DR. WALLACE: My boyfriend wants me to lose weight, but I am happy as I am and even though I’m not tiny or really skinny, I’m not all that big either.
Other than complaining all the time about my weight, my boyfriend is generally a pretty good guy. We laugh a lot and like a lot of the same things, but when it comes to food, my weight and eating any meals together, it’s always a rough experience for me.
For example, if we are at a restaurant, he will order for me and forbid me from eating certain foods. Of course, he east whatever he wants because he considers his own weight to be normal. His weight is relatively normal, but he also could stand to lose a few pounds himself.
What can I do to get him to stop focusing so much on my weight and trying to control everything I eat? — Unhappy About This, via email
UNHAPPY ABOUT THIS: In your letter you used a key and very revealing word. That word is “control,” and it’s often quite toxic to any relationship. It’s a really bad sign that your boyfriend is ordering your food in public and dictating what you can and can’t order. This is unacceptable.
You should maintain the body weight that you wish to have, and you should also feel no outside pressure to change it against your will. You mentioned that he’s “generally a good guy,” but good guys do not control their partner and complain about their weight.
Over the years I’ve learned from many weight-loss professionals that the main reason a person begins a weight-loss program is to please themselves. It’s important for a person to commence the program for their own self-esteem, enhanced confidence and self-satisfaction, not to prove something to anyone else. It’s never a good idea to begin such a program out of guilt or outside pressure by any other person.
What can you do about this situation? You could either end the relationship or put your foot down immediately and tell him that it is both unacceptable and off limits for him to control your food orders or any other aspect of your life. It’s important that you focus carefully on his controlling behavior since it may not be easy to get him to stop it. Under no circumstances should you stay in a relationship when parts or all of your life are being controlled. And often one segment of control can lead to another — and another. Be very cautious and firm in looking out for yourself at this time.
DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR COLLEGE DREAMS, DEFER THEM INSTEAD
DR. WALLACE: I’m 19 and just got married. I was planning to attend college, but I discovered that I became pregnant about four months ago, so I’ve focused on having a healthy pregnancy instead of attending college.
My husband is 21 and has a good job, so at this point he can provide for us. The two of us are truly in love and we are thrilled and excited to be starting our family, even if its arrival has come much earlier than either one of us had planned for.
Originally, I had told my parents about my college aspirations and the career path I hope to pursue. Before my marriage, my parents were overjoyed with my choices since they’re both college graduates and working professionals in our city.
Now my parents seem disappointed in me because I won’t be attending college and it looks like I’ll be relegated to being a stay-at-home mother from now on. How can I get my parents to understand that I’m still happy and even though I was really looking forward to college, that I’m now fine without it? — New Mother-to-Be, via email
NEW MOTHER TO BE: It makes sense for you currently to focus on your pregnancy and your growing family. But don’t feel that just because you will soon have a child and become a mother that your college dreams must be permanently abandoned.
There likely will be times in your future when you may be interested in taking a class or two to get back into the swing of your education. In today’s world there are very flexible class schedules, including evening classes that are available at many colleges, including junior colleges.
Beyond the “in-person” college options, there are many online classes available. When the time is right, you can study those options and see if there is anything that would interest you or perhaps start you to earn credits in the field you have always dreamed of getting a degree in.
At your young age you can absolutely defer your college days to the future and still have many great working years to benefit from later should you choose to pursue your degree at a more convenient time in your life.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.