Dear Dating Coach,
I read your response last week to the guy who doesn’t want to date girls who aren’t skinny. I get that a person should be able to decide who they are attracted to, and I liked that you told him that his priorities might be out of order. But the whole topic really touched a nerve with me. I was heavy for most of my life and then through hard work and dedication, I was able to lose the weight. I feel a lot better and the feedback has been very rewarding. Still, you would be shocked by how many “no’s” I get in shidduchim because I used to be fat! It’s infuriating! Guys want thin…I became thin.. and they still say no to me! What am I supposed to do now?
There was a house near ours with a yard overgrown with weeds. One day, we watched the owner walk out with a rake. For the next few months, she meticulously removed the weeds, poured new soil, and watered the patches of dirt. She stood outside in the hot sun for hours tending to her lawn and we slowly watched it transform. Beautiful grass grew, and trees flourished with fruit. We watched her with fascination as she dedicated her time to the land that she owned. She offered us plump passion fruits that we cut open for the tart seeds, and sweet mangoes dripping with juice. We watched in awe; and her garden bloomed. One day, we came outside and the passion fruit lay in ruins on the ground. A gardening team mistook her house for one that they were supposed to clear, and it was completely destroyed. We were devastated for her. All that effort. All that hard work-attacked. But our neighbor was unfazed, and was outside the next day with her rake. “I know the beauty of this garden now,” she said. ‘No one can take that from me.”
Thank you for reaching out. I was saddened to read your letter and felt your frustration and pain. You have worked so hard. You did it for yourself. You were determined to lose weight that felt like a burden, and you were successful. Yet, now you are a slim woman who some refuse to acknowledge. They accuse you of being a fat girl masquerading in a skinny girl’s body. While this is clearly ludicrous, the hurt and stigma are very real. You are thin. Isn’t that what they want? Yet, some feel compelled to say no to you because of a body that you used to inhabit.
This is very upsetting. In general, our obsession with thin is hurtful. More so, to those who have said no to you because you have not always been thin, please read this carefully: You are wrong. You are making a mistake. You are passing on someone who has shown incredible strength, commitment, and passion. These are all wonderful qualities to have in a partner. You are letting go of someone who makes the choice to work hard every single day. You are refusing to date someone who is a fighter, someone with purpose, and someone with the willpower to succeed even when it’s hard. You are singularly focused on outer beauty and body that conforms to our shallow standards. You reject how beautiful she looks, a look you asked and hoped for, punishing her for not looking this way from the start.
Furthermore, you have set an impossible standard for happiness; where weight matters above all else. Should baby weight retained make a spouse less loved? Perhaps there might be a medical condition that will cause weight gain in the future. Would that be cause for divorce? Maybe you will gain weight. Should your spouse move on if that happens? It’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror. Look at who you are on the outside and who you are within. Self-reflect on what you see, and what matters to you. Marriage is based on mutual respect and love. If a marriage is only skin-deep, it will definitely be a heavy burden to carry. And to you my dear, take that same look in the mirror. You are beautiful inside and out. Never let anyone take that from you.