Dating Do’s & Don’ts

By Shani Petroff

I don’t want my size to get in the way of my dating life. Whether I’m big or small or somewhere in between — I don’t want it to influence how I feel about myself. I want the reason I’m losing weight to be health, feeling good, proving to myself that I can accomplish my goals. I don’t want it to be because I think some guy will like me better. I want someone who loves me — even if I stay the same size or gain back the weight I lost. Yet, sometimes (all too often) I let my insecurities creep in.

The dating world can be tough. And people can be rude, and sometimes in surprising ways. I shared part of this story on Connect a few months ago. I matched with a guy on an app. I wrote Hi, how are you? He replied, You’re kinda chubby, which I like.

I had no idea how to respond. I was thrown off (especially because I think my pictures make me look smaller than I am — since my bottom half is cropped out, which is where I hold most of my weight). I asked the WW community how to respond. Many said ignore, some had clever suggestions, and while I meant to just delete this guy and never speak to him again — I couldn’t help it. I responded. (I took a line someone suggested on Connect!)

Your opening line really needs a lot of work, I answered him. He replied, Nice curves. But it was still all about my body and my size. I wrote back, Slightly better. However when someone says Hi, how are you and you go immediately to commenting on their body — it is extremely off-putting.

We did not communicate again.

But that and dozens of other stories from others have helped me reach a new approach to dating:

Listen to My Gut. If someone seems shady, or makes it all about my body from the get-go — no matter if it’s complimentary or insulting — run! I don’t need to waste my time. I’m looking for something real. Someone who is respectful and kind — not someone who makes me feel uncomfortable even before we meet.

What Do I Think? I am always so concerned someone won’t like me because of my size. That needs to change. My cousin said something that hit home. She asked me, “Why are you so worried about whether he’ll like you? Worry if you’ll like him. That’s what matters.” She had a point. There I was getting all worked up that some guy might not like me, when I didn’t even know if he was someone I’d be interested in. It was a lot of stressing for nothing.

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again. Not everyone is going to like me. I’m not going to like everyone. And yes, there will be some people who won’t like my size. But there will also be some people who don’t like my height. Or my political beliefs. Or my love of cheesy movies. Or something entirely different. I can’t let a bad date or two or ten stand in my way. I think the best example of this is a woman I met years ago. She told me about how she met her husband. She went on an online date where a guy told her she didn’t look as good as her pictures. He then turned around and left. Only she didn’t let it get to her. In fact, it motivated her to set up another date with someone else for the next night. That next man wound up becoming the love of her life. Some people (myself included) may have shied away from going out again, but this woman didn’t let someone else control how she felt about herself — and she got her happy ending.

Confidence. I know I sometimes get self-conscious, but I truly believe confidence is key. No matter the size, no matter the person, confidence is a truly attractive trait. I’m working on that. We all should. So no matter where you are on your Weight Watchers journey, know how amazing you are. There are some incredible people out there just waiting to meet you—so don’t hide. Take a chance. Believe in yourself. Love yourself — and others will too!

I would love to hear from you—and any of your dating stories! You can find me on Connect at @shani!    

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