Dear Margo: Love Me, Love My Pet

When it comes to relationships, is pet compatibility a deal-breaker? Margo Howard’s advice

Love Me, Love My Dog/Cat/Hamster/Parrot

Dear Margo: I’m at odds with my boyfriend. I grew up with pets and as an adult have nourished my passion for animals by working at an animal shelter. I’ve been at this job for several years, occasionally bringing home an orphaned kitten to bottle-feed or other small pets (hamsters, gerbils, etc.) that would’ve been euthanized had I left them at my job. My boyfriend, on the other hand, grew up without pets and has little interest in them. He doesn’t understand what my job is like. He’s kind to the pets we have, but whenever I mention a pet at the shelter, he gets very irritated and starts a tirade about how he doesn’t want to hear about it, how I always want to bring more animals home, how we have enough pets already, etc.

He told me he’s beginning to no longer care about the animals, me or our relationship. It’s very frustrating because sometimes I need to vent or cry about situations at work. It’s caused friction in our relationship where there used to be none. I don’t know what to do. Part of me feels like I should find another job, but part of me knows that what I’m doing is important and thinks I should find another outlet to “talk animals” with. Any ideas? –Animal Lover

Dear An: Yes, actually. You’re with the wrong man. It is not a good match for an animal person to be with someone who doesn’t get it. It would be a great strain to be in a marriage where you couldn’t talk about something you cared about greatly. Your interest is so fundamental that I cannot imagine things getting better with your boyfriend, only worse. Even changing jobs wouldn’t diminish your love of critters, so I would continue to enjoy your work, feel free to talk about it, and find a guy with whom you are more compatible. –Margo, logically

A Weighty Question

Dear Margo: I have been committed to “John” for two years and recently found out something that could potentially destroy the relationship. Apparently, before I met his family, he told his brother not to expect me to be “model skinny.” John told his brother this because his brother is shallow and John was afraid he might say something about my weight! (By the way, I am 5 feet 6 inches tall and weigh 155 pounds — by no means overweight, but also not, as John so kindly pointed out, “model skinny.”)

Apparently, the brothers have had a few discussions about my weight since then — instigated by his brother. Before we took our relationship to the next level by moving in together, his brother called him and had another discussion about my weight, this one revolving around our having kids and me “potentially blowing up to 225 pounds.” The brother basically asked if he would be OK with that; John’s response was no.

I’m not sure who I am more upset with. I think it’s beyond disrespectful that John ever described me to his brother as “not model skinny.” While it is true, I don’t feel that’s how you describe someone you love. So my question is two-fold: Do you think it a forgivable offense on John’s part, and how do I get past this with his brother? I’m at the point where I don’t even want to be in the same room with him. –Steaming

Dear Steam: The brother must be a lulu if your guy “warned” him, fearing he would say something insulting. I would give him a pass for his initial alert, but … tell John you would like him to be done discussing the subject with the jerky brother and next time he brings it up to tell him basta. Even shallow people respond to “knock it off.” As for being with said idiot brother, a slight frost is permissible. –Margo, effectively


Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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139 Responses so far.

  1. avatar stargazer says:

    I would have been more sympathetic with the 2nd LW (not model skinny) if she had not added ” I am 5 feet 6 inches tall and weigh 155 pounds — by no means overweight.”  Actually, that is a BMI of 25, which is considered overweight.

    • avatar Anathema Teatime says:

      I agree, except . . . BMI can be a pretty inexact tool. My boss is a marathon runner, basically solid muscle without an ounce of fat, but he’s short, and that combo means his BMI says he’s overweight, verging on obese. I’m 5’8″ and 160, which is definitely overweight, but I’m also very muscular and have big boobs, and people are often shocked to learn that I’m a size 10 to 12, as I manage to look much smaller. Not that I’m not losing the weight, because I am, but still. Most men look at me and say “woohoo” rather than “lay off the cheeseburgers, honey.”

      • avatar Mishy Smith says:

        I am 5’8 and 170. My doctor has told me I am not overweight. I know my BMI would seem off by normal calculations but it is simply not an exact science, as you stated. Also, It is obviously how we wear it because I am a size 6-8. To assume you can know how a person looks simply by a line in an article is presumptuous at best by stargazer.

        • avatar stargazer says:

          If LW2 is not overweight, it would be better to have simply said so, rather than presenting information to the contrary, and then claim “by no means overweight.”  Her wording leaves open the possibility that she is overweight but in denial.
          Regardless, I agree with Margo’s advice.

          • avatar nycgirl2 says:

            Stargazer – – I don’t need you to tell me what my BMI calculation equates to. Anyone with a calculator can do that.

            However, the point you are not realizing and that I think numerous people have conveyed here is that BMI isn’t an accurate calculation for all people and all body types. If you want to consider that statement a cop out, then so be it. But be assured that I have gone to several different doctors (Obgyn, FP, and IM) and have been told by each of them, that I am not overweight by their calculations which take into account numerous factors beyond height and weight.

            I included that information in my letter, not because I thought it would lead to you (or anyone) telling me I was overweight, but because I thought it would show my confidence in the fact that I’m not.

            Long story short, regardless of what anyone’s thoughts are on my weight; I wanted advice on how others would react to this situation. Whether or not I am overweight can be left up to each individual to decide, I was just wanting advice on whether it was (in other people’s eyes) a forgiveable offense.

          • avatar Cloudette says:

            Sounds to me like the LW has her dander up over a perceived slight, when in reality it’s just the way men, especially brothers, talk about things like that.  I think it’d be interesting to find out how the LW found out about these conversations in the first place.
            The issue of her weight, although hardly relevant to the actual “problem”, is a tough one.  I’m a nurse, and believe me when I tell you … there are /very/ few doctors who are going to tell a patient they’re “fat” these days.  Doctors have been sued for “emotional distress”. 
            Otherwise than whether the LW is overweight or not (if you define “overweight” as “over the ideal weight”, then the answer from this end is “yes you are”), I can’t help but feel that she’s over-reacting.  Why so touchy? Big deal.  They’re family, and families feel free to discuss all kinds of subjects with each other.  Your bf’s brother thinks you’re chubby and likely to get chubbier.  So what.  Lighten up and don’t let the little things come between you and your bf.  Relax.  It could be /ever/ so much worse.

          • avatar Sianne S says:

            That WAS the letter writer you just spoke to. 🙂

          • avatar wendykh says:

            I agree this is how guys talk. What the heck he was thinking telling her about it is beyond me. Men, we don’t want to know about these talks. There is no way you can NOT look like a class a jackhole.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            I agree. The LW sounds like she’s not confident AT ALL about whether or not she’s perceived as being overweight—by her sig-o, his relatives, or even her self. Confident women don’t write letters to advice columnists.

          • avatar NA2 says:

            Why is everyone concerned about the BMI issue and her possibly being overweight?  She wanted advice on her relationship.

            Dump him.  If he is so shallow to care more about how his brother is going to react to your weight than how he feels about you, he’s not worth it.  He should be telling his brother that you’re a wonderful person, regardless of how much you weigh and he doesn’t want to hear anything about your weight.

            Don’t waste any more time with him.  Find someone who will actually love you for you, not for what is airbrushed and photoshopped in magazines.

          • avatar vicki ebeling says:

            Amen to NA2. 

            it’s about time someone with any sense replied.  there is so much damn concern with weight and body presence, that people can’t see the forest through the trees – like someone’s character.  are you healthy…are you happy…

            i am 5’9″, and 135 lbs.  and who the hell cares.  if i were a bitch, i’d be a skinny bitch. 

            gees, people, maybe that’s why our children are so out of touch.

          • avatar Lym BO says:

            I have two concerns here. The first is with your self-image. Or conveyance of it. Now maybe I read this wrong and you are just trying to enlighten us by using these facts to state your case, but it seems contrare because you state you are confident in the fact you are not overweight, but you then state ‘I have gone to three physicians who all assure me I am not overweight.’ From where I stand you have issue with it or you wouldn’t been seeking physicians opinions or you would’ve said something like: I am comfortable with my weight and realize I am not model skinny, nor do I want to be. I am perfect the way I am…   Very few physicians are going to comment on your weight-especially if you are borderline. It’s like asking your spouse if your pants make you look fat. Any intelligent man would never say yes even if his girl was 300 pounds. I’m also not sure if you included your stats for as descriptors or in attempt to elicit a supportive response.  I’m certainly not implying you are overweight, but simply I am reading between the lines that you have issue with it, which is why brother’s comments bother you. Unless it is just because he is an a55 and the physician comment was just an aside to state your case, not that you sought this info from them. .  I’m not looking for a debate or trying to make you defensive. It’s not about me, your bf or his brother. It’s about how you view yourself & if you are happy with that. Think about it.
            The second even more important issue is how potentially shallow your own guy is. I don’t think it is just his brother. If he has issues with you gaining weight with your pregnancy (and later), are you okay with that?!?!?!?  If your genetics have you prone to weight gain, is this a battle you intend to fight?  Will your self-esteem plummet if you start gaining because of these expectations? You know your familial tendencies. Those are hard to counter.  My point is what kind of future do you foresee?  Did he share these conversations because he is hoping you will assure him this will never be the case? There seems to be no other reason for him to share. He had to know it would hurt your feelings. Just food for thought.
            BMI is tough. I am also 5’8″ at 125. But I am small boned, very small chested, mostly legs & very lean. Last time I looked ideal for me was 135-145. I’ve been there & for my frame that was not “ideal”.  You are so right no one can gauge anything by ht & wt alone–or even clothing size. I have a gf that is as thin as me, but very busty and short & wears a much larger size due to these factors.  She looks great!  The best way to measure leanness is by assessing muscle mass at any gym. That is about the only true measurement of leanness. You could use that against bf brother if you want ammo.  (Other than the obvious eyeball assessment.) And pant size is also a bunch of crap. I can wear a 4-9 depending on brand. These are all moot points though. It is about how you feel/perceive yourself.
            btw, I absolutely hate any conversations about weight! I think the topic should be put up there with those never, ever discussed like religion & politics. My husband is very thin as is a good friend of mine. I have most always been very thin. We are naturally thin & cannot/do not gain weight.  I’ve been shocked how many people think it is okay to comment on my weight. I’ve had people comment that my hub looks like he has cancer, That he looks unhealthy. That I shouldn’t lose any more weight. We also hear when we go visit family every couple years how thin he is & how he needs to stop losing weight. He has been a steady weight for his whole adulthood. It has got to a point that he doesn’t want to visit his family.  Then we have to listen to how great it is that we don’t gain weight & how just smelling brownies makes them gain.  He would like to be heavier. It is especially difficult to respond to overweight people.
            If brother makes another comment to you I’d tell him you and your boyfriend are happy with how you are. And your boyfriend should also be defending you & expressing his happiness with everything about you.  If he is not, it is a warning sign.  I would also tune into his parents and their takes on life. Because these weight comments will be directed at your children eventually.

      • avatar Laurtew says:

        I’ve found the BMI to be completely wrong. I’m 4’11 and the BMI says that a healthy weight for me is 63 pounds!
        That’s insane. If I weighed that I’d be hospitalized. The height/weight charts say 113 is a good weight and that is a lot more realistic.
        Those charts say she should weigh 145 to 150, so she is not dramatically overweight.
        Anyway, I’ve just learned that BMI is not all that reliable.

      • avatar Karleen S says:

        The Body Mass Index is a gage, not a rule.  Any doctor would tell you that.  There are many other factors that a person doing the assessment would consider, such as frame size, bone density, muscle mass, etc.  BMI is one of those tools that is commonly misused in the wrong hands.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      stargazer, BMI cannot simply be calculated from height and weight. It is necessary to have one’s skeletal frame assessed, and one’s muscle mass and density, and one’s bone density, as well as one’s age. Nor can it be calculated from alleged BMI measuring scales.
      I have had my actual, ideal weight assessed by medical professionals specializing in BMI and weight loss (including my cardiologist, who is head of the cardiology department at two of Houston’s major medical centers), and at 5’2″ inches, my “perfect weight” is 142 pounds. At that weight, I am largely muscle and bone (unless I amputate my breasts and buttocks). You can’t go by the weight charts of the fashion mavens, or size charts. Everyone is different. My younger sister, who is one inch taller then me, has an ideal weight of 119 pounds…but she carries no muscle at all, and wears a size 0 in tops. At my thinnest, I can’t wear less than an 8-10, because of my shoulders…but I once had a 22 inch waist (the same size as hers). So it goes.

    • avatar Kathy says:

      Oh, come on.  24.9 BMI is considered healthy.  So, 25 BMI isn’t exactly gobby fat.  It’s borderline and – really – immaterial.  This kind of judgment statement helps make us all paranoid about how we look.

    • avatar raven1462 says:

      Ok, I am a physician, and while you are correct that a BMI or 25 is technically overweight, a BMI of 24.9 is not.  So while I would certainly encourage someone in the 25-29 range to keep an eye on their eating habits and physical activity, I wouldn’t make any judgements about a specific person, especially if they are at 25 (which I can guarantee is better than about 50% of the population out there).

    • avatar RL says:

      So what?  Frankly, I don’t think every thin person I see every day is attractive.  I see a lot of thin women that could benefit from a breast enhancement and been with more men than not who could use a penis enhancement.
      And in terms of the government’s BMI — remarkably, for about a thousand reason I don’t trust everything the federal government puts out.
      The truth is women can’t women with women or men b/c I think many women are insecure about their bodies no matter how thin or big they may be.
      Those who are hostile to overweight or obese people can get a life, but they probably won’t because they are so insecure.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        I believe that the phrase you are searching for is: “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help…”

    • avatar Morgan H says:

      It’s irrelevant to the issue. Even if her BMI was 50, it’s not her boyfriend’s brother’s business to “warn” her boyfriend about her weight; clearly he is aware of her body size and is perfectly fine with it. They are all adults capable of making adult decisions for themselves.

  2. avatar RL says:

    I don’t know what it is with men these days because all of them think model skinny is attractive.  Maybe that’s been the case for decades now, but I have a 0 tolerance policy on this issue.  What kills me is that not nearly as many men take as great care of themselves as women do.  If it was me, I’d dump him.  Two years is 24 months, so what.  Steaming, this is just the beginning b/c typically the fruit don’t fall too far from the tree if you know what I mean.  Consider this a signal.  If your boyfriend needed to “warn” your brother, maybe he doesn’t think that much of you to begin with.  Maybe he’s just using you until “something better” comes along.

    • avatar elaine s says:

      I agree with RL.  Dump this guy.  I think men who are obsessed with our weight, especially when a woman, like the letter writer, is not overweight, are using it as a pretext to lord it over us and express hostility.  It really isn’t about weight.  It’s just that our society talks about nothing but weight these days, so it’s become a  handy tool to use against us for any number of reasons.  I am willing to bet the guy is no Jon Hamm.  I think mean remarks about a partner’s body are about the lowest a person can go.  Men know how sensitive we are about weight, and this guy may be using what his brother supposedly said just to gig her.  Dump him and tell him you are lookikng for somebody better looking, better in bed, and richer.  Let him see how that feels.  He can then take his own “inner beauty”, which is what loving somebody is supposed to be about, and jump off a short pier along with his brother. 

  3. avatar Lindsey M says:

    LW #2 — Why do you know about all these conversations between your bf and brother?  That’s the part I find really strange.  If you’re not eavesdropping or snooping through email (and I hope that’s not the case), how are you finding out about them?  Is your bf bringing them up and telling you these details?  If so, that would really make me worry.  I’m not saying that this is the case, but I learned the hard way that can be how some emotionally cowardly people can convey information indirectly.  Like he has some issue with your weight (or potentially blowing up to 225lbs), but instead of discussing that with you directly, he couches it in terms of what his brother said.
    I had an ex that did this with difficult subjects and it took me a while to realize how emotionally manipulative it is.  It allows the person to tell you the information, but not allow you to confront them about those ideas and deflects your anger at the other person (in your case, your bf’s jerky brother) — an emotional handcuffs of sort.
    If I were you, I’d seriously have a big talk about this with your bf and see what his issues are.  Given his brother’s comments and even his own about blowing up to 225 lbs and not being model skinny, I wonder how secure he is in himself — or how much he worries about his gf’s weight as some sort of reflection on him (i.e. the guy that dates the arm candy because she’s some sort of status symbol like a fancy new car).  I may be way off here, but if any of it rings true, consider it.

    • avatar Lady Jane13 says:

      I don’t think you’re off at all, I think you nailed it.  This is exactly what I was thinking.  It has happened to me too.

  4. avatar Nancy Pea says:

    LW#1: on this i have to agree with Margo. she is so very right. being an animal lover myself, i couldn’t imagine not having some kind of creature in my house (except when the landlord didn’t allow it, but when they said as many as you like, hehe). they bring joy and will stick with you longer than the bf!
    my suggestion tell him, it’s him or the animals! unless it’s his place then take your animals and go! find a new love and you and the critters will be super happy!!!

    • avatar elaine s says:

      I agree with Nancy Pea.  Get rid of this guy.  Anyone without empathy for helpless animals is not a good person.  He might be the same way with future children.  He is already telling you he is fed up with you and the animals.  Run, don’t walk, away from this situation.  You sound like a wonderful person and you can do so much better.  God bless you for the work you do and please don’t change jobs for this loser.  He wants out…so open the dog door and let him go.  It is his loss.

      • avatar STACY SEARS says:

        There is a difference between not being an animal person and not having empathy for animals.  I’m not “an animal person” but that didn’t stop my heart from breaking when our 17 yr old lab had to be laid to rest.  It was horrible to see him struggle at the end.  That being said, I do not want a bunch of animals in my house or to talk about them constantly.  I prefer to utilize my resources (time and money) primarily on my children and sweetie.  I do agree that if the LW’s fella is showing signs of animal fatigue, it isn’t a good fit.  She should not change jobs, this would only hurt her.  It is time to end the relationship.  To suggest that just because he isn’t an animal person that he will not be a good parent it completely ridiculous. 

        • avatar Lepidopter Phoenyx says:

          Any man who could not deal with my animals would not be a candidate for a permanent relationship with me.
          My husband shares my love for animals, and he and I have rescued numerous strays – the current quadruped count at our house is three dogs and five cats, all of whom were thrown away by someone else.
          They sleep on the couch, in our bed, on top of the piano, and in the windowsills.
          We wouldn’t have it any other way, and neither of us would be able to live with anyone who couldn’t deal with it.

          Only once has anyone come into my house and complained about the number of animals underfoot. They were told, “They live here. You don’t.”

    • avatar Deni says:

      I agree with Nancy, Margo, and all animal lovers out there.  Recently I spent close to 3,000 to save my two dogs, both had cancer and we caught it in time.  Because I recognized the signs (from my own history with the disease) I got them straight in and they were treated immediately by the greatest Vet in the world in my eyes (Dr. Curtain) both Mac and Sassie have years of living yet to do.  Everyone outside my family thought I was nuts to spend my money on my pets that way, all I could say to them, “it’s obvious you’ve never had a pet you loved like a child or since the time they were born, or you’d understand”, and they told me I should be committed.  I just wished them well and told them to stay out of my finances and gave them the hand and walked away (also found out they don’t use the hand gesture any longer, I felt old, lol)

      Their love and support is unconditional where a man’s comes with strings and pressures, and what if’s.  Our pets are happy to see us when we get home for more then getting out to do their thing, but they really missed us, and they want to spend time with us.  Our pets give us so much more then we give them, their unconditional love doesn’t depend on dinner being on the table by 6, laundry being done, meeting his buddies, listening to a stupid football game you have no interest in, and the list goes on, where your pet wants his belly scratched, or his head rubbed and when you do that for him/her it also calms you down, and relieves the stressors in your day, this is a proven medical fact.  Ask Dr. Oz, or Dr. Phil.
      I never would have gotten through my last two cancers without my 2 dogs and cat, they kept me calm, warm and I felt loved and needed.  They gave me a reason to get off the couch, they needed to be fed, and walked and I needed someone to comfort me and they were right there all the time, all I had to do was reach out a hand and one of them was right there and I felt so much better.
      Keep the pets and lose the guy, there’s a guy who will love your pets the way you do and care for them the way you do, trust me, I know this to be fact  God Bless, Deni

  5. avatar Nancy Pea says:

    Dear Margo, you missed just one thing about LW#2, she said “john” her committed relationship partner said he couldn’t deal with her getting fat after having a couple kids. so i think there is also that point.
    if it was just the idiot brother, i probably would just say ignore him. we all have in laws we could do without. but, john himself admitted  that he would have trouble with her gaining weight. i think that he probably was the one that brought up model thin because he himself has a problem with it. the brother probably said, “just blame it on me and then she will probably try to keep her weight down!” but of course that hasn’t happened so he keeps having to bring it up and blame it on his brother (actually since she never confronts him with it, who knows if the brother even said it). i would be very leery of this guy and would find someone that is completely comfortable with your size, weight, whatever.
    anybody i was ever with had to be satisfied with me for what i was, what i might become or not. if they had a problem with it, they knew where the door was. after all, i took them how they were (and believe me, sometimes that was a stretch for me too, but you cannot help who you fall for). so either you tell him that if he keeps talking to his brother about your weight and obsessing over it himself, which is totally none of his brothers business, or you will find somebody who loves you for you!

    • avatar Paula Pow says:

      Am I the only one who thinks it would be “poetic justice” if, say, 15 years from now, “JOHN” is the one carrying around 50 extra pounds or so, while the young lady he’s now dating is still in decent shape? 

      I bring this up, because, having attended a few class reunions in recent years (going on 29 years out of high school now), I noticed that FAR more of the MEN I graduated with are significantly overweight than the women!

      Wonder why so many men want “model skinny” wives/girlfriends, when THEY aren’t in the best shape themselves????

      • avatar RL says:

        I’m with you on the poetic justice!  I think our society doesn’t mind overweight or obese men nearly as much as women.  The only way it will change is that is when women demand more from their men.

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          If you attend to the media, you will notice a trend in film and television toward slightly overweight all the way to truly obese men partnered with slim to emaciated women…but vanishingly rarely the reverse.
          In the real world, I have often heard (unattached) men speak firmly on the subject of the appearance of potential future partners: comments such as “height/weight proportionate”, which is not according to the BMI indicator, but even worse, the ratio suggestions found in the fashion magazines, “petite”, which means skinny, and various other requirements. And society still condones a certain prosperous thickness in a man, while, if a woman should gain even a few pounds, even in her breasts (as only artificial enhancement is acceptable), she is deemed to have “let herself go”, even if she is fit, toned, dressed beautifully and full of joy and curiosity.

          • avatar A R says:

            I think petite means “short”.

          • avatar Legal Eagle says:

            Petite does mean short, but I’ve also heard it used as a more general descriptor of a woman who is thin. The latter is not technically correct, I’m just pointing out that I’ve heard it used that way.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            A R, in the French language, “petite” means small. In fashion, it generally means sizes for women who are 5’2″ or less in height.
            When men who are obsessive about a potential female partner’s size use “petite”, they generally are using it to mean “thin” or even “skinny”. Height does not have anything to do with it, particularly since they frequently add such requirements as “legs up to her armpits” and “DD cups” to their description of the ideal woman (as you’ve probably noticed the “height/weight proportionate argument really isn’t accurate, as few emaciated women have natural DD breasts. O, wait, natural DD breasts might shift, sag ever so slightly, and move. Only the artificial sort are acceptable. Sorry, sorry…). It was this letter, charmingly colloquial usage I was referring to in my comment.

          • avatar A R says:

            Briana, you’ve made quite a jump to assume what men are thinking when they use the word “petite”. I wonder where you get your research?
            Better to go with the standard meaning of petite in fashion, which implies a height value than to assume what men across the country might mean. After all, we hate it when men erroneously assume they know what we are thinking—say for example that criticizing another women automatically means we are “jealous”. That door of courtesy goes both ways.

          • avatar Briana Baran says:

            A R, I was going by experience with any number of men (and by that I mean men from diverse backgrounds, from different regions of the USA, and of different ethnicities) who have used, or currently do use the word “petite” to mean thin. I am in no way assuming what men are thinking, but I spent many years working in an industry in which 95% of the customers are male, 95% of those are intelligent, creative and interesting, and I would hazard an estimate that 95% of the time the use of the word “petite” by these mostly very literate, and even well-educated males was meant to indicate thin, slender, wispy, tiny (not just short, tall and extraordinarily thin would do) or, in some cases, the classic heroin-addict-Auschwitz look. Nor do I feel that all such men are evil, or bad, or have negative attitudes toward women. But some are entirely obsessed with the superficial, and extreme thinness is part of that obsession, and the word “petite” in its colloquial (or common, or slang, or whatever suits you) usage is one of their typical descriptors.
            Perhaps you are in the fashion industry, which would account for knowing a large group of men who are familiar with the definition of “petite” being a woman of short stature (below 5’2″…and also in a limited size range…larger proportioned women in this height range were once referred to as “half-sized”). Very few men that I have known, and I’ve known a lot of them, understand the fashion term…they usually think it means a small size, such as 0-1, or 2-4, but that super-models, like Giselle Bundchen, or Alessandra Ambrosio are “petite”. In other words, “petite clothing” is clothing for very thin women, but short doesn’t have a thing to do with it.
            In any case, how nice to meet another accusing, nasty woman on this thread. Why does the mere mention of weight or size bring out the worst in some? If you were familiar with my comments, you would fully understand the ludicrousness of in any way accusing me of misandry (that’s man-bashing, dear).  I’m usually the one being darkly accused of misogyny for simply defending a male (usually one exhibiting genuinely decent qualities) against a hoard of misandrist, hate-filled, projecting females. If you go back and read my clarifying post, I did not generalize regarding all men, I referenced only a certain type of male. There are women who will only date (or insist that they will only date) men with certain physical characteristics. Some people are very shallow. Such as those who have a need to correct (shame when the person they are correcting knows precisely what she’s saying), then become angry and resort to accusations of discourtesy (none was meant or given), generalizations (none were made), and insistence on her own version of reality being the only reality.

          • avatar Lym BO says:

            The mere mention of weight is a dagger because whether thin or heavy it is focused on too much. I’ve been plagued with far more comments for being very thin most of my life than I would guess most heavy gals have because of being PC. Somehow it is more acceptable for folks to negatively comment on someone’s weight when they are thinner than “normal”.  What is it I once read? Something like only 5% of women are happy with their breast size. I would say the same is for weight/body habitus.
            btw, petite to me means small & thin.
            Funny story. When I met my unusually thin husband of an ethnic background which tends to be plump. I asked him to describe his mother. He told me she was short & just right (which to me was a kind way of saying heavy).  When I met her I was surprised she was thin, short & gorgeous.

  6. avatar Kate Olsen says:

    LOL – I just had a friend who was going to set me up with a blind date with a friend of her and her boyfriend.  I emailed her a photo to show the blind date with her telling me she would get me one in return.  She was honest with me that he was disabled with a back problem which made no difference to me as I never judge people  I am 47 and he is 54.  He was more than willing to meet me based on what my friend told him about my personality and life, stating she sounds great.  Once he saw the photo, he told my friend, she is pretty but I only want a thin woman.  My friend was honest with me as she and I never lie to each other.   However, she thought I would be upset with her.  Why I asked her – it is his loss, not mine.  He will never know this powerful, sensual, independent, awesome woman that I am.  Mind you I am not huge, I just have a few extra pounds, not obese and do not waddle when I walk.  I am never at a loss for men asking me out and I date regularly.  My point is that there are some men who are obsessed with the skinny model type portrayed in the media.  Most grow up and get over it and realize that norma women are not built like that and they appreciate what they have.  Others like the writer’s brother in law and my friend’s friend – will grow old alone – pining for something that is likely unattainable and they do not even know what they are missing.  Just always be true to your self. 

  7. avatar CatA says:

    Sorry Margo, I disagree with your advice to LW2 to give her guy a pass on the “initial alert” to the brother.  The man clearly cares more about what his brother thinks than he cares for the writer.  “Steaming,” please do not waste your life with someone who “told his brother not to expect [me] to be ‘model skinny.’”  Realize that if your man loved you and had absolutely no issues with your body size, now or in the future, he would have (a) POSITIVELY described your physique (zaftig, stacked, curvaceous, and so on), or (b) would have dispensed with a physical description of you altogether and chopped the shallow brother down to size if he dared make any disparaging comments about you.  The fact that he continues to talk to the idiot brother about your physique, and has shared with you that he would not be happy if you “blew up to 225 pounds” tells me that your man is just as shallow as his brother.  Please Dump Shallow Hal and his Jackass brother and find yourself a real man (… although it may take a while). 

    • avatar stargazer says:

      There may be a less sinister explanation for the “initial alert.”  If his girlfriend had been a different race, and he knew his brother was a bigot, he might tell his brother ahead of time.  This would not mean the man was ashamed of his girlfriend or her race or his choice, etc.  Bigots can be rude when they are surprised, and maybe boyfriend was trying to keep the introduction constructive.

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        YEs, but by the same token, his mention of race/accent/etc. would be something to the effect that it’s an alert sp no one is surprised.  That he is crazy about his gal & bro’s opinion is not to be heard or cared about. This guy has issues with his girl’s size or he would shut the brother down.

  8. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #2: To heck with that Skinny Nazi (his brother). Your boyfriend needs to stop listening to/being influenced by that dolt. What is his brother, a perfect specimen of humanity? A Mr. Olympus? I can tell you in no uncertain terms that if you’re going to be constantly hounded, harrassed and harangued about your weight (and potential increase), you’d best lay down the law with boyfriend or walk away — unless you want to become anxious and paranoid for the rest of your life about every little thing you put into your mouth (a miserable way to “live”). If the situation and influence continues, it will certainly only WORSEN after marriage. People who are super-weight conscious are NUTS; if they went on and on and obssessed about anything else, they’d be called on their nuttiness. And many, imo, use it as a conduit for their own anger or self-esteem issues – like a club. They’re not perfect so YOU’D better be. I think it’s atrocious your b/friend and his brother(s) are discussing your body and weight, as if you’re a brood mare and they’re checking your teeth… Frankly I doubt the situation will change. If it doesn’t, walk away. Mental and emotional health/fitness is just as important as the physical…

  9. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: I have mixed thoughts on this. My sister, who is a trained vet’s assistant, member of animal rights groups, etc., chased off a potentially good boyfriend by quizzing him as to just how he ropes calves on his ranch. The man is humane about the process; but she turned him off with a mini-inquisition which struck even me as a bit weird. Is it possible the letter writer is over-doing it? I love animals too, but you cannot rescue them all (I couldn’t afford a recent pet adoption fee). Maybe her boyfriend is justified; perhaps it’d be the same reaction if she were constantly adding to another type of “collection”? If it’s gotten to be an all-consuming passion wherein she’s crying and upset a lot about conditions at work, well then — good intentions are wonderful, but there’s a healthy balance in anything. It seems her passion may be taking over (and potentially ruining) other avenues of life. If boyfriend is feeling constantly drowned out, crowded out, overwhelmed; if this is overtaking his life, he’s got a right to complain. Which comes first: Him or a duck? It sounds as though he’s been compassionate and cooperative, understanding. It also sounds as though she’s pushing the envelope and the overall good intentions have gotten out of hand.

    • avatar amw says:

      Those were my exact thoughts too.

      • avatar sandlily says:

        Me too. Although I sympathize with the LW’s distress, I found myself wondering just exactly how much drama she is bringing into her relationship. I’ve worked in an animal shelter so I know show distressing it can be sometimes, but there is only so much a person can do. If the LW didn’t have someone at home to set limits, exactly how many animals would she have in her home? Probably too many.

    • avatar Tom McKenna says:

      I also wonder if there is not a problem or a developing problem with animal hoarding going on here.

  10. avatar spchick says:

    Being 5′ 6″ tall and weighing 155 makes one have a BMI of 25.1 and that equates to being overweight.

    • avatar sandlily says:

      That is the case for most people. But not always. I am 5’6″, a size 6 and I weigh 125lbs. I have a friend, also 5’6″ and a size 6 – we wear each other’s clothes – and she weighs 145lbs. If she gained 10 lbs she would still be slender.

  11. avatar Jim Martin says:

    As usual, Margo got it exactly right both times. I read every Dear Margo and Dear Abby column, and what strikes me every time is how vastly different the two are. One seems to have been written by a robot, and it’s not this one. This is good advice from a real human being, a wise and compassionate human being, with more common sense than a body has a right to and an amazing ability to share it. This column has value far beyond entertainment. We have a treasure here.

    • avatar Margo Howard says:

      Jim Martin – my, you are discerning! (I am laughing.) Many thanks. But then, I am two years older than she …

  12. avatar Sweet Dream says:

    To both letter writers, leave the guy already.

  13. avatar teej0895 says:

    For stargazer and spchick:
    According to a quick height/weight BMI calculator, LW2’s BMI is 25, which is the lowest threshold for overweight.  However, that’s not an exact science but an estimate based on averages.  If LW2 had her BMI professionally calculated, she may very well be in the normal weight category. So, let’s not be too quick to judge and deem her as overweight from that little bit of information.
    I have a brother who is in an ROTC program in college.  Every quarter they send him to get his BMI professionally calculated because according to this height/weight scale he is overweight.  However, he is short and very muscular and his BMI is usually 10 or lower when measured.
    Regardless, no matter what size she may be, it still sends off warning bells in my mind that John has clearly stated to his brother that HE would have a problem if she gained weight after having children.  What a shallow d-bag!

    • avatar krista griffin says:

      Thank you, Teej. It always irritates me when someone points out a BMI based on a letter. There is not nearly enough information. My husband would be weighed for football and based on his height/weight ratio would be considered obese. The man had 8% body fat!!! It’s not an exact science. It’s different for each individual.

    • avatar RL says:

      Thank you second!

  14. avatar savena says:

    I wanted to echo some of the comments expressed by other readers.  Unless you are super ripped (I have rugby friends that are your height/weight and are not overweight), you ARE overweight.  Also, if your BF is telling you about these conversations he is having with his brother, he wants you to know (indirectly) that while he may love you as you are now, he is concerned that you may gain weight in the future.  He is using his brother’s superficiality as a tool to express to you his fears.  This is so obvious to me that I had to register for a Wow account to post this to you, but i see most of the other women easily also picked up what is going on here.  Also, if you confront your BF with, “are you concerned with my weight”, he will likely deny it because he was so indirect and careful about your feelings to begin with.
    Also I take issue with you taking issue with your BF describing you as “not model skinny”.  Considering that you are likely fat (BMI of 25, unless you have low body fat/high muscle), this is a very flattering way of describing your less than flattering reality.  And there is a difference between model skinny, normal weight, and overweight and the way that he described you kindly suggested that you were in the normal weight category, which you are not.

    • avatar RL says:

      Wow Savena, you totally need to read the comments just above yours – the BMI is not the “end all be all” for ascertaining one’s health and fitness.
      Secondly, you say “less than flattering reality.”  Your comment is so ignorant because you have absolutely no idea what this woman looks like.  There’s all kinds of attributes that go into one’s level of attractiveness — I’m not talking about “what on the inside” either.  Interesting how some people will always think thin = beautiful.  But here’s the good word — it doesn’t.

  15. avatar Brooke Schubert says:

    LW#1-Please do not give up your job for this insensitive guy-there are too many animals who need love from people like you.  As Margo said, this is simply not the guy for you.  I found that one out the hard way myself with a former boyfriend who demanded I get rid of my cat.  I got rid of the boyfriend instead.

    LW#2-I’m not trying to be mean or snarky, but while you are certainly not obese, you ARE overweight if you are 5’6″ and 155 lbs.  Someone your height should be between 125-140 or so, the higher end if you have a large frame and/or low body fat and a lot of muscle.  Unfortunately, most people in the US don’t have a good idea of what a healthy weight really should be.

    That said, being a few pounds too heavy doesn’t mean your boyfriend’s brother isn’t a jerk.  It sounds like the boyfriend is defending you and was just trying to keep his brother from saying something offensive to your face, so I’d just tell him to stop talking to his brother about your weight since it’s none of his concern, and just be coldly polite to the brother.

  16. avatar nycgirl2 says:

    LW2 here.

    First, for those that are expressing that my weight does classify me as overweight using a standard BMI calculator. I do appreciate your concern. Think I’m overweight if you want to, but I have had numerous conversations, with various doctors, personal trainers, etc. and have been told that a traditional BMI calculator will not correctly classify someone with my body type as normal weight or overweight, obese etc. I’m a muscular girl. Don’t get me wrong – I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I think you are all missing the bigger picture. The problem is who describes people they love like that?

    Lindsey – I found out because my boyfriend told me. He and his brother had a big falling out in relation to this discussion and I didn’t understand why. I was encouraging him to make things right with his brother, and he was hesitant. Finally, he told me about these conversations and informed me they were the reason that he was upset with his brother.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      Glad to hear he was defending you. Did we also get the part wrong where he said he would not be okay with you blowing up to 225?
      I see what you mean about being muscular.  Should’ve included your body fat percentage in the discussion & then your BMI would be moot.

  17. avatar Advice Lover says:

    Boy people sure like to call other people fat on the internet.   We must have a bunch of skinny models reading this column.
    To nycgirl, those boys sound pretty shallow.  Your boyfriend knew what you look like when he got involved with you and he shouldn’t have felt the need to “warn” his brother.  The warning set up the subsequent conversations. If his brother had had the nerve to say anything rude about your weight in front of you, THAT would’ve been the time to defend your honor.

  18. avatar Katie themick says:

    LW1, I think maybe you’re in the wrong line of work. If you’re regularly coming home and crying about it, I’d get fed up with you, too. “Saving” a bunch of animals because they’d otherwise be euthanized isn’t the answer to the problem of pet overpopulation, and while I love animals myself, I can understand how your boyfriend would be frustrated that it seems to be taking over your lives.  If you’ve already got a bunch of small pets, I understand why he doesn’t want any more — by continuing to talk about it all the time and pressure him to get even more, you push the boundaries of his patience — if he is not an animal person but it kind to the pets you have but resistant to welcome any more home, the answer is not to keep talking about more animals you want to “save.”  I think Margo may be right that he isn’t the guy for you, but I would take a look at the way you’re acting about these animals — crying about this or that animal you’re desperate to bring home and save all the time seems pretty manipulative to me. You’re basically forcing him to give them a death sentence if he says no, and that isn’t fair when he’s at his limit with pets.
    And seriously, the crying, get some help. You shouldn’t be working at a job like this if you are getting this stressed about it.  Animal lovers who get emotionally attached to every little hamster are not made for shelter work, IMHO.

    • avatar elaine s says:

      Katie themick:  That was unnecessarily harsh.  If your heart is so cold that working with animals, many of whom must be put to sleep because they aren’t adopted in time, wouldn’t make you cry sometimes and make you bring home those you could….then your world must be a very dark place. 

      • avatar sandlily says:

        When your work involves life and death – of animals, of people – you have to develop a certain distance. You have to, otherwise the constant emotional battering would destroy you.
        I actually agree with Katie. I got a few hints from her letter suggesting that the LW might need to take a good look at her own behavior. Just how much drama is she bringing home with her? It might be that the boyfriend is not right for her, but the situation could also possibly be one that no sane person wants to deal with on a day to day basis.
        Since I don’t know the people involved it is all speculation. But my suggestion to the LW is to take a good look at what she is expecting from her BF. Is it something that a person can reasonably as of another? Or is it too much? Is she brave enough to ask her friends and family for their honest opinion? I think she should.

        • avatar Lym BO says:

          I agree. She would be better served working with a vet (whose pets have owners)  or in a pet store. THe shelter is not the place for her.

  19. avatar A D says:

    LW2 is at the bare minimum for overweight: How many people on here who are criticizing her are AT LEAST that much overweight?  Yeah, I thought so.  Also, what is said boyfriend’s BMI?  His brother’s?  I bet they would be fine bashing her weight while they get fatter and fatter.  She needs to dump him and find somebody who either has the backbone to stand up to his moronic relatives, or doesn’t use their opinions as covers for his own.
    LW1: I used to work for a veterinarian and, unless you’ve worked with sick, injured, and neglected animals, you have no idea how emotionally draining it can be.  My bosses loved me because I could always stay cool even when we got horrifically debilitated, mangled, or abused cases, but it finally got to me.  No, she can’t save them all, and that makes it that much worse.  You want to strangle the people who let them get that way.  (And these were people who actually brought pets to us–this wasn’t “Animal Cops”!)
    Most animal lovers are not PETA-esque “animal rights Nazis” like the girl in Cindy Marek’s comment above.  I’m not, and assuming that LW1 is just because she loves animals is terribly unfair.

  20. avatar Lesley Morgan says:

    LW 1 – Check out the song “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad” by Christine Kane (available on YouTube).  Good luck dealing with your own “Bob!”

  21. avatar Beth Lawson says:

    LW1 –  No interest in animals to the level he can no longer even listen about your concerns of the day?  Look for a new boyfriend.

    LW2 – First, I think Lindsey M. may well be onto something.  I think it odd that your weight would be of such interest to warrant several discussions between brothers.  Another thing to think about is this: While you may not blow up to 225, a lot of women do gain a substantial amount of weight during pregnancy, even the ones who do everything perfectly and try not to. Some women lose the weight easily after the birth, and some continue to struggle. This can be short term or long term.  I would not saddle myself with someone who weight is so important to.  If he is that shallow, I guarantee you there are other areas where his narrow mind would come into play.

  22. avatar hlh says:

    BMI is NOT an accurate calculation to determine whether a person is overweight!

    I work out 2 hours a day/6 days a week and maintain a well balanced diet.  I have done this for years.  When I tell people what I weigh, no one can ever believe it because I am very slim.  I wear a size 8. However, at 5’7 and 160lbs, according to BMI I am “overweight”. 

    I agonized about this for a long time because I have always battled with my weight and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t break into the “normal” range as dictated by the BMI.  I even spoke to my Dr. about it.  That’s when she told me she thinks the BMI scale is worthless. The calculation for BMI does not consider muscle weight at all.  She had me do a body fat analysis test and it was determined that my body fat was 24% which is on the low end of the “Healthy Range”. 

    There’s a website that exposes the inadequacies of this scale.  According to BMI, George Clooney, Harrison Ford and Will Smith are “overweight” while Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson are “Obese”. 

    The point I’m trying to get across is that you cannot accurately determine whether or not someone is overweight soley based on BMI.  Sure, in extreme cases (i.e., 5’/300 lbs) I’m sure you can determine that a person is overweight but in this case, based on her info, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions.

    • avatar Lourdes Villarreal says:

      You are very right, hlh. I have also read that the BMI scale was actually ‘invented’ more than 100 years ago, and that it doesn’t really have a solid scientific base and/or experimental background. Also, cause and effect regarding weight/health is so much more complicated… how so many health professionals dare to dictate health standards using such a scale is beyond me. And it never ceases to amaze me how many people are so quick to point an accusing finger at a LW based solely on her height and weight. Because she might be overweight!
      In my opinion, the boyfriend’s and his brother’s shallowness is not the main problem. It’s the fact that what they are doing is hurtful, insulting and disrespectful, regardless of her weight. I wonder if those two guys are in fact “model handsome”.

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        Before you bash healthcare professionals, do not forget that these folks are using the BMI typically as a descriptor & have visually assessed the person and have already determined where they fall in to the weight criterion. Normally the BMI is mentioned only in particularly thin or obese patients as a qualifier for whomever is reading the report. If the person is muscular it is usually mentioned as well.

    • avatar wendykh says:

      A lot of women lie about their weight and have for generations. I was 135-140 and wearing a baggy size 4 jeans. Not vanity sizes either. People always guessed my weight around 115 because that’s what they were used to women that size saying they weighed. I don’t know a woman alive who admits in public to being over 150 unless they are over 5’9″. And even then they’ll deny it more often than not.

  23. avatar Sianne S says:

    Strange letters.  One line that struck me from LW#1 is that she brings home small animals that would have otherwise been euthanized.  Exactly how many has she brought home?  I’m an animal lover myself but if she’s brought home enough fuzzies that the house is beginning to smell like a zoo, then I can more than sympathize with the boyfriend.  There’s a fine line between having animals and hoarding them.  4 cats is fine, 14 cats is a problem.  If you haven’t got the house space for all those animals, you shouldn’t have them.  Maybe he’s concerned she’ll turn into one of those people on Animal Planet : Intervention.
    On the other hand, she’s an animal lover.  If he’s not, then that, to me, is a deal-breaker.  There’s a certain mind set that animal lovers have and if you don’t get it, you’re not in our clan.  She needs someone she can vent to, and he obviously isn’t cutting it.  Find a compatible life mate before he’s asking you to choose between him or the fuzzies.  That he’s telling her he’s beginning not to care is a huge warning sign.  He’s already stopped caring.
    LW2 Good lord, how are you finding out about these conversations?  If he told you, he obviously wanted you to know.  I don’t think him telling his brother to not expect you to be ‘model skinny’ is any of your business.  I wouldn’t be offended by it.  Girls are meant to have curves.  If you’re taking umbrage at it, you are a bit more touchy about your figure than you should be, either because you KNOW you are overweight, or you’re trying to lose weight and it isn’t going well.  They’re brothers, they’re going to discuss you.  With or without your consent.  Does that make it right?  Eh.  If the subject of your weight has become a nightly topic of conversation, then yes, there’s a definite problem.  I think, if you’ve gotten so bent out of shape because of it, it’s already broken your relationship.  A serious conversation is in order.  I sympathize with you both.

    • avatar nycgirl2 says:

      Thanks for the advice Sianne. Unfortunately, it’s all a strange situation in how I found out. Bottom line, John told me. But he told me because he brother threatened to tell me if John didn’t tell me first. Strange story, I know. I’m living it and I think its strange….

      I don’t think I’m extra touchy about my weight. I’ve read quite a few comments this morning telling me I am overweight. However, since I am confident that is not the case, I’m not letting it fluster me.

      I wrote this letter because I was at an absolute loss. I didn’t even know what to think after John told me this. I was beyond hurt. Not because I thought it was true, but because I thought – hey you have this amazing woman by your side and that’s how you decided to describe her.

      This happened months ago, and I’m feeling better now. We’ve talked about it ad naseum, and now it doesn’t even come up. But I do appreciate Margo’s feedback, as I appreciate all the comments (even the negative ones).

      • avatar D C says:

        NYCgirl2 – shortly after I met my husband, I sent him a photo that he put up in his room.  His roommate said something like, “THAT’s what you’re all excited about?”  I was really hurt.  30 years later (married 29), I gotta wonder if that roommate EVER found his ideal.  Probably not.  After 3 kids, serious metal in my legs after a car accident, and 2 back surgeries, I did “blow up” quite a bit, but my husband never let a day go by that he didn’t tell me I was beautiful and sexy.  Thanks to the wonder of modern bariatric surgery, I have lost almost 80 pounds in the last year and now fit into my wedding dress rather nicely.  My kids said I looked better than in my wedding pictures.  When we go dancing I wear short skirts and the men do look — if I was younger I’d wear them to work, but that wouldn’t be appropriate at my age. 
        I think you can do better than “john”.  Find a man who wants a WOMAN, and not the fantasy photograph he satisfied himself to when he was a teenager.  And if it was me, I’d give him his magazine and a jar of petroleum jelly on the way out the door and tell him to have a good time.  But that’s me… I’m kind of spiteful. 

        • avatar nycgirl2 says:

          D C – Thanks for sharing your story. Your husband sounds like a wonderful person and I am glad you have him!

      • avatar Sianne S says:

        How weird!  In any case I’m glad the two of you worked it out.  And I apologize if I sounded negative.  If someone described me as fat (which would probably be true, I have extra poundage) I’d go on the defensive with the “I am not!!” even if it wasn’t.  Interesting character his brother is.  I hope you straightened him out. >.<

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Sianne S, we have 12 cats. We are not animal hoarders. We regularly turn down offers of free cats and kittens, because we are functioning at a very comfortable capacity to care for those we have. All of our cats are spayed or neutered. We work on the principle of one more litter box than the number of cats living in the home, but go three steps further, and have fifteen, which are cleaned twice daily, and changed regularly. Our cats are fed a consistent diet of quality cat food (no human food), receive excellent veterinary care, brushing, love and attention. They are not allowed to go outside to wander the streets, foul neighbors yards and gardens, or be killed or maimed by dogs and traffic. Our house is very clean, tidy (even strangers remark that they can’t believe that any cats live there, as there is not odor) and well-cared-for. If someone visits who is allergic to, or dislikes cats, we put the friendly individuals comfortably in the bedrooms (with water and litter boxes) and the others make themselves scarce. I even request non-allergic service people when we need work done in the house…for their comfort, and make sure that all hair is cleaned up in the area in which the person will be working.
      LW1 needs to find another boyfriend. I was married to two non-animal people. It was not very pleasant. Frankly, I don’t understand people who actively dislike animals…as we humans are nothing but critters with bigger brains. Pity some of us don’t use them to full capacity…

      • avatar bright eyes says:

        I have 6 cats and 1 dog. I have to agree that anyone I date must like animals. I started out with one cat and I have found all of the others as strays. 
        When I only had 2 cars, I dated a guy who liked cats (he had 3) but couldn’t stand my cat. He would get upset that the cat would come sit on me when I sit on the couch. But when at his house, it was fine for his cats to do the same. We’re not together for other reasons. But I could never date someone who doesn’t like animals. I love animals and have rescued the strays because we do not have a no kill shelter around here. (they’re working on it.) And they fit right into my family – but I have told everyone that we are full up – I can not take any more pets.
        But I do wonder why this is now becoming an issue? Did she bring home the 12th kitten? Or 13th dog? And it says she brings them home, but does she give them 24 hour care and then bring them back so they can get adopted out? He could feel she’s neglecting him in order to take care of the animals…

      • avatar Sianne S says:

        If you have the space for them, by all means, have them.  I was friends with a family who had nine cats and four dogs, and like you do, they put the litter boxes in different areas, took care of the feeding and brushing, and you couldn’t tell there were cats there at all, let alone the dogs.  I also happened to know someone with five cats in a studio apartment, and it wasn’t pretty.  It is about balance, and I’m hoping the letter writer knows what she’s getting into.  If she’s getting terribly attached to hampsters now, it could lead to bigger problems.

  24. avatar Ginger_in_Mpls says:

    While it does sound like LW2 and this man have problems to work out, there’s a larger (pardon the pun) issue at play here that I think warrants discussion.

    Why is someone who expects a spouse to take care of themselves – i.e. maintain a healthy weight – traditionally classified as shallow, or “looks-obsessed”? There are so many diseases that are clearly linked to obesity – heart diseaase, cancer, diabetes, etc. You are married just as much to a person’s body as you are to their mind. Would it be OK for someone to let thier mind go? Never read another book or magazine or learn anything new? Or what about grooming? How would you feel if a man just stopped shaving or combing his hair or brushing his teeth?

    Yes, it can be hard to maintain a healthy weight. It takes willpower and a lot of it. It can also take a lot of willpower for a spouse to be faithful, yet we expect that fully don’t we? Why the double standard? A man isn’t allowed to stray, but yet it’s acceptable for his wife to “let herself go” and he should continue to love her unconditionally? What if he is no longer attracted to her – not so much from the weight gain, but from the idea that his attraction to her is clearly no longer of any importance in her mind. How diheartening for him to feel as though his wife cares so little for his arousal.
    Too many men in this world are crucified for no longer finding an overweight spouse attractive.

    • avatar nycgirl2 says:

      Ginger, I couldn’t agree with you more. My letter to Margo had a bit more to it, that I’m sure had to be edited out for space.

      Unfortunately, a few members of my family have suffered from a devastating form of cancer, where survival likelihood is slim. One of the contributing issues to this disease is obesity. So maintaining my weight at an healthy level is very important to me.

      John and I have discussed this at length (prior to his comments with his brother), and since those discussions have made it a point of making working out and eating healthy a fun activity that we do together. So it’s not like weight and/or health are taboo subjects for us. However, I think his conversations with his brother are out of line.

      • avatar whobooski says:

        NYC Girl – I think that John needs to tell his brother to knock it off. It seems that they have already had this discussion, but you haven’t said whether it has worked. I would suggest to John that he tell his brother to shut up or don’t call anymore. Family can be very poisonous at times, and I hope that John has the spine to stand up to his brother. I think you and John still need to talk (although in your responses to the comments, it seems you have), and that you need to let him know in no uncertain terms that these discussions are hurtful to you.
        I hope you both work this out. Please don’t let all these comments get to you either. If you’re happy with your weight, and John is too, then it’s no one else’s business.

    • avatar elaine s says:

      When I weighted 120 pounds, at 5′ 5′. and in my laate thirties, I came home from a business trip and walked in the back door.  i heard voices coming from the bedroom.  I thought my husband must be back there witht he TV on.  You guessed it!  I caught him in bed with another woman.  She looked at me, and said “Who are you?”  I said, “I’m his wife.”  She said, quite rightly, “Well, that’s your problem”. 

      Don’t say men shouldn’t be blamed for cheating if their wives get fat.  Plenty of them cheat regardless of their wives weight.  They cheat for all kinds of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the wife at all. 

    • avatar RL says:

      Why the double standard?  OMG.  How many times do we all see a seriously overweight or obese man with a physically fit woman?  Let’s play a game with some of your sentences called “Let’s Change the Genders”.
      A woman isn’t allowed to stray, but yet it”s acceptable for her husband to “let himself go” and she should continue to love him unconditionally?  What if she is not longer attracted to him — not so much from the weight gain, but from the ideal that her attraction to him is clearly no longer of any importance in his mind.  How disheartening for her to feel as though her husband cares so little for her arousal.  Too many women in this world are crucified for no longer finding an overweight spouse attractive.  This, obviously, reads ridiculous because of the double standard between women and men on the issues of weight.
      By the way, sex isn’t love; love is love.

  25. avatar FrauleinGretl says:

    LW1, are you giving more care and attention to your pets than your boyfriend? It’s fine to love and care for animals, but you have a human being in your life that needs tender loving care, too. Before you leave him, try to put little emotional distance between you and your job. If you frequently come home crying, that is a warning sign that something is wrong at work. Do your best for the critters while at work, then come home and focus on your relationship. When your boyfriend feels fulfilled, he won’t be as resentful of the pets.

  26. avatar R Scott says:

    LW1 – I’m not so sure this is animal lover vs. not animal lover as much as it is the LW bringing way too much home and getting emotional over things that are beyond her control. Her BF may just be getting tired of the constant emotion and drama. This same scenario could be true if she were a pediatric nurse or social worker or worked in any other kind of profession that deals with the harsh realities of life. She may be better served to learn how to deal with the tough decisions and learn when/where to draw the line regarding what gets left at work and what gets brought home (both figuratively and literally). Maybe these two are not compatible and this is just the tip of the iceberg but I do think this particular issue needs more exploration. By the way, I am an animal lover and have worked in shelters and have been involved in animal rescue. Sometimes it sucks but life needs to go on and finding a balance is essential.

    • avatar stargazer says:

      Good point.  LW1 did not say how many animals she has brought home.  All of us have our limits to how many animals we could tolerate in our home, and how must sympathy we have for someone who wallows in sorrow as a way of life.  Regardless of the details of this case Margo is correct that this is not a match that will work.

  27. avatar Jan Hall says:

    I’m about the same weight and height as LW2, am over 65, am very healthy, with low blood pressure, low cholesterol, and look and feel FABULOUS.  My weight is only a number, and as long as I and my doc think I’m fine, that’s how it is.  At this age, I’ve also learned not to worry about dress sizes any longer. 

    Why would you stay with a man who’d talk about your weight with his brother.   

  28. avatar susan whitley-clark says:

    Dear LW#2, I have a quick weight loss suggestion, ditch the boyfriend.

    • avatar elaine s says:

      Good one, susan whitlely clark!  Or, we can tell the letter writer that she needs to lose 175 pounds of ugly fat, and his name is John. 

  29. avatar junebug says:

    Re LW#1——-you are not wrong.  Neither is your boyfriend.  What you are is wrong for each other.  You need someone who feels as strongly as you do, and there are people out there who do.  Not liking animals is OK, (as long as someone is not actively cruel to them), but a true animal lover like you will never be happy with someone whose love for them does not match hers.

    Re LW#2—–either your boyfriend’s brother is a total jerk, and should be told off by his brother, and then ignored by the both of you, OR your boyfriend is a passive-agressive jerk who takes this way of telling you he thinks you are (or may become) overweight, and doing it in such a way that you cannot take issue with it.  (I can spot passive-agressive on sight, my mom wrote the book on it.  You say something, but you attribute it to someone else, and how can anybody take issue with what that absent person said?)
    Now you need to decide whether to stay  with someone who has made it plain that his attraction for you will be weight-based.  Maybe the brother DID say it initially, but your BF has made it plain he agrees, at least in part.  Otherwise he would never have told you, and he would have told his brother that any addressing of the issue would result in cutting off all contact with Brother.

  30. avatar Debbie Ciaravino says:

    LW #1 – Pet compatibility is a deal breaker. While your BF may have been tolerant up until now, he is telling you in no uncertain terms that it’s getting to be too much for him. Since it is a huge part of your life and who you are, you need to find someone who cares as much as you do. I can honestly say, I love animals, but in my late 20’s I developed Adult onset allergies to cats. People change their minds, sometimes through no fault of their own. Now I try to stay away from animals and have no pets even though we had them through my entire childhood.

    LW #2 – Weight is such a touchy subject for most women that any man alive should have enough common sense not to discuss it. He could have approached you about his brother being shallow and apologized in advance if he said anything that offends you. Instead, he took a different path by discussing it with his brother before he met you. That signals to me that he and his brother think like and his brother’s opinion is more important to him than your feelings. If you have any self respect, you won’t forgive the behavior or conversation. Dump him and find someone who loves all of you just the way you are.
    At 5’6″ and 155lbs, you already know you carry a little extra weight, most Americans do (myself included). You’re not so big that you need Richard Simmons to use a crane and flatbed truck to get you out of your house. Put things into perspective and you will be laughing over this with a new man in no time!

  31. avatar Kestrel Sakai says:

    BMI is not the be-all, end-all of body measurement. It’s a tool, nothing more. I am 6’2″ and 180. Going by the BMI chart I’m…. no way to tell. Why? Because 6’2″ doesn’t exist on the women’s chart. At best, extrapolating from the last height on the list… my BMI would put me on borderline overweight. Anyone standing in front of me would laugh themselves silly at the idea I’m overweight. Most people tell me to grab a sandwhich! The problem is not the young woman’s weight – it’s her boyfriend and his brother who seem to think her weight a subject of intense proprietary interest. Perhaps she should develop an interest in their smoking/drinking/porn watching/gambling habits – or even their penis-size, since that surely has a bearing on wha sort of person they are, or how they’ll look when they’re older. (sarcasm) She needs to tell them both – face-to-face in full hearing of each other, that her weight is not a worthy topic for them to be nattering on about, and they should go talk about cars and the latest sports scores like their other male friends. If she wants to listen to puerile conversation she can hit up the kindergarten playground. Frankly, if it’s that much a concern to the two of them – she should just move on. Plenty of fish in the sea, baby. Toss those two back.

  32. avatar A R says:

    L1: I agree with Margo. The relationship has run its course.
    L2: One, there is nothing wrong with him describing you as “not model skinny”. It’s true, yet not offensive. Two, your BF does not want you to blow up to 225. That is also true, and not wrong. Hell, I don’t want to blow up to 225, nor do I want my spouse to blow up. Neither of those are offensive. The only real problem I see is that apparently your BF is coming home and telling you about private conversations between him and his brother that make you angry. Tell your BF to keep his and his brother’s conversations between the two of them. Meanwhile, unless the brother says something to you directly or about you in front of you, you can’t control what he thinks.

  33. avatar Diana Danh says:

    My first serious live in boyfriend was just like LW 2’s. Always obsessing about MY weight. I was just about the same size as LW2 back then and I am still the same size today, 20 years later, despite having had twin boys and a little girl. I refuse to let anyone talk down to me about what I weigh and I have dumped MANY guys for being so obsessed. My current husband is a super fit Army man who loves me as I am, and my EX, he is now with a girlfriend who is much MUCH fatter than I have ever been. I eat healthy, can cook like a pro and can do an entire hour long workout without stopping.
    I’m really upset about all the jerks who came on here and decided to tell the LW that shes “over weight”. As if that is ANY indication of what she may or may not weight IN THE FUTURE! Or of how healthy she is in general.  I’m not pretending to be a love psychic, but I don’t think this guy is going to make you happy, he’s probably not “the one”.

    • avatar D C says:

      Reminds me of my hubby’s best friend from high school.  He and his first wife and the two of us used to get together most weekends to play cards when we were very young.  He was constantly on her about her weight, and she taught aerobics classes.  She was drop dead gorgeous and built like a brick house, but he constantly rode her.  They ended up divorced over lots of issues.  Flash forward to next wife who was about a size 8 when they married (5’8″) but had been over 300 pounds before they met.  She had a baby… postpartem depression and blew back up again.  Then HE started gaining weight.  She has surgery, loses back down to looking great, but he is still huge.  Not interested in anything but beer and other women (he travels a lot for work).  Says he loves his wife, but he’s not IN love with her.  whatever.  I just think it’s ironic that he was such an ass to wife #1 who always looked fabulous and ended up himself looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. 

  34. avatar Dana2011 says:

    To LW#2:

    I feel like I need to apologize for all the harsh messages people have posted questioning your weight!  I will never understand what makes people think it’s ok to be so unkind to a letter writer who is seeking advice, only to get met with a barrage of insults…

    Your BMI is not the issue here.  The issue is that your boyfriend is discussing your weight and does not seem to love and accept you as you are. You deserve better.  The worst thing in the world is being in a relationship with someone who makes you feel insecure. And this problem is not going to go away.

    A life lesson many of us learn the hard way: Believe people when they tell you who they are.
    Your boyfriend’s discussion of your weight and the fact that he would have an issue if you gained weight after having children is  a huge RED FLAG. He’s telling you that if you get married, it will not be for better or for worse.  It will be conditional upon your appearance. You need to really think carefully about whether it’s worth it to stay with him… 

    • avatar nycgirl2 says:

      Hey Dana,
      Thanks for the reply, I do appreciate the advice from you and everyone else.  And as far as the overweight comments – I think my skin has become a little thicker today.  😉

    • avatar A R says:

      The issue is that your boyfriend is discussing your weight and does not seem to love and accept you as you are.
      Actually, I disagree with this part. Her BF should not be prohibited from having conversations with his brother about any topic that arises. It’s not her place to control what they discuss.
      Additionally, the husband has not criticized her weight. That he would not want her to “blow up” is absolutely not remiss. There is NOTHING wrong with wanting your significant other to take care of herself or himself. Neither my husband nor I are vain, but I assure you neither wants to see the other grow overly large in our lifetimes. We like each other’s appearance at a healthy, appropriate weight.
      The biggest problem is that her BF is foolish enough to relate pieces of these conversations to her. If they are young, this is a lesson he’ll need to learn: you don’t have to tell everything you know.

    • avatar Jan Smith says:

      “Believe people when they tell you who they are.”

      YES!!  Absolutely.  Both these letters are examples of this.   The guys are showing their true colors and the ladies would be wise to consider whether they really want to be with men who think this way.

  35. avatar Mary Morgan says:

    LW2, Be careful.  If your boyfriend is the one sharing the info about his brohter’s comments, he sounds pretty manipulative to me.  I married a man like that, and years later, long after we had parted company, I found the wedding pictures.  He had made a comment before about me having to watch my weight, and when I looked at the pictures, all those years later, I started to laugh.  I was positively skinny, which for me was a funny thing to realize.  The healing process from the emotional damage that man did to me took years, but I am sure happy with the person I am now…even with a few extra pounds.


  36. avatar bottlepink says:

    Why does it matter if she’s overweight? I don’t want my husband discussing my weight with ANYONE!

    • avatar A R says:

      I don’t want my husband discussing my weight with ANYONE!
      What if he is giving you a compliment? Say telling a co-worker that despite your two children, being past 40, and recent surgery you have really taken care of yourself and are only 10 lbs heavier than when the two of you met at 21?

  37. avatar G T says:

    nycgirl2, thanks for the additional information.  I have a different take on your issue.  I think people should have someone other than their significant other to tell/vent their rational/irrational fears to, as long as it is not something like how much money we have or sex life specifics.  The problem isn’t so much what he said, but who he chose to trust with the information.  There’s a bigger issue here.  What kind of brother would threaten blackmail and rat his bro out to the girlfriend over something so superficial?

    I’ll give you an example, true story.  I once had a good friend tell me the reason he broke up with GF #1, even though he considered her marriage material was that her mom was very overweight and he was afraid she was going in that direction too.  I rolled my eyes, but fine, his choice.  Later he ends up proposing to GF #2 and she was of medium build but looked like she could easily get overweight.  I teasingly reminded him of what he said about GF #1 and if it still applied.  He said to me in all seriousness that yes, he was worried GF #2 might get very overweight, but bottom line was that he loved her and if she got fat he would still love her and couldn’t imagine leaving her.

    Now notice what didn’t happen.  I did not tell him he had to tell GF #2 what he said to me about her weight and that if he didn’t that I would go tell her.  It didn’t even occur to me to relay this information to his now wife.  Why? Because even though he was sharing honest thoughts, he told it to me in confidence and doing so would go completely against the friendship code and really it wasn’t any of my business anyways.   This is with a friend.  I can’t imagine screwing over a brother this way.  The brother code should be much stronger than the friendship code. 

    I imagine your BF was highly upset about the betrayal, but he really shouldn’t be surprised, seeing how long he’s know his brother. I would focus less on what words the BF used and look at the bigger picture of 1)this toxic meddling brother and 2)your boyfriend’s seeming inability to recognize that his brother is a toxic meddler.  You should be more worried about whether or not your BF can stand up to this brother and distance himself and cut him out of his life if necessary OR if he will continue to allow himself to “get played” and just try to do damage control on an issue by issue basis.

    Your BF needs to stop talking to his brother about any and all personal matters.  Use this as a wake up call to notice who the “enemy” of your relationship really is.  Clearly he can’t be trusted.  Any advice he gives is not given with your BF’s happiness or best interests in mind.  If anything, he sounds like he is trying to sabotage your relationship because he is competitive/jealous/insecure/feels threatened (if he isn’t in a great relationship, then neither can his bro).  I promise you, if the focus wasn’t about weight, the brother would have found another issue to try to drive a wedge in between you and your BF.

    All personal inquiries by this brother in the future should be met with “she’s fine, we’re fine, how about them Yankees?”  Any attempts by him to stir up trouble in the future should be met with sarcasm or laughter, “Oh god, not that again? why don’t you go get laid so you can stop obsessing about my girlfriend?”, etc. or simple excuses, “I gotta report due tomorrow at work, can’t talk right now…bye!!!”.  If you’re BF can’t do some form of this, then maybe you need someone with a stiffer spine.

    At family gatherings I would give the bro a civil greeting and then ignore him.  Focus on chatting up the parents or grandparents.  Do not let on you are angry.  If they sense you are angry at the bro he can manipulate this against you in their eyes.  If the parents ask why you are mad at their darling baby, deny it and turn it back on him “poor thing looks unhappy, did he break up with the girlfriend again?”

    P.S. Not model thin is not an insult.  If you’ve ever seen a model up close, they can look rather anorexic and unhealthy.  It sounds like he tried to describe you accurately, i.e. she a normal, “real” female.  I think you played right into the brother’s hands.

  38. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW1:  You have found your life’s work and your passion.  The boyfriend has told you he is no beginning to no longer care about the animals, you or the relationship.  I would take that to mean  that he is not just beginning to not care but tha he DOES no longer cares about you and I suspect abandoning your pets and leaving your job will not make him start to care again. You do not sound like a hoarder of animals (you know those people who let 41 cats  roam hungry and thirsty and sick in a pile of their own excrement).  You are a productive caring member of society.  Every animal lover has to draw a line.  I see the ads on tv for abandoned animals and want to run to the shelter to take home 4 or 5 of them but instead write a small check.  You seem to know how to draw the line in terms of how many animals you can care for yourself but that does not mean you cannot be distressed and unhappy about those you see in your work who are hurting and in need of a loving home.   I have no use for people who don’t love animals and neither should you.  Throw the bum out and good riddance.  

    LW2:  I am inclined to agree with those that say you should not give your boyfriend a *pass* on this.  I don’t know how you learned this information.  Whoever brought it to your attention may or may not have had your well-being at heart but now you know that your boyfriend is embarassed about your weight.  Even if you found out about it through spying, it is what it is. If your boyfriend shared this with you, then you know he is trying to get you to lose weight or undermine your confidence or both.   It would be a deal breaker for me.  Who wants to live with with the fear that you might someday not be physically perfect enough for your mate.  What if you get breast cancer and a mastectomy?  What if you get MS?

    I think that especially in the first bloom of love, the normal person would be telling everyone they know how *perfect* their new beloved is as opposed to making excuses for them.  Face it, your boyfriend’s brother may be *Shallow Hal* but your boyfriend is *Shallow Hal’s approving Pal*.  Find a way to move on.   


  39. avatar V B says:

    If doctors and nurses in hospices and ICU’s came home and talked about their patients all the time, it would drive a wedge in their marriage.   Your spouse deserves a happy home too.  If you can’t leave the problems at work maybe you are in the wrong job or have an underlying depression.   Its not a question of loving animals or not, its a question of balance.  Many animal lovers are a heartbeat away from going overboard.  I live in an apartment complex and have seen people feed the local cats and have 2 dozen lined up in the breezeway waiting to be fed, cat fights, cat orgies, and the smell that won’t quit.    And anyone who doesn’t do what they do is accused of being heartless.  Sometimes people who love animals too much, can’t have proper relationships with people.  Before you toss your spouse, look in the mirror.

  40. avatar Leni Sommer says:

    LW1 left out some key pieces of information, such as how many pets she has, whether she finds new homes for some of the hamsters, gerbils, etc and puppies and kittens she brings home to bottle feed, and even how big their home is.  The boyfriend may have some legitimate concerns, such as not being able to afford the feed and vet bills, or being neglected by the writer (bottle feeding newborn animals is a round the clock job).  IMO, if she isn’t now, this woman sounds like she could become one of those animal hoarders, living with an excessive number of animals she is unable to properly care for.

  41. avatar Morgan H says:

    I can’t believe someone could tell you that they don’t care about your job, you, or your relationship, and your response is to consider getting a new JOB??? Really? This person spelled it out for you: He doesn’t care about you. Why are you continuing to waste your time with him?

  42. avatar Lila says:

    Animal Lover, let him go.  You two are not compatible.
    It would be one thing for him to resist bringing home more animals, because we all have our financial and space and cleanliness limitations on that front.  But it’s unacceptable to say that exposure to the animals is making him lose any affection he has for them, or for you.

  43. avatar Susan Thomas says:

    Seriously this reminds me of the movie “shallow hal”. the brother is probably an overweight, unshaved, uneducated, beer guzzling loser who thinks he and all around him should only be dating models. What a moron he and her boyfriend are!! I would dump the boyfriend because why should she even have to worry about what his loser of a brother thinks, and what her so called loved one secretly thinks about her. Lose him, sweetie, and go and find someone who loves you just as you are. I did!!!!!

  44. avatar Briana Baran says:

    I have gone back and read the comments regarding LW2, and find myself feeling not only saddened, but angered by the readiness to point fingers, and the sheer viciousness of some of the attacks. Rather than give the woman advice on the issue she was concerned with, far too many women immediately went directly to the accusation, “You lying bitch, you’re fat!”.
    How delightful. How supportive. Well, darlings, regardless of useless (and they are useless) BMI scales, or your own personal issues, or what you’ve read in Marie Claire or Cosmopolitan (those bastions of epic wisdom and medical knowledge), nycgirl2 is not fat, and quite possibly, even probably overweight.
    How do I dare say this? Because I, best beloveds, am fat. I am 5’2″ and weigh 248 pounds. That is 7 pounds less than I weighed the week before Christmas (which gives the lie to not being able to shed fat during the holidays). If anyone is interested, she can look at my profile to find a previous post I wrote aptly describing how I got fat. It isn’t pretty, or self-pitying…but it is pitiful. On December 21, 2010, I got the Doctor’s Orders (or word of GOD) that I must lose 100 pounds, without dieting, by making conscious, permanent lifestyle changes…not for my current health…but for ten years down the road.
    I do not have globs of adipose tissue hanging from my thighs and upper arms. I can walk without difficulty. I don’t have the dreaded cankles. I am very deceptively fat. But I am not plump, overweight, or round. Fat I am, and fat I do not intend to stay.
    My ideal weight, as I have said, according to professional, medical analysis, is 142 pounds. My cardiologist will be delighted with 150, as I am 51, and peri-menopausal. This is not about looks (I keep reminding myself of this, because I am afflicted with severe body dysmorphia disorder, and will self-sabotage in absolute terror of physical change), it is about health. My husband (with whom I share a very active, joyous and creative intimate life at this size, right now, as a sort of by the way for all of those who think that appearance is all) is very supportive, loving, and helpful. And confident…because he knows that what is good now will only improve as my health, flexibility and strength improve. I am working hard, and I am not just trying, I am doing.
    But that is all beside the point. What confounds and infuriates me is the sort of dim, clueless, judgmental morons who can only see, in the midst of a thoughtful letter asking for emotional help, a number relating to height and weight, to be immediately criticized and rejected. “You’re fat!”. What shallow, irredeemable harpies. Perhaps she should just jump out of a window, or live in spinsterhood, or allow herself to be abused and browbeaten…after all, she deserves it, because she’s fat. The issue here isn’t her boyfriend’s swinish brother (who likely only comes close to super-model perfection during bouts of one-handed reading with Victoria’s Secret Catlaogue and cheap hand lotion), or her boyfriend’s inability to tell his loutish sibling to keep a lid on it…no, it’s that she’s fat. And we wonder why women seem to have stopped evolving, and Sarah Palin is actually someone people pay attention to…
    Well, nycgirl2 is not fat. I am not asking for any sympathy for myself, and I am definitely not a fan of the horrendous new trend for Fat Acceptance. There is nothing glorious, beautiful, natural or healthy about overwhelming obesity. Humans are not meant to have so much excess adipose tissue that it hangs off their limbs and torsos in unsupportable, massive lumps, that it prevents them from walking, or rising on their own, or even leaving their houses. You don’t get that way by accident…there can be problems that are physiological (I am supposed to have metabolic issues, but insurance will not pay for full-scale metabolic profiling, and also insists that I am not “morbidly obese”, so that this is not necessary…even though my caloric intake is, normal, low-fat, and low-carbohydrate, with no sugar or trans fat at all), psychological, and even issues with medications…but you’re never completely unaware that you’re getting fat. It isn’t something that should involve acceptance…except of taking responsibility for yourself.
    However, this is different. We sympathize with drug addicts (Lindsay Lohan, anyone?), and the anorexic and bulemic, and the alcoholic, and even the “sex addicted” and the compulsive gamblers. But let a woman fall just outside of what the celebutard-worshipping, true-believers (who are so rarely visions of earthly delight themselves) consider proper parameters for skinny (size 0-1, anyone?) and let the stones rain down. My question is this: when those stones find their target, is it a mirror reflecting your own image that shatters in front of you? And does that make it all better?

    • avatar Jan Smith says:

      It’s amazing how many guys who look like Homer Simpson expect to latch on to a woman who looks like Angelina Jolie.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Well, I never found Ally McBeal attractive… and I think Angelina Jolie is completely unconvincing in her action roles, and also a little stick-figure scary… and I wonder how women like Nicole Richie or Victoria Beckham manage to reproduce… all because they look like starvation victims.  Your knee and elbow joints are not supposed to be bigger than your thighs or biceps.  Ugh.

  45. avatar eleanore wells says:

    Easy.  Both of these guys need to go.  A man who really loves you in a grown-up way is not going to remove you from something you love…something so harmless.  As for “other guy” and his brother, I think he’s using his brother as a scapegoat.  He clearly has issues with her weight but is too chickensh*& to say so.


  46. avatar Jan Smith says:

    Both these ladies should kick the boys to the curb.  Animal Lover… no, it’s not possible to make a life with someone who’s going to throw a tantrum because a part of your heart belongs to animals.  He’s showing his true self now–show him the door before it gets worse.   I once broke up with a very nice man who said he would have his dog put to sleep because (after ONE meeting!) his dog and mine didn’t hit it off.  I was so appalled that he would betray an animal who loved him so much that I couldn’t even look at him. 

    And “John,” who found it necessary to “warn” his brother about his girlfriend’s weight?  What a loser!  Sounds like Brother Dear has been in the habit of dissing all women who aren’t anorexic and John doesn’t respect her enough to tell his bro to shut the hell up.

    Neither of these guys is worth a cup of coffee, much less a wife.  What a pair of clods.

  47. avatar Sianne S says:

    After reading through the letter and then all the comments, it occurs to me to wonder exactly how many people actually read all the comments before they post?  Sometimes, the letter writers DO turn up here, and with the additional information presented, the answer I thought I would type is no longer remotely relevant.  It would look completely silly to continue to advise the second letter writer to dump her boyfriend, when she’s already come on and told us all that they’ve resolved the issue.  Shame we can’t go back and edit our own answers.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Interesting. It was after reading all of the posts that I became disgusted. I thought that nycgirl2 took a very healthy and mature stance in her comments on this thread, and in addressing the issue with John, and finding a solution, and I congratulate her on her rationality and clarity of thought…and confidence.
      What perturbed me was the level of nastiness, accusation and apparent deep satisfaction that some of the women apparently got from attacking her. I fully comprehend it, from a sociological and psychological point of view (even anthropological/tribal angle)…but I still find it loathsome. How insecure and angry some women must be, to be so anxious to deride and attempt to crush and put in her proper place a woman they don’t even know.
      I recently read an interesting article which compared the New Year’s resolutions of women from the 1890’s to those of women from 2010 (for 2011). In general, the women from the 19th century spoke of reading more, and different books, thus expanding their literary horizons, learning new hobbies or arts, aiding those in need, becoming better mothers, wives, sisters and friends (this was a different time, but not so different), and becoming more involved in helping their communities and enriching other’s lives. Comparable women of the 21st century spoke of losing that last 5 pounds, getting that new haircut, brand new car, or dream vacation, fitting into the latest fashion, getting that Botox, or breast augmentation. On the whole, most late Victorian women of the privileged class were more introspective, curious, interested in intellectual and mental improvement, and concerned for others, and much less interested in the material, and devoted to giving rather than receiving., while their 21st century upper-middle-class sisters are almost totally disengaged with others (unless they are in competition with them), and involved with appearances and the material. This is a disturbing trend for a lot of women with young daughters (I myself have only sons, yet the idea of this sea change is worrying to me as well). Something to think about, perhaps.

      • avatar Sianne S says:

        I find it equally disturbing that so many people have jumped on the boyfriend, and told her to ditch him based on a conversation in which, in my opinion, he was trying to defend her.  Men are men, they talk about women.  Saying something like “It’s none of his business!” is silly.  You can’t dictate what someone talks about no more than you can dictate what he thinks about.  So what if he said he wouldn’t be comfortable with her if she ballooned?  That’s a discussion for him and his girlfriend to have.  At least he was being honest.  One could easily turn it around and have her discussing with her girlfriends that she wouldn’t be comfortable with him if he suddenly gained a beer gut.  No one would have jumped down her throat.  It’s a double standard, all right.

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          My husband is of the honest variety. This means that when I have a menopausal hormonal surge that causes me to melt down and accuse every male in the house (including the neutered cats) of conspiring against me, he waits it out patiently, then gently suggests that my reaction might just be due to hormonal flux, and that no one really said anything that I wouldn’t normally laugh at, or ignore. He usually follows this with a hug. He’s not a “sensitive New Age Guy” (as in a very funny old song, and as in a person who is an enabling yes-man), but he cares, a lot. He is behind my weight loss 100%, and he is very honest with me about my self-sabotaging tendencies, my need for exercise and movement, and how my greater confidence and energy and happiness when I am exercising and yes, much lighter, make me even more appealing, sexy and enjoyable to be around.
          Some of the things that I have heard women say about their male SO’s is entirely weird to me. If R. and I are having a serious problem, I might discuss this with one of two of my female friends (both women entirely disinclined to kvetch about men…even though one of them has a very…mmm…peculiar and inconsistent ex that she shares a son with)…but bash him? No. But if men discuss issues concerning their female SO’s, this is seems to amount to a hate-crime. I know that R. has talked about me with his friend Leslie (a literal genius with a disgustingly uproarious sense of humor). So? I’m glad that he has someone to talk to about his concerns. Men are human too.
          I’m happy nycgirl2 and “John” worked it out. Things crop up, and it’s telling that they were able to handle the issue like mature adults. That is a step in the right direction.

  48. avatar Margy says:

    LW #1 – Your bf already told you he no longer cares about you. Why agonize over whether to find another job? You love your job and you care about your charges and you have a bf who used to tolerate animals but no longer does. It’s over. Time to move on and be with someone else. There’s another animal lover out there for you.
    LW #2 – You love the man, right? It’s irritating to be described as “not model skinny” but your future brother-in-law goes for skeletal chicks. Be interesting to fast forward to 50 years from now and see who has had a happy life. You and your man or your b-i-l and skeletal chick(s).

  49. avatar nycgirl2 says:

    LW2 again.

    First, I wanted to thank those of you who provided meaningful feedback and advice to my letter. I’m not sure how many letter writers come back and read the comments on there letters, but a good deal of you provided helpful information/perspectives. For those of you who just decided to harp on my weight and height, I’m glad that is what you decided was the most important/most deserving thing to comment on in my letter. And for the person who commented and said that Doctor’s rarely tell people they are overweight anymore, I work in healthcare too, and thankfully have never found this to be the case. I’m not quite sure what kind of facility you practice in, but to not inform someone of the fact that they are overweight and need to lose weight to maintain their health would be a violation of not only the Hippocratic Oath, but could open them up to further litigation if something did happen to the patient because they didn’t lose weight.

    Second, I had commented in a few spots here with some more information to the letter but since those comments are easily overlooked, I will summarize here:

    There was more to my initial letter to Margo, the most important part was that pancreatic cancer is common in my family. One of the likely causes of pancreatic cancer is related to obesity. So my weight and my health has been very important to me since I watched my father die five years ago (he was only 55, I was 22). At the time, I was in graduate school, and studying was my number one focus. I quickly realized that while my career is really important to me, it is never going to sideline my health. So I began focusing on eating right and working out. When John came into my life (before he even had these discussions with his brother), he and I had several conversations about healthy living and our expectations if we were going to marry. Both of us agreed that our health (including healthy weights) were important to one another. So conversations related to not wanting one another to become overweight and unhealthy aren’t unwarranted.

    I’m not necessarily upset that he told his brother he wouldn’t be ok with me weighing 225 – I wouldn’t be ok with that either. But I am upset that his brother brought it up and John didn’t say something along the lines of how it was really not his business. Further, he came back at John months later and threatened to relay this conversation to me in order to prove to me that John and I don’t have the open and honest relationship that I believe we have. It was at this point that I found out….John told me because his brother was going to email me and tell me if he didn’t. I don’t really know why John’s brother would choose to threatened to inform me of this conversation, but I speculate that he would rather his brother and I not be together.

    Finally, this incident took place several months ago. Since they, John and I have discussed this topic at length and we’re ok. I’m not going to lie and say hearing that he had this conversation with his brother didn’t hurt, but he didn’t make any comments to his brother that were untrue, or that weren’t things we had discussed before. The only point of contention now is his brother’s willingness to disclose this information to me. How sad it is that you speak to someone in confidence and then have it held over your head months later – with the threat of it destroying your relationship.

  50. avatar David Fleetwood says:

    I’ll take the second writer’s potential brother in law and one up her with someone related who I will not specify since I use my actual name here.  This person has quite enjoyed telling my girlfriend how much better she can do than me and how they do not understand how she can stay with me.  We’ve been together seven years.  I now know that if/when this relationship ends, don’t introduce a new gf to this relative for a significant amount of time into the relationship.

  51. avatar Miss Lee says:

    ltr # 1, My last boyfriend hated my 15 yr old cat.  He got the boot, the cat stayed.  I liked the cat better. 

    Ltr # 2, Marriage should be for better or for worse.  Say you get pregnant and gain 50 lbs, would you husband pout and threaten to leave?  Got to ask because only movie stars have the same bodies they had before they got pregnant.  The rest of us struggle and usually don’t get back to the same place.  As for the brother, he is an ass.  The early warning given to him is left over brother stuff and has nothing to do with you.  If the brother ever does say anything, ask him just how long he has been an ass and turn your back and walk away. You will probably get a round of applause from the rest of the family. There is little hope for men like him…I’ve known a few in my time.

  52. avatar amyarizona says:

    This was the most boring dear Margo column in a long while. A whole column of fat people acting defensive about being overweight. Aren’t there chat rooms for you all to support each other?
    Out in the real world I can guarantee that if you are overweight, someone is talking about you behind your back.
    You only have a few choices. Accept that your weight is the subject of gossip it in a non paranoid way, or lose the weight. But don’t expect the whole world to ignore it.

  53. avatar Eileen Heath says:

    “He told me he’s beginning to no longer care about the animals, me or our relationship.”
    That really should be the end of the letter and the subject. If she listens to what he says and deletes the references to animals, she might realize this.
    The brother had to be warned she wasn’t skinny but John would not be ok with her ballooning to 225?

  54. avatar BigMouthFrog says:

    It’s obvious this tool of a brother gets his self esteem purely from the physical appearance of his ‘associates’ personal and no doubt professional. He is so obviously shallow, superficial and insecure, that his brother had to warn him in advance of LW#1s weight.  This only condones this guys shallowness from within that family. That dope needs to be called out by others in that family. I hope she lets him have it someday soon. He seems worthy of a reality check!

  55. avatar Deby Keller says:

    Ltr#1 – I agree, an animal person will never be happy long term with a non-animal person.  That’s it, short and sweet, as it were.  However, the writer is more than just an “animal person,” she’s an “animal lover.”  She needs to say good-bye.

    Ltr #2 – I am going to ignore her response or justification about her weight (even though she is not obese as so many folks seem to want to imply).  And the responses by ladies that think this is somehow directly aimed at them because they feel they are outside the norms of our society’s weight-height ratio ( and I am fat).  The more important fact was that her guy thought he needed to tell his brethren about her weight.  What about, “this is my gal and I love her!”  and let it go at that.

    Methinks this is a case of they both protest too much and no one really is very secure in their choices.

  56. avatar Koka Miri says:

    Wow, weight makes people /batty/!

    My issue with LW2 is that she was offended her hubby said she wasn’t “model skinny”. Get over it! That isn’t an insult.

    That said, the brother needs to get his danged nose out of her life, and hubby needs to tell him to shut it too. It sounds like he was trying to protect his wife but screwed it up.

  57. avatar ablex says:

    Regarding “Steaming”, and her “weighty issue” – does no one take offense at her boyfriend’s statement that he would not be OK with her “blowing up to 225 pounds”?!  You are all arguing over whether or not she is overweight, without acknowledging that her partner would leave her if she truly were obese.
    That’s one shallow man, in my opinion, who can declare that there is a weight limit to be with him.

  58. avatar patsea says:

    My question is why “John” is always telling her about these conversations.  Assuming she’s getting her info from John, I think John is usung these conversations with his brother as a way to tell her that she needs (or John would like for her) to lose weight.  I would have liked it if she said specifically where she heard about the conversations.