Dealing with a body critical partner


Do you have a partner who is critical about your body or appearance?

If you do, I know that it’s not a nice situation to be in.

I was once constantly criticised for my appearance by an ex-partner, and it really affected my confidence and self-esteem.

BUT know that you don’t have to put up with body criticism, not even from your partner.

In this post, I’m sharing three ways to deal with a body critical partner.

Watch or read below:

Body critical partners

A body critical partner can cause a lot of hurt and anxiety that can weaken and even destroy body confidence.

Whether you’re with a partner who has been body critical for some time, or they’ve only recently become critical, know that there are steps you can take.

In a loving relationship there is no place for a constant barrage of critical comments about your appearance (or anything else for that matter!).

The shame that such comments create might make you think that your body is a ‘problem’ and that you need to ‘fix’ whatever your partner is focusing their criticism on.

BUT know this. It is never okay for a partner to be constantly critical – its emotional abuse.

What I learned from a body critical ex

If you’re living with a body critical partner, I empathise with you.  I had an ex who constantly picked on various aspects of my appearance.

His constant body criticism left me feeling unattractive and worthless.

What I came to learn is that body criticism almost always says more about your partner than it does you.

To help you deal with a body critical partner, I’ve got three things that you can do:

Know that body criticism is most likely NOT about you

Body critical people judge themselves and others very harshly.  It’s likely that their own body image is unhealthy, or that there is something else about themselves they aren’t happy with.

For example, my ex-partner was insecure about many aspects of his personality.  Criticising me was a way to feel better about those aspects of himself he didn’t like.

Ask yourself what may be going on for your partner that is fuelling body critical behaviour?  This isn’t to make an excuse for it, but rather to help you understand that it’s not all about you.

Take a stand

Call your partner out on their behaviour and explain how it makes you feel.

Calmly say something like, “When you criticise my weight, I feel hurt and unloved.”

Allow them a chance to respond or explain their behaviour to you.  Sometimes just explaining the impact of their behaviour may be enough to bring about a change.

However, be prepared to follow up by asking for the change you’d like to see.  You might say, for example, “From now on, I’d like you to refrain from commenting on my weight.”

Re-examine your relationship

If despite telling your partner what impact their body critical comments have on you there is no change in behaviour, it’s time to take a closer look at your relationship.

You might need to question if you feel happy, safe and fulfilled in the relationship.

A loving, healthy relationship is one where your partner accepts you as you are.  If your partner is either unwilling or unable to do so, you have to ask if the partnership is still viable.

You deserve to be treated with love, respect and acceptance.  If your partner cannot offer this, it might be time to move on to someone who can.

Note: If you are being subjected to put downs and criticisms that make you fear for your physical or emotional safety, please tell the appropriate authorities.  Make sure you get the help that you need.  It is never acceptable to be subjected to emotional or physical abuse.

I’d love to hear about your experience of living with a body critical partner – what you have done, or are planning to do to deal with their criticism.  Please leave me a comment below.

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