DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Jenny," and I married 12 years ago because she was pregnant. I knew she had been promiscuous as a teenager, but I thought I could cope with it. Now, after two children, I have second thoughts. When we married, Jenny weighed 115 pounds. (She's 5 foot 1.) Now, after two children, she weighs 170 pounds, and her clothes are size 16.
I am frustrated at the fact Jenny cares so little about her appearance. Yes, we all change, and I understand that. But I get furious when I think my wife gave up caring about her appearance when I put the ring on her finger. It looks like she got her man, so now she's complacent. I am insanely jealous because I feel like Jenny wanted to look good when she was chasing boys, but she doesn't care now.
Talking about it and counseling haven't helped. I know these are not healthy feelings, but they are in my heart. I'm thankful for my wife and kids, but I also feel cheated. Please don't tell me that weight gain is biological. There are plenty of thinner moms around. What can I do to help her see my point of view? -- TIED TO A HEAVY BALL AND CHAIN
DEAR TIED: If counseling hasn't helped, I'm not sure I can, but I'll try. Perhaps your wife's problem isn't complacency. Has it occurred to you that she could be feeling depressed, stressed and trapped? You describe your marriage as more of a shotgun wedding than a love match. She now has two children to raise, and a husband who resents the fact that she wasn't a virgin bride. On top of that, she has put on 55 pounds -- and losing that much weight is a daunting challenge.
If you really want your wife to get back in shape, my advice is to dwell less on what she's eating and more on what's eating HER. Stop harping on her past, which she can't change, and start talking about your future and the fact that you want her to be healthy and feeling good about herself. Tell her that you love her and keep repeating it. Find activities you can do together that will help her become more physically active and give you time to communicate with each other away from the children. Perhaps then she will be more receptive to making positive changes in her lifestyle.