‘Gather ‘round the campfire children and I shalt regale thee with tales of my most degenerate suitors.’
Ok, if I relayed the details of every jerk I’ve dated, we’d be here a while. Instead, I thought it more productive to gloss over the myriad of crappy relationships I’ve endured and skip straight to what some of these experiences have taught me.
People are allowed to have physical preferences when dating.
Yes, you read that correctly. People like what they like; that’s not where the issue lies. I’ve began dating men at a certain weight only to have them critique my size later on. Maybe I didn’t reflect their true preference; or maybe they were just dicks who didn’t deserve me. I find it particularly loathsome if these men are aware of certain insecurities while seemingly intent on adding to your negative inner dialogue. What kind of asshole does that? Date someone who reflects what you want, don’t try to shame someone into conforming to your ideal.
If your SO criticises your physical appearance, why the hell did they decide to date you?
Because it’s not about you. Their nastiness stems from their own insecurities and it’s pure projection. In my experience, what they criticise you for are flaws they perceive as their own or they’re attempting to ensure you think so poorly of yourself that you won’t leave. Men who engage in body shaming have sensed a vulnerability in you that they’re attempting to exploit in order to control you because they hate themselves. Their behaviour will only escalate if you stay with them. I figured that out the hard way.
Is body shaming ever acceptable? What if they’re concerned about your health?
Nope. If they were even the least bit worried about this, it would extend to your mental health as well. It’s possible to have a mature discussion with your SO without hurting their feelings or belittling them.
Being critical of your SO is often the hallmark of an obsessive little creep.
Each of my former boyfriends who engaged in unnecessary criticism didn’t leave me the hell alone following our breakups. Dylan attempted to contact me multiple times over a period of 10 years after we dated for two bloody months. I have him blocked on every social media account; all of which he attempted to connect with me on. He was the bearer of the nastiest comments yet he stalked me the longest. I was just THAT hideous and such an affront to his bogan sensibilities…
Thomas was no oil painting, yet he somehow felt it was his civic duty to list all my physical flaws on multiple occasions. When I dumped him, he believed that if he hung around me like a bad smell and moped, I would take his ugly, bald ass back. Instead I went down to Melbourne for a four day tryst with an artist I had met. He went back to Germany with his tail between his legs soon after and I sought to alienate him every chance I had. I really needed him to get the message; his English was appalling, so perhaps ‘f*** off and die’ was lost in translation?
Jordan was the recipient of a two year No Contact Order after he slapped me around and called me a filthy fat whore. He was the most suffocating person I’ve ever dated and he tried to gaslight me on multiple occasions. I had grounds to issue the NCO much sooner and I should have. He would not leave me alone and despite the order, he still circled my social media, my friends and tinder like a drugged up shark. Three years have passed and I’ve no doubt that he still googles my name whilst sucking on his meth pipe.
Find someone whose love transcends your physical appearance.
As I’ve stated, we’re allowed to have preferences and it’s ok to seek out those who meet our desires. However, I’ve gained a lot of weight during my most recent recovery attempt and my boyfriend still loves me and tells me I’m beautiful. He just wants me to be healthy and happy. I’m working on believing him because my past experiences have poisoned my self-perception quite a lot. The delightful critical voice all ED sufferers are familiar with also keeps chiming in, the little f***. If someone loves you, they want to lift you up, not bring you down. Cliche? Yes. True? Also, yes.
Repeat after me: little boys will not dictate how I should look and I won’t allow them to steal my shine.
Thank you for coming to my TEDtalk.