Oreoluwa weighed 55kg when she married Tunji. Her gynecologist recommended that she gain 10 kg to get pregnant. It worked.
"I couldn’t stop eating while I was pregnant and gained a whopping 45 kg. I topped out at 105 kg on my 5-foot 8-inch frame."
"During this time, I noticed that my husband was not interested in sex at all. In retrospect, I realized that he had become rather distant and detached after my first pregnancy and I weighed 73 kg, 20 kg over what I was when we were dating."
Oreoluwa asked Tunji what the problem was. "I felt like I was being unfairly punished." At first, he didn't admit that his lack of interest was because of her appearance. He said he didn't know what was bothering him. "Maybe he didn't want to put undue pressure on me."
In fact, Tunji didn't admit the problem until Oreoluwa told him she was tired of living without sex and was ready to file for divorce if he didn't get some help for his lack of libido.
That's when he told her that her body was a turnoff. If she wanted him to desire her again, she had to lose weight. "So, now the problem was in my hands."
Oreoluwa's doctor suggested a healthy diet and a support group to combat her weight gain.
She took his advice and lost 7 kg. She weighed 80 kg, but that didn't seem to make a difference to Tunji. He still had no interest in her sexually.
She stopped dieting and going to meetings, and she stopped losing weight. "I think that my husband's continued disinterest in me sexually really took the wind out of my sails when I was trying to resist treats. Those yummies presented themselves as a pragmatic solution to the lack of sensual and physical fulfillment that I was experiencing. How long could I diet without getting any sex to keep me motivated?"
It has now been 2 1/2 years since Oreoluwa and Tunji have had sex
She recently has been on a strict diet, and it's been working. But she's struggling to lose the last 10 to 15 kg. She has given herself an ultimatum. "If I don't lose the weight and get down to 60 kg by September 25, I'm filing for divorce. I love my husband deeply, but I refuse to live like this for the sake of my child. I don't want her to witness my sadness, which has become so deep that I often cannot mask it in her presence.
"And if my husband can't muster the desire to have sex with me at only 5 kg over what I weighed when we met, then there is far more wrong with our marriage than a little fat. Deep down, I wonder if there are other problems in my marriage. I think if I were a man, I would want to sleep with my wife, even if she looked like I do right now."
Talking to your spouse about their weight can be such a touchy subject, even when you mean well and it's coming from a good place. But it's a conversation that you must have, for the sake of your relationship. Here is a list of 5 things you shouldn't say to your spouse about their weight. As for what to say, if it comes from a place of love and concern and is devoid of pressure, it's sure to be a hit.
5 Things You Shouldn't Say To Your Spouse About Their Weight Gain
"You've Put On Weight"
Even if it doesn't seem like it, your partner is aware that they've gained weight. Also, the weight gain may not really be about food. Rather than bringing up the weight, just ask, "Are you OK?" Your spouse may stop using food as a crutch once they start to communicate openly with you. They know they'll get the emotional support they needed, but weren't able to ask for.
"You Shouldn't Be Eating That"
Pointing out your partner's wrong food choices implies judgment. It can feel very awful coming from a romantic partner. The best way to help is not to point out what your partner is doing wrong, but instead consistently and casually offer healthy options in a non-judgmental fashion.
"Haven't You Had Enough?"
This monitoring tactic may be borne of good intentions, but it will backfire. Monitoring portions tends to lead to the same anger tied to policing "bad" foods, and can often lead to secret binges or purposefully overeating when the bullying partner isn't around.
"I'm Just Trying To Help"
Regardless of your intentions, it's important to see how your words and actions make your partner feel. Even if you have good intentions, this kind of scrutiny just doesn't feel good, especially when we're adults. So rather than trying to justify being a food cop, learn to let go.
"It's Easy, All You Have To Do Is..."
Weight control is more complicated than calories in, calories out, or eat less, move more. Plus, what works for one person may not work for another. Rather than schooling your partner in what works for you, try to examine what works for them. You might even ask, "Is there anything I can do to support you?" When you see things through your partner's eyes, you may find that the view is very different.
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com