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Parallax - Advice            March 19, 2001

  He's seeing single...

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I've been living with my girlfriend for eleven years, and we have three children, ranging in age from two to seven. Four years ago, I told her I didn't want to be with her any more and I moved out, but then I moved back in two weeks later. Recently she started going out a lot with new friends, and although I encourage it, every time she leaves I feel jealous, worried and anxious. Last Friday I had an asthma attack while dropping her off. I could hardly breathe, but off she went, without a word of concern. Later that night I told her I wanted to end the relationship, but when I woke up the next day I felt guilty and took the kids out to make up for it. I apologized for my behavior, but she said she hasn't been happy for years, that she loves me but she doesn't know if she wants to be with me at all because I've let myself go. I've ballooned from 150 pounds nine years ago to 309 pounds today, and have vowed to lose weight. She's lost so much weight that I feel one man half the size of me could chat her up and she'd go off with him…or even worse, that she'd start comparing me to others. I want to stay with her but not under these conditions. It hurts so much. What advice do you have?

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Her view:

Dear Big Boy,

I think your girlfriend is rebelling against the changes she sees in you. It sounds like the 'new you' is not what she signed up for and she's lashing out. How about moving back to the 'old you' - perhaps you can work on this together? Tell her that you're ready to change and you realize your metamorphosis has not been ideal. Tell her you need her help and that together you can sort this out.

It sounds like she's just trying to have some fun and be a young attractive person. Certainly you can do this together. How about suggesting a schedule of events you'd like to do together. Perhaps a healthy diet and exercise would help you become happier and thinner. Some new hobbies are always fun and can bring you closer together.

Your insecurities about yourself and your girlfriend will not make you an attractive mate. You need to get yourself in shape and then work hard on this relationship to fix all that is damaged. If she is not up to the task and wants no part of the fixin', I'm afraid you are limited to working on yourself.

But that will help too - my guess is your personal bad feelings have made your relationship much less than fun. So just commit and do it. It will be good for yourself, even if you don't succeed with her. It's also your best shot at succeeding with her.

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His view:

Dear Big Boy,

The best thing you can do is let her go. Right now you are in an untenable situation, and something has to give. On one side, you have a barrage of ill feelings against her, including resentment and jealousy. On the other, you are afraid of losing her and being alone.

Give loneliness a try. You will probably find that being without her isn't as bad as feeling sorry for yourself because she won't do it for you. Take the time to work on your health and weight, but do it for you - not for her - and not to get her back.

You need to stop crying and grow up before she'll ever want you again.

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