eHarmony’s Guide to Managing Body Image and Dating

by eHarmony Staff

Dating can be a daunting undertaking.  Having to seek out and meet new people for the purposes of starting a romantic relationship can be intimidating, sometimes confusing and often frustrating, for everyone.   For many  individuals with body image issues, you have added stress. Feelings of unworthiness and undesirability can make it seem like an insurmountable task…

The Challenge

Dating can be a daunting undertaking. Having to seek out and meet new people for the purposes of starting a romantic relationship can be intimidating, sometimes confusing and often frustrating, for everyone. For many overweight individuals, you have added stress. Feelings of unworthiness and undesirability can make it seem like an insurmountable task. Fret not. You are every bit as deserving of love, affection and a positive experience in seeking out those things as are your thinner counterparts. And contrary to popular belief, you CAN find love by adjusting your thinking and perspective.

Be completely honest in your portrayal of your physical self when dating online.

This is a common gripe among those who engage in online dating: outdated photos that hide one’s age, photos that are cropped to show someone only from the neck up, etc. Do yourself and potential dates a favor and use recent photos on your dating profile, including one or two full length shots. This helps weed out people who simply have a preference which doesn’t match your body type. It also saves both of you time, wasted efforts and hope – plus helps you avoid uncomfortable, awkward first dates and unnecessary rejection.

Explore Your Options

Yes, you can find love on eHarmony – but did you know that there are also meetups and dating sites that cater specifically to larger women (“BBW” or big beautiful women) and men (“BHM” or big handsome men) - and the people who love them? Check out BBWDating.com, BBWPersonalsPlus.com or do a Google for more info -- and consider adding one or more of these sites to your online dating options.

Appearance Matters

Work those curves! Overweight people often try to “hide” behind their clothes instead of being proud of who they are on the outside. Check out these helpful sites for both women and men to figure out your body shape and which types of styles work best. Invest in a few good items you can wear on dates and you will be surprised what a confidence booster that can be. And don’t forget about your hair – the right style can really accentuate both male and female faces. Finally, make sure your nails are clipped and clean or manicured, shoes shined, etc.

Lose the Negative Self-Talk

We’ve heard it time and time again, “Confidence is sexy.” Don’t be down on yourself just because of your weight. That’s certainly easier said than done in a world that constantly sends overweight folks “not good enough” messages in the form of weight loss ads, magazines, waif-like celebrities and the like. But you CAN take charge of your self-esteem: don’t carry around guilt about your weight, or worry too much about what others think - and definitely don’t compare yourself to others, especially physically. DO focus on your strengths, your accomplishments, on the love of your friends and family and on the wonderful things you have to offer a potential partner, and walk to the beat of THAT as you go through your dating life. And if for some reason you can’t muster up these positive feelings about yourself – fake it till you make it. Over time, how we think and act become habits – that, along with the positive reinforcement you’re sure to get from others will have you feeling the love for yourself more each day.

No Apologies

Whether to yourself or to others, don’t be self-deprecating when it comes to your weight – ESPECIALLY to dates or potential dates. There should be no apologizing for who you are. Doing so undermines your confidence, which as we previously stated, is key. Instead, resolve to only dwell on and discuss the positive traits you have and what those allow you to bring to a relationship and partner.

Don’t let rejection get you down – in fact, use it as a motivator.

Overweight people often will attribute anything negative that happens to them to their weight. The fact is, there are dozens of reasons that a couple will simply fizzle out after one or more dates. And, every “no” takes you one step closer to the “yes” you’re working toward. So, instead of feeling down if you’re rejected by someone you’re interested in, understand that all it means is that this person wasn’t right for you -- and now you’re free to move on and meet the one who is. And remember – you’ll be doing some of the rejecting as well – after all, you’re not going to like every person you go out with.

Get Healthy

No, we’re not suggesting you try to diet/exercise yourself into an unattainable size. But since many people’s stated objections to dating an overweight person are grounded in health concerns, be sure you’re doing your part in keeping yourself as healthy as possible. This is as much for YOU as for any partner you’re looking to attract. After all, once you find that special someone you want to have as long a life with them as possible, right? And, taking proactive action to be healthier boosts your self-esteem, too.

Don’t Stop Believing

Dating can be tough even in the best of circumstances. Sometimes you’ll want to throw in the towel – but don’t. After all, one only needs to spend a short time people watching in public to see that people of all shapes and sizes DO pair up and find love – so why should it be any different for you? Keep on believing – in love, in yourself, in how deserving you are of love, and in the fact that somewhere out there is the person who will complement you perfectly. Being overweight might make for a slightly bumpier and winding road to find that special person, but they ARE out there, so don’t ever give up on yourself and your dreams of finding your perfect match.

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