“Hello. My boyfriend is dating two new girls, they are both super attractive and even nice. They both play many sports and are very very fit.
I have been struggling with my body image for years… and it got worse when i had problems with my spine.. some nerves got damaged and some of my leg muscles are less developed so my legs got saggy af. I am working out a lot but i will never look like these girls. It hurts me and him dating them makes me even feel less attractive.
He tells me he finds me more beautiful, because i have curves and he loves my curves and softness. Maybe he is just saying that to make me feel better. He also says that he really doesn’t care if a girl is thin or full, he even has sex with girls who are a little bit chubby and he finds them beautiful.
I thought an open relationship would be fun. It makes me super self-conscious about my body and i just don’t want to take my clothes off anymore. It feels like every compliment he gives me is fake.”
Dear Helpless Bananas,
I hear from a lot of folks trying non-monogamy for the first time about how difficult it is to see their partners meet and date really beautiful and incredible people. That mentality cuts two ways. First is the insecurity it reflects back onto us about our own self-image. The second is the fear it instills in us that our partners could leave us for someone “better”.
Mark Twain once said that “comparison is the death of joy.” The spirit of that quote is that if you constantly look onto your neighbor’s plate, you are going to have difficulty appreciating what is on your own plate. It is an advice I come back to time and time again when I deviate from my own practice of maintaining my self-esteem. I think even you recognize yourself that the feelings of insecurity that you’re feeling are really more about you rather than anyone your partner is dating.
So take some time to reflect on your own self-image regardless of what your partner’s other partners look like. Instead of depending on your partner’s reassurances, learn to provide and support those reassurances yourself.
A common misconception around non-monogamy (especially from monogamous folks) is that openness leads to each other leaving for someone better. To them, I say that “better” is purely subjective. You clearly scratch a specific itch for your partner that none of the other partners can reach. And instead of dispelling his words, really listen to the core message in what he is trying to convey; he clearly loves you deeply and appreciates you for you.
And if you can step away from your insecurity for a bit, it also speaks volumes about the attractiveness of your partner that he can date and attract other beautiful people, yeah? And he is choosing you every day he is with you.
Think of it this way. A banana does not need to outapple an apple. An apple does not need to outbanana a banana. They each have wildly different textures and flavor profiles. So keep being the banana-y you that he fell in love with.
Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.
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