Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I have been trying to meet the right guy for quite some time. But I always run into the same problem. I am a bit overweight and no one seems to be interested in such a build.

I don't know what to do. I am ready to give up dating altogether. Please help!

Mimi


Dear Mimi,

One of the toughest dating problems is the weight problem. A weight issue is usually reinforced by something much more detrimental to dating success -- low self-esteem. It contributes to a vicious cycle: dating, rejection, low self-esteem, dating again, more rejection, worsening self-esteem. The pattern is intermediately reinforced by overeating for comfort.

In order to break the cycle, the first thing to do is work on your self-esteem. Think about ways you can enrich your life and help you feel better about yourself. This could be drama, creative writing, music, dance, aerobics, or any other creative or intellectual outlet. Try to find a facet of yourself that has been under wraps for too long, or an interest that you have never explored before. Expanding your horizons and/or enhancing your talents should help you view yourself more positively.

The next part of the weight issue is sometimes more discouraging than "simply being overweight." Sometimes, an overweight person will diet, lose weight and feel good about him/herself -- and then become discouraged when the weight loss fails to produce more positive dating results. So be realistic: Thinness does not guarantee that you'll meet the "man of your dreams" or that you'll instantly overcome the same dating difficulties everyone else faces.

We suggest that anyone with a weight issue (or any other major issue that impedes dating success) use a combined approach to improving their dating success. First, address the issue as constructively as you can. This doesn't necessarily mean that you should lose a lot of weight; we know that can be difficult for many people. However, you can try to adopt healthier eating patterns, get regular exercise to achieve optimal physical health (exercise is also great for elevating your mood), and make the most of your appearance through wardrobe and grooming. Don't hesitate to buy nice clothes and choose a flattering hairstyle because you are overweight! Taking good care of yourself will enhance your self-esteem and will always pay off.

The second part of the combined approach is to make a concerted personal effort to meet suitable dates. While society has conditioned us to prefer thinner people to heavier ones, and that by losing weight a heavy person will have more opportunities to date, it isn't necessary to have a slim figure in order to have good marital prospects. A good self-image, a pleasant appearance and a positive attitude are assets that can help you be attractive to others and find a life partner.

Commit yourself to setting aside a certain amount of time every week to work on dating. Get involved in synagogue or community activities that give you an opportunity to meet other singles -- at the same time you attend a great lecture, learn Thai cooking, or help a worthy cause.

This also means enriching your relationships with friends, relatives, synagogue members and co-workers -- and asking them to help introduce you to potential dates. It also means utilizing matchmaking and internet dating services.

We can't deny the fact that people who are not overweight will have it easier and heavier people will have more difficulty attracting potential dates. Unfortunately, more and more people put the word "slim" on their dating "wish list." That's just reality. However, intelligence, humor and competence can make someone more attractive than a pretty face; many happily married people who were not initially attracted to their spouses found themselves becoming more attracted to them as they got to know them.

So remember that not every guy out there is looking for slimness. People of all shapes and sizes date and marry. Many very good dating candidates will appreciate you for your fine personal qualities, which you can enhance with healthy self-esteem and a pleasant appearance.

We wish you all the best.

Rosie & Sherry