Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Boyfriend's weight problem isn't girlfriend's responsibility to fix
Washington: My boyfriend is really overweight but doesn't really do anything about it. A few times I have mentioned that I was worried about his health, and he says he will make some changes but never does. It keeps me up at night and makes me miserable. I guess I just have to accept that he will likely never change. For what it's worth, he was not like this when we first got together.
Carolyn: Well, maybe he will change someday, but he's not inclined to change based on anything you do or say. That much you've learned.
Before we get into the choice you need to make, though, I think it's important to make a connection between his weight and his habits. Since you say it wasn't always this way, I'm assuming he has become sedentary and/or indiscriminate about what he eats. If he eats well and lives an active life — in other words, his weight gain is just from a metabolism slowed by age — then you might be wasting hours of sleep over nothing.
If he has become a slug, then you still can be more specific in approaching him: either, "You sit around all day snacking, and I really miss doing stuff together"; or, "I find myself resenting that you don't take better care of yourself. I don't want to curtail our activities — or bury you — for a completely preventable problem."
If his epiphany isn't forthcoming, then your choices are either to stay with him and make peace with the risks — or to break up.
Finally, if this is really about your attraction and not his health, then that changes the conversation, if not the ultimate choice.
Anonymous: Re: Overweight boyfriend: If the boyfriend hasn't become a slob, it's possible he's naturally predisposed to be heavy and was only keeping himself thin via unhealthy/disordered eating. Obviously the girlfriend may still feel duped or unhappy because she no longer finds him attractive, but the weight gain may be a GOOD sign that he's stopped hurting himself.
Carolyn: Something to consider, thanks.
Parents are only human; do your best, learn from mistakes
Parent: I broke my marriage vows and have since tried to work it out with my spouse. I now fear my child will grow up to hate me.
Carolyn: You're talking about one act. Parenthood is the accumulation of a lifetime's worth of acts. Start being the parent you'd want to have if you were your child. Start today. And, if you ever find yourself deviating from that again, start again — with your very next act — to be that parent.
Anonymous 2: Re: Being the parent you would want: I think I'd rather have a parent who has made mistakes and worked to make up for them, who understands that it's human nature to slip up, and who (most important) applies that understanding when I make mistakes of my own.
Carolyn: Hear, hear.
Parent again: Thanks for letting me see a ray of hope. It made me cry with relief at my desk.
Carolyn: Think of this as a group tissue.