My Big Fat First Wedding

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The Spark Was Gone

But in the end we split up for a more primal reason: He stopped wanting me in any physical sense. I'd gained so much weight he no longer found me attractive. Worse, I was beginning to see myself as he did. It was as if I were permanently positioned in front of a fun-house mirror, the kind that makes you look freakishly short, rippled and round.

"But you gave him two beautiful children," a friend exclaimed furiously when I confided to her about Robert's lack of interest. "There should be a special circle in hell for men who make women feel bad about gaining weight after motherhood."

She had a point. On the other hand, I understood that Robert couldn't force himself to desire me. And I'd put on not just a few pounds, but a lot of them: forty, to be exact, in four years of marriage. True, I'd started year one thinner than usual, thanks to an all lentil-and-rice diet, so actually I'd gained less than it seemed. But Robert hadn't known me before and I'm sure he worried that I'd continue this 10-pound-a-year expansion, saddling him with an Incredible Hulk of a wife.

I was not -- and I swear this is an objective view -- obese. But Robert was trim and muscular and I was buxom and plump and busting out all over. I looked nothing like the woman who had seduced him in that San Francisco bar. How could he have known that lurking inside that lean, mean dancing machine was a Rubenesque big mama ready to slip into comfort-waist jeans?

Robert was less bothered by our dormant sex life than I was. I wondered if he was having an affair, but he denied it, and he was one of the most honest people I knew. That left just me and my body as the cause of his languid libido. "What's the big deal about sex anyway?" Robert asked one day. "The point of marriage is to raise a family. Nothing's perfect for any couple."

I struggled to accept this view, with little success. And as time passed our marital clashes increasingly centered on my blossoming shape.

Why did sex matter so much to me? Because I firmly believe that a feverish tryst, or even a tender, familiar roll in the hay, expresses what words can't. I view sex -- and science backs me up here -- as the glue binding a couple together, essential for withstanding differences in politics and personalities, not to mention the rigors of aging and daily life with children. Occasionally, with prodding from me, we rallied on a Saturday night, but the spark was gone.

Continued on page 3:  Tears and Changes


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