I’ve lost 40 pounds and have 20 more that I would like to lose. I love my body, but I have a trouble area that will not budge with exercise and clean eating. I have decided to get liposuction if I lose the rest of the weight and the area still hasn’t budged. I feel like this is reasonable, and I don’t consider it “cheating.”
I have a consultation scheduled, and my boyfriend does not approve. He believes I don’t need it and I’m just not working out enough or doing the right exercises. I just don’t think he understands. I know it's my body and I still plan to go through with it, but I want him to be on board and support me. How do I get him to understand? —Anonymous
First, congratulations on taking control of your health and putting in the work to get the results you want. With a lot of discipline and certainly some major lifestyle changes, you’ve accomplished a great feat. I’m proud of you.
Most people would consider the approach that you’re taking to be quite reasonable. After working to lose a considerable amount of weight, you want to be happy with what you see in the mirror. You’ve committed to losing another 20, and given your past progress, there’s no reason to believe you won’t reach your goal. You’ve decided to make your final evaluation once you’ve met your weight-loss goals. That’s a responsible way to approach the surgery.
It’s also nice that you’ve shared your thoughts with your boyfriend, but unfortunate that he’s not on board. It would be great if he were more supportive of your possible surgery, but the truth is, you can’t force him to be. He has his own ideas of what he finds attractive—or not—and he’s entitled to that, just as you are. The good news is that you don’t need his permission to move forward, and your opinion on your own body trumps his … by far.
But you would like him to get on board with your idea. I get it. Try getting to the real issue of what he’s afraid of, because it’s likely deeper than “I just don’t think you need it.” There have been reports in the news of people dying or having major complications as a result of cosmetic or elective surgery. Cases like Kanye West’s mother, Donda West, as well as Tameka Raymond and Joan Rivers, come to mind. Perhaps sharing the research you’ve done to pick a qualified surgeon would help ease his concerns. It may also make him more comfortable if you invite him to meet your surgeon during your consultation so he can make his own evaluation of him or her and ask questions of his own about the procedure.
Another common concern when a mate loses weight or drastically alters his or her appearance is the fear that the partner will become more attractive to others, which may be a threat to the relationship. Or there’s a fear that the partner who has made the changes will want to upgrade to someone more attractive than his or her current partner. Your boyfriend may be feeling insecure about his place in your life now that you have made improvements and are planning on making more. Give him some extra attention and compliments, and verbally reassure him that you are secure in the relationship and have no intentions of moving on.
Finally, table this conversation for now. You’re waiting to lose the weight to decide whether you will actually go through with the surgery. You may find that once the additional weight is off, your “trouble area” isn’t so troublesome anymore, and this disagreement between you and your mate will be a nonfactor. When the weight is lost, if you still want to proceed with the surgery, inform your boyfriend that you’ve given his perspective consideration, but ultimately, the surgery is something that you’ve decided to do for yourself, and while he may not like your choice, you hope that he will support you anyway.
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at email@example.com.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “You Can’t Be the Next Wife if the Ex-Wife Still Comes 1st”