One of the downsides of being in a long-term relationship is love chub—the extra pounds that can creep on when you get so comfortable as a couple, you stop doing all the activities you did when you were single, like meeting friends and the gym or just being more on the go and active.
But what happens when love chub goes too far and becomes morbid obesity? One man says his relationship with his wife has caused her to gain more than 200 pounds. She now weighs in at over 400.
"Her body at present is partially my fault because I catered to her desires around food," user Capable_Bird wrote on Reddit. He went on to explain he recently started going to therapy, where he's working through not being able to say no to people. "I really want everyone to be happy and feel bad by disappointing them. I also just want them to like me."
Capable_Bird traced his "craving for approval" back to his childhood. Then, he realized the role this has played in his marriage. "This need to please people showed up with my relationship with my wife in the form of me providing her with vast amounts of crappy food."
He wrote that he likes to show people how much he cares about them by doing things to make them happy. With his wife, that meant supplying her with all the unhealthy foods she continues to ask for.
"I do things that make it possible for her to eat as much as she does, like going out to get whatever she wanted," he wrote. "I'd bring home fast food for almost every dinner, and go to the corner store to buy the junk food she binges on, and had a really hard time saying no. I just felt too controlling if I suggested she eat something better."
Her diet is "exclusively fast food," he said, explaining that she gets her meals from McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, and other franchises. She also eats frozen microwaveable meals, like Hot Pockets and mac and cheese, as well as processed snacks, such as Cheetos and Pop-Tarts. For dessert, she has Twinkies, candy, and more, he wrote.
Thanks to therapy, Capable_Bird recently decided it was time to stand up to his wife. But it hasn't gone over very well.
She refuses to eat anything he cooks. Even when he tried to make healthier versions of her favorite McDonald's menu items, she didn't want anything to do with it. She throws tantrums, locks herself in the bedroom, becomes aggressive, and doesn't give up until she gets what she wants.
"I mentioned I stopped picking up junk food for her," he wrote. "Seeing as she hates leaving the house, you'd think she wouldn't have had any since then. But that lasted only as long as it took her to sign up for Uber Eats, in other words a few hours." To make matters worse, she spends his money to get the food delivered.
And it doesn't stop there. "I found out that she recently made an account on a fetish website for the purpose of finding men to pay for her food expenses in exchange for pictures and videos of her eating. She says everything she sends will be clothed so it's not cheating."
Needless to say, Capable_Bird feels stuck.
Food addiction isn't an official medical diagnosis, "but there are individual practitioners who believe, based on their view of current research, that it is a concept that has utility,” Chevese Turner, chief policy and strategy officer for the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), previously told .
Programs similar to Alcoholics Anonymous do treat food addiction. Experts are skeptical of them, though, because they worry that a treatment plan which asks people to abstain from certain foods could encourage disordered eating.
Many who live solely on junk food will unfortunately continue to do so until they're faced with a major health issue, like a heart attack or stroke. This could sadly end up being the case for Capable_Bird's wife. But by refusing to enable her eating habits any longer, Capable_Bird is doing what he can to help.
If someone you love is struggling with something that seems like a food addiction, speak with your physician about what to do. You can also call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.