Thursday 29 October 2015

Why I Went after a Bad Boy and Why YOU Shouldn’t

"Take up with a bad boy and you  are signing up for endless conflict and a long-suffering relationship.  Bad boys make bad dating partners, they will not change unless they want to, unfortunately most women learn this the hard way.  Why put yourself through all that stress, there are lots of sincere men out there".        -     Susan

Why I Went after a Bad Boy and Why YOU Shouldn’t

Everywhere I went, men were falling at my feet. I was the “heartbreaker,” and I was about to get a huge lesson in humility from a bad boy.

I was at an all-time low.

I was in my early 20s, and my life was not turning out how I’d imagined. While I was never the girl who thought I needed a man to complete me, I’d been single at this point for over 4 years, and I was going crazy. I’d never had a short-term relationship before, never “dated” to the real meaning of the word. To this day, I’ve only ever kissed 4 guys. I prided myself on that – on never having “throw-away” relationships.

I had also had a reputation of being incredibly picky with men, with plenty of opportunities to exercise my choosy nature. Everywhere I went, I felt like men were falling at my feet. Things had been this way since I was 14 years old. I was the “heartbreaker,” and I was about to get a huge lesson in humility.

I came across a bad boy through a friend of a friend. We had hung out a couple of times the year previous *I much later found out he had a girlfriend during that time. Charming, no?*, and then went incommunicado for almost a year. He texted me at random one day, and we began hanging out. Aside from being physically attracted to him, I wasn’t interested in the slightest. He didn’t seem very smart or very likeable, yet I kept coming back for more. Why?

That bad boy draw

There are several draws to a bad boy, none of which are good, in hindsight. Yet while you’re in the moment, these aspects of bad boyhood seem intoxicating. He’s troubled, he’s attractive, he’s unattainable, and he’s all over you.

#1 He’s incredibly attractive. Something about those bad boys just screams charm and good looks. While I’ve never fancied myself shallow, this was the most attractive guy I’d ever met. He had these broad shoulders and the most perfect hair I’d ever seen. The bad boys are often the hot ones, so watch out, ladies.

#2 He didn’t seem interested. “I guess he didn’t care, and I guess I liked that” is a line from the Taylor Swift song “Trouble,” which seems incredibly relevant here. Call it typical, call it a stereotype or psychological game, but ladies, this game is addictive.

I’d never had a problem with having my pick of the litter. Men would seemingly fall in “love” with me at the drop of a hat. Then I met Mr. Bad, and couldn’t tell if he was interested at all. We kept hanging out, everything seemed “date-like,” but he never flirted with me, never complimented me. This guy was either a player, bad at dating, or gay.

Yet for some reason, in my depressed state, I kept coming back to this guy. My self-esteem was already so low, I knew I had to conquer him. I didn’t even like his personality. Instead, it became this game where I had to get him to like me. I had to win, even if I didn’t actually want him. He was such a jerk, I just had to be the one to come out on top.

#3 He’s troubled. The sexy ones always are, FYI. Bad boys usually have some trouble in their lives. In my past relationships, the closest I came to being with someone “troubled” was dating a guy who smoked pot a couple of times. He was also vegan, graduated University with a promising future as an English professor, adored his parents, and kept high grades. A real rebel, am I right?

Mr. Bad, however, was a real case of emotional drama. His parents had issues with lying that clearly messed him up from a young age. He was a raging alcoholic. And he selfishly treated women the same way he did when he was 15 years old – like they were nothing.

The result of dating a bad boy

On the bright side, I learned a couple of things while I was dating the bad boy I managed to “conquer.”

#1 You get screwed over. While my bad boy never cheated on me, he did some incredibly strange and painful things during the course of our relationship. It became increasingly evident that while he claimed otherwise – he did not love me. And I didn’t love him.

He wasn’t normal. He didn’t respect my parents and refused to meet them. He hated that I had friends who weren’t him, and made social outings *probably purposely* a nightmare, so I would never make him go to anything ever again. When it came to his family outings we always had to go, of course.

#2 Psychological abuse and severe self-doubt. The ring-around-the-hell-hole I played with this man started to feel like emotional abuse. I used to think he was just a jerk when he was drunk, but I quickly learned that no – he was just a jerk, period.

One night, I sat home sobbing in my bedroom, wondering how in the world I was going to leave him and take back my dignity, and my mother brought up a fantastic question. “What do you like about him?” she asked. I just stared. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of an answer.

We had nothing in common, I had come to resent and loathe being with and around him, and he didn’t even treat me well. I knew what she was getting at – I liked being with him because it meant I wasn’t alone. Had I become a pathetic talk show subject?

#3 Pain that lasts forever… or at least, for a couple of years. I was always the girl who knew what I wanted, knew what I was worth, and knew what I deserved. I was the type who scoffed at other girls for not having enough self-esteem to leave their a-hole boyfriends, obviously never imagining I would be stuck with one.

It’s so much easier to judge when you’ve never been put in such a situation. To this day, I still look back on things that happened between us and question my own self-worth, my intelligence, and my appearance. Don’t let that happen to you.

My advice to you

If you’re thinking of dating a real bad boy *and not the “bad boy” vegan guy I had dated back then*, here’s what you should keep in mind.

#1 He doesn’t love you. About a year into our relationship, I realised that my boyfriend didn’t love me. He loved having a girlfriend. I play the guitar, I have been in radio plays, I went through college, I have a colourful family, and a YouTube channel – and he never asked about any of it. Ever.

If your guy doesn’t care about who you are, throw him to the curb because he never will, and you are way better than that.

#2 Staying single is better than being with someone who lessens who you are. You’re either going to be miserable alone, or miserable with someone else attached to you, and believe me, it’s much better to be miserable and single. Keep holding out for the kind of guy who would move mountains just to be with you. 

#3 You’re worth it. Yeah, it sounds like a “Rah-Rah-Rah” mantra, but it’s true. My experience with a bad boy reminded me that I’m worth more than being somebody’s sidekick. I deserve to be somebody’s partner, and so do you.

If you are the type of person who prides yourself on not being a “stupid girl” *you know the type*, then your experience in dating a bad boy will scar you forever. When you think back on all the ridiculous things you let your hot guy get away with, you will cringe, cry, and seethe with anger.

These feelings will likely always be in the back of your mind somewhere. Let them be a reminder to you to never be so stupid with men again.

The charm and appeal will amount to nothing once you realize what kind of person the bad boy really is. Save yourself the trouble, and choose a guy who will give you love and respect, not problems and tears.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Teens Invent Condom That Changes Colour When It Detects An STD

"Wow hats off to you guys, forward thinking at its best.  Lets hope all your hard work is adhered too!".......Brilliant...........   - Susan

Teens Invent Condom That Changes Colour When It Detects An STD

Here’s a condom that will show your partner’s true colours.

Three students took home first prize in the health category at the U.K.’s TeenTech Awards  for inventing a condom that changes colors if it comes into contact with a sexually transmitted infection. A layer of molecules in the condom, dubbed the S.T.Eye, attach to bacteria and viruses associated with common STIs and the reaction then causes the condom to emit one of four colors, MTV reported.

The condom can only detect certain strains of infections, according to Buzz60. For example, it turns green if it detects chlamydia and purple for HPV. 

More than 100 innovators presented their ideas at the event in London, which aims to uncover “real opportunities” in the current STEM workplace. 

The three students from Isaac Newton Academy won about $1,500 and a trip to meet Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace, according to The Washington Post.

“We wanted to make something that made detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before, so that people can take immediate action in the privacy of their own homes without the often-scary procedures at the doctors,” Daanyaal Ali, 14, one of the inventors, said in a statement. 

“We’ve made sure we’re able to give peace of mind to users and let people act even more responsibly than ever before.”

View original article here

Related article:

7 Interesting Things to Know About Condom

Previous articles:

The Mental Checklist Women Use to Evaluate Men The...
My Boyfriend/Girlfriend Has Depression
Sorry, But I'm NOT Sorry That My Fat Body Offends ...
What I’ve Learned About Size And Body Image By Da...
The Tricky Mind Games Men Play that Any Girl Can W...
Why Are Women So Obsessed With Having The Perfect ...
Pillow Talk: Why Post-Sex Chats Boost Intimacy

Tuesday 27 October 2015

The Mental Checklist Women Use to Evaluate Men They Date

" 'A perfect guy list' maybe ideal if you are prepared to wait and wait. 
First things first, the physical attraction, can he string a sentence together 
and has he got a sense of humour.
But seriously isn't it better to look at what he has got and not for what he hasn't".  
                                     - Susan

The Mental Checklist Women Use to Evaluate Men They Date

Ever heard of a “perfect guy list?” Yes, we all have one. These 11 must-haves are important in weeding out Mr. Wrong from Mr. Right.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not the only tool we use to evaluate the men we date, but it is very important.

For a long, long time you’ve probably heard the saying that he “checks off everything on my list.” But did you know that there really is a list women use? It’s not the same for everyone—and it’s not even something that is set in stone—but it’s there.

You may be wondering why we need a checklist. If we like someone, who cares, right? Well, not really. Women have a tendency to get flustered and excited, and just dive in to whatever new relationship has caught their eye. Sometimes, we forget about the important things—other than how fantastic his abs are.

Our core values are left in the dust oftentimes—but not if we keep this mental checklist in the forefront of our mind. It’s a way for us to keep reality in check when it feels like we’re in a dream.

So what’s on this special mental checklist?

For me, it’s used in a general sense. If the guy I’m dating has certain qualities, then that’s great! And if he lacks majority of the things I know are important to me, it may be time to rethink the relationship.

Although every woman is different and has different things on their checklists, this is a list of qualities that MOST women evaluate prior to deciding if he’s the man for her.

#1 Is he physically attractive to me? This may seem pretty obvious. Either you think he’s cute or you don’t—and if not, he’s already in the rearview mirror. But sometimes ladies will look past this one, if other qualities are really outstanding.

However, this one cannot be forgotten; physical attraction is EXTREMELY important in any relationship, and if it’s not there, no amount of intellectual attraction will make you want to get naked and jump his bones—another very important aspect of a relationship.

#2 Can I have a real conversation with him? You may find someone who is ridiculously hot, has a really interesting job, and even has some of the same hobbies as you, but if you can’t have a meaningful conversation, then it’s not looking good for the future. What would that relationship end up looking like: the both of you sitting on the couch in silence for eternity? No. Women want to know that they can talk to their partner.

#3 Does he complement me? Not compliment, as in, “Oh darling, you’re so beautiful today.” I mean, does he have qualities that mesh well with mine? If I really, really suck at cooking, for instance, is he good at it? We can’t be forced to eat Easy Mac and cereal for the rest of our lives, right? We also want to make sure that our qualities are similar, so our personalities don’t end up clashing.

#4 Is he supportive? Does he believe in our dreams and push us to meet our goals? We want to make sure that our Mr. Right is always supportive of our every dream and wish—no matter how outlandish. Okay, so I know I may never wind up being the biggest popstar ever, but I want a man who tells me that I will be, anyways. Support is an important base of any relationship

#5 Is he ambitious? Nobody likes someone who is lazy and undetermined. Women love men who go out and work hard for the things that they want. It also means that they will work hard for the relationship. Us women don’t underestimate the power of an ambitious man. We search for them.

#6 Is he reliable? This is a HUGE one for not only me, but many women out there. We need a reliable man. Someone who will be there when he says he will and someone who won’t disappoint us. If I’m 9 months pregnant and two blocks from my car on a 95-degree day and suddenly go into labor, I want to know my man will drop everything and be there when I call. This creates trust in a relationship and no relationship can last without it. .

#7 Is he honest? This goes along with creating trust. Have the things he’s said matched up with his behavior? Honesty is a major part of a relationship, and without it, things fall apart very quickly. I want to know that when I ask my man something, I’m getting the truth. Unless he absolutely hates the dress and heels I just bought and I really love them. In that case, he can keep his pie hole shut.

#8 Does he want a family? Whether a woman wants a family really bad, or she’s the type that would rather toss the nearest snot monster into a ball pit and run away, this is something we all need to know. If we want a big family and he has never wanted kids in his entire life, then it’s safe to say that some things probably won’t work out.

#9 Does he believe in the same things as me? This could mean faith, religion, or even whether or not you both believe in ghosts. Having the same beliefs is very important for a lot of reasons. If we have differing views as to what is right and wrong, it could lead to a lot of problems in the relationship. We could also run into issues raising a child—if it ever got to that point.

#10 Do our futures line up? No one really knows what the future holds, that’s true. However, women like to figure out if the possibility of a long-term relationship even makes sense. If he’s moving to Boston (far away from me), would it even make sense to be with him?

But what if my future career could lead me out there as well? Since I love to travel, it could work! This is something that is crucial. No woman wants to get involved with someone, only to realize that their futures are on completely different paths. This is why future plans are usually on our checklist.

#11 If I got pregnant and passed away giving birth, would I trust this man to raise our child the way I would have? Okay, okay, this one seems a bit outrageous, and that’s because it’s one that’s on my personal list. Every woman has something like this in their personal checklist, though: a crazy weird scenario/test that their potential man has to pass.

But honestly, this is my deal breaker. It may seem silly but in the end, when you date someone, you’re looking to build a family with them—to trust them with everything. And I can’t think of anything more defining and important than this. Although I’ve dated quite a few men, there’s only one person that has passed this test…and unfortunately, even then, things didn’t work out.

Women all have some sort of checklist they use to evaluate the men they date, and for good reason! Although not every list is the same, the qualities listed above are the most common dealbreakers—so either step up, or step away.

Sunday 25 October 2015

My Boyfriend/Girlfriend Has Depression

"In my experience there is nothing that you can say to somebody suffering with depression that will make them feel better at that time, most of the time nothing that you  say actually registers with them. But that does not mean that you stop trying, just being there when they need you helps, to listen or just sitting with them in silence.  Remember that depression is not just "feeling down".     -  Susan

My Boyfriend/Girlfriend Has Depression

Dating someone with depression can be really tough. Find out how to cope – from your boyfriend going off sex, to your girlfriend not wanting to leave the house. 

Helping your partner with depression

How can you help your partner and yourself? Try following these steps.

Be understanding: If you’ve got depression, doing the simplest of things – getting dressed, brushing your teeth – can take a humungous effort.

Remember it’s an illness: Clinical depression isn’t the same as feeling a bit sad. It’s a seriously debilitating mental health condition.

Encourage self-care: Suggest they put together some treats in a box – favourite snacks, DVDs, magazines – for the next time things get really tough.
Be patient: Recovering from depression is hard work and can take a while. If they could get better faster, they would.

Don’t be dismissive: People don’t choose to have depression, so there’s no point telling them to cheer up, or saying they’ve got nothing to be unhappy about.

Coping with their bouts of depression

If depression has got its claws into your partner you might be torn about whether to offer help, or just leave them to it. Don’t wait for them to tell you what they need. They probably won’t ask for it, as depression is very good at convincing people they’re worthless and they shouldn’t reach out.

The best thing you can do is just let them know you care and keep checking in with them. Something as simple as a text message saying: “I’m thinking of you,” can make a huge difference.

What if they mention suicide?

It can be very scary if your boyfriend or girlfriend says they’re feeling suicidal. Don’t assume they’re making it up for attention, or saying it to try and hurt you.

When people say they’re suicidal it usually means they’re in a lot of emotional pain and they want it to stop. Encourage them to call Samaritans and to visit their GP. If you’re really worried, think about calling the emergency services.

They never want to do anything

It can get very boring if your partner never wants to leave the house; it’s probably pretty miserable for them, too.

“Dating or living with someone who has depression can be very lonely and very hard,” says Emer O’Neill, CEO of Depression Alliance. “Connecting with other people, avoiding loneliness and keeping active is really important.”

“Acknowledge your frustration and anger, but take it elsewhere,” she adds. “There’s no point expecting the response that you need or want from the person who’s got the condition.”

It’s OK to tell your partner if you’re finding things tough, but make sure you separate the illness from the person. You’re dating them, not their depression, however it may sometimes feel.

Depression can actually have positive effects in the long-term. “It’s a horrendous condition that wipes you out and takes you down, but if you’ve been through depression you’ll probably have an honesty and integrity that people who are charging through life very often don’t have,” says Emer.

My boyfriend/girlfriend won’t have sex with me

“If your partner has depression you can end up feeling very unwanted and very unloved,” says Emer. It can be ego-crushing if they don’t seem to fancy you any more, but try to remember that it really isn’t personal.

Depression often affects bodily functions, like sex and sleep. Loss of libido, erection problems and difficulties reaching orgasm are also common side effects of many antidepressants.

You can encourage your boyfriend or girlfriend to see their GP and try to keep doing tactile things like holding hands and hugging, but don’t pressurise or guilt-trip them into having sex. If they’re not up for it, there’s always masturbation

Can’t they just snap out of it?

It’s totally understandable that you feel frustrated. Depression is a debilitating condition and it’s probably really hard seeing how it affects your partner. But depression is an illness and you can’t just decide to get better – it’s not possible to just snap out of it, even if you want to.
“Nobody wants to have depression,” says Emer. “Recovery does happen, but it’s really hard work and it usually takes both medical and non-medical support.”
“Have some awareness yourself so you can get your own head around what’s happened,” she suggests. Mind, Depression Alliance and the Royal College of Psychiatrists are all good places to find information.

What if they won’t get help?

You can’t force your boyfriend or girlfriend to get better, but you can encourage them. Remind them that GPs see loads of people with depression and there’s no shame in asking for help.

You might have to be patient, as depression can convince people they’ve got no chance of getting better and some people find it very hard to seek help. “It can be a long, slow journey,” says Emer. “Have some information ready in case they do decide to get help. They might need to read it 100 times before it sinks in.”

Friday 23 October 2015

Sorry, But I'm NOT Sorry That My Fat Body Offends You

"Stay fit and healthy, but most importantly be proud of the body that you wear".
                                                                               -  Susan            

Sorry, But I'm NOT Sorry That My Fat Body Offends You

Project your endless disappointments into the mirror, which is where I'm quite sure it all starts.

I'm one of those folks who has the "tendency." Meaning that somewhere beneath this sleek fa├žade of semi-chubbiness, there's a true fatty waiting to let loose on the world, wobbles and all. 
Oh, there are many like me in the world, and life with us is all about fluctuation. Now, when I say fluctuation, you probably imagine I'm talking about gaining and losing pounds. But that's not what I mean.
What I really mean by fluctuation is that our sense of caring what we look like goes on and off. The kicker is that, the older we get, the less we care. 
This is where I have to get off the "we" thing and go right back to the singular "me" thing, as I don't want to get in trouble by pretending I know what anyone else on the planet does or thinks, especially when it comes to weight, eating, dieting, and self-image.
When you're a semi-to-full-on fatty, you bounce between being very sensitive on the subject of weight to being an iron wall of apathy. And when I'm in a particularly apathetic state of mind, I'm actually in a place of great self-esteem
That's the funny part. When I don't show drastic and obsessive concern for what my weight actually looks like to others, I'm at my happiest. 
Those are the moments when my own personal happiness conflicts with the judgments of those who aren't me, which constitutes every person on Earth, I suppose.
For example, I walked into my mother's house the other day after having not seen her in a year or so. After a round of affection, she, in her skinny-bodied way, says, "So, still on that diet?" (Cue trombone music for failure.) 
Clearly, I didn't have an answer for this, due to the fact that I'm shocked that my size still concerns her.
I could've said, "No. No more dieting," and heard the molecules of her disappointment start to gather into a barely hidden smirk. Or I could've said, "Yes," and watched those very same molecules gather into the same smirk. 
Either way, if I didn't manage to somehow turn into someone I've never been and never will be, I always merit the same response, which essentially says, "Your weight is disturbing my world."

So, I said, "Is my fat ruining your day again, Mom? Because I must tell you, if my fat has to go to war with your judgment, it's going to end in a stalemate, 'cause my fat isn't going away too soon. And from what I can see, neither is your judgment."
The weird thing is, by fat standards, I'm not even there. But I'm just chubby enough to inconvenience the lives of people like my mother.
She, a naturally slender beauty, could never quite accept me as a not naturally slender beauty. But it's not just her  there's a conveyor belt of disapproving people just waiting to tear ol' fatty down. At least my mom is honest about her disgust over my body. 
What makes me wail with laughter is when someone pulls the "I'm concerned for your health," routine. Oh god, please! What's the concern about? Is that how you make it OK to disapprove  by putting the stamp of concern on top of your inability to live and let live? 
Where do you go with that concern if I tell you I'm as healthy as a horse? Do you start praying for diabetes to kick in so you can finally say, "I told you so"?
Back off, man. This is what I'm working with.
I remember a time when I'd just given birth to my glorious and perfect baby girl. My little newborn was all snuggled on my chest and I was rocking her. It was summer and I was dressed in a cute little sun dress, reclining on a porch. 
My dad beamed at the baby and said to me, while looking at my legs, "But what are you going to do about those?" Those? You mean my legs? What should I DO about them? Cut them off? Trade them in? Rent new ones until I can afford a permanent pair of acceptable ones? WHAT?
And I remember thinking that all that I am, all I do, all I create, the good person I am, the talented artist I am, the BABY I just created  all of this takes a backseat to the fact that my legs aren't nice looking and my dad looks like he's going to puke at the sight of them. Wow.
I told this story to my mother the other day, during the "Are you still on that diet?" visit, and she stared at me in horror, as if she'd just heard the most disgusting thing she'd ever heard. I just looked at her in her pressurized innocence and internally giggled over just how blind people are to their own destructive behavior. 
How many times had I heard her call me "fat ass"? There isn't even a number that's high enough. Had she forgotten  or did she simply give herself over to a lie that had her believing she was always a staunch supporter of her daughter's less-than-perfect image?
My fat has been ruining people's days for decades now, most especially my parents. I always wonder what kind of person I would've turned out to be had I been told I was perfect "as is," instead of never physically good enough. 
Because the funny thing is, I've always loved myself, but I've never loved the way I look. 
I have a lovely working relationship with this ol' bod-o-mine. She's fabulous, this chubby chick I live inside. She got me through cancer and chemo; she got me through childbirth; her hands do these wonderful things with art, and her brain is just outstanding. She even looks good to some people. Not my parents, but some people.
And if I had the chance to do it all again with another body  a skinny body  I'd say no a thousand times and again. 
Because this body is the house in which I live and experience my wonderful and amazing life  only this body, not a skinny one, not a model body, not a body with great legs. Just my body.
At the end of my visit, my mother said to me, "You look good. Your skin is great, you look young." And I said, "Do you know why I look young or why my skin looks great? It's because I'm chubby! My skin is full and youthful because I'm at my correct weight. If I lost the kind of weight you wish I'd lose, I'd look like a bag of skin and wrinkles. My flesh would be hanging off me and I'd look like an ancient relic. I look good, Mom, because I'm fat."
I'm just a chubby girl. If it ruins your day, move along. Next window. My caring what you think is no longer relevant to my own happiness or self-esteem.

Thursday 22 October 2015

What I’ve Learned About Size And Body Image By Dating A Fat Man

"Why is it that society seems to have the need to dictate how we should look, the size we should be, etc etc. All this seems to do, is give people low self worth, surely as long as people are healthy and happy isn't it better to let them live with out any attached stigmas".                          - Susan

What I’ve Learned About Size And Body

Image By Dating A Fat Man

I thought I’d dealt with most of my body image issues before I started dating my current boyfriend. But during the three years we’ve been together, he’s taught me a lot about size, fatness and self-care. 
How? By being fat and unapologetic.

My boyfriend weighs over 300 pounds, and one of the things I appreciated right away is that he didn’t hesitate to call himself “fat.” Why would he? For him it’s a description, not an epithet. That alone was startling to me, having dated my share of men and women who were far from accepting of their bodies.

I’d like to say I’ve always shared this level of both candor and comfort with my curves, but that’s not true. I can get so hung up on a clothing size that I’ll buy a less flattering but lower number to make myself feel better. I’ve even shied away from attending events when I felt I was simply “too fat” to fit into any of my clothes.

But once we started dating, the kind of fat talk I’d regularly engaged in about myself, usually silently, wouldn’t cut it. Knowing that he’s dealt with actual discrimination because of his size has forced me to ask myself tough questions when I do worry about my weight: namely, what am I really worried about? Is it really about my weight, or about my worth? It’s almost always the latter. When I feel like a failure about my body, that extends into other arenas, making me less enthusiastic about my writing, sure that, somehow, other people are making those same judgments. It’s a vicious cycle, so living with someone who simply doesn’t let himself care about what other people think is a constant revelation.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am vain; when I can’t fit into a beloved outfit I was planning to wear because of my weight, I get upset. Dating my boyfriend hasn’t magically made me okay with my weight’s fluctuations, but what his presence has done it make me feel beautiful in his eyes no matter what, and look at why I might be gaining weight. In his case, I believe it’s genetic; he’s been heavy since a very young age, and didn’t slim down even when playing football twice a day. That’s the way his body is meant to be.

If I felt like he didn’t care about his health, that would be a red flag. But he does; he just isn’t trying to alter his body to meet society’s standards.

I’m an emotional eater. When I get bad news, I want to soothe myself with salt. That’s something you can’t hide when you live with someone, nor would I want to. The fact that he knows I have trigger foods, like potato chips, means he won’t leave them in the house, but also that when I do have a binge eating episode, he is kind about it. Rather than berating me, he lets me talk it out and devise ways to not go down that path next time. Contrary to what you might expect, he doesn’t reward himself or commiserate with food, and doesn’t want me to either. He’s helped me nip my wallowing in the bud, offering positive suggestions like walking, yoga, and meditation.

My boyfriend doesn’t “care” about my weight in the sense of wanting me to be a certain size, but he does want me to be healthy. If I suddenly gained 20 pounds in a month for no apparent reason, he would ask me about it, but not in a menacing, shaming way. I didn’t know it was possible to differentiate those two, since I’d always experienced comments about any weight gain as a negative. We live in such a looks-focused world that those became intertwined in my head, and that’s a dangerous outlook because it leads to me wanting to stay in bed all day when I feel “ugly” or “heavy.”

He’s able to navigate that fine line of helping without butting in because he knows my body issues are more complicated than his.When you date a fat person, their size quickly becomes an “issue” for other people in your life. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked if he’s “working” on his weight. The answer is no. He’s working on living his life and doing so in as healthy a manner as possible, one that works for him. Being bombarded with this type of faux-concern has given me empathy for what he and other fat people go through umpteen times a day, and just how unhelpful it is. To these people, being fat can’t coexist with being healthy, and if you truly want to “work on” the problem it can only mean dropping pounds, rather than rationally assessing how you move and eat.

I learned in the first months of our relationship that size and nutrition aren’t necessarily correlated, even though our culture wants us to think that if you eat “healthy” you will magically transform into our thin ideal. We don’t eat an organic, vegan, totally clean diet, but, contrary to the stereotypes about fat people, he isn’t gorging himself on junk food 24/7. In fact, he’s the one who looks at labels more closely than I do. We do buy organic meat, and have each cut back on foods we found we simply couldn’t resist (his was ice cream, mine was cheese).

We each try to eat a balanced diet and to steer our joint meals on an overall healthy path.Just as he doesn’t get on my case when I stray from my overall healthy eating, I don’t try to tell him what to put in his mouth. I do, however, try to get him to expand his meat and potatoes palate, and because he loves to cook, he’s open to it. Whereas I can’t get enough of leafy green vegetables, he’s much more picky. So we experiment; I’ll bring him recipes, he’ll cook them and be open to tasting them, giving me his honest opinion. (Most recently, this was a yes on falafel loaf, a no on garlicky bok choy.)

If I felt like he didn’t care about his health, that would be a red flag. But he does; he just isn’t trying to alter his body to meet society’s standards. If I could wave a magic wand and make him drop 100 pounds, I would, not because I want him to conform to those standards, but because I think it would make basic bodily functions like walking easier on him. But since the only magic wand I have at my disposal is my vibrator, all I can do is appreciate him for who he is, inside and out, and try to do the same for myself.