By Hara Estroff Marano, published on March 1, 2005 - last reviewed on August 14, 2007
I'm 47 and fat—no other way to put it. I've lost nearly 200 pounds but have another 80 to go. I'm involved with a man I originally met online who is 38 and says that until I lose the weight and a few other things we can only be friends with some sex. He has asked me to write an advertisement for him looking for a "sugar mama," an older woman to pay him for sex and companionship in another state. He says if I do this, he would have me move with him and then we could have all the sex we ever wanted. I want a monogamous relationship, though at my age and with my health, maybe this is the best I can hope for. I love this man but I'm not sure how much more I can deal with. I am disabled and don't have much of a social network. As far as I know he's seeing no one else though he's encouraged me to. Then, when I did, he complained to his friends. He knows he has a good deal of power over me.
Neither weight nor disability is reason for any person to ask you to do things that demean you, such as soliciting the companionship of other women for him. This is not what people do who care for each other; people who love each other help each other. Such experiences he's put you through can only corrode the love you think you feel for this man. Just think—if you met one man online you can meet others. By all means, continue to lose weight; it will help you gain a sense of achievement and a feeling of your own power. It will also improve your health. But don't postpone self-respect one minute longer. Get out of the trap of thinking that your losing weight is going to have some magical effect on his character. He's just a lout and it has nothing to do with how much you weigh. Tell your friend that you really like him but you don't like being treated this way and you're through with him. Period.