I am a 20-year-old overweight girl. At the age of 19, I started dating a 22-year-old man. He approached me through social media and we started seeing each other.
During our relationship, he always criticised me for my weight. No matter what I did, he was never happy. He often told me that he cannot introduce me to his family because I am ‘bulky’.
I joined a gym to lose weight but he didn’t recognise my efforts even though I was shedding fat. I quit the gym eventually because he was not pleased.
Our relationship deteriorated and he began to make me uncomfortable with his inappropriate talks and physical advances; after five months of painful dating, we broke up.
It's been quite some time since then but I still get sad whenever I think of him. I try to stay busy with my studies and other activities to keep myself distracted but to no use. Because of this experience, I see myself as an unfit person for any man.
What’s your advice?
Victim of Body Shaming
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Dear Victim of Body Shaming,
First of all, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed at all about your weight. No one has the right to tell you what you should weigh or not. It’s not anyone else’s business. And as far as your weight is concerned, you should only worry about it if it’s making you unhealthy and leading to any illnesses. Otherwise, it’s fine.
Unfortunately, body shaming - the practice of making critical, potentially humiliating comments about a person's body size or weight - has become a norm these days. The society that we live in has narrowed in on a particular kind of physique and weight and for them, only that is considered attractive. This is a biased and unrealistic view and it’s just plain silly. Not everyone can and should be expected to have a particular amount of weight.
Sadly, not all people understand this and many of us go to great lengths – starvation, surgery, etc – to get thin and be socially accepted. We start believing that if we are not of a certain weight then we are unattractive. Nothing could be further from the truth. True beauty is not about weight; it’s about the person that we are.
As for your ex, believe me when I say this you are better off without him and that you did the right thing by breaking up with him. True love is supposed to make you feel special. It’s supposed to make you feel happy and cared for. It’s not supposed to make you feel stressed and demeaning. Being in a relationship with your ex was making you feel just that – stressed out and losing self-respect.
A loving partner is supposed to be supportive and appreciative, not the other way around. He was unappreciative of your efforts for him. An example of this is when you joined a gym. He still criticised you even though he knew very well that you were doing this for him, to please him and to make him happy. But he didn’t appreciate this. Instead he kept on harping negatively about your weight. What’s the point of being with someone when he couldn’t appreciate what you did for him out of love?
Also, he was making you uncomfortable by trying to talk and touch you inappropriately. He wasn’t doing that because he loved you. Being the sick person he is, he was just looking for cheap thrills. And when he realised that you were not willing to go along with his perverted wishes, he left you.
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Think of it this way: if he really believed that you were unattractive and he couldn’t introduce you to his family then why did he want to have a physical relationship with you? When we find someone unattractive we don’t want to be in a physical relationship with them. He was insincere with you right from the beginning. He wanted to sabotage your self-confidence so you would easily give in to his demands of being physical with him. You on the other hand had the maturity and good sense of not agreeing to his wishes. That’s why he left you, because he didn’t get what he wanted. Not because he found you unattractive.
Breaking up with someone, even if that someone is not worth it, is a painful experience. Therefore, you feeling sad whenever you think of your ex is completely natural. It must pain even more knowing that he was not sincere in his feelings for you and was just taking you for a ride and left you without a second thought. Therefore, you feeling sad right now is completely normal. It shows that you are a good person who entered this relationship with a pure and loving heart.
You mentioned that ever since you broke up with him you are concentrating more on your studies, participating actively in extracurricular activities and praying more. All of these are healthy and excellent choices. You are on the right track and handling the breakup in a very positive and constructive manner. Not everyone is able to do that. Many people turn towards negative things, like drugs, when they go through a breakup. You on the other hand have made the right and mature choices. You should be proud of yourself.
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You are young – only 20 years old; you have your whole life in front of you. Think of this breakup as an unpleasant experience and move on. He isn’t worth your heart ache and tears. In fact, you should be thankful that you had the sense and maturity to understand that he wasn’t worth it plus you had the will to go ahead and break up with him. Not everyone can do that. There are so many people who are stuck in miserable relationships and don’t get out of them because they are afraid of being lonely. You on the other hand understood what is right for you and acted accordingly. Kudos for that.
As for your plans for never getting married again, you're hurting right now and that’s why you feel this way. Hopefully with time you will feel better and start thinking again of having a beautiful future with someone special. Sooner or later you will come across someone who will love you for the person you are and the way you are. It will be someone who will be sincere in their love for you and will not put conditions on you before loving you. This is the sort of a person you want to spend your life with it. You're precious and you deserve someone like that. Don’t settle for anyone less than that.
Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at [email protected] with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.