How do we help those with low body confidence

There has been much on here about those with body confidence issues . My wife has really low confidence, it frustrates me , but I want her to believe that I find her very sexy .
To me , it seems that it is very easy to say the wrong thing.
How do I reply , when she says “I’m all fat and flabby " ?
If I say " no youre not” , she’ll say that she is , and an argument starts.
If I was to say " I don’t mindc, because I find larger women sexy" ( which I do ) , that would one confirm , in her mind , that she is “fat” ( I hate that description) .
Im sure I’m not alone in this , and it applies in every kind of relationship.
Confidence is sexy , helping our partners would be a win-win .
How do we help tho ?
Ps , I should have added a huge thanks to Lovehoney , for the use of several ( very sexy , I might add) plus size models . They deserve much praise for this

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I think when a woman does have these insecurities there isn’t going to be a lot you can say to change her mind and yes you can easily say the wrong thing even though you’re not meaning it that way.
I would just pay her random compliments, example if she wears a dress for a meal out then say something like I love the way that dress flatters your backside. I think the little hints of compliments comes across a lot more reassuring.

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Honestly, you need to take your feelings and your opinions out of the conversation.

Feeling good in your own skin isn’t something that you can be given by anyone else. (Although you can definitely make someone not feel good in their own skin).

As @Deanna32 said, little, natural compliments are good. Touches, smiles, appreciative looks.

But pushing things will feel forced and therefore not genuine. Don’t try and insert something into every interaction, or keep bringing it up.

If she asks for help, help her but ultimately it’s down to her

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This is a minefield, as you say it’s very difficult to say the right thing and often our compliments are misconstrued.

Think it’s human nature for all genders to only see the what they perceive to be their faults, unless they’re complete narcissists.

You don’t say how old your OH is or if she’s had children. Ageing, illness and childbirth all change the body, it’s normal.
Men’s body alter with age too.

It’s a shame that tv, magazines and social media promote unattainable archetypes of how we “should” look. But often these archetypes are acheived via surgery, clever make-up and poses, photoshop and these models have personal trainers, awful starvation diets and are not holding down a job, raising a family etc.

We are our own worst critics and often fail to see, willfully ignore or disbelieve that our OH’s see us as attractive and sexy.

If only our OH’s could see themselves through our eyes.

If your OH says she’s fat, tell her she’s not, she’s curvy and that you love her curves.
Daily compliments cost nothing, nor do arms round shoulders, hugs and holding hands, little things count.

Trust me, i’m no expert and i know it’s a constant battle of confidence building and reassurance, but it’s worth a try.

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Confidence is sexy, and this comes from within yourself. That is what I find. Having said that I believe you giving her compliments does build up a person’s confidence. I remember reading that for every negative word a child receives, needs 7 or 10 positive ones to counteract the negative. I think because its easier to accept the negative with more belief, this takes a lot to get out to the negative mindset. I think practicing gratitude helps change your thought process and paves the way for belief in the good. Yeah, being sincere in appreciation of her is wonderful but I wouldn’t be saying these things all of the time just for the sake of it. Therapy has helped me tremendously, she says tough things but also really reassuring to me about what I’m doing well on and its soo helpful to me.

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All i can think of is that you should remind her that you find her very attractive.

Whenever my wife steps out of the shower in front of me, i cant help but stop to have a better look, if you’ve been thinking of her all day, tell her…
I like to take her in my arms and hug her, and let her know regularly and pretty explicitly that i find her very sexually attractive.

Telling her she looks nice in XYZ outfit can help too.

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I can relate to your OH. I am not plus size but I still have tremendous difficultly with my self confidence. It can happen for all manner of reasons. Most of the time it’s absolutely illogical.

I told my husband from the get go that I really struggle with it, but Ive known that it’s a me problem and I shouldn’t rely on him to build my identity. I know this, but it’s just so, so hard.

I think it’s great you are reaching out to see what else you can do, because that in itself shows you care.

What helps me, besides the nagging knowledge that he doesn’t need to do anything nor should I expect him to, but it’s him just him being steadfast in his opinion of me, and his actions matching his words. Like it’s obvious to him, to an extent he doesn’t even labour it, to pander to my insecurities even. When he feels like it he will say it. He often just says I love you. Not a comment on my appearance, but just me.

To be honest overdoing it on the physical compliments can make it feel like you’re compensating for something and then our weird brain just goes he’s just saying that so you feel better he doesn’t really think it and that’s why he’s saying it so much.
Also, if she’s anything like me, receiving compliments makes me physically recoil naturally - it’s just difficult to receive. Yet we crave it. A paradox I cannot explain. I’m not sure why, and that’s maybe something a professional can decode.

But that’s not to say stop giving compliments! Like others have said, keep going with the random touches, compliments etc because it does sometimes help from a massive spiral from happening. Because if you stop then it’s like “he stopped liking me, our worst fear came true!” We do need looking after in that way. What you are doing is valuable and don’t think it’s not helping because it definitely is.

Take or leave this next bit but what also helped me was my husband one day said to me “it actually hurts me you don’t believe me when I tell you what I think about you” (or something to that effect)

I was mortified that by fighting him on his compliments similarly to your OH, I had hurt him. He took it as I thought him a liar or I didn’t trust him to some degree and when I thought about it I realised I was disrespecting his opinion by denying it.
I had no idea, because it’s far too easy to be self centred when you are in that self hate zone. That has a ripple effect in other areas of the relationship.
It snapped me right out of it. I still struggle daily, but now instead of fighting him I smile at him and say really? Thank you my love.
And make an effort to believe him, for me. For us.

Practically for your OH…. Everything everyone already said with regards to her needing to find healing for herself. She’s hurting in that department but that doesn’t discount your feelings too, perhaps a gentle conversation, at a time where it’s appropriate, in a neutral space of course, to ask why she thinks this way and that you want her to love herself as much as you love her. Maybe you could tell her it hurts you, she might not have considered it yet?
Obviously take everything I said with a pinch of salt, I don’t know your intricately woven relationship so I hope something here helps somehow if not just a perspective. :slight_smile: I really hope she realises how loved she is and that you continue to have the strength to help her through it. :slight_smile:

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Low body confidence is all a state of mind and sadly it’s very hard for someone to reprogram the thought patterns unless they’re willing themselves to try.

We can help by always talking positive and giving them compliments even if half the time it’ll fly over their heads but to have that grounding support of positivity is very important to their progress.

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My wife is the same, sometimes it doesn’t what you say to reassure them they don’t see what we see as there partner/husband/wife I have found if I just listen to her when she is feeling “fat” that day I just try to treat her, or we go for some fresh air or anything to take her mind off how she is feeling. :+1:t2:

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That is one of the most common responses of mine, if only you could see yourself through my eyes you would see how gorgeous you are!
And I have to say, my OH is truly gorgeous to me. She has hang ups about herself, thing’s I’d never even notice myself, and that’s OK. I can only tell her that I love her for who she is.

As others have mentioned, the only person that can change their image of self, is that person. It can feel like a minefield, so I try and just leave compliments randomly, and leave them there. If I get push back, I just say I’m sorry she see’s it differently.
I tell her I cannot change her self image for her. Only she can own that.
Likewise, I own my own image of her, she’s gorgeous to me.

I do try and make sure that compliments are not always leading. Sometimes it is if I am leaving for home, before she goes to work. It can be a minefield, and I guess with time I remember where I have trod before and the times they’ve blown up.

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I never really liked my body. That’s changing a bit, but it may always be a thing for me.

I think my increase in confidence is partly due to not having options. I guess I have GF to thank for that. She just couldn’t keep her hands off me, even in the beginning of our relationship. Didn’t matter if we were alone, or in front of friends. I figured out pretty quickly that whether I was comfortable or not, her hands were going to be on me and others were going to see my body. Not cumming was not an option…so I had to come to terms with being embarrassed.

I feel like I get my attractiveness from that of my partners. If my hot GF wants to handle me, then as long as she’s with me I don’t have a confidence issue. Going solo…zero confidence. With a partner…everything is fine.

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Any time that question comes up, the person is looking for reassurance so I’d ask them what has them feeling that way, with empathy not frustration.

My partner loves putting cream on my tummy and feeling my softness, my intial thoughts of course…

😉

It puts the lotion on the skin or it gets the hose

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I have struggled with body confidence myself (as a male) and my weight has been on a yoyo ever since I was a young boy. Anything I do for my health has a massive benefit on my mental health.
Exercise, paying attention to my diet and losing any weight at all really improves how I feel about myself. That’s my own personal experience.
In terms of my wife, she looks in the mirror (like so many people) and immediately goes to what’s wrong with herself - there is a lot of cultural conditioning around that.
I tried things with my wife that I had tried for myself.
Look in the mirror and look for something you do like about yourself - what are your favourite things about your eyes, your face, your legs … anything. It changes what direction you are heading in mentally.
Also, we think about time. Have you ever had a photo of yourself that you hated, and looked at it again ten years later with fresh eyes? We have a saying, ‘you’ll love every picture in ten years!’
Again, we try and imagine being 90 years old and how happy we would be with the body you have today, from that point of view.
Essentially, I think it’s about changing your viewpoint. It’s easier said than done, but if you practice it a lot, it begins to change how you feel.
I would say, if you want to compliment her, do it from an authentic space - what do you love about her? What are the little things? Is it her smile? How soft she feels? How she makes you feel?
Sounds like you are already being a great morale booster. I love threads like this.
We are all beautiful, flawed and wonderful in our own ways.
Keep sending love :lovehoney_heart_2: :heart: :slight_smile:

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Thanks for some great , and thought provoking replies .
One of my "problems " is that i find her belly really sexy , Ive always had a “thing” for larger women . I love seeing my wife naked , with her lumps and bumps . When shes just come out of the shower , all naked and wet it turns me on like mad , but how can I tell her , how much I love her plus size , without it backfiring and causing her great hurt ?
Its a real paradox

@Weeradge Does your wife know that you post on the forum? Could you show her your posts? I think seeing what you’ve written makes it clear how you feel and also the frustration you are feeling that you can’t get through to her. Maybe if she reads what you’ve written it might help? Personally this forum has made so much difference to how I see my body - just reading posts from people on here saying how much they like their partners bodies makes me realise that, when my husband says he likes my belly, he probably means it!

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I can relate to your wife as I too feel like that, it doesn’t matter what anyone says, I still feel that way, I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. Unfortunately most of it is in our minds, we see things different to what others might see, like everyone else is saying compliment her every chance you get and she might start to believe it, i still don’t believe it when someone compliments me though.

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No , she doesn’t know . Ive often thought about deleting my account , and “finding” the form , while we browse lovehoney, so we can share the experience, if you get what I mean

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You wouldn’t necessarily need to delete your account - either be honest with her and show her you account or sign out and show her the forum as you suggested and maybe even set up a new account as a couple?

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Hi, I am going to share my own experience, but it may not be a solution as everyone is different.

My body confidence fluctuates as I have body dysmorphia and also body dysphoria as I am a non binary person. But I’m also really curvy.

Something that has helped me massively is going on my self love journey to accept and love myself the way that I am. Because this body has done so much for me. I like to affirm things such as “I am beautiful”, “I am confident”, “I am badass” ect.

Another major helpful thing is wearing lingerie!! Lingerie that makes me feel confident. And sometimes you have to go through and try and few different ones until you find one that makes you feel sexy and beautiful. Even if it’s not for my partner but to wear it for myself. Something that gives me a big confidence boost is having a mini photoshoot in the lingerie. It has been incredibly helpful in changing my views on my body.

As your wife’s partner I would recommend just reassuring her that you find her sexy because our own self confidence does vary from day to day.

Hope this can be somewhat helpful for you! :smiley_cat:

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