Writing

Changing Partners

Last March, when I moved to Ottawa, I set out to change my life. Husband wasn’t here, so I spent a lot of time at the gym, and imposed upon myself a strict diet change. Since then, I’ve lost a fair amount of weight, and gained a good amount of muscle. My stamina is up, and so is my energy in other things. This was really exciting for me. I even like myself more. Not because I now better fit the confines of conventional beauty or anything like that, but because my body is going things I want it to. I can lift and bend and run and do whatever I put my mind to. Confidence is up, too, which is pretty fantastic.

When Husband moved to Canada, I imposed many of the same life changes onto him. And it worked.

Husband says that he will never deny me anything I ask him. I want a manual transmissions? He’ll learn to drive stick. I’m having a shit day? He grabs me gelato from the shop down the street. So when I told him I really wanted him to be healthier, he didn’t say no.

He’s healthier now, losing weight and gaining muscle and energy and confidence. Some days, though, it occurs to me that I am in fact changing my partner. He wants to change — we have discussed it at length — but it’s not uncommon to see cartoons where the woman changes the man and then in the last panel   she comments, “you’re not the man you  were when we met,” and the poor guy looks utterly perplexed.

So which is it — is it ok to change your partner or not?

I think the answer to that, similar to any other question, is, “it depends”.

There are days when Husband doesn’t want to go to the gym but I force him. There are also days I don’t want to go to the gym and he forces me. Just because I inspired the change doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a change he doesn’t want. Like anything in a relationship, change must come naturally and with mutual understanding.

If he’d told me flat out he had zero interest in losing weight, would I have forced him to give? Probably not. But The fact that I am the one who incited the change could, by some, be seen as problematic. The phrase fat-phobic comes to mind. And with that a whole host of concerns that, by forcing my spouse to change for me, I am being insensitive to him.

For that, I would of course call bullshit.

I love my husband. I mean, I married him with no expectation for him to change in any way, shape or form. I want him to be happy and healthy for a very long time, and if that means asking him to join me in  a lifestyle change that will provide us with healthier, happier years, then I’m ok with that. If he told me the changes I was asking were too much, I would ease up, and I would of course never make him feel like any sort of change was a requirement for my loving him forever.  But asking him to change in a meaningful way, and communicating with him about how the change will improve our time together? That’s just life.

2 thoughts on “Changing Partners

  1. I don’t think this is fat-phobic or ascribing to those gendered-cliches of women changing men. I used to have a really difficult idea about losing weight, which prevented me from doing so for a long time (along with allergy issues). I used to believe that if I was changing, it was like people would know I knew I wasn’t good enough before. You can always tell when people are judging you, even when they think they’re sly about it. But when I really started to think about it, I was like, no, I’m already a capable, worthy person. Essentially, I stopped giving people so much power over me. So, when I started to get more fit, for me, it was more of a journey to heal my backpain, as a healing process for my anxiety/depression, and as a way to reclaim my own autonomy. And, I don’t feel happier because my arm is a little more toned; I feel happier because it gives me an outlet for my adrenaline. It gives me happy chemicals surging through my body. Because exercise (especially without the intention of losing weight or fitting an ideal) is so important for our minds, I am always an advocate for it. I think you’re both encouraging each other because it is good for each other. I think it’s shows the strength of your partnership.

    P.S Your title led me to believe this was about swingers. I think that says a lot more about me that I was like… “ohh! tell me more.” You do you!

    Xx

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  2. I included my awareness of fat-phobia to circumvent the potential for people being horribly insulted by my admission of actively changing B’s body. And funny enough, I do in fact have a post about open relationships coming up, so I’m glad that’s exciting for you ^.^

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