"My Husband Nags Me About Being Overweight"

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Her Turn, continued

"I never felt I could stand up to my parents' criticism. I knew what they were doing was hurtful, but I stuffed it inside. Periodically, I'd lose some weight but I'd always yo-yo right back up. I put all my energies into my school work and, at least there, I excelled. I majored in economics in college, landed a good job at a research firm after graduation and found a tiny apartment in the city. I met my husband when we shared a beach house one summer.

"At the beach house, Mark and I became instant friends. He's very unpretentious, the kind of guy you could talk to for five minutes and feel as if you've known your whole life. By Labor Day, we knew we wanted to get married. After our honeymoon, we moved into his city apartment for a few months while we looked for house in the suburbs -- I wanted to live in the city, but Mark didn't. I stayed at my job, Mark worked in a brokerage firm and, for the first few years, I really think we were very happy.

"But looking back, there were hints of trouble. Besides the comments about what I was eating, he would often push my buttons. He complained -- and still does -- about the house not being neat enough; that I didn't have a nice dinner waiting for him when he got home, things like that. For God's sake -- I was working, too. I didn't have time to clean as thoroughly as his mother may have and I was overwhelmed at the prospect of furnishing a house in the first place. Why couldn't he make dinner? Just last week, he ran out of clean shirts and blamed me because I hadn't taken them to the laundry. Is this the Fifties? I know that each of these issues, separately, sounds silly and insignificant. But when you bicker about them day in and day out, over time, you just stop caring. I think that's what started happening to us. 

Emotional Escape

"When Ashley was born, I'd hoped things would change. To be honest, I was not thrilled about being a mother. Mark is very into family and he desperately wanted a child, but even when I was pregnant I was anxious about being a good mother. I never felt I was cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. Ashley was perfect, and I kept waiting for that rush of mother love to hit. Not only did it never come, I found myself growing increasingly agitated as the weeks passed. Ashley would cry, and I couldn't calm her down. I'd stopped working and felt trapped, insecure and lonely. I'm embarrassed to say there were times when I feared I might be turning into a neglectful mother. I never did anything to harm her -- but I'd become so enraged and exhausted, I'd leave her in her crib screaming, while I went into the other room and screamed even louder.

"Whenever I'm stressed out, I head for the refrigerator. In the middle of the night, if I'm up with Ashley, or even if she's sleeping, I'll sneak down and polish off a frozen cheesecake -- standing up! Before I know it, I can eat a giant size bag of chips. Eating always calmed me down -- for a while. Then, I'd be swamped with guilt.

"I'm convinced the weight issue has destroyed our sex life; it's been months since Mark and I have made love. I feel unloved, rejected -- you can imagine how it feels to have someone turn away from you in bed. 

"We're not close inside or outside the bedroom. There's no warmth, no affection, no sharing. It makes us both wonder if we should start talking about divorce. We've been married for four years, and neither of us want to separate, especially for Ashley's sake -- but I've about given up hope."

Continued on page 3:  His Turn


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