Is Low Self-Esteem Hurting Your Relationship?

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woman with poor body image looking in funhouse mirror
It's hard to accept love in a relationship if you don't love yourself first.

In addition to now showing their body form, many of these same people report issues in their sex lives because their discomfort with showing their naked body outweighs their desire to be intimate. They may have good relationships with their significant others but will admit that their sex life could be better. Being naked in front of that person is very difficult when body image is poor. In fact, many of our Experts who work with clients share that it's not uncommon to hear about clients who never take all their clothing off in front of the person they love the most. This behavior often changes as they lose weight and their confidence and self-esteem rise.  A great sign that some is turning the tide on their self image is when they go shopping for new, better-fitting clothes to wear in public, and even buy sexy sleepwear or try out sleeping naked. How To Love Your Body In Bed

Red flag #2: Habitual, Negative Self-Talk
For many couples, sex can improve when one or both partners is successful in changing how they see themselves. But even with weight loss, it's not a guarantee that things will change internally; after all, self-image and self-esteem are things that go on inside the mind. So how can your "belief" about yourself change? By changing the words, language, tone and message you say to yourself. 


When there are body image issues, self-talk can be very negative, "I know he thinks I am fat," "I know that he would rather have a skinny wife," "I can't take all my clothes off because he will see my rolls," "I didn't look like this when we met, maybe he'll leave me for a younger, thinner woman"... you get the idea. In a lot of relationships, the partner may not think these things at all, but we can convince ourselves otherwise because the obsessive, negative messages going on are stronger (and louder) than anything being said to the contrary.  

Working on positive self-talk is a huge part of maintaining a healthy body image, weight and relationships.  To change it, you need to focus on the positive and catch the negative messages that come up and change them. When you hear "you're fat" in your head, change that message to be "you have a beautiful smile." For every negative message you hear, say something positive that you believe. Over time, being mindful about your inner dialogue will help to alter what you hear. When this is accomplished, behaviors change and self esteem rises.

Red flag #3: Obsessive Behaviors Around Food, Eating & Exercise
A third common red flag is if a person talks religiously about their appearance and eating habits. You can recognize this behavior when someone brings up "how they look" repeatedly in conversation. This is not a casual "how do I look?" question, but more of the critical/negative chatter about looks, weight, comparisons with other people and plans to change it. 

People who are on the extreme end of thinking about their outward appearance often fall into two categories: those who are obsessed with being thin and those who routinely sabotage their physical health. Food is the first way we love or hate ourselves and either extreme indicates we are trying to cover up a poor body image.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Melanie Gorman

Business Coach

Melanie Gorman, M.A.

SR. VP YourTango Experts

Phone: 410-923-6905

Location: Crownsville, MD
Credentials: MA
Specialties: Career, Communication Problems, Empowering Women
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