Wife Refusing to Lose Weight for Husband Sparks Debate: 'Shallow'

The internet was left divided after a husband demanded that his wife lose weight so he will be more attracted to her. In a post on the popular discussion site Mumsnet, user Boo12345 shared a story that has now received more than 200 replies.

She asked: "Am I being selfish not to lose weight for my husband?" and explaining: "My husband keeps saying that 'we' need to lose weight to become more attracted to each other again to save our relationship. For the record, I have never once said I don't find him attractive. I still do but apparently, he doesn't find me attractive enough to initiate sex.

"He said he can't live in a sexless marriage. I am a U.K. size 18 (U.S. size 14) and pretty sure plenty of men would have sex with me looking like I do. We have a 4-year-old daughter and I do most of the looking after so I don't find it easy to find time to look after myself. Am I being selfish by not losing weight?"

"Of course, you're not being selfish," said one commenter: "You should only lose weight if you want to. For you. If you are happy with the way you are, then tell your husband just that. He does not own your body."

Meanwhile, other users sided with the husband—suggesting that the woman was being unreasonable for refusing to lose weight.

'Attraction Is Important'

"Your husband is telling you he doesn't find you attractive," said one commenter: "I don't find fat men attractive so I can see his point. If my husband got fat I wouldn't fancy him either. I would still love him but attraction is important."

A 1987 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family examined the role of physical attractiveness in marriage.

The research found that the changes in physical appearance that are normally associated with aging affect a man's response to their wife more than the wife's feelings toward their spouse. Evidence found that the husband's sexual interest, happiness in the sexual relationship, and even faithfulness were affected by levels of physical attraction.

A more recent study in the psychology journal Personal Relationships looked into aesthetic beauty and relationship longevity. In the paper, authors Christine Ma-Kellams, Margaret C. Wang, and Hannah Cardiel wrote: "Research in social psychology has long suggested that physical attractiveness is a powerful motivator and potent predictor of positive outcomes across a variety of domains." For example, research shows that those considered physically attractive will have an easier time receiving promotions, gaining more social opportunities, and even satisfaction in a romantic relationship.

"Do you want to be married to someone whose 'love' is conditioned on your weight?" wrote one Mumsnet user in response to the woman's dilemma.

"Love that he's expecting you to lose weight but doesn't actually want to facilitate that by taking on more parenting," said another comment.

But another suggested that attraction was important and wrote: "It's not selfish to want to stay at that weight, but it would be unreasonable for you to expect your husband to have sex with you if he finds your weight a turn off."

"You don't have to lose weight but equally he doesn't have to find you attractive at your larger size," wrote another Mumsnet user.

"Wow, if my husband said that he would find that he would soon lose all size 18 of me," said one commenter: "I can't believe some of the replies on here. OP you need to ask yourself if you find someone so shallow attractive, I sure as hell wouldn't."

If you have a similar relationship dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

Scales and couple arguing
A file photo of a close-up of bathroom scales, left, and a picture of a couple in the middle of an argument, right. The internet has been left divided after a woman asked if she was being selfish by refusing to lose weight for her husband. Getty Images/PeopleImages/Getty Images