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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

We're in our early 30s and plan to marry soon. I love her, and she loves me, so there's no problem in that department. However, there is a recurring problem that creeps up in the bedroom.

Long story short, she got pregnant (she delivered a few years ago), and she gained some weight from the pregnancy and she didn't lose it. Since then her self-image changed. Some days she loves her body and somedays she doesn't. I hate to see her like this, and she knows I love her no matter what and enjoy having sex with her.

Before I ask the question, I want to reiterate that I love her and always tell her I find her sexy. She begins hitting the gym (her initiative) soon.

Do you have any advice for her self-image issues? She's not depressed or anything, but it would be nice to get any tips that I may have missed that could be helpful. Also, she likes to close the lights during sex, but I love seeing her body, is there a way to negotiate?

Thanks for sending your advices.
 

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First, I've never met a woman that didn't have some body issues. I'm not saying that they don't exist, but they are rare. I'll go further and say that the most beautiful women often have the biggest body issues. Because beauty is their superpower, it is something that they worry about all the time. The women I know with the most unhealthy body issues are the most attractive women I know.

I would tell her that it is normal for women to be concerned about their body image. It is also normal for loving husbands to not see them and to love the person for who they are. Respect her concerns, but don't feed them. Be patient.
 

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She really needs to appreciate her body more as sex is a naturally occurring function of life! If she's planning on hitting the gym during pregnancy, then make sure she consults first with her OB/Gyn!

Same can be said for her wanting to shut the lights off during sex. If it's shyness on her part of her not liking seeing her pregnant body, or faultily thinking that you resent it as well, then agree to dim the lighting some or just agree to "do it" by candlelight!

That being said, I really think that an individual counselor could do her a sheer world of good!
 

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Hi,

We're in our early 30s and plan to marry soon. I love her, and she loves me, so there's no problem in that department. However, there is a recurring problem that creeps up in the bedroom.

Long story short, she got pregnant, gained some weight, and her self-image changed. Some days she loves her body and somedays she doesn't. I hate to see her like this, and she knows I love her no matter what and enjoy having sex with her.

Before I ask the question, I want to reiterate that I love her and always tell her I find her sexy. She begins hitting the gym (her initiative) soon.

Do you have any advice for her self-image issues? She's not depressed or anything, but it would be nice to get any tips that I may have missed that could be helpful. Also, she likes to close the lights during sex, but I love seeing her body, is there a way to negotiate?

Thanks for sending your advices.
I'm going to give a warning here. I'm a middle aged woman with two kids.

I'd be careful about moving forward with marriage until you completely sort some things out. Spend some time here reading the threads about sexless marriages. Truly. If you're already having problems about sex-- your partner needs to have the lights OFF to have sex, I'd take that as a warning bell pinging.

While you can absolutely let her know you find her attractive and that's wonderful, ultimately she is in charge of her self worth/body image.

I'd hate for you to be back here in a few years asking for advice, in an almost sexless marriage, with a woman who won't even be naked with you unless it's in the dark. The first question people will ask is, what was she like when you married her? If your answer is: I married her knowing she would only have sex in the dark, there will be very little to work with as far as improving the situation. You knew what she was like and signed up for life, anyway.

If you don't believe me, spend a couple of weeks here reading the threads and being part of the community.
 

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Yes my advice is don’t marry someone with self image issues. Tell her she needs to work that out prior to marriage. If you don’t and marry her be prepared for a long hard life of her issues and sexless marriage
 

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How did she feel about herself prior to pregnancy/How long have you two been together? I'm only wondering because depending on how soon she became pregnant in your relationship there may be a slight concern on her end about the stability of everything moving forward. Hormones can also have a tremendous affect on a woman's confidence, especially if they're fluctuating.

I've always had body issues, mostly stemming from bullying as a child, and my husband has worked tirelessly to help remedy the damage done by others. It's a long process and it's not an easy one, but great communication, partnership, and patience can do wonders. I know that in my own case, often what will cause a dip in my body image will be at various points during my cycle when I suddenly "feel" out of shape, even if I'm not.

Additionally, feeling accomplishment and pride in things outside of the bedroom/mirror often have a positive affect on that reflection, so maybe she's feeling out of sorts in other facets of life that are being echoed back into the bedroom. Starting a new hobby or helping her pursue something she's passionate about could reignite that confidence. She might just be struggling with a bit of an identity crisis since she's entered a completely new stage of life (motherhood) and is looking at entering marriage which will add another new element to her self-image.

Another avenue is therapy, a vacation that takes her out of her own head, or even establishing a good routine of outings or dates that reflect your love and enjoyment of each other's companionship could help with that.

If she truly refuses to be intimate without the lights on at all, a good compromise could be adding a dimmer switch in either the room itself or a closet, since low light can be extremely flattering.

Regardless of where the root of her confidence issues are, it is a very painful and personal thing to cope with, both as the affected individual and partner of someone struggling with it. Good luck to you both!
 

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Hi,

We're in our early 30s and plan to marry soon. I love her, and she loves me, so there's no problem in that department. However, there is a recurring problem that creeps up in the bedroom.

Long story short, she got pregnant, gained some weight, and her self-image changed. Some days she loves her body and somedays she doesn't. I hate to see her like this, and she knows I love her no matter what and enjoy having sex with her.

Before I ask the question, I want to reiterate that I love her and always tell her I find her sexy. She begins hitting the gym (her initiative) soon.

Do you have any advice for her self-image issues? She's not depressed or anything, but it would be nice to get any tips that I may have missed that could be helpful. Also, she likes to close the lights during sex, but I love seeing her body, is there a way to negotiate?

Thanks for sending your advices.
Can you compromise and have the lights dimmed?
Does she read women's magazines? if she does than that will only be feeding her insecurities. Do you watch porn? That will have the same effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry for the confusion. She's not pregnant anymore (she delivered years ago). I modified my message to correct the confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
She really needs to appreciate her body more as sex is a naturally occurring function of life! If she's planning on hitting the gym during pregnancy, then make sure she consults first with her OB/Gyn!

Same can be said for her wanting to shut the lights off during sex. If it's shyness on her part of her not liking seeing her pregnant body, or faultily thinking that you resent it as well, then agree to dim the lighting some or just agree to "do it" by candlelight!

That being said, I really think that an individual counselor could do her a sheer world of good!

Sorry for the confusion. She's not pregnant anymore (she delivered years ago). I modified my message to correct the confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
How did she feel about herself prior to pregnancy/How long have you two been together? I'm only wondering because depending on how soon she became pregnant in your relationship there may be a slight concern on her end about the stability of everything moving forward. Hormones can also have a tremendous affect on a woman's confidence, especially if they're fluctuating.

I've always had body issues, mostly stemming from bullying as a child, and my husband has worked tirelessly to help remedy the damage done by others. It's a long process and it's not an easy one, but great communication, partnership, and patience can do wonders. I know that in my own case, often what will cause a dip in my body image will be at various points during my cycle when I suddenly "feel" out of shape, even if I'm not.

Additionally, feeling accomplishment and pride in things outside of the bedroom/mirror often have a positive affect on that reflection, so maybe she's feeling out of sorts in other facets of life that are being echoed back into the bedroom. Starting a new hobby or helping her pursue something she's passionate about could reignite that confidence. She might just be struggling with a bit of an identity crisis since she's entered a completely new stage of life (motherhood) and is looking at entering marriage which will add another new element to her self-image.

Another avenue is therapy, a vacation that takes her out of her own head, or even establishing a good routine of outings or dates that reflect your love and enjoyment of each other's companionship could help with that.

If she truly refuses to be intimate without the lights on at all, a good compromise could be adding a dimmer switch in either the room itself or a closet, since low light can be extremely flattering.

Regardless of where the root of her confidence issues are, it is a very painful and personal thing to cope with, both as the affected individual and partner of someone struggling with it. Good luck to you both!
By far the best reply. Thank you.
 

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My 2 cents from 46+ years of marriage.

Be very careful and thoughtful. You can not change your lady friend, only she can change herself. No matter how many nice things you say about her beauty and body she will ultimately determine her body image. Many women have negative body images.

You can negatively impact her body image by saying the wrong things, and you can help a little by saying you love the way she looks, but again, it is her self image that is important. She may not trust your perspective (even though it is the one she should value most) as she may just write it off as what you are willing to say to get in her panties.

I would echo the individual therapy suggestion. Alternately, you could try some outdoor activities together as a couple.

For example, there are lots of C25K (Couch Potato to 5 K walk/run) training programs out there that you could both participate in and you can carry the baby in a pack/sling to handicap you. I did something similar as going on walks with my wife and then after we did walks each weekend said we should do a charity event 5K walk in a few months for a charity we both liked and then did that. Ultimately I got my wife to run a 5 mile event with our adult kids and one of their spouses. It was all very incremental and never about her weight or fitness level, it was about spending time together in a non-stress environment, doing something for a charity or being with our kids in a family event. Getting a finishers medal or ribbon to hang on the wall can be pretty self-image altering.

Another alternative some folks have used is to find a local woman professional boudoir photographer and give your lady a gift shoot and make over telling her that you love the way she looks and if she likes the photos, you would really like to have one of her, if she doesn't like them, she can destroy them all. Sometimes this will freak a woman out, but if she can go through it, a professional photographer can make just about anyone look beautiful. It could change the way she looks at herself.

I don't know if you have ever watched the TV show "What Not to Wear," where Clinton and Stacy do complete make overs on people. You might see if you can find a rerun or stream it and watch it with your lady. Then maybe say that as an engagement present you want to pay for a similar shopping spree, make-up lessons and hair styling for her with some professional shopper. The statements by so many of the women at the end of the show about feeling beautiful for the first time in the life are heart warming.


Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is your attempt to steer people to say what you want to hear. That won’t work here.


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Funny how you took time to write this from your phone. You don't know me and you don't know my fiancée. Like everyone else, I'm looking for answers, advice and help. I have the freedom to choose the comments that I find constructive and useful.
 

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My fiancee has curves. Love them dearly. As a woman she has body issues, but those issues stop at our door.

Men can see a woman as absolutely stunning, even with a make up mask, years on the body and yes, a couple of curves. It is your duty to make her feel that you enjoy everything about her, as she is.

Tell her you like what you like and you love what you see. Tell her to accept you, not only as a lover, but as a confidant and freind. Make her house safe to be who she is.

You are to be her husband and she, your wife. That's all that matters when the doors are closed.
 

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Women are not hysterical, we’re neurotic. Even super models fight the image they see vs the reality others see. Size 2 or size 22, we battle to feel positive.

And that’s the first step: Recognize that what we see is not what others see and not what out SO sees. We can fight out negative body image or we can reinforce it.

Step 2. Recognize body image is malleable, changeable and most of all relative. If a woman is a size 18 skipping down the street swaying her hips and winking at her man her positive self image has NOTHING to do with what others see, but what she sees. That woman is thrilled because she used to weigh 320 pounds and now she is below 200. She feels great about herself, as she should! Meanwhile crazy neurotic size 6 is to afraid to wear tight top because her body fat rolls when she sits down and slumps in her chair.

Step 3. Under no circumstances are we ever allowed to denigrate our body.

We have a choice. We can decide not to hate ourselves. We can learn to love ourselves. Size 2 or 22.
 
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