He's Obsessed with His Own Body
Q: I've been dating my boyfriend for about a year. He's smart, funny and kind and we have a lot of fun together. Lately his interest in fitness has become an obsession. He's constantly at the gym or talking about his workout. He's no longer interested in going out to eat or in hanging out in front of the TV together. I want to support his interests —and he does look great! — but this is taking a toll on our relationship. I just want to spend more time with him! Am I being unreasonable? — Corrine, 33
Dr. Susan: Unless he's carrying on an affair with his trainer, all that fitness activity is probably a pretty good thing for him, physically and emotionally. I think you'll have to forget about getting him to sit very long on the couch, or going out to eat what he considers ordinary unhealthy food. As I see it, you have a couple of choices. One is to join him in some fitness activities. See if he'll open up his schedule to include hiking with you, where he might have to slow down for you, but he wouldn't be just sitting around. And you could talk together. Take a gym class so you'd be going there together every so often. Find a new sport you can share, even something like ping-pong, that you can do while talking (up to a point).
Second option is to realize that this is who he is now. Period. If he has only one interest, which happens to be going to the gym and talking about his workout (that sounds dull), then I don't blame you for missing who he used to be. People with an obsessive interest in their own bodies aren't much fun. See if you can get him to understand that you miss him and want to share a lot more than workout talk. If he isn't willing to compromise, you'll have to decide whether to stay or go.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.