepts you as you are. If he really wants a super fit woman with a flat stomach and well-defined abs then he’ll go out and get one (but I don’t think that’s what he really wants). Lose the boyfriend and build up your self-esteem. You’ll be much better off.

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