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19 Jan 2004

Afraid to get married
Dear doc,

I was wondering whether you might help me to get to the bottom of a problem I have. I got engaged to my boyfriend of 9 years in August last year. I love him immensely and he means everything to me, yet he refuses to marry me while I'm overweight. I'm very short and should weigh 60kg to be on my goal. We got engaged after I went for medical tests that found out that why I couldn't shed the extra weight I was carrying and I lost 10kg. I was still another 10kg from my goal, but he believed in me and asked me to marry him. Since August I've gained 13.5kg and I currently weigh 83.6kg. There is nothing else standing in my way of getting married other than my weight, and still I can't help myself from eating a slab chocolate a day. It is not just a case of not eating healthily, I'm gorging myself. I have done a lot of soul searching, and I think the main reason for this is that I'm afraid to get married. I was raped by my grandfather between the ages of 2 and 5 and after that I was raped again by some boys in our neighbourhood when I was 12. I've been for counseling and I pretty much feel that I've dealt with that part of my life. I know you will most probably not be able to give a full explanation with this bit of information, but if you could perhaps help me a bit, I can figure out the rest.

Thank you very much
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Fatty, maybe he's being reasonable in caring about your health, as the amount of extra weight you're carrying isn't healthy, and he'd prefer to know you for a long, loong time, and not just until your first heart attack or stroke.
You really, truly, do not "have" to eat a bar of chocolate a day. I've checked in the Constitution, and it is not required by law. In gorging yourself, you're describing an eating disorder, which deserves expert professional help and advice, so consider seeing a shrink for a full asessment and specific advice.
It seems not unusual for someone who has had bad experiences with abuse / rape, to take refuge in overeating, perhaps a some level feeling that if you get really very fat, you could at least feel reassured that you'd be unattractive to other potential rapists and abusers. And this fits the pattern that you managed some weight loss, but have relapsed into major weight gain when this became so explicitly linked to the prospect of marriage and grater physical intimacy.
But of course that's a bad tactic, bad for your health and happiness ; and anyway, abusers and rapists are into power trips, and select victims more on the basis of their relative powerlessness and vulnerability, than on physical attractiveness. So maybe there's a bit more to explore and sort out in that area, to get to being able to enjoy being slimmer and attractice and NOT vulnerable.
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