I have posted about this before in many different ways, focusing on many different issues, but it all comes down to the same thing - feelings of inadequacy, fear that I'm not good enough for my partner, or that he doesn't think I'm good enough. I'm sorry I've posted so much, but it's really starting to be a problem for me and negatively affect my life, because I'm constantly reminded of it. Every time you turn on the tv, every time you walk around, there are always gorgeous women and I feel threatened. It's always been like that, but with the media, there are more unreasonably attractive women, usually with not much clothing. I thought I was over these issues, but my relationship is bringing them on. I get upset over minor things.
There was some commercial on with a sexy santa woman wearing clothes that showed off her legs and stomach. My boyfriend and his roommates were like, "oh my god" or "wow..." Or a Britney Spears video will come on and he'll say "oohh" and keep it on that channel (he's always had a crush on her). I know I shouldn't be upset by that, but I simply can't help it. It just makes me feel like I'm not good enough. I want to make my boyfriend say "wow," but I don't look like these women who are everywhere. I am not ugly or overweight, but I'm flawed. I'm average weight, but do not have huge breasts and a flat, tan stomach. I have a little bit of a belly. I get quiet and try not to talk about it because I know on some level it's silly, but my bf can tell. He told me "I'm not shallow, I don't want to mold you into some beautiful, perfect, amazing, unreasonable standard." Then he said something about how he thinks I'm cute even when I'm peeing or picking my nose. I know he was trying to be sweet, but I want him to think I'm perfect and beautiful NOW. If he doesn't feel like he has to "mold" me, then he wants me to stay how I am, but he still thinks I'm not beautiful, following that line of logic. He told me he thought I was PRETTY sexy, emphasizing the word pretty, aka "kind of". I told him this and he just got mad and quiet.
I had these issues when I was 12 years old. I thought I was over it, but I'm obviously not. I get upset about it all the time. I compare myself to women on tv, I compare myself to the girl he said he was "not really" in love with when we first started dating. I don't know what to do because talking to him about it does not help, he just says something that makes me realize that what I fear is actually true. I just want to be able to be comfortable all the time, but I constantly think that he just wants something better. I'm not happy, but I don't think it's him. Every boyfriend I've had looks at porn and other women and these issues always come up, because I feel like if I were enough, they wouldn't do these things.
I'll try to give you a little of my perspective, as a guy, some different issues you brought up.
First of all, most guys watch porn. That's just the reality. It is in our nature that we feel the need to release our semen on an everyday basis (at least the vast majority of men do this). So even if we have a girlfriend we are deeply in love with, if that girlfriend is not with us on any given day we've still go to do the business on our own. The reason porn comes in is because guys are very visual. When we masturbate, we like to have a very detailed mental image of something sexual with a woman. Sometimes we guys get sick of using our heads and use porn... This is not all guys, but a lot of guys. So you should never, ever think that your boyfriend watching porn matters at all. It has nothing to do with the way he feels about you. Even if you looked like Angelina Jolie, he would still be watching porn. That's just how it is.
You don't need to be a supermodel. If you offer your boyfriend your love, he loves your personality and spending time with you, and he finds you attractive (even if he doesn't view you as a stunning physical specimen) and you satisfy him in the bedroom, that is more than enough for any guy.
Just keep giving him your love (in every sense of the word), and you should have no reason to worry.
If you simply can't get over the body image issue... well, there are treatment options, but it's not something that's going to change over night.
Also, if you have the spare time and it's important to you, keeping yourself in good shape with regular exercise can be both a stress reliever and make you feel better about your body (eating right will also help).
Thanks for the response. The porn I'm kind of over, that was just one example of many I could think of where these sorts of issues have come up. I think he is the hottest guy I've ever been with. I don't know if I would think that objectively or if it's just because my feelings for him are strong, but I wouldn't change a thing about him to make him more "perfect". He doesn't have six-pack abs and rippling muscles, but I honestly wouldn't want him to look any different. I think he is perfect the way he is, and it bothers me that he doesn't see me that way. If he sees it in terms of better/worse and upgrading and more perfect, then he's inevitably going to want to upgrade. What guy is going to want to be with a woman long-term that he doesn't find that sexy? It makes me feel pathetic and angry. I want to be with someone that doesn't think I would have to change my body to be considered perfect.
Well, you say you are worried about him wanting to "upgrade" to a girl with a better body. Sure, all guys are shallow to some extent, but in the majority of cases we're not THAT shallow. Sure, other girls may have more shapely bodies than you, but that's just one aspect amongst many. I am sure he sees you as a lot more than just a body. Even if another girl came along with a better body than you, it doesn't mean she is going to be able to match your personality, the most important thing at all.
You may find your boyfriend physically perfect. But the reality is, that in order to be in a happy relationship with someone, whether or not your personalities are compatible is what really matters. Of course, you both have to be attracted to each other, but you don't have to find each other the most beautiful people around.
And I'll just repeat... if it really bothers you, why not exercise and improve your diet (if you don't exercise and have a very healthy diet already). You may not be able to look like Bar Rafaeli, but everyone can improve their bodies if they have the desire and the motivation to.
I've been hurt by the media too. I've spent the last four years coming to terms with that and learning how to deal with it. If I have any advice to give on the subject, it's this:
*Validate yourself by recognizing that it is a serious issue, and you are entitled to be hurt by it. Don't tell yourself that this is silly, or that you should be able to just get over it. I did not honestly feel better until I accepted that the problem was not me, even if everyone else acted as if it were.
*Reconstruct your concept of beauty. The whole idea of a perfect woman is a creation cooked up by the media to sell beauty products and entertain men. She doesn't exist. Despite hair dye, labia surgery, genital bleaching, implants, eyelid surgery, and a million other products and mutilations, they still have to photoshop the models on magazine covers.
What is perfect? Tanned skin that gives you cancer, destroys elasticity and induces premature aging? Large breasts that hurt your back and start sagging at the age of 20? It isn't easy to reject the model of beauty society has given you, even if it is unhealthy and impossible, but you have to do that. What's beautiful is flesh, your own flesh, no matter what color. If you have hands that can work and lips that can kiss, a body with enough nerve endings for all the sensation you can hold, that's perfect. Have a love affair with your body.
*Ditch the bad media. This has helped me maybe more than anything else, especially with the point above. When I stopped watching television and movies, I lost the constructed image of what a woman was supposed to look like, and was able to focus on enjoying my own body and being in it. It was like discovering the real world for the first time. Now when I see women that look like Barbie, I feel a bit of pity for them, because I can't help but think that they're trying to be someone else.
*Get a man that supports and respects you. You shouldn't have to put up with a man that watches porn and other women if it bothers you. When I reconstructed my idea of beauty, my husband had to do it as well. He quit watching porn, and after the both of us spent a good year or two with my body, and understanding real beauty, he can't stand it anymore. Learning to reject the impossible beauty standard is something men have to do too. While women are being squeezed into this mold, men are being marketed a fantasy that will lead them to equal disappointment, and it takes maturity to grow beyond that.
*Ok, a scary word for some people, but... feminism! A social movement and ideology designed around the concept of loving women as they are and addressing the issues each gender faces. And another subject that intersects with that is sociology. Both are analytical and offer theories and data to help you understand what's going on and why you feel the way you do. Self esteem, body image and the media are by no means obscure topics. Many studies and many books are available on the subject, and sometimes it can help to just hang out on a website that discusses an issue like this is a serious and academic manner, instead of being told that you're silly.
I don't think we ever really get over our body-image issues, and the reason is that the WHOLE of the media and the western culture tells us over and over again that we are not measuring up. We need this skin product, that bra, this diet, whatever, to 'improve' ourselves and keep our man. It is ridiculous and I am beyond glad that I have reached the invisible age where nobody sees me as more than an anonymous middle-aged woman. Most men grow up eventually and come to appreciate our more intangible assets and what we are inside. I am not saying to give up, just to take it all with a pinch of salt - you will NEVER be as perfect as you want to be, and so what? It is only life and nobody leaves it alive. Sera.
If he's not the guy for me, then no one is. Every guy I've ever been with has looked at porn, checked out other attractive women, etc. If I make it his problem and dump him for that, I'm gonna be lonely forever. I think all guys do that sort of thing and I just have to learn how to not let it affect me. Maybe not all of them are so careless with their words, but most of them just say scripted stuff anyway to try to make me feel better. To that other poster, that's really cool that you and your husband did all that stuff to get over your body image issues. I don't think I could find someone that dedicated and I'll just have to deal with it on my own.
Dig - from what you post, this guy seems to be doing everything right to convince you he loves you for YOU. You need to start loving yourself now.
Just because he looks at women like Britney Spears and the Victoria Secret models does NOT mean he wants them. Men look at those women as if they are art. But most men would be very intimidated by a woman who looked like that. Most men are not shallow enough to believe that they have to have a supermodel for a girlfriend. Your bf seems to be intelligent and perceptive enough to know that it's the whole girl that counts.
You need to STOP taking things he says and twisting them to your "advantage." Just because he seems to stress the word "pretty" does not mean he thinks you aren't all that sexy. To him, you are the sexiest thing in his universe and he has chosen you to be with. Trust that, keep telling yourself that, and learn to believe it. Or you will drive him away. When Britney comes on and he eagerly watches her, quickly remind yourself that he loves you, and that hah! She isn't sitting there on the couch with him! You are!
You will never get over your body issues; no one ever does. Even Britney, even every model who ever lived, has body issues. Not one woman is totally happy with her body. Even supermodels are insecure in relationships. Even supermodels get cheated on. You need to take pleasure in the fact that you have a man who treats you well, who does not cheat on you, who does not abuse you, and who has the decency to assure you that you are sexy to him. Don't dwell on the little words; believe in the whole package! Keep telling yourself over and over until it becomes habit and you believe it yourself.
Yes all men watch porn. Yes all men are going to look at other women. If they say they don't they are either a saint, or they are lying! I think there are varying levels of this though...I mean one guy may only look at porn once a week while another might look at it every day. One guy may stare at every woman that walks past him and the other may only glance at the most gorgeous of women that come through his path.
With that said...
If you don't chill out and stop analyzing, questioning, and obsessing over his every word, look, thought, etc, you will probably run him off. Guys don't like to have to constantly explain and re explain what they meant about something. We don't like being under the microscope.
I used to have to go through this with my ex girlfriend all the time. I'd say...you look hot, or this food is pretty good, or lets do it! (not in that order lol) She'd get all bent out of shape and start questioning what I meant by "pretty good" or why did I say "hot" instead of "beautiful," or why didn't I say "make love" instead of "do it." You get the drift. This would inevitably turn into an argument b/c she would not accept any answer I gave her as to why I used this word over that word.
Men take things at face value and we don't sugar coat things as often as women may. Don't get bent out of shape over one or two words from a whole sentence. Take the whole of what he says and accept it. The whole is more important than the parts.
I understand exactly what you're saying Tubular. Sometimes though my boyfriend says things that really are mean, disguised as a "joke". I had told him earlier I was afraid of what he would do when he gets really drunk, and he said "you should be afraid if you don't quit making me crazzzy lol". So I got upset, because he was basically threatening to cheat on me or go on a tirade or something, and he got mad cause I couldn't "take a joke." But that's genuinely not funny and can't be interpreted in a good way at all. I overanalyze and he's particularly insensitive with his words, so maybe we're just not a good match.
He is telling you to stop doing what you're doing or he's out of here. Maybe he felt bad after he said it and tried to play it off as a joke, but either way you should lay off the questioning and over analyzation if you want to keep him around.
Ok, I am sure Tubular is right dead on with his response, but maybe only in part, let's say half. He is trying to say how a man functions, and that's all right. But a woman functions in different ways, and I think we must take these ways into consideration, too. We must, if anything, find a balance between a man's ways and a woman's ways, so that we, men, will not show up as the only part that cannot be bent. In fact, I also think that a man must please a woman with words (they need words), as long as they are not demanding too many words, lol. In fact, the more you are willing to please a woman with words, I think the more you will help her to be satisfied with fewer. It just takes time and tact, in my opinion.
If we were talking about a guy who was mature and well-rounded, I would agree with Pendulum. But we're talking about a guy who is not only totally immature but also pretty inconsiderate with what he says on a regular basis. He hasn't learned when to keep his mouth shut at all. I'm sorry, dig, but he just doesn't sound like he's all that great. The more you write about what he has said, the more he sounds like he is totally clueless and a waste of your time.