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Ask Amy: Son's girlfriend had gained weight

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • July 22, 2013 - 1:37 PM

Dear Amy: My son, who is 21, has been dating the same girl for three years. When they began dating she was tiny, but now she has gained a significant amount of weight.

She is petite, about 5 feet 3 inches, but I’d say she weighs 150 pounds. My son is very active and fit. He says it bothers him that she has gained weight and he has tried to encourage her to work out with him. She had a foot injury that prevents her from doing heavy running, etc., and she says she has gained since going on birth control. I’ve heard of women gaining on the pill, but not 30 to 40 pounds! She eats a lot of pizza, carbs, etc.

This relationship seems serious. I’ve talked to my son about it because he is a handsome guy, into fitness, and he is starting to wonder about the future of the relationship if she continues on this path. She’s endangering her health as well as hurting her appearance.

I tried talking to her indirectly, but she said she accepts her weight gain. I also talked to my son about whether I should offer to take her to some of the Pilates and yoga classes I attend, but I wonder if that’s being overinvolved on my part. Is this my business?

I hate seeing this beautiful girl, who is in many ways a good companion to my son, become so unhealthy and probably risk losing him because she is not taking care of herself.

Amy says: I’d say this ceased being your business just before you started talking to your son about his girlfriend’s body and speculating about its effect on their relationship.

If your son brings up this topic with you, your response should be, “Honey, if this is a deal breaker for you, you should discuss this with her, not with me.”

Other than urge this young woman to see her physician for a checkup (significant weight gain could signal a serious health problem), you should stay out of this. If she comes to you for health/weight mentoring, generously offer it.

Left out at pool

Dear Amy: Much of our community life revolves around a swim team for kids and teenagers. During the summer, the team dominates activities at the pool, and most of the children join it at some point.

Our son has been very slow to learn to swim and has not shown an interest in the team. As a result, our family has been ostracized at the pool, despite efforts on my part to organize “moms’ nights out” with neighbors and invite kids over to our house for play dates.

My son is progressing and may join the team someday, but it breaks my heart to see the other kids excluding him because he can’t join them in the deep water. How can we enjoy our pool in the meantime? This feels like high school all over again.

Amy says: The obvious answer is for you to encourage your son to swim for the right reasons — for joy (and safety) — not to join this team (which he doesn’t seem interested in, anyway). A day camp with a more diverse program of activities might be a better fit for him.

Do not try so hard to jump into the neighborhood shark tank, and instead gravitate toward like-minded and more inclusive parents. If this particular pool is populated by aqua bullies, then by all means find a different place to swim.

It occurs to me that you are more socially needy than your son. Imagine the pressure this puts on him. You might have a nicer summer if you grab a good book rather than trying so hard to cozy up to these mermaids.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com.

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