Liz and Danny* have been in a committed relationship for more than a decade after a serendipitous meeting at a Mexican restaurant while both were seated at different tables. At the time they met, she was a sprite-like redhead with a quirky sense of humor; he was tall and thin with a mop of curly black hair. Physically attracted from the moment they locked eyes, emotional intimacy came later and grew over time.
Fast-forward 10 years. At 41, Liz remains slender. But Danny, 46, is no longer the lean, dark, handsome type she fell for. Now, she says, his 6-ft.-1-inch frame is "more than a little fleshy and mushy" and the weight gain is a turnoff. So much so, she's found herself uninterested in sleeping with him. She's unhappy; he's growing more resentful.
"It's hard to admit but he's simply not attractive to me any more," she says. "I'm turned off by his belly fat and love handles."
While the couple is talking about the problem, Liz concedes that she's thinking about leaving the relationship if Danny doesn't, literally, shape up. She feels he's become so complacent and entitled that he has little motivation to change.
"It's kind of symbolic of the way he feels about our relationship," Liz says. "I have refused to have sex with him on several occasions."
We've all heard of men who pressure their wives, partners or girlfriends to lose weight, and often female fears of losing a man will prompt a major overhaul. On the flip side, experts say women often withhold sex as a weapon of last resort when their partners refuse to or don't lose weight.