As promised earlier this week, I sat down with my spouse for a seven question-and-answer session about what it’s like to be in a relationship with someone who is making a lifestyle change. Here’s how he feels about our situation and his advice to others experiencing similar periods of growth:
What have you learned from my physical wellness journey about me, yourself, and/or us?
I’ve learned why you have always cared so much about your health. You’ve always been healthy, so it wasn’t until this recent weight gain where I understood your perspective. Talking about your family’s history of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity helped me understand where you were coming from.
What is unique about our situation?
We’re grieving. We just lost our daughter several months ago. You were six months pregnant, in a normal healthy pregnancy and we lost her. So naturally you gained weight from pregnancy but then you gained extra weight from depression. I imagine you feel like it’s a waste of your body. You were able to with deal with your body changing because that’s what happens during pregnancy but to not receive the reward and joy of holding your newborn is cruel. Now it feels like you are struggling to remove the physical scars so you can move forward. I watch you struggle. I watch you cry. Seeing you hurt yourself…it’s really hard for me. I ask myself, “What can I do?” Most of the time…it feels like nothing.
What coping mechanisms do you see me using on a day-to-day basis?
I see you trying to schedule your grief. You put your grief on hold for a couple of hours at the gym and then return to it when you get home. It’s hard to deal with it. I see you trying to deal with this by yourself. Honestly it’s been a struggle for me.
What is the most positive thing that has come from this?
We have been more open in terms of communication. You’ve actually expressed your fears and other things whereas you used to keep it to yourself. It’s important to talk to people that you are close to about your issues instead of holding things inside.
What is the most frustrating thing about being in a relationship with someone making this lifestyle change?
It’s extremely difficult when you don’t see all the progress you are making. Change doesn’t happen overnight. So it’s difficult to watch you overlook all the things you’ve accomplished.
How does it impact your day-to-day life?
Now I have to be mindful of what I say and how I say it. For example, I’m careful when I say, “You are beautiful” because you don’t accept what I say anymore. You usually respond with something like, “Ugh, do you see what I look like?” or “There’s nothing beautiful over here, whatever”. It hurts to hear the way that you think about yourself because I don’t feel that way about you at all. I imagine other people have had the same experience. It’s hard for me to deal with because I don’t know how it feels to be you, in your body. Sometimes I feel like I’m expected to know things that I have no way of knowing.
What is your advice for other people who are trying to support their partner?
Every case is different but in general just be patient with them. Listen and hear them out even if you don’t understand how they feel or what bothers them. You cannot assume things. It takes a lot of patience and sometimes constantly inquiring about their emotional well-being. Things change in life.
I just want to conclude this mini-interview by saying thank you to my spouse who graciously provided me with honest answers. I know talking to me these days feels like walking on a tightrope but you do it every day. Thanks for sticking it out with me. You are always appreciated and very much loved.
Aside from that, I hope this Q &A was helpful to you or someone you know. Feel free to leave a comment or question on anything that we addressed or you want to be addressed in a future post.