Is Extra Weight a Factor in Your Love Life?

Is your pattern to diet rigorously when you are getting ready to make yourself available to date? And then when you are safely in a relationship, does your weight creep up? Or do you stay fat and single, even though you wish you were not – fat or single?

Whether we like it or not, weight is very often a factor in matchmaking. It plays a part for those looking: just read a few personal ads or online profiles – “slim, trim and fit” are practically mandatory adjectives when people describe what they are looking for. And it plays a part in your own thinking and receptivity to others.

Like it or not (and frankly, I hate it!), round, plump, Rubenesque, succulent, fleshy, and zaftig are simply not fashionable nowadays. And until styles change, we are pretty much stuck with the current yardsticks.

Making yourself available to date, letting others know that you are interested in finding a mate, is one of the most anxiety provoking things we can do. It’s terrifying! Feeling like you are too fat is an easy reason to stay out of the dating game. Continuing to sooth yourself with food keeps the anxiety at bay twice – first when you eat it, and second with the overweight results, which gives you the excuse not to get Out There.

A therapist friend of mine said that he thought people were either phobic or counter phobic – controlled by their fears or their attempts to control their fears. Frankly, I’d rather be counter phobic. At least that gives me some sense of doing something, of having some control.

Are you phobic or counter phobic?

If you were afraid of heights, would you be more likely to move to Florida, where most of the landscape is pretty flat and unthreatening, or would you take up sky diving as a way of conquering your fear?

If the thought of looking for a life partner scares you silly, are you more likely to hang out with your girlfriends (or guy friends, depending), eating ice cream sundaes and potato chips (or lattés and biscotti) and complaining that there are no good men left? Or are you more likely to tell your married friends that you are looking for a sweetheart, if they happen to know an eligible single? Sign up on Start throwing parties?

If you are slimming down or thinking about trying, you may soon face the perhaps unexpected anxiety that comes with being more attractive, more marketable by today’s slim standards. If you are a yoyo dieter, this kind of anxiety may have something to do with your ups and downs. Odd as it may sound, for many, fat equals safe.


1. How potential dates react to your size – skinny or round – is much more about them than about you. Would you really want a partner that was so intolerant, rigid and perfectionist that they specified a dress size? (“Size 6 or under only” – believe me, I have seen it!)

2. If you are trying online dating, always tell the truth and post a photo that accurately reflects your looks today. Any shading of the truth is a romance killer, especially online, where trust is fragile.

3. Keep in mind that for every Jack, there is a Jill – of that I am firmly convinced. There is a wonderful someone out that, perfect for you. You just don’t know where they are. That’s part of the search.

4. Perhaps mastering your weight issues (a counter phobic reaction) is important for YOU, important for your feelings of self. Whatever you do, do it for you, and not to become the size 6 for the weirdo who seems turned on by teensy.

5. Remember that what you put out is what you will attract to you. Work on your attitude, both about yourself and about your mate potential. If you believe “There are no good men / women out there,” believe me, that is what you will find.

6. Mate finding is such an important endeavor that almost never in history has it been left to the individuals themselves to wander around alone in the dating wilderness searching for a spouse, like we expect singles to do now. Consider hiring a coach specializing in just your situation, helping singles become couples. You’ll be glad you did.

Remember that it is normal to feel anxious about looking, hoping, planning, and praying for a Sweetheart. But saying that you are waiting for *the right time,* *after I lose this weight,* or *when things slow down* means you are deciding NOT to look. Because *the right time* never comes, no one is ever completely happy with how they look, and things keep happening to get in the way.

Get started. Take action. You’ll be anxious, but that’s okay. It’ll get easier, and the potential rewards are awesome!