Can we discuss body image and comfort in dating? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-11-2009, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone else feeling like they will be rejected because of (dramatic or subtle) changes to their bodies after birth or due to aging or other issues?

I guess I'm having trouble believing anyone will accept me.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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No, not at all and i have six kids. I've had men who worship my body and tell me they love every part of it and i've had a few men surprised by my body but it didn't stop them from loving it. Finding milk in my breast still was a shocker for a few but again it didn't stop them. The stretch marks, saggy belly they didn't mind. I've been with men who have less then perfect bodies and it didn't stop me. Love yourself, love your body and any good man will fall at your feet.
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Old 10-11-2009, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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On my good days, that's something I see too...that this is an extraordinary opportunity to work on loving myself. Challenging!

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:00 PM
 
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A while back a similar discussion happened, and I've thought about my response many times since then. I know I could never put it into words like I did back then, so I'm going to do some copying and pasting, if you don't mind. This response is pieced together from three seperate posts on that discussion (I'm pretty wordy, sometimes!):

I remember feeling the same exact way! I met my ex when I was 18, 120 pounds at the most, perky B-cups, slim hips and waist, just at my prime body-wise. I married him at 19, had three kids with him and he walked out when I was 30. I remember specifically thinking to myself that no one could possibly want a 30 something fat girl with three kids.

At almost 34 I went on my first date post-marriage. I'd been asked out before but it was never right - I wanted to wait for someone that mattered to me. I didn't want to date just to date. I didn't want men in and out of my children's lives. Anyway... I remember joking around with my best friend about how no man would ever see me naked again, how it wasn't fair because my ex had a hand in making my body what it was (three kids, three c-sections, stretch marks galore, 5'3" and 170something at my heaviest) and he left me feeling almost like damaged goods, body-wise.

But guess what? He did ask me out. I went out with him. And he's been the love of my life ever since. The weight came off (I'm now around 132) because of the stress of the divorce and the happiness of being in love with someone who also loves me, and he says he doesn't even see the stretch marks and c-section flab. He loves me. He loves every single inch of me. He loves the shapely hips and larger (and saggy!) breasts, he loves the soft skin, he loves the things that shape me like a woman. And to tell you the truth - the sex is 100 times better than anything that firm, tight, non-gravity stricken 19 year old could have ever even imagined!

Part II

You know what else, in case you were wondering - - - he also loves each and every one of my kids like they are his own. He has one son who is seventeen now (who lives with him full-time, by the way), so my loud and rambunctious brood would have scared off a lot of men, but not him. He has embraced each of my children - my sometimes moody, always chatty, bouncing from one thing to five others in the space of two minutes fifteen year old daughter, my high-functioning ASD eleven year old son who has major social issues and will never be one of the "cool kids" but is smart and funny and full of love, and my high energy, bundle of fun but will crash into tears if you look at her sideways six year old baby girl. Each one of them has a special place in his heart (and he very much in theirs!) and I have no doubt that he would move heaven and earth or lay down his own life for any one of them. I often joke with him that the easiest way to Mama's heart is through her babies - and as I watch him doing things with them - be it taking the oldest hunting, teaching all three of them to fish and very patiently unsnagging lines, touching everything "icky" and being patient when the little one is more interested in throwing rocks and scaring the fish away, making phone calls to find out about gymnastics for the little girl, or playing endless games of Elefun the Elephant and Don't Break The Ice - and I often tease him that *those* things are the best foreplay imaginable!

Part III

Okay, now I'm getting all weepy thinking about how blessed I am. We've been through a lot over the past two and a half years, we even went through a three month period of time where we broke up and I thought my heart would never heal, but I just feel so lucky to have found the absolute love of my life. You know how when you are going through the lowest points when your marriage ended and you wondered "why on earth is this happening to me?!" I know now. That had to end so I could be this happy and this in love with this amazing wonderful man. Now I'm off to remind him again how much I love him...


And here I am again now, just rereading those words, getting all sniffy, and can't wait to tell him all over again just how much I love him!
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:03 AM
 
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momtwice - there are two kinds of men. one for whom body image is important. of course i am going to be rejected by them. then there is the other group who just does not care. they are able to see beyond the skin.

and the same with age.

and yes i am happy to feel rejected by those men for him age and body is important. really i do. because those the v. men i dont want to be around you know?!!! i have met the other men who are able to 'see' the 'me' and it really is wonderful to be seen. of course that means i dont have that many men knocking at my door. however the fewer men that do knock - i have such an enjoyable time with them.

however i noticed al this happened when i changed my attitude. before i wanted others to be the way i wanted them to be. but hey that wasnt getting me anywhere. so i said fu*k it!!! instead i will live by how i want my world to be. its been unpleasant to others. a surprise - because its not the socially acceptable things to do. but man has it got men interested in me. though that wasnt my goal at all. some of them - the very kind i am not interested in you know. the kind who want to use your strength to help themselves. they have no idea i can see them a mile away.

so today i have become v. v. v picky. for me its all in the head. i have met mature men who are 30 years old and i have met immature chidhish men who are 45 years old. so age is really not a factor. i myself dated older men when i was a teenager. the oldest being 50 when i was 23. out of all the men i have dated, he stands out to me to being the most interesting man i have ever dated. he was even friends with my parents and had a dd who was older than me. his wife had died of cancer. he just could not accept the age gap.

so no. i am proud of my misshapen body. i am proud to look more like a 'fertility' symbol rather than a supermodel. i am proud of my stretch marks. no man is ever going to make me feel ashamed of my body.

however i should say i am v. wierd. i dont fit into the social norm at all. i love growing old. i welcome every white hair and wrinkle. the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world was my gma. she has always symbolised beauty for me since i was a little girl. she was this small trim bent over figure with white hair, a tiny bun, glassess and lots of wrinkles. i have yet to meet anyone who carries herself so regally as my gma did. so not sure how much you should pay attention to my words.

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Old 10-12-2009, 04:31 AM
 
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from a lurker..

there is a wonderful website with lovely pics of mothers

http://theshapeofamother.com/

Women are beautiful from the inside out!

Sharon

Birth doula, doula trainer, ican leader, lamaze childbirth educator, and most importantly, mom of 2 great girls!
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Momtwice View Post
Anyone else feeling like they will be rejected because of (dramatic or subtle) changes to their bodies after birth or due to aging or other issues?

I guess I'm having trouble believing anyone will accept me.
Totally! Im overweight and have a lot of stretch marks. I am seeing someone right now, kind of friends with benefits type situation and I was so nervous about him seeing my body when we were intimate. I wanted the room dark, the bed covers over me and everything!

Unfortunately he does seem bothered a lot by body image, has asked me to shave differently down below and said I should lose some weight, which isn't what I needed to help my self confidence But then again we aren't really into a relationship with eachother, we are just having fun/messing around...so I can't really be expecting him to see past all that stuff if he isn't that into me on a relationship level.

But then, I didn't say anything bad about his body, I wasn't bothered about his appearance, I just wanted to enjoy being with him. So it is kinda weird. He does have a great body though, hes in great shape...im sure I could find something to bring him down about if I wanted to though. I just wouldn't do that to him.

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Old 10-12-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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Samy, I hope you kick that guy to the curb.


Seriously.

Not worth it, *especially* in a fwb situation -- making you feel bad about yourself is a benefit??? I don't think so.


You deserve better, and you will find better!
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:53 PM
 
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Samy, I hope you kick that guy to the curb.


Seriously.

Not worth it, *especially* in a fwb situation -- making you feel bad about yourself is a benefit??? I don't think so.


You deserve better, and you will find better!
Totally agree. Everything in your post screams low-self esteem and setting yourself up for something really bad and this guy is feeding off of it (basing this on your other posts as well--this is NOT a healthy FWB situation). If this is how he treats someone he's not really involved with, imagine if he decided to take things to a relationship level? It's disrespectful, rude, hurtful and downright cruel. If you want to just have fun, there is absoltely someone else out there!!! No one deserves to be treated like they're second rate (and that's what you've described). A little occaisional fun is not worth what you're describing.

As for OP...I'm still married with no intention or desire to date, but the stress of the past decade plus a kiddo have done a number on my body. And I don't like it. And I haven't been comfortable in my skin for a long while--even before things deterioriated with my husband.

One of my first things I intend to do when I move into my own place will be to focus on feeling comfortable in my own skin and getting healthy inside and out. I'm also not planning on dating any time soon. But at the same time, I don't want any part of me not dating to be because I am so self-conscious that I thought no one could be interested in me. So I need to get to where I like my body again. I may choose to date again at some point, but right now I just want to like who I am.

Wierd I know. I don't want to date. But I don't want my own body-image issues to be the reason I don't want to date. :P
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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But then again we aren't really into a relationship with eachother, we are just having fun/messing around...so I can't really be expecting him to see past all that stuff if he isn't that into me on a relationship level.
p.s. If he's actually a "friend", yes you can. Would you take that kind of hurt from a friend and still consider them a friend? Just because you don't want to marry each other doesn't mean the normal common kindnesses don't apply.
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Unfortunately he does seem bothered a lot by body image, has asked me to shave differently down below
I just read something by a sex therapist that said men who prefer this have been watching a lot of porn, because that is the norm in porn, to be clean shaven/waxed. Anyone who asked me to shave or lose weight, I would say goodbye to also. I'm sorry he was so rude to you.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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however i noticed al this happened when i changed my attitude. before i wanted others to be the way i wanted them to be. but hey that wasnt getting me anywhere. so i said fu*k it!!! instead i will live by how i want my world to be. its been unpleasant to others. a surprise - because its not the socially acceptable things to do. but man has it got men interested in me. though that wasnt my goal at all.
This is fascinating (and I love what you wrote about your grandmother) but can you please explain more about what you did that made some people upset but attracted others? I don't understand.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:58 PM
 
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I just read something by a sex therapist that said men who prefer this have been watching a lot of porn, because that is the norm in porn, to be clean shaven/waxed.
I am not sure where you read that, or who the sex therapist was, but it is very untrue on both counts.

It is definitely not the 'norm' in porn to be completely shaved or waxed, although I am sure you could easily find it if that is what you enjoy, just as you could find any of other fetish or turn on that is to your liking.

And all the men who I have known, intimately speaking, who prefer completely shaven/waxed do not watch a lot of porn. In fact, 2 of them were adamantly against porn.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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Me! Major body image issues. Even though I identify as a rad feminist... and it makes me cringe to be one iota insecure.

For me, the part that hurts is that I met my now ex when I was 19 - I don't think (in a purely physical sense) I've ever looked better as I did then.

Now I'm almost 30, and dating again. Two kids later (one by c-section) I'm about 75 lbs overweight, and totally out of shape.

My gf is about 120 lbs soaking wet, and an athlete to boot - so not only is she thin, she's in really good shape and can wear/do/eat anything and look good.

It's been really hard, I'm still working on it. She prances around naked (that's her personallity anyway - to be secure) while I'm the one who refuses to get out of bed/shower without a towel or something.

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Old 10-12-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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The last time I got naked with a man for the first tim i was 130 pounds and had perky boobs and no stretch marks. Now I am extremely over weight and have the marks of three kids.....The thought of letting anyone see me for the first time like this is horrifying. At least with xh we got fat and old together. ya know. This time I am going into it cold.

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Old 10-13-2009, 08:41 PM
 
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This is fascinating (and I love what you wrote about your grandmother) but can you please explain more about what you did that made some people upset but attracted others? I don't understand.
an example. 'how do you do' i hate that line if it was meant casually.

so i would ask the person do you really want to know or are you just making a social gesture. if you dont really care to know how i am doing then please dont ask me that again. or sometimes i would say what a shitty place or great place i was in. i stopped using words like nice, good. but widened my vocabulary and said exactly how i was at that moment, including something like yikes i am running coz i really wanna pee.

in grocery stores, buses, you know general public places where you have a few minutes, i bring up issues to talk about. i dont say anything mean or hurtful but i do talk about stuff. like obama winning the noble peace prize. and i was like woah - what has HE done?!!! and then i saw rachel (forget her last name) newsreport and i share how her newsreport changed my mind. made me understand more. i stand up and say i wont take the flue shot, the h1n1 is bunkum to me... blah blah blah. other times i bring up how hey you wanna lose weight just make sure you break up. you will lose it v. fast. and for quicker response throw in a nursing child and you will just DROP. however i warn them - when you get back to life and start having so much fun that you gain it all back and some more.

many dont like me being so outspoken. talking about how i am really at that moment. how even though it is a shitty cold rainy day outside - i am loving our first day of winter rain.

if someone talks in glowing terms about the caramel latte they are drinking and ask me how i feel about it, i tell them that that is the worst drink i could possibly have. that would make me so sick that i would puke. if i am out on a date and he wants to order my hated dish i tell them dont expect me to have any coz i hate it.

yesterday at the grocery store line somehow the subject of columbus's day came up and i spoke about my 'unpleasant' views on the subject - that instead of celebrating peasce or hope, people are 'celebrating' the biggest genocide in human history.

also i remember my first naked moment after being single. and he didnt have a condom. and i was like oh no. no way. zip it up. later he brought up my dd. and i told him v. honestly why no. mind you i was 40 pounds over weight, stretch marks, AND 10 years older. and he said my attitude turned him on. he even called me kali after that. and he said how he does support and understand why he could not meet my dd and why i wanted protection.

for some me not having the perfect body, and esp. being a mom was actually a huge turn on for them. they in fact admired how i had to balance a fine line to take care of dd.

in my experience the men in my life are far more attracted to the strength of character rather than the body.

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Old 10-14-2009, 11:47 AM
 
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so glad for this thread; i just started an almost identical one over in personal growth. i'm getting ready to meet someone IRL I've connected with online/long distance for the past month. he is a very mature, highly evolved guy as far as i can tell, and i doubt would judge my body *at all*, in fact he has said he would feel honored to get close to me physically, and yet i know that to really make it succesful *I* have to feel confident and sexy in myself.

that doens't mean fitting some stereotype of "beauty" but just really feeling good ~ alive ~ helathy in myself. stress/motherhood/divorce made me feel so far removed from my body and sexuality.

i'm exercising like crazy, eating well, getting good rest, but still there's no way i could imagine getting naked in front of someone, or even feeling his hand on my belly. he's very direct about wanting to give full body massages etc and instead of feeling excited and grateful i just panic! i've only got a couple of weeks to get my head around this...

so this weekend my plan is to do some things i *never* do, just to give myself a little boost. heading to get my brows done, pedicure, sauna (detoxing is GREAT for feeling and looking good), a cute new outfit, some good underwear/sleepwear that is cute but covers up what i need , and embarressingly enough i'm thinking maybe i'll try a tanning salon. i think my wierd looking belly hips thighs might be less glaring if i was somewhat the same color all over...ok, that's my confession out any other ideas appreciated!
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:17 PM
 
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I too am glad this thread got started. I was thinking the same thing... Ive had 2 babes (#1 was stillborn) and Im pg with #3. DH left me after #2 (used sperm bank for #3) and though Im not ready to date right now I will def like to maybe a yr after #3 is born and I too found myself thinking what man would want to be with me looking all nasty with stretch marks and a saggy belly and kids.... I choose kids over men and decided that if he doesnt want me based on looks then he wouldnt be right for me. I still believe that but I am still self conscience about my body. I look at myself in the mirror and think I wouldnt even like me. I even considered getting a tummy tuck after the next one but Im not thinking that I might not.... I need to build confidence so that others can pick up on it and love me as much as I love myself.


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Old 10-14-2009, 08:46 PM
 
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If he's a decent man, he's going to care about you as a whole and not every little thing that makes you up.

Maybe it's because I've grown up some, but I find women far more attractive than 20 somethings with no experience. First, I know I'm not perfect, so how can I ask it of my partner? Second, there's something to be said about a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and who has earned the stretch marks or hips or whatever it is. (Ideally, she'll know what excites her in bed and can show me ... sorry if that's blunt.)

Dump any guy who asks you to change a single thing for him. There's plenty of us out here who are happy to share time with a real woman.

Harry Crews said something along the lines of "you know you're in love if you adore the person's defects."
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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I have to admit when I think about getting naked the insecure teenager inside me who was never comfortable in her own skin wispers in my ear but I try and remind myself any man worth getting naked with will love the idividulality of my body.

Sometimes I just have to take a fake it tell you make it additude.
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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This is such a great thread. I am dealing with this very issue right now and am so worried that any man I end up dating will want someone with the body of a 20-something. (I'm 40 and have 6 yr old twins). I got divorced in August 2008 and haven't been on a date yet. I want to start dating, but am self-conscious about my body. Although, if I do say so myself, I look pretty good for a 40 yr old with twins ; ) but I could certainly lose 20 lbs and firm up. As a single mom, going to school full-time, I don't have the desire to spend any of my limited "free time" exercising just to exercise.

daddyray, thanks for posting this:
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If he's a decent man, he's going to care about you as a whole and not every little thing that makes you up.

Maybe it's because I've grown up some, but I find women far more attractive than 20 somethings with no experience. First, I know I'm not perfect, so how can I ask it of my partner? Second, there's something to be said about a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and who has earned the stretch marks or hips or whatever it is. (Ideally, she'll know what excites her in bed and can show me ... sorry if that's blunt.)

Dump any guy who asks you to change a single thing for him. There's plenty of us out here who are happy to share time with a real woman.

Harry Crews said something along the lines of "you know you're in love if you adore the person's defects."

it's good to hear from a man and while I want to believe there are men out there that are like this, I have yet to meet one. Sometimes I want to give up hoping they truly exist. We shall see.

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Old 10-15-2009, 08:25 AM
 
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A lot of being attractive is being confident. You all know men and women who aren't traditionally good looking, but are really attractive because of their personalities. Some people are born with that kind of self-confidence and personality, but most have to earn it over a lifetime. Even if you need a little improvement here and there, start carrying yourself like you've earned your body; even if you're working on firming it up, just mentally taking power over yourself will show on the outside and will make you more attractive.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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I'm in pretty good shape and I've taken care of myself but my body has definitely built up a few flaws in the years between 18 and 30. For the first time, when I look in the mirror or at photos I can start to see the age in my face. But despite that, I think I feel more confident than ever. I was a girl then, I'm a fully grown woman now. I feel more secure and in touch with my sexuality than I did back then, I know what I want, and I'm happier with myself.
And the same thing goes for the men I'm seeing. I remember the guys I dated in college. I never liked the body builder type, but I remember how impossibly smooth and muscled the swimmers and rock climbers were. Guys in their mid or late 30s don't have the same body, but I'd never want to go back to the 18 year old boys. I like dating actual men with knowledge, experience, sophistication and sure, maybe a pot belly or love handles to go along with it.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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This always helps me get a boost of confidence:
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sbphotogr View Post
This always helps me get a boost of confidence:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

--Maya Angelou...


Maya. She is one of my personal heroes. Thanks for sharing this! What an absolutely beautiful reminder of true beauty, vs commercialized standards.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Manzanita Pixie View Post


Maya. She is one of my personal heroes. Thanks for sharing this! What an absolutely beautiful reminder of true beauty, vs commercialized standards.
Totally agreed. I was thinking it was such a wonderful poem as I read it...then the surprise left me when I saw who'd written it. She is amazing. (And I think I need this framed in my house somewhere!!!)
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:23 PM
 
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I am using my downtime from dating to work on my body image issues. I figure its better to be fit with saggy boobs than fat with them (though, oh boy, if surgery were not dangerous I would buy myself a shiny new pair!)
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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On good days, I don't mind the few stretch marks on my belly and the flabby belly. On other days, I feel like a cow and know I need to lose about 20 lbs asap. I feel awful! but I'm making strides to lose the weight and just make sure I'm healthy in general.

Sometimes I wonder if the reason I don't get asked out as much as I used to is because of the slight weight gain...and not to mention that I'm a single mother.

Book loverread.gif - Sewer sewmachine.gif - Movie lover lurk.gif - Mommy to a wonderful little boy (8/4/08) biggrinbounce.gif - Aspiring writer notes.gif - On a mission to lose 15 pounds - all-around cool chick hippie.gif

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Old 10-22-2009, 10:27 PM
 
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This is so me. I really want to start dating but I'm scared because I'm 20pds more than I should be. I am actually going to start my new diet on Monday. My mil is giving me an elliptical machine and I'm putting it right in my living room. I want to use everyday for 30 minutes.

I keep saying to myself that when I loose the weight than I'll sign up for online dating...but then I just feel like I'm not treating myself right and that I should care.

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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along the lines of the maya poem:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSo2l...layer_embedded

some days i love my body, some days i hate it. sometimes i dress up right and feel admiring eyes on me, sometimes i wear sweats and feel invisible. so far as i can tell my attractiveness is a choice on my part. sure, i have a gut, but so what? i have a brain. i have beautiful kids. i traded my (damned well-shaped) body for two of the best kids around. it's a great trade, in my opinion. and when i stop noticing my imperfections, i see that no one else is noticing them.
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