A Guest Post about Body Image by Mike Dalliday aka my Instagram Husband aka my real husband.
I wanted to share my husband’s point of view on body image, because I believe we often assign a perception to our partners (and it’s typically negative) without knowing how they truly feel about our bodies. I think it’s important to hear that the way you view yourself is often not the way the rest of the world views you – or at least the people that matter to you.
For so long I tore myself apart over my looks because I thought by doing so it would somehow make me a better person, but in fact, it did the exact opposite.
No one is attracted to someone who lacks confidence. You would never want to hang out with someone who is constantly beating themselves up and telling you how shitty they are all the time, and neither does your partner!
I hope that by Mike telling you his side of the story it sheds light on the fact that what you see is not what everyone else sees; they see so much more.
How Your Partner Really Sees You – By Mike Dalliday
I’m sure you’ve all done it.
Looked in the mirror and said, “I’m too fat”. If you haven’t, you are certainly in the minority. And when you look in the mirror with that frame of mind, you think everyone in the world who sees you thinks the exact same thing.
Well I’m here to make one thing very clear. Your partner doesn’t think so – they think you’re beautiful.
The reason I know this is because I’ve experienced it first-hand. If you’ve read some of the articles on this blog, you know Jess is no stranger to body image issues and body dysmorphia. There have been countless times when she’s uttered the “F” word to me in reference to herself, and I’m sure there have been exponentially more that she’s kept silent.
While I couldn’t disagree with her more, I understand that our societal values as portrayed in media puts pressure on women to look a certain way. To be thin, fit, “healthy”. And when a woman looks in the mirror and doesn’t see what’s been engrained in her mind as ideal, she feels inadequate, a failure, “fat”.
I wish I had a solution to this issue for her, and for all women, which was better than my typical response of “don’t be ridiculous, you look great”, because it really doesn’t seem to provide much solace. But there’s another reason she, and most women, feel this way. They not only think the outside world sees them as imperfect, they believe their partners see it too.
So, while I can’t alter the norms of society, or adjust the standard of what is considered “sexy” by popular media, I can make one statement that I hope sticks with you: You will always be beautiful to your partner. That “don’t be ridiculous, you look great” you keep hearing isn’t just lip service, it’s the truth.
Your body is just one of a million things that make you the person they want to be with. There are so many more reasons that person decided to be with YOU. While their physical attraction might have been the reason to spark that initial connection, everything from there on has been YOU. And I’m certain if they’ve stuck by you for any significant length of time, they are going to keep loving you just as much regardless of how you look.
I’m sure you’ve noticed it too – the longer you are with someone and the more you fall in love with who they are, the less it matters how they look. So even if you’ve gained a few pounds, a few stretchmarks, some cellulite, some wrinkles – the partner who chose to be with you before you had all that will love you just as much.
And here’s another little tid-bit you should know – 99% of the things you hate about your body THEY DON’T EVEN NOTICE!! Now, I understand this paints men it an unfavourable light – “How could they not notice things about me? Do they not care? Is it intentional or are they just ignorant?”
Well I’m not sure I can speak for all men on this one, but for the most part I believe the good men (the ones you want to be with) actually don’t place much importance on their partner’s appearance. Certainly not as much as their partners put on themselves.
Again, I speak from personal experience here. When Jess points out all of her imperfections as she’s trying on her 4th outfit for the evening or playing with her hair for the 10th time, and mentions all the reasons she thinks she looks bad, I LITERALLY do not see it. And I don’t think it’s because I’m ignorant, or I choose not to; I think it’s because I’m so in love with her that all I see is HER.
When love is pure, like the love for a child or parent or sibling, or in this case the love for your partner, you don’t seek out or detect flaws. You celebrate their strengths, beauty and uniqueness. You place value on all the things you fell in love with and look past the rest.
So the next time you are looking in the mirror or trying on clothes and start to notice all the little imperfections, try to see yourself the way your partner sees you. Or better yet, try to see yourself the way you look at your partner – look past all the flaws and focus only on the things you LOVE. Because that’s what they do when they look at you.