A few weeks ago I asked the question: Do you tell your partner that they don’t look good?  Comments were all over the place.  Some thought- no way.  Others- yes, but must be done with kindness.  Some people said that if an article of clothing didn’t flatter them, or a hairstyle was off, they would want to know.

Today, I want to change the direction of the question just a little: Do you tell your partner that they’ve changed since the first time you met/got together?

Think about it:  is your partner the same person that they were when you first met?  Physically?  Mentally.? Emotionally?  Sure, some changes are good: people mature, which is usually a good thing.  But….should you say something like the following:

  1. The gray hair doesn’t suit you
  2. I don’t like the fact that you’re balding.
  3. When we first met you were a size 2
  4. When we first met you had a six pack, and now you just drink a six pack
  5. You used to be so much fun when we dated
  6. You used to like dancing

You get the idea.  People change.  Do we have the right to comment on it?  Should we? Do we have an expectation that they will/should change back to the way they were before? Are we still obligated to love someone even though they no longer resemble the person that we married/partnered with?

I know.  I’m throwing a lot of questions at you for a slow Tuesday morning.  Working under the assumption that you should tell your partner that they don’t look good, is it fair to bring up nature’s inevitable changes?  I used to be a size 4 brunette: now I’m a size 10 blonde- should my husband tell me I looked better as a size 4?  I mean- let’s get real- I looked much better as a size 4: should it matter? If he doesn’t like the larger version of me, should he tell me to lose weight? Should I care that he thinks I should be thinner? (assuming it’s not a health issue) Should I try to lose weight to please him?

I’m interested in how perspective changes when we alter the hypothesis just a little.  When I wrote the last blog, I was fascinated by people’s thoughts on the subject, and I couldn’t help but think a little deeper. I want people to think of it from this angle.

So: what do you think?

 

81 thoughts on “A Different Angle

    1. First off….yay….you can comment!! Here’s my thing, which I’m going to expand on in the future…don’t we all change emotionally just because of age and experience? I know having a child changed me emotionally…would it be fair to tell me to think like I did pre motherhood? I’m grappling with this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No… I agree we change, we grow, we mature. I don’t think like I did in my 20s but if I feel my man is distancing himself or the basic love /like /respect factor is gone, the thing which binds two people in a relationship, then I would talk to him. Because an unhappy me is not good for all people around.
        If I am not happy, I can’t keep anyone happy.
        But If the person doesn’t want to make an effort, then I don’t know how much I would be able to take it.. Has happened before. Based on that experience, I feel I have a lot of tolerance because he left, I didn’t….

        Liked by 3 people

  1. First of all, I want a partner I can grow old with. No doubt I’m a little fatter and he’s a little balder. Yeah, I wish I could look like a 20 something forever. Thankfully the changes are gradual almost imperceptible if you are with each other every day. We are more mature. We have so many shared experiences…Why would I trade that in for someone with more hair?? Lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I struggle with this sometimes, but I also think we (especially us women) are too hard on ourselves. Yes, my body changed a lot from my university days, my flight attendant days, my 20s, even 30s…but that was before I had two miscarriages, two pregnancies, two c-sections, perimenopause and all the rest of that stuff. But do I want him to tell me that? (He doesn’t)

    He’s gained weight but he’s tall so he can carry it without looking like he’s overweight (he’s not much over, maybe 10-15 pounds which shows very differently on a 6′ tall man than a 4’5 tall/short woman post babies). But I don’t say much either…

    Plus I’m grey. Coloured still but grey. Him? Same hair as always. But. I still don’t say much. Or, I coat it as ‘we should both eat better’ and ‘maybe lay off x and y for a while’… I did ask him once if I should go grey and he did say, since I was asking, that this isn’t the best idea I ever had, although he didn’t pressure me not to do it…

    I don’t know.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right? I don’t know. Like someone else said, do you not mind the change if they still put in effort? Like, if your hair goes gray, do you still wash and style or whatever you do? You know I’m going to think about this and write another post

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But it’s also about how you carry it. If I go grey for the simplicity of it (I hate colouring) and accept/like myself in it, I will likely show this in body language. But if I walk around like I hate it, the man would notice this (and so would others)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That is a really good point. How you carry yourself. Is it the gray that bothers someone, or your attitude about the gray. You know I’m going to write about that

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m going to say that most people already know if they’ve gained weight or have grey hair. My experience is that being “helpful” usually means you’re trying to control a situation. Unless someone’s skirt is tucked in their underwear by mistake I’m not saying a word!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Since when did size 10become big? When you and I were in our 20s size1&2existed only in infants and tots.NEWSFLASH-everyone changes. My husband is a littlesofter in the middle,but is neat and clean and smells nice.Me-I had a 10 pound baby at 42-same time peremenopause kicked in. Do you know after menopause metabolism slows way ,way down? I look like a muffin. We didn’t marry the wrappers but the whole person. I love my grey hair and his thinning pate. I still do see the man I married though

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Don’t get me started on what passes thin. That’s a whole other blog. But….if someone fell in love with a size 4, can they say I liked you better as a four? Do they have the right to say you looked better as a four?

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      1. My husband does that already. Hurts. But I’ve got to lose some weight before its a health problem. This body will never be small again. Just normal. I got to small by smoking,&working in starvation wage jobs(ironically:restaurants)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This post required some thought. The one thing I love about my husband is that he deals in reality. He’s very realistic about life and the changes it brings, good and bad. He lost both of his parents (mother at 42, father at 58), both from illness, so he’s seen how the body gets ravaged. I think that has at least something to do with how he feels about physical beauty.
    Twenty-four years ago (come September) when we got married I was about 25 to 30 pounds heavier than when we’d gotten engaged a year before!! He never said a word about it until I said something and his response was, “don’t most women gain weight when they’re happy?” And then he asked me if I wanted some ice cream. 🤷🏽‍♀️….😂 Fortunately, he’s not hung up on the physical, which is ironic because he’s always tried to stay in good physical shape by working out. He still goes to the gym regularly and I’ve always appreciated his physical assets. He’s never once pressured me to work out or lose weight. Over the years we’ve both grayed, I’ve gained and lost weight numerous times. Gaining being where I’m at now, but recently when I asked my husband if he minds that I’m fat, which I clearly feel that I am right now, he replied, “I don’t think you’re fat.” My husband doesn’t care how I look with him when we’re at home. Never has. But he does expect me to look presentable when we go out, which is understandable. And by presentable I just mean neat and well-groomed. I’ve never been a really fancy dresser, I almost never wear high heels, and he’s fine with that, just wanting me to be comfortable. I’ve let my hair grow long. Everyone loves it. I asked my husband if he prefers it long or shorter. His response was, “how do you like it?” When I said I think it’s easier when it’s long. He said, “then if that’s how you like it, that’s how I like it.” He told me it’s better when women feel good about the way they look, not how their men want them to look. He knows that if I’m happy about how I look I’ll feel good and then he’ll be happy because I’m happy.
    All that said, at this age we are just happy to be alive and to still be best friends. Life is so difficult as we age that we just do all we can to make the most of what we have together and not focus very much on external physical traits. When my husband occasionally seems a little extra tired or distant emotionally, we talk about it and it’s just the pressures of life and coming to the realization that we are getting older and can’t do as much as we used to and it’s sobering sometimes. So in answer to your questions, I think that we should want to try to keep the same appeal we had when we married our spouse and not let ourselves go, but each of us should also be realistic about the aging process and not make our mate feel bad if they’ve gained a few pounds or are losing some hair or their six-pack. If inside they’re the same person, and hopefully one who’s grown even wiser, I think we should appreciate that and be happy that we have each other. And since we promised to be in it forever, if things are changing we should make the effort to express our concerns tactfully and lovingly so as not to offend. I hope this all makes sense. Sorry for the long drawn-out reply. 🤦🏽‍♀️

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Great response!!! Thank you. And I think you hit the nail on the head…it’s the effort to be presentable, meaning, clean clothing and body, neat appearance. I think you and Claudette hot on something here. Thank you. You know there will be a follow up

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly. I’m glad you got what I was trying to say because it was early and I was in the bed trying to respond when my brain was still percolating. Please excuse the rambling, and thank you for appreciating my response. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m really torn on this. For one, the majority of the things you listed are physical and for me, you have got to love me for me, all parts, good and bad, not trying to shove me into some specific, unchanging ideal that is the only thing that works for you. Making those kinds of comments seem petty and superficial. On one hand, I would like to hear that because it would tell me that my partner cares more about my looks than anything and that who I thought I was with was potentially a lie. Because honestly, if someone feels the need to say something to get you to change your look to fit their tastes, then they don’t care about you emotionally because those kinds of comments lack the consideration for you own self worth, especially if that look is just a natural part of aging. Is my husband happier when I’m not at my heaviest? Yes, but ONLY because I am happier with myself and that is what is important to him. It isn’t about the physical.

    Now, for the personality… that is something that I do think couples need to be open and honest about (not saying they shouldn’t about the physical, but it just has a very different context). By talking about those things, they can potentially work through them instead of sitting quietly while they fall out of love with the person they are with. Sometimes those changes are just bumps in the road. Sometimes they are permanent. My Hubby was an absolute miserable grump when he was working a job he hated. I called him on it, we talked about it, and he realized he needed to get a different job. Not because I told him I didn’t like his personality, but because I helped him to see HE was feeling miserable. It wasn’t about changing him, but changing his environment. He is now stupidly happy with that part of his life and that bleeds into our home life.

    Communication and honestly are critical in my opinion to a strong, healthy relationship. There are so many things people can work through and fix in ways that are good for both parties, but some things like extreme vanity and shallowness can’t be fixed because it isn’t about the couple as a whole, but about a single ego aspect. But even with that, if you are the type of person that physical appearance is hugely important to you, then feel free to speak up all you want, but be prepared for the fall out.

    People DO change. They DO age. Talking can only help. Either by working out solutions and making a relationship stronger or by highlighting the fault lines and realizing that those changes have created too big of a divide to repair.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Great response! Thank you. I like what you said about attitude. That’s part of the issue….if you don’t feel good about yourself it will come out in different ways, and your partner may not like that. The personality thing is tough, and you’re right, you have to communicate about it. People are going to change as they get older, what if you don’t like the emotional changes your partner has made? Thanks again! Great answer that I’m going to think about and follow up

      Liked by 1 person

  7. In a strong relationship, I think that people should be able to acknowledge each other’s changes over time. It’s realistic and that’s life! However, if there is any negativity involved, these should be balanced with mentions of POSITIVE changes, as well…personality, looks, accomplishment, take on life,etc. Hopefully your partner will do the same for you.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. After 42 years of marriage my husband and I have both changed a great deal physically. We were both so skinny, for one thing. Occasionally I’ll see a photo of us from those early years, but aside from a passing wish that I had stayed slender I really prefer my husband the way he is now. He’s a presence. I don’t know how else to do xplain it. And while he could stand to lose a few pounds (we both could) I would never say that to him. He just looks like the man I love.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. It seems to me like we talk more about our own changes as we get older but not so much on theirs. The one critical exception is with regard to insane nose / ear / eyebrow hairs. We are not werewolves. Let’s not try to disguise ourselves as such as we age. Cut. Those. Off.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Another great post. Communication is key for me. I think that almost anything can be worked out by some good, honest, talking. Physical changes are almost inevitable, especially with women having babies. I understand that my husband would love to have me look like I did when we were married, but so would I. That isn’t happening anytime soon but I know to make MYSELF happy, I’m doing something about getting slimmer. He has changed physically too because of health issues (stomach surgery, back problems, etc.) but these health issues have also changed his personality and lifestyle. He was a very active (softball, bowling, golf) man and because of his back problems the only thing he can do now is golf. Since the injury in 2009 he (we) has (have) gone through a lot of medical procedures and pain management stuff. Since he can’t always see the way HIS changes are affecting US (the kids and I), we have had to sit down and have deep conversations. It would have been easy for me to say “I’m not dealing with this” and leave but as Cozynookbks said above, we “are in it forever” so it was worth it to me to have those conversations. Of course continuing health issues have had an impact on his realization that some things need to change (I love it when I tell him something about his health and we go to the doctors and the doctor says the same thing I did!) Anyway, lots of good input about this topic!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. So I think that telling your partner that something they are wearing is not flattering (in the most gentle way possible with positive suggestions as alternatives) is way different to comparing your present self to your past self…we all age and with age comes physical changes…you should love your partner for what is inside and not what is on the outside…if it is becoming a health issue and there is a need for ‘tough love’ then I am all for that but I think long term, life partner love is about growing together and changing together and accepting each other ear hair and all (lolol I couldn’t resist)…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Recently I saw a picture of myself and my husband when we were young, and I thought “OMG he was so handsome back then!” It was like I’d forgotten. But I was in better shape then too. I think we know what’s occurred and we’re trying to maintain, but at a certain point, there are losses in overall sveltitude and hair color and skintone. We’re both pretty vain people so I don’t think I’d be telling him anything if I mentioned one of these factors. No, then, my answer is: don’t say it. Unless it might have a medical application or something along those lines. Just don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. So many interesting comments in this thread. The mention of what being an empty nester does to a relationship is something I know about personally. I knew we were heading to divorce (not because of physical changes) so I pulled the trigger before the kids were gone. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
    As for my current relationship, the physical changes of age are hitting me more than my partner. We both workout but he’s way more committed to it and also the healthy diet. Unlike most people who commented here, he went from an out-of-shape guy to one who spends (IMO) way too much time on the physical. It’s more about balance for me.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Things always change in relationships. That’s one reason I’m not married anymore. I changed enough that I needed something different with my life. He’s still the same grumpy, old man who likes to drink too much beer. And now I can enjoy watching riveting television of New York’s finest vacuuming bees of a hot dog cart without him wanting to know when the ball game is gonna be on.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I don’t think any of us needs to tell another person how to BE, but having a conversation about things that have changed and how the other person feels about those changes is okay. For example, when my hubby was overworking, I commented that he was too skinny and his hair was balding. If he liked his weight and less hair, then fine, but if not, then maybe he should figure out how to work less. But it wasn’t because I disliked something. It was because his outward appearance was a manifestation of overworking. Also, I think conversations based on emotional or spiritual change can help determine where the relationship should go next. For example, if my hubby suddenly began preaching Christianity or some other religion, then our relationship might need to change.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you’re right, in that, if someone is not happy with an aspect of their appearance, then they might want to change. I agree…the emotional/intellectual aspect is different…if someone’s basic philosophy changes, you must ask how it will effect the relationship. I think I’m going to write more about this

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Change inevitable, if you don’t want him commenting on your appearance/ change then maybe you shouldn’t comment on his. For better or worse, unless he or she has turned into an abusive person, a murderer or just your everyday pyschopath then roll with it. We all change and grow as well we should.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Outward appearances will change over time. It’s called aging, and it’s up to us as individuals to care for ourselves. Most men know by the look on my face, they’re outfit needs help, but the change I look for comes from within. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Everyone’s relationship is different, but I can’t imagine not talking to my husband about some issues, including grooming: “When is your next haircut?” “That shirt has a spot on it.” “Do you plan to shower?” I’m sorry, but we’re mates, and this is part of the deal, at least for me. I wouldn’t comment on some things that are out of his control like thinning hair, but eyebrows and ear hair are fair game. (And where are the wives that let their husbands walk around like that?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there’s a line between physical changes due to age and not taking care of yourself. But don’t worry….I’m going to blog about that in a few weeks…as well as a tutorial on how to get rid of hair where it doesn’t belong…

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I kind of wonder about this too. I guess all I can say is that we should only comment on it (very gently) if the change is something that really, really matters to us. Because all long-term relationships involve change, and not all that change is for the better. And I think if we tell our partner that we are unhappy with something about them, we really need to be open to them saying the same thing about us!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. As we all get older our bodies change everyone naturally. Most people would love to be the younger person. Thinner. Better hair. It’s the aging process. True love will see past that and endure. Even if the previous younger version was easier on the eyes.
    Both the person and their partner want to look and feel a certain way. Not always possible. That 4 letter word “life” gets in the way removing control you personally have over these things. I’ve found people that look amazing are not amazing people. All their energy is put into the superficial things. I don’t thing anyone should let themselves go. Both people should work on and help each other be the best they can be. My husband is my gray hair monitor. He’s also bald. I can understand enjoyable it would be to look at someone with beautiful hair all the time. I do try to accommodate that but at times it just doesn’t get done. Sorry. Deal with it.

    Liked by 1 person

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