Relationship After Recovery
By Nicole Weaver--'I'm supposed to stay beautiful so he stays in love me. I’m supposed to be able to fit any cute dress I want for our dates.’ That's what goes through my mind every time I try on clothes that I think might be perfect for a date, only to be disappointed because they don’t fit. I think, ‘I’m not doing my part and things could go south because of it.’
When it comes to falling in love, you would think that many of the problems you had before would just melt away, and for a brief period it seems like they do. This is mostly because you are just so focused on your newfound partner, but once that person sticks around long enough, you fall back to Earth.
After almost two years of being in a relationship and almost 5 years of recovery, I found myself loathing my body like I had before. How could this still be a problem for me? I found a person who loves me through and through. Shouldn’t I be happy?
One message that is often repeated in media is that only certain types of people get to find love. The criteria usually includes being young and skinny for women, and young and muscular for men. The list pretty much stops there, but in real life we know that love isn’t dictated by body type or muscle tone. The sad thing is that when we are dating and falling in love it’s easy to use the media’s scripts and if we don’t meet its strict criteria, we often don’t feel worthy of love.
At the beginning of our relationship, my partner and I both were different in many ways, including size. Like a lot of couples we eat out a lot on dates, and we feel comfortable with each other so we accept the changes of our bodies over time. We were so busy with life and our new relationship that we didn’t notice the new extra pounds until we both started grumbling about our clothes not fitting like they used to. When it was time for me to do some shopping I became much more uncomfortable.
In order to address it I tried working out and eating differently. I sought out information from professionals to know what realistic changes I should expect from the hard work, but in the end it just triggered me.
On the positive side, I decided to write about my eating disorder for the first time and finally tell my partner of my struggles in the past. It has been therapeutic since I never really addressed it before because it was so harshly ignored. But now another Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and I’m beginning to dread shopping for a new outfit.
But all I can do is remember that part of being in a healthy relationship is having a partner who loves you no matter what, and trusting that it will stay that way. It would be nice if our society gave us more love stories with diverse people in our movies and books, but it’s time like these that we should try to be our own examples.
About this blogger: Nicole Weaver is a 23 year-old graduate of Penn State University. She currently writes for YourTango.com where she writes about love, sex, and relationships. She also writes for Hollywood.com where she covers entertainment news. You might have also spotted some of her pieces on XOJane.com, where she writes personal essays that focus on black women's issues. Look out for more of her work on Proud2BMe where she talks more about her personal journey with body positivity.
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
For more about relationships (with yourself and others!):