Body positivity: What to say or do if your partner has a negative body image

If you thought that only women had body image issues, think again. Men can have it too! Read on to find out what you can say to your partner with body image issues.
supporting partner
Support your partner with body image issues. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 23 Jan 2023, 13:24 pm IST
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The way you perceive your body can make a world of difference to your state of mental health and even how you manage your relationships. Many people may not be happy with their bodies. Some battle with it to the point that they resort to ways to alter their looks. And it’s not just a woman’s thing! The male body image is also for real! Men who struggle with a negative body image also live in a society where the “ideal male body image” is promoted. This struggle can go on for long, even after they become adults. As a partner, you should be understanding and help in promoting body positivity. Start by saying the right thing to your partner who has body image issues.

HealthShots reached out to Gurugram-based clinical psychologist Aishwarya Raj to know how you can help your partner who has a negative body image.

Body image plays a role in a romantic relationship

Thanks to advertisements, guys, especially teenagers, frequently feel insufficient about their muscular growth. But this is not the sole cause of body dissatisfaction (Covid-19 anxiety is causing body image issues). Men who look like they have less body fat are typically seen by their peers as being more manly and appealing, says the expert. Men are often told to repress their feelings, so many are reluctant to speak up. And if your partner doesn’t open up to you, there will be problems. Turns out that body image issues can impact sexual intimacy in quality as well as quantity. Also, a negative body image makes the person feel less secured in a romantic relationship.

body image
Body image can come in the way of your relationship. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What to say to your partner with a negative body image?

1. Ask what they need

It’s crucial to be helpful in the ways your partner needs you to be if you want them to turn to you for assistance when they are having trouble. Ask them what they need right now, and then do your best to provide those needs, suggests Raj.

2. Emphasise on positive body image development from inside

Positive body image development from inside that is independent of outside validation, is a long-term objective of managing body image issues. Nevertheless, giving someone who is having body image problems this affirmation may be quite beneficial, especially if your partner has just started to get better.

3. Praise your partner

Showering your partner with affection and praise is a good thing to do, but it’s preferable to compliment them on qualities unrelated to their physical appearance. They will understand that you have eyes that look beyond appearances. You can say something positive like, “you are helpful”. You can even talk about your partner’s kindness.

body image
Say positive things to your partner to promote body positivity. image Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Tell your partner how well their body functions physically

To promote body positivity, you can tell your partner how well their body functions physically and what makes it wonderful. Try to encourage your partner to respect and love their own body. Demonstrate to them how amazing their body is in its own right.

5. Never mock your partner’s food choices or diet

We should include essential nutrients in a balanced diet to stay healthy. Even if your partner isn’t doing that, don’t make fun of their food choices or diet. You might find their food choices to be unhealthy, but it’s best not to mock them. They might become more aware of their eating patterns, fitness level, and physical appearance. This might lead to an eating problem and have a negative impact on their health.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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