I am in a fairly new relationship with a guy, and things have been going wonderfully. I belong to a fitness community that has been part of my life for much longer than my current relationship. It’s a huge part of my social life, and it just so happens that my friends from this community are extremely fit — especially the men.
My boyfriend has no interest in being part of it, which is totally fine with me, but he gets insanely jealous of the fit men I hang out with. He makes unfair comments to me, claiming that I must not like his body because he’s not in shape. I’m at my wit’s end with having to reassure him that I’m happy with him as he is. What should I do?
Pull Up or Shut Up
Dear Pull Up,
Your guy is intimidated by the men in your fitness community and is obviously struggling with his body image. But while he’s worried that his body is turning you off, it’s actually his jealousy and insecurity that are bothering you.
Fear of the unknown might be the culprit here. You say your fitness community is a big part of your social life, so it’s time to integrate. While your guy shouldn’t feel pressured to work out with you, he does have an obligation to get to know your friends. Presumably, the more time he spends with your fitness friends, the less intimidated he will become. Of course, do your best to steer the conversation away from the gym — you might even give your friends a heads-up to lay off the workout talk when they meet him.
More than anything, it’s time to communicate. Tell him that fitness is a choice you’ve made in your life, and it has no bearing on your lust for his body. Just because your friends have six-pack abs doesn’t mean that you don’t love his keg-like belly. By the same token, let him know that you want him to feel his best. If he wants to work out, you’ll help him. If not, you’ll help him finish off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s instead.
If his jealousy persists, you might have a bigger problem on your hands. If his words or actions escalate, seek the help of a trusted friend or counselor. For now, see how far you get by taking the kind and understanding route.