Until recently, I was in a relationship for almost three years. When my relationship began, things were different; I had just recently discovered the Fat Acceptance Movement, and I had just started exploring my opportunities as a plus size fashion blogger. I didn’t yet fully understand how much love I could find within my own body at its current size. Here is why:
Throughout my entire childhood and teenage years, I never felt good enough. I was always on a diet and being bullied at school because I was a big girl. It wasn’t until my early adult years that I began to see plus size women, like myself, openly and confidently embracing their bodies. However, that feeling of not being good enough still rears its ugly head from time to time, especially while I’m in relationships. As I’m exiting a relationship, I need to remind myself of my worth, and confront some hard truths that I face while dating. I realize that some of these insecurities or truths listed below may not be “body positive.” And aside from that, these truths are hard to admit and share. But I hope by sharing them, I can help women who feel the same way, change the game and their mindset about their bodies and dating!
Here are 6 truths that I’m confronting to change the way I view dating as a plus size women.
- Fat shaming exists, but I don’t have to tolerate it or let it affect me.
Fat shaming, while usually looks and sounds negative, can sometimes show up in a compliment such as: “You’re pretty for a big girl.” A lot of people say this to fat women not even knowing that their compliment is actually, in fact, an insult. And surprisingly, a lot of women actually take that insult as a compliment. I’ve experienced men fat shaming me after I denied to meet up with them or just have sex with them, although those men were relatively kind to me prior. In my best interest, I will choose to tune out those negative remarks rather than let them effect my self-esteem.
- People will fetishize my body, and that’s okay.
One of the biggest fears I have while dating is being fetishized. I want to be treated like every other girl, and I don’t want someone to peruse me just because of my body type. But I realize that this happens a lot, and I don’t want to shame anyone for having a fetish. I just don’t personally know how to handle them or what having one is like. So, if I encounter a suitor who has a fetish, instead of fetish-shaming or writing that person off immediately, I am going to push myself to be open minded and learn more about this person’s preference.
- Just because I’m fat, doesn’t mean that I should settle for anything less than what I want or deserve.
I remember a conversation I had with my best friend a couple of years back when I was single. I talked to her about my attraction to athletic, muscular men, but quickly said, “I won’t get to be with a man like that,” because I assumed they weren’t attracted to plus size women, and that I didn’t deserve to be with a man like that. My friend—who is skinny—challenged what I said, and told me that my mindset simply was not true, and that it was holding me back from pursuing what I truly wanted. Therefore, I was down to settle for what I “thought” I deserved. This time around, I need to accept that most people can’t be put into a box, and just because someone looks a certain way or chooses a certain lifestyle for themselves, doesn’t mean that they only stay in that vertical when it comes to dating.
- My body is less desirable than a thin body, but it’s really not.
“Men would rather date someone with a thinner physique.” This thought used to really crowd my mind when I was single. And it still creeps back in here and there because of the constant messages I am inundated with from the media and societal beauty standards. But what I continue to tell myself is that everyone has different preferences, and what’s that saying? “You could be the juiciest peach, but not everyone loves peaches.” Just because I’m not favored by some, doesn’t mean I’m not attractive. But what men find desirable, is not something I should waste an ounce of thought on. This brings me to my next truth.
- I worry about what men think is attractive far too often, but a man’s opinion of me and my attractiveness doesn’t matter whatsoever.
While dating, it’s easy to get caught up in what other people think is beautiful and sexy, especially because compliments from potential suitors feel great and reassuring. But trying to be the epitome of what men find attractive can be exhausting and totally unnecessary as beauty standards seem to change overnight these days. The person I have to wake up next to every day and look at in the mirror is myself. So, I should try to be less of what I think others find attractive and be more of what I think is attractive, which is actually myself. A thought pops into my mind, “Well if you love yourself so much, why don’t you date yourself?” Good point! On to the next truth, shall we?
- The quickest way to get over someone, is to get under someone new. And that “someone new” should be myself.
In this past long-term relationship, I seemed to have lost myself a bit. I also lost sight of what I wanted for myself, both individually and as a girlfriend. There was one day when I checked in with myself, which seemed like the first time in years. I asked myself, “How do you feel? And how far is that from how you want to feel?” The truth was hard for me to accept. So, I pushed that truth away, hoping it would disappear so that I didn’t have to face it. I allowed myself to endure treatment that I didn’t deserve, but I took it because it was easier than ending something I worked at for years: my relationship. The best thing for anyone exiting a long-term relationship is to hop into another relationship WITH YOURSELF. Date yourself, get yourself flowers, explore your own body, find what makes you feel sexy, happy, and goddess-like, and do everything you want to do without compromising.