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Ask Amy: Bossy spouse wants husband thin again

Ask Amy: Bossy spouse wants husband thin again

Dear Amy: I admit it, I’m bossy and controlling.

My husband of 30 years naturally pushes back when I pressure him too much, and I try very hard to accept that he’s an adult and is entitled to his choices if they don’t affect me. It’s taken a long time to get there, and reading your column has helped!

But he has put on a lot of weight recently and is now at an unhealthy weight, with a big waistline (not good for a 65-year-old).

I squandered my allotment of unsolicited advice years ago, but now it really matters! I hoped a recent doctor visit would bring about a realization, but evidently she said nothing to him about his weight.

I think doctors are just wary of advising people about weight these days, but he was pretty thin until 20 years ago, and has never paid attention to his weight.

I don’t know what to do now.

Any advice on how I can get him to accept that some changes need to be made?

I’ve had a heart to heart about how I want him around for a long time, but it didn’t result in any changes.

– Still Bossy, But Trying

Dear Bossy: According to you, your husband was “pretty thin until 20 years ago.” So his weight gain does not seem to be all that sudden (although he might have reached a new threshold recently).

You describe yourself as bossy and controlling, and while I applaud your efforts over time to change, your entire narrative is a search for ways to boss and control your husband, now. Your perspective seems to be that this would be the perfect time to offer lots of unsolicited advice to your husband, but you’ve used up your lifetime supply.

Your husband already knows he is overweight. He might in fact have discussed this with his physician – but maybe he doesn’t want to discuss it with you.

You should ask – not tell – your husband if there are ways he would join you in establishing or maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Would he join you on a daily long walk? (Perhaps he would rather plug into a juicy podcast and go on his own.)

Otherwise, my instinct is that the less you worry, push, and interfere, the more your husband may face the realization that he (not you) bears the responsibility for his own life and health.

Dear Amy: I am working with some of my high school classmates on our upcoming 50 th reunion.

We want to honor our classmates who have passed with a picture and obituary, and I have been helping to find those documents.

One of our classmates died by suicide a few years after graduation, I believe as a result of postpartum depression. I was saddened to hear about this. Although I did not know her personally, she was a person I admired throughout high school.

I located her obituary, and found that she left behind two young children. I searched to see if they still lived in the community, and I found her daughter on Facebook.

I wondered if my classmate’s daughter would be interested in meeting some of her mother’s friends at our class reunion next year.

If she is interested, it could be a healing moment to learn about her mother and hear how loved she was. At the same time, her daughter might have strong feelings of sadness or anger about her mother’s death.

Should I contact her to invite her to our reunion? I’m happy to drop the idea if she is reluctant in any way. I’m wondering if my idea is compassionate – or creepy.

Your opinion, please?

– J

Dear J: There is nothing creepy about including surviving family members in your reunion celebration. You seem to believe that there might be more grief or anger regarding a classmate who died by suicide, but I submit that any premature death is a deeply felt loss, and you should shed any supposition of shame or embarrassment for these survivors.

If it is at all possible, I think it would be a great idea to invite any local family members of classmates who have died (including elder surviving parents).

Dear Amy: Many thank yous for your compassionate response to “Feeling Very Manipulative,” the American-Israeli mom who was so worried about her husband going to Israel to fight in the war. I cried when I thought about what this family was going through.

– Saddened

Dear Saddened: I found this dilemma absolutely heartbreaking.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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