Can Fat Chicks Find Love?

Q: I think I'm falling in love with one of my guy friends. I'm only 19, but I'm overweight and can't help thinking that no matter how nice, funny, smart or caring I am, no one can really get in a relationship with me because I am too fat. Do looks matter enough that fat or ugly people will never be in a meaningful relationship? Should I say anything and risk our friendship? -- Kelli

Dr. Susan: The real question you're asking, Kelli, is whether anyone will ever love you if you're not model-thin and beautiful. The quick answer is to tell you to look around next time you're at a crowded mall and notice the huge variety of couples. While I can't promise that there's "someone for everyone," it's easy to observe some plain or unattractive women and men hooked up with others who are equally unpretty or even downright ugly. Not everyone can have the idealized guy or girl of their dreams. While it's natural to yearn for the homecoming queen or the football captain, those "beautiful" people will inevitably have a large pool of suitors to choose among. You, as you describe yourself, aren't going to have nearly so large a group of men who will be in a hurry to date you, at least before they know you well. But there will be some -- if you're willing to lower your own standards when it comes to body type or facial appearance. (Never "settle" when it comes to the stuff that counts.)

But, Kelli, you're only 19! I hope you're taking your overweight issues seriously. It only gets harder as you get older. Find something active that you can enjoy, and read all you can about nutrition. You may be one of those with a lifelong struggle around the weight issue, but don't give up already. A few extra pounds won't keep you from finding boyfriends, but if you're obese, that will certainly add to the challenge.

Now, should you "say anything" to the guy friend you're falling for? If you're misjudging him, you could end up embarrassed and the friendship could suffer. See if you can find out how he feels about you in a more subtle way. Ask him what kinds of girls he sees himself dating. Tell him you know someone who's dating online and that you think it would be fun to share what the two of you would write about yourselves if you were composing singles ads. Keep it light. Up the flirtiness level just a little. See if you can't get him to make the first overt move toward you.

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