Dear Richard: Too Fat to Be Loved?
I am 26 and I try to look good but I am BIG. I am 6' 3" and 316 pounds.
I know there are men who like chubby guys. I have looked everywhere I can think of and the closest guys who are interested in me live over 2 hours away. When I had the chance to travel they were "not available" for over 2 weeks and we are talking about 4 or 5 guys.
Should I just give up until I lose more weight? I have lost about 100 pounds in the last 2 years. Is there a man out there for me as I am? Or would it be smart to wait and until I get down to my goal weight? I am so tired of getting lead on and lied to.
All I want is to find love.
Sad and All Alone
First of all, thanks for sending a picture! (No, none of the pictures shown here are from the reader.) Dear Dick LOVES getting pictures. And it also helps to see the picture because I doubt your problems with finding what you want have anything to do with the way you look. You are quite handsome, and you have a gorgeous smile.
So, let's break a few things down, and hopefully that can open up some possibilities.
Your weight: Congrats on losing the 100 pounds, but only if that is what you want. There's nothing wrong with your weight if that is the way you want to be physically in the world. I would suggest contemplating that. If you have a great deal of body shame, no matter what you weigh, that can form a block to being able to relate to another person. Your body may not be your ultimate ideal, but in the meantime, if you can't conjure up some love for yourself physically, it doesn't bode well for you being able to do that for another person. Which leads us to…
The other person: Are you setting your sights realistically? What are your expectations around the kind of person you want to be with? Are you willing to afford the same kind of acceptance to somebody that you would like to receive?
What are you bringing to the table? Besides your evident youth and beauty, what are you offering to a potential mate? Wanting to be loved is great, but that does not a relationship make. And being loved will not fill the empty voids in your life.
Some important qualities for potential mates:
• A good relationship with some close friends. How you relate to your friends is a good indicator of what kind of partner you can be in a more primary relationship. Generosity, patience, availability, and shared interests are some of the essential items for good, close friendship.
• An interest in the world at large. Guys who devote some time and energy to doing good works, like volunteering, fund-raising, and being of general service to these who need it make very attractive partners. Self-esteem can come from esteemable acts. And good self-esteem is a big part of what makes a great primary relationship. These qualities also put you in a good place to meet other like-minded people.
• Do your inner work. Everyone has issues — everyone. Compulsions, behaviors, tortured relationships with family, bad credit, bouts of depression, inhibitions, and a week-old sink load of dishes. No one cleans up their act entirely before launching themselves as mating material. But if any of the kinds of things on the above list is out of control in your life, you may need to focus on that first to dial it back to a workable level before you can successfully relate to another guy.
Your approach: Dating is ugly business. There is the horrible job-interviewishness of it. We would never do that to our friends. Friendships kind of just happen with the magic ingredients of proximity, shared interests, and attraction. Looking for a relationship is putting the cart before the horse in a way. First, you need to relate. Nothing is as scary as someone who is looking for a mate and hoping to cram you into the cookie cutter idea of what they are looking for. It can feel obliterating. That's why it is so important to have a shared interest. Make that the focus. Even if you are simply seeing a movie. Do a little research on the film to increase your own interest. Talk about it. Listen to what they say. Cut them some slack if they say stupid stuff. Everybody says stupid stuff on a date. In fact, that awkward nervousness is a good sign. It means something is at stake.
I've asked many guys what they are interested in and I get a blank stare. "A husband." Yeah, there's a problem there. Besides, what will you do together once you trap and drag them back to your cave? Being interested in things can only serve to enhance your life. Yes, a potential date may not share your thrill over Gregorian chanting records, but it makes you a three-dimensional person, not just an interviewee.
Lastly, you must be interested in them without being attached to what you find out. Sifting through whatever comes up in conversation and filing things as green lights and red flags is a bummer of a way to spend a few hours. Listen carefully to find points of connection. This is a delicate art for both people. Too much too soon can be a problem as well. We don't need to hear about Mom's incarceration and what Uncle Ben did to your family dog behind the trailer. Save that for later.
So, my dear boy, have patience. Especially with those folks out there that bolt at the last minute and are transparently unavailable. Online dating is particularly tricky and can feel quite abusive. Having some compassion for people who freak out around the process will help you when you actually get involved with someone and want to relate. Take good care of yourself, you are a catch.
Dear Richard is not a medical doctor, a licensed psychiatrist, a counselor, a reverend, or a rabbi. He has not been evaluated by the FDA, the CDC, or the BBC, and his words are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The information is for educational purposes only and it not intended to serve as medical advice. Dear Richard does, however, love hearing from you and answering your questions. Leave a comment or send him an e-mail.