I think my husband is egging me on to gain weight on We Are Careful this week.

I think my husband is egging me on to gain weight on We Are Careful this week.

Each week, in her Tuesday column, Prudence asks readers their thoughts on a question that has stumped her. It will publish its final thoughts on the matter on Friday.

Here is this week’s dilemma and answer: Thanks to Mrs. P, Sarah, Boy Bye, not his job, flops in Florida For their ideas!

Dear caution,

How do you know if your friend is praising you sincerely or trying to make you fail? My boyfriend says I look better with a little more weight (about 10 pounds) and that my face glows more, but every time I lose that weight, I get tons of compliments. This includes guys, and your girlfriend’s boyfriend actually said “wow, you look great.” So, is my boyfriend trying to sabotage me and make me less attractive? Is this a “red flag” for future abuse?


Dear suspicious,

Readers who responded when you shared your post couldn’t agree on whether it’s okay for your friend to have an opinion (specifically, an opinion that seems unpopular) about your weight. Also taking this from “Mrs. For example, “P” and “Sarah” were split between “We all have our preferences” and “Stay away from that controlling idiot!”

Mrs. F: I’ve been married before and my weight was different. It doesn’t mean they’re trying to mess with you, they just might like a bigger woman. Personally, I think my boyfriend would die if I lost any weight, haha. It could mean that they are trying to stop you from leaving them but does it give you other reasons to believe that? Yes, I get more comments with about 20 pounds down, but I hate dieting and he really likes the way I look, so it’s your body in the end. Also, what does your body like? I prefer a guy with a little more, I’m not a skinny type of girl. I’m not saying obese or anything but that’s my type. It is very possible that this is his type. You can always ask him why he would prefer the extra 10 pounds and see if you think he’s being honest with his answer.

good luck.

pleasant: The fact that he feels entitled to an opinion about your weight and appearance is a red flag. Twice I’ve dated guys in the past who turned out to be very controlling/borderline abusive, and both instances started out that way, with input about my appearance, my weight, and how he liked me to look. Stay away from this man.

I can see both sides but I admit that I tend to be less skeptical of someone who says “You glow when you’re not completely skinny” than someone who says “You need to lose a few pounds because you look fat.” That flares up? I don’t know. I guess. That is why I asked for help in responding to you.

I think readers caught up on the superficial discussion remind me of an old rule of advice: “If you have to write a letter asking if someone is an abuser, then something is not right and you should go ahead and break up.”

Boy, goodbye: I’ll ignore the actual question because the first line contains everything we need to know! Girl. If you have to ask if your boyfriend is being nice or trying to sabotage you, you know what to do.

Not his job:I see comments on weight as a control unless there are health issues associated with it when you would be most concerned. The writer looks confused, and I think she is right in guessing her boyfriend’s intentions, especially since she prefers not to gain weight. If she cares enough to write, the red flag deserves to be planted and noticed.

Fluctuations in Florida: This is a completely innocent thing, or a red flag, depending on other circumstances in your relationship. My husband often tells me that he likes the way I look when I’m a little thicker. Our relationship is beautiful and sophisticated, built on mutual respect. I never suspect that he is trying to control me, and no matter how my weight fluctuates, he tells me daily how insanely attractive I am. It feels very different from my ex who was trying to control me, and the rest of the relationship had signs of that too. On the plus side, your partner might find you really sexy with a larger size, just as you might prefer his or her longer hair. He may be telling you this because you were showing signs of dissatisfaction with your body before losing weight, and this is his way of boosting your self-image; To let you know that even though you may not find yourself sexy, he does or will in the future. On the negative side, your concern that this is a red flag or controlling should be validated. Did you get this fear because of other things he does? Was he in control? Does it make you feel less than, and disrespected? What is the pattern?

While this isn’t generally a bad thing, we’ve reached a point socially where we’re supposed to feel a certain way about things that can be reductive, and there are some hard and fast red flags, but that’s simply not true. In the end, we can only decide for ourselves what is bad. My sister has a beautiful marriage to a man 15 years older than her, whom she met when she was 19. I was brutally abused by a man my age. It’s all in the context of the people involved. If it’s not bad for you, if the relationship is good, don’t read anything about it. Ask your friend why he said that, and ask him to stop saying that if you want. His response will probably tell you everything you need to know.

As these people point out, you seem to lack confidence in your perception of your friend’s character, and this is troubling. You look lost and afraid. What I fear is that the relationship itself has filled you with self-doubt and an inability to trust your instincts about what is best for you, how you look best, and how you want to be treated. But even if you had this mindset before you met your boyfriend, feeling insecure and fearing future mistreatment is no way to have a relationship, no matter what. If you polled all the people who care about you, there probably wouldn’t be a consensus about whether you look better with or without 10 pounds (which, by the way, is a small amount of weight for picky eaters — really not enough to even discuss). But I expect there will be widespread agreement that you should be with someone who you feel very confident is not your enemy, so confident that the thought would never cross your mind, let alone message for advice. I hope you believe it also.

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