How to Keep Your Body Image from Hurting the Relationship

By Estes Therapy

Are you the type of person that stands in front of the mirror reviewing your body?  Do you scrutinize every little detail that you hate on your body, such as your “hello kitty” arms, or your “used-to-be-so-flat-mommy-belly?”  Do you find that know matter how many times you hear from your partner that he loves your body, or comments from others that you are tiny, it just doesn’t seem to be enough? Are you destroying your relationship because you are facing a struggle with your body?  This body image can get in the way of dating and maintaining relationships.

Relationships tend to suffer severely when you become engulfed in your self image.  The endless hours of exercise and self absorption can prevent you from connecting to your loved one.

How much do you honestly think a person can available for their partner when the focus is merely on the body?  A lot can be lost in translation in every other area of a functional and healthy relationship.  The mental focus acts like a wall and keeps others out… yet others can pick up on that wall.

Here are a few things you can do to help with your self-image, and start truly loving the skin you’re in:

  • Take down the wall: Create a new way of connecting with your partner and communicate your struggles. Take down the wall and openly discuss your struggles.  The more your secret is out of the dark world, the less weight you carry on your own.  Your partner may or may not be aware of the issue, so don’t assume they know what’s going on.  Do not wait for them to bring the issue up.  Work on the issue as a couple, instead of you on your own.  Then ask and seek for support.
  • Get your partner involved: Partners often play the role of avoiding the topic for fear of “rocking the boat.” Get your partner involved and teach them that it is okay to talk about the issue.  Couples counseling can help you both connect on a more healthy level and redefine your roles in your relationship.
  • Get out of your HEAD!: You know exactly what I mean when I say this. The endless all consuming hours you fight the thoughts of how much you hate your body. The self beatings on why you should or shouldn’t have done something. The mini put downs you endure by your own thoughts. These all need to simply stop!  The more you are in your head, the less available you have for the people that you love in your life.
  • Don’t work…. Play: Many people make going to the gym a second job.  It’s something you dread and would rather not go at all, but rather stay home and get comfortable.  Do not use the gym for losing weight.  Make it an emotional therapy place or even a social place.  The weight will shed off and your body will conform to all your gym sessions without you even thinking about.  Working out gives off endorphins in your body, which make people happy.  So the gym can be your new happy place.  If the gym is not for you, try joining an organized sport such as soccer.  Running around with a group of individuals will release toxins and endorphins and get your heart rate going.  The end result is a happy one that just shed like 1000 calories!
  • Stop the All-in and All-Out Items: Don’t just dive all-in on working out and dieting.  It will be all consuming and sooner or later people will tend to burnout then give up.  It can be a similar response to the yo-yo response… eat really good eat really bad.  The middle ground of balance is not there.  Do not jump into working out and dieting every day.  Make it a lifestyle change, not a “right now” change.
  • Seek Professional Help:  Therapists are around for a reason, just like prescription medications.  You take a pill when you are hurt or sick because they make you better.  The same goes for therapy, only we create change from the inside out.  Get assistance with finding a healthy balance of being slim with healthy alternatives and being connected with your partner.  Like any other addiction, this might be a body addiction.  It requires treatment that focuses specifically on YOUR needs.  Begin building healthy coping tools to stop the self medicating behaviors.  You and your body deserves it!
  • New Coping: Often when people feel lonely or upset, they tend to rev up on the body image things.  The hyper focus kicks in to high gear and sometimes can not be controlled.  Instead pay attention to when you feel alone, bored or even upset.  Seek out other tools to help calm you body and mind.  Practice the mind over body approach and remind yourself that the pain is temporary and will go away.

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