Women

We all experience down days, but could your body image be affecting your relationship? Change how you feel about your body for your sake and his

Description: Description: Beat your confidence blues

“You’ll go from the fun girl he fell in love with to someone who’s forever complaining”

Always moaning about your muffin top? Desperate to have a model’s body? Whatever your issues, often it’s your boyfriend who has to bear the brunt of them. “If you constantly put yourself down in front of him, it could damage your relationship,” says psychologist Suzanna Jobe. “You’ll go from the fun girl he fell in love with to someone who’s forever complaining.” Here’s how you can ditch your body hang-ups once and for all…

You say: “God, I’m so fat. Look at all this flab on my stomach”

He thinks: “Wow, I’d never noticed her stomach before she pointed it out.”

Change your thinking: “Put your thoughts into perspective,” says Suzanna. “You may not like your stomach, for example, but think about the other parts of your body you do like. You may have amazing legs, eyes and hair. Focus on those parts, rather than highlighting the bits you don’t like”

You say: “That girl over there is so much hotter than me. Don’t you think so?

He thinks: “Now that you’ve pointed her out, I have to agree she is hot – and she looks even hotter because she is confident and happy with her body, whereas my girlfriend always sulks about the way she looks.”

Change your thinking: “Stop comparing yourself to others,” says Suzanna. “Understand that you’re one of a kind. If you’re comfortable and confident in your own skin, you’ll appear more attractive to other people. Develop your inner confidence by focusing on your strengths.”

Description: Description: “Stop comparing yourself to others,”

You say: “Was your ex thinner than me? I bet she was…”

He thinks: “What does it matter? I’m with you, not her. Doesn’t she believe me when I tell her how hot she is? How many times do I have to say it? She clearly doesn’t value my opinion”

Change your thinking: “Weight up all the evidence,” advises Suzanna. “Think back to all the compliments you’ve received in the past about your looks. You may see yourself in a certain way, whereas other people may see you in a completely different light. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ask a close girlfriend to tell you all the things they like about you – it may help to change the way you view yourself.”

You say: “I can’t go out tonight. Look and feel too ugly”

He thinks: “Great, now your self-esteem issues are stopping us from having a fun night out. I want to be with you but it’s hard work…”

Change your thinking: “The way you think affects the way you feel,” explains Suzanna. “If you tell yourself, ‘I’m so fat; I’m so ugly,’ chances are that’s the way you’ll feel. Change your internal dialogue and your feelings will change too.” Don’t be so hard on yourself – go out and have fun with your man!

His side of the story…

Joe, 24, Edinburgh

“I’d been with Fiona for a year when she joined a cheerleading squad. Until then, she couldn’t tell you how many calories were in a Mars Bar. But she became obsessed with toning up, I said she was perfect, but she didn’t listen. And as bad as it sounds, she became less attractive to me. I eventually confronted her, saying that only I could appreciate her body fully because only I saw it naked! Now we’re back to enjoying the odd takeaway – and our relationship is back on track.”

Ed, 26, Manchester  

“My girlfriend was very self-conscious, particularly about the size of her A-cup boobs, I hadn’t ever seen her without a top on – she even covered up during sex – but I didn’t want her to hide her body. It got to the point where I wasn’t comfortable being with someone who wasn’t comfortable around me. So we talked about it, and gradually she adopted a healthier attitude towards her body. Now she believes me when I say her boobs are absolutely great!”

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