Hey, Bonita!

My Partner Doesn’t Support My Health Goals

Hey Bonita, 

My partner and I have different health goals, and living together makes it really difficult for me to make mine happen. We both are sorta chubby, but most importantly we don’t eat healthy. There’s nothing wrong with our bodies—I’m not saying that. But I do personally want to lose weight and really feel better and healthier and stronger. I can feel my diet really bringing me down. But my partner doesn’t see it this way. With food prices the way they are and [us] living together, eating separately is really hard and expensive. On top of that, they aren’t exactly supportive of what I’m doing. They just insist they like the way I look, but it’s about much more than that. I’m getting defeated about my health goals and don’t know how to do what I want for my body while in this relationship. I also don’t want to feel bad for trying to be healthier?

Needing Support

Hey NS,

I agree that your partner could be much more supportive of your goals. I think they may be doing that thing where we let the belief that the people we love are perfect impede our ability to be truly supportive of our loved one’s goals. It’s easy to interpret someone wanting to change their appearance as a sign that they hate themselves, and so we fall all over ourselves to validate their appearance just as it is. Some folks will even go further and actively discourage their loved ones from seeking their own version of self-improvement, just because it doesn’t line up with our own image of that deeply loved person. Most folks who do this don’t realize that it can be interpreted as unsupportive or harmful, and I highly doubt that your partner is fully aware of how frustrating their attitude can be for you. I recommend telling them these things while using the language above—it’s about your own health goals; it’s your body, and you want it to be healthier and stronger; you feel that having your live-in partner’s support is key to achieving those goals.

Money’s very tight for a lot of people right now, and rising food prices aren’t making anything easier. It sounds like money is very tight for you two if you’re truly priced out of preparing and eating your own food. Folks are way too proud about using government assistance, but it exists for food-insecure people like you and your boo. Maybe look into getting EBT, and that extra money can be used to fund healthier food for you. Most of our local farmer’s markets will double the value of food stamps, giving you $20 in tokens for only $10 off of your EBT. Or maybe you’re already on EBT and just eeking by, or you don’t qualify but still can’t afford to feed yourselves as freely as you’d like. I’ve been tuna-and-ramen broke a few times in my life, and I still sort of am whenever my rent is due. Having to share all meals is something I haven’t done in decades, but I do remember how difficult it is to satisfy two different palates with very little money. Living together and sharing a life requires constant compromise, and your partner should be willing to give a little on this one. This is important for their partner that they love, right? So have a salad. What’s the big deal?

But some folks have very particular palettes and can be super bratty about trying new cuisines or even just different dishes from their preferred cuisines. Maybe you don’t have a full blown chicken-tendies-and-fries-only type of person to deal with, but it sounds like your boo may be used to you eating their way and not vice versa. I think you two have a conversation ahead of you that is about way more than what you’re eating every day, and I hope that your partner is able to see how important this is for you and will consent to changes in your shared diet.

But also… y’all know me. I’m the type who would just sit down with our household budget and find a way to split our meals up. It’s your body, and you’ll lose weight if you want to.

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