How to help my girlfriend's self-esteem

Discussion in 'Main Dimensions Board' started by nerdFA, Sep 13, 2018 at 3:57 AM.

  1. Sep 13, 2018 at 3:57 AM #1

    nerdFA

    nerdFA

    nerdFA

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    Hi all,

    I just wanted to ask the groupthink here about one thing.
    My girlfriend and I have been together for a year now (I'm 18, she's 19), and she's the first BBW I've ever dated. For the most part, it's amazing. I've never been so attracted to someone as I am to her, and mentally and emotionally she provides me with more support than my family and friends put together. She's all in all an amazing girl, and I'm beyond lucky to have her in my life.

    There's one thing though. She hates her weight. She's not the type that is constantly complaining about it, or constantly going on fad diets. Rather, she almost never mentions it and when she does it's when she's talking about how ugly she thinks she is. And it absolutely kills me. She deals with enough depression as it is, the last thing I want to see is her hating how she looks, when in reality she's very beautiful (even to a non-FA). I tell her that she's beautiful constantly, but she always kinda looks at me sadly when I say that, like she doesn't believe me. She once told me that her ex, whom she dated for over 1.5 years, never once said that she was beautiful. So I guess that probably effects her a lot.
    I really want to change that though. I really want to do whatever I can to help her self-esteem, no matter what.

    So basically, my question is this:
    1. To the (F)FAs out there, if you have/had a BBW partner(s), how did you help them accept who they are?
    2. To the BBWs out there, how did you come to terms with your size?

    Thanks in advance guys :)
     
    BigElectricKat and John Smith like this.
  2. Sep 13, 2018 at 1:34 PM #2

    BigElectricKat

    BigElectricKat

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    I think that what you are currently doing is a good thing. You have to keep letting her know how you feel about her and that you think she's beautiful. In fact, not just that YOU think she's beautiful but that she just IS beautiful. No caveats or conditions. She's beautiful and that's all there is to it. It may take some time to break all her prior conditioning but you just have to keep at it. I would add that you make it a point to tell her how beautiful, lovely, and sexy she is even if it's not the subject of your current conversation. Surprise her with a compliment every chance you get. Compliment her on her attire, her hair, her eyes, her smile. It may take time but it'll start to sink in. Best fo luck!
     
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  3. Sep 13, 2018 at 3:33 PM #3

    Dr. Feelgood

    Dr. Feelgood

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    I'm with the Kat: it sounds like you're doing the right thing, so keep it up! Two things, though: (1) don't expect results any time soon. This lady has been told for 19 years that she's substandard; it may take another 19 years for her to work through it. I've been telling my wife she's beautiful for nearly 40 years, and she still can't see it. She has, however, decided that she's okay-looking, which is a big step forward. (2) Don't get so caught up in enthusiasm for her looks that you neglect to praise her other good points: her compassion, her patience, and her sense of humor -- plus the all-important fact (which you mention) that she is always there for you -- all deserve their share of the limelight. Our society puts WAY too much emphasis on physical appearance; showing your appreciation for the total package should help her keep a more balanced view of what's really important. Good luck.
     
  4. Sep 13, 2018 at 3:35 PM #4

    BigElectricKat

    BigElectricKat

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    I totally agree.
     
  5. Sep 13, 2018 at 5:25 PM #5

    Tad

    Tad

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    First of all, good on you to be looking to understand and get advice, you are ahead of so many people right there!

    Second, seconding all the great advice already given (I am going to quibble with one piece of it in a moment, yet I still think even that part is good advice)

    Third, I'm just some guy on the internet (who is bad at typing on a smart phone). I have experience with the same sort of issues with my wife, but people are all different so my experience may or may not be a good reference for your situation. Take all of this with many grains of salt, use as a starting point for figuring out what to do rather than as a prescription, your mileage may vary, actual product not exactly as pictured, etc.

    There is a psychological rule of thumb called cognitive dissonance, which basically says it is uncomfortable for us to hold conflicting is in our head at the same time, so we typically dump one of them quite quickly. Which to dump tends to be which is easier to get rid of or to avoid, rather than the most logical or best for us.

    Applying to your girlfriend's situation, I'm sure you can see where this goes. Having had a life of "fat=ugly" and getting that reinforced regularly by society, versus her bf saying she is beautiful. Way easier to decide something like "he is my bf, he has to say that" and then dismiss it, because there is little escape from the societal view.

    So what can you do?

    On the one hand, don't give up! Make it hard to ignore your view! As said above, give compliments with no caveats, and do it publicly (not saying to yell it from roof toos, but on the bus, at a coffee shop, etc). Also PDAs. Hold her hand, wrap an arm around her waist, stroke her cheek, give her a big hug, etc.

    But also give compliments that won't set up such a cognitive dissonance, or at least one that your side has more of a chance to win. All the non physical stuff, as mentioned by others, but also things like: You have such a great smile. I wish you could see how beautiful you are to my eyes. You have such an amazing rack. Your bum is so bouncy. I adore the curve of your hips, it is just so mesmerizing. Basically a mix of subjective (you like it) and things that address specifics that she might be able to appreciate about herself. Those help to carve out some spaces where she can safely feel good about herself, and also don't make all your compliments about her looks mentally taxing.

    I've got a part two to this screed, but I'm exhausted from phone typing, so sometime later.
     
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  6. Sep 13, 2018 at 5:57 PM #6

    loopytheone

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    I agree with what everyone else here says. You clearly care a lot for this lady and that is wonderful to see. I hope things go well for both of you.

    When you have depression, it can be incredibly hard to think positively about yourself. What the guys said is true, the best thing you can do is to keep reminding her how beautiful she is to you. She might not believe you for a long time, but eventually hearing that will start to help, if nothing else.

    As a BBW, I still struggle sometimes to accept my size and I think most people do. It's never a case of 'I accept it and will never complain/worry about it again', as I'm sure you know. It comes and goes. I think a part of it learning to accept/like my body for more than just the way it looks. So for the things it can do, etc. What sort of things make your girlfriend happy? What does she enjoy? Maybe remind her if she is ever negative about her body that it lets her experience these things. Seeing confident role models in other women helped me too, but I know that's not something you can help with yourself.
     
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  7. Sep 14, 2018 at 9:10 AM #7

    agouderia

    agouderia

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    All of the above is sound advice, nerdFA.

    One more point to consider and one question.

    Part of your girlfriend's problem clearly is age. At 18/19 peer pressure still matters a lot, and the current selfie generation is indeed pushing lookism to new heights.
    So maybe trying to get involved in circles with older people (not necessarily a lot older, but more the grad school than college crowd) where the focus is more on common interests and issues than looks might make the transition to more grown-up handling of body esteem issues easier.
    Again - don't expect wonders - it takes decades and never will be consistent. To this day, I cannot fully fight the feeling of being at a disadvantage as a woman for having inherited my father's and not my mother's physique.
    Yet overtime, it will become more realistic and manageable.

    Question: Do you only tell your girlfriend in private that she is beautiful - or do you also stand up for her in public?

    Given your age and the mentioned peer group pressure - the latter is a tough thing to do.
    But it will make your case all the more convincing - and be a great help for her to not always have to face criticism and rejection all alone.
     
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