Become our fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Hot Topics -- Join the Discussion!

"How do you deal with pushy in-laws."

"Do you have a cleaning schedule?"

"Has marriage changed your relationship?"
Married Life

“What are your financial goals?"
Money Matters

Home Buying Help – Money Management Tools – Home Decorating Ideas – Free Recipes

My Married Life: Dealing With "Do I Look Fat?"

Do I look fat? It's a question that inevitably comes up in every relationship, and usually it's the female doing the asking. I'm sure occasionally the reverse is true, but while most women seem to consider weight gain to be a curse, apparently many men consider it to be their birthright. They're just not as concerned. But women are really concerned, which is why this subject needs to be handled with absolute care and compassion.

It’s important to find a way to relate to the insecure feelings behind the question. Recently, a set of circumstances threw my own vanity into a tailspin. I won't bore you with the details -- but it was acne-related. Holly and I had a formal event to go to, and I firmly believed that I had never looked worse. It was irrational and I knew it, but here's the thing: It also felt very real.

Somewhere along the way, probably while Holly was launching into one of her pep talks, I realized that I was gripped by a level of self-obsession that could not be reasoned away. It simply couldn't be fought with intellectual tools. I had to literally get away from the mirror until I could come back and look at myself with fresh eyes. Which wasn't for quite a while. No one deserves to be scrutinized to the degree that we scrutinize ourselves.

The point is, we've all been there. I know this is not the kind of answer women want. If I were to say it out loud, it would sound something like this: "You don't know it, but you're actually crazy right now. So no, you don't look fat -- though I know you can't hear/believe me at this moment."

Of course, I don't want to be bludgeoned to death. So I really just say, "Nope. You don't look fat" (okay, I've actually said the first version once or twice), and then change the subject. I also (and this is key) try not to sound impatient or frustrated when Holly asks. Truth is, I can definitely relate to the self-critical mind that made her ask it. And I hope that her knowing that helps.

What do you do when your spouse asks you about his or her looks?

-- Jack

See More: Ask a Guy , Love & Sex