"First there's the nagging, 'let's go for a walk, let's join a gym'. Then we start finding negative things about them. At this point, women feel like their partners don't care," she says.
When Sabine finally confronted Kurt, "he was shocked. He said he hadn't noticed. He said he would try to take better care of himself. But at that point it was too late." A year after that conversation, Sabine left the relationship.
"It's great that women are realizing that we are also visual creatures and that we are sexually stimulated by what we see and that we have a right to ask our partners to gift us with the benefit of good grooming and a regular visit to the gym," Veronica Monet, a certified sexologist who specializes in relationship dynamics, says. But "any time we threaten our partners by withholding sex or love whether we're male or female, we take the relationship in a negative direction."
Monet suggests talking frankly about your feelings with your partner. For example, "'This thing isn't working for me, would you be willing to change it?' 'I would be so turned on if you lost 20 pounds.' The big reward any man gets is female approval."
"Share your true feelings, while requesting a specific course of action from your partner," Monet advises. "It's extremely important to avoid any negative statements, name-calling or accusations. Instead, begin sentences with 'I feel' followed by descriptors such as 'sad,' 'afraid' or 'angry'." She says this technique encourages compassion while simultaneously expressing negative information and requesting new behavior.
Ultimately, Monet says: "You have to realize that your overweight husband [or boyfriend or partner] is only going to lose weight when he wants to, which sometimes leaves you out of the equation."
Which is exactly what happened in Sabine's case, though it was too late for the relationship. After the breakup, Kurt was accepted into a graduate business program, became motivated to shape up and started dropping pounds.
*Names have been changed.