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Uncomfortable with boyfriend being shirtless around others (M22 & M22)


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I have had a bad relationship with my body for about 10+ years now. My anxiety around my body comes and goes throughout the years, but it has flared up recently since dating my new boyfriend (now of 7 months). He has the typical "perfect" body - essentially no body fat, nice chest, six pack abs, etc... I however do not have a body like that - I'm not fat and I'm not skinny, just average. My body is bleh in my opinion. He says he finds me really attractive and that he likes my body, but obviously I can't believe him in the slightest, because why would he like my body when his is significantly better? Surely he could date someone else who has a nicer physique?

 

Anyways, because he's so confident with his body, he is ok with being shirtless at home in his uni share house. During summer (and oftentimes winter) he will walk around with only a pair of shorts on. Knowing this triggers my body image anxiety quite a lot. For me, I see being shirtless around others to be a somewhat sexual thing. Like he's "showing off" or advertising his "sexual availability". The fact that he is bi really doesn't help this situation, because he can be attracted to literally anyone (and a lot of girls may also see him as attractive). I wake up most mornings stressing that one day a new member of his uni household, or a new friend will see him shirtless and try to start making moves on him (and that he would like them, if they have a better body than me, etc.).

 

I have absolutely NO IDEA on what I should be doing to become comfortable with his behaviour. Am I able to ask him to be more modest around others? I don't see why everyone should see him shirtless all the time. It feels like his behaviour is that of someone who would like to cheat/wants attention from others/is still looking for more. If he wants attention, is it because he's not getting it from me?

 

I've started going to the gym to make myself feel a little bit better about my body. I've booked in to a psychologist, but because of COVID-19 wait times are long. But any help would be appreciated, because I'm so lost. It makes me physically sick to think that most of the people in his life have seen his perfect/beautiful body and I don't know if/how I can be comfortable with it. I just wished it was something only I got to see on a regular basis.

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So you are with him based ONLY on his physique?

That’s ultimately what you are saying.

Do you not believe that he deserves better than that???

 

“ He says he finds me really attractive and that he likes my body, but obviously I can't believe him in the slightest, because why would he like my body when his is significantly better? Surely he could date someone else who has a nicer physique?”

 

You have only been with him only 7 months yet you comment on how he dresses in winter and summer? Sorry but you have not been with him long enough to make that statement or that statement to believable.

 

His behaviour is not out of line. Your reaction is.

You don’t trust him.

It does not matter if he is trustworthy or not, if you don’t trust him then leave.

Mistrust in relationships end up in break ups.

So leave now if you don’t trust him .

It’s irrelevant that in hindsight he was trustworthy. You don’t trust him so it would result in break up sooner or later regardless.

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I’ve got a different perception to offer here, as long as you remain as insecure as you currently are, you will be unable to date. How can you trust anyone loves you when you don’t love yourself?

 

I see building your confidence up as the number one most important thing you should be doing right now, while continuing to try and date or as a single person.

 

I’m also quietly hoping you aren’t as shallow as you’ve represented yourself in this post. Your mileage may vary but not everyone selects their partner on the basis of that person’s body. Even more awesome, for some people (myself included) physiques that I previously wouldn’t have looked twice at, become incredibly attractive to me when I’m attracted to the mind and heart that reside within that body.

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I think the way to fix this situation is to actually fix your body image of yourself and your self esteem. Notice I say BODY IMAGE, not body. The biggest problem here is you are very insecure in yourself and you don't think you are good enough. That's why you're worried your bpyfriend will like someone else, because you think you're not worthy of him. Many guys go shirtless in hot weather or just getting out of the shower, at the beach, swimming pool, etc. Really any person can get hit on at anytime, even if they're not shirtless.

 

Maybe your boyfriend is showing off to an extent, but you can't tell people what to do and what they should wear. There are also many women who will wear a tight mini skirt or shorts and crop top to show off their body. It's true, often people who have a nice body like to flaunt it. But you can't actually control other people because being controlling is not good. If you really can't handle it, then you may need to end the relationship.

 

Keep in mind though that body positivity and self love comes from within. If you don't have it then even if you did have a six pack, you may still not like yourself. Trust me, I've been there. I've been slim and fit and hated my body and never showed it off. And I've been chubby and actually like my body more now. Liking yourself does absolute wonders for your life.

 

Great idea to see a psychologist and do therapy! Every morning look in the mirror and say: "I'm sexy and I know it". Even put that song on if you like! Lol But I guarantee you are actually a knockout! Coz your hot muscly boyfriend thinks so and wants to be with you. So tje proof is in the pudding!

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I’ve got a different perception to offer here, as long as you remain as insecure as you currently are, you will be unable to date. How can you trust anyone loves you when you don’t love yourself?

 

I see building your confidence up as the number one most important thing you should be doing right now, while continuing to try and date or as a single person.

 

I’m also quietly hoping you aren’t as shallow as you’ve represented yourself in this post. Your mileage may vary but not everyone selects their partner on the basis of that person’s body. Even more awesome, for some people (myself included) physiques that I previously wouldn’t have looked twice at, become incredibly attractive to me when I’m attracted to the mind and heart that reside within that body.

 

As cliche as this may sound, but the real person is inside that body. The body is just an outer covering. To me it never mattered much what body someone has. Confidence is attractive and people get more drawn to someone that likes themselves.

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I don't think going to the gym will help if your goal is to look a certain way. But if your goal is to feel a certain way -both physically and mentally healthy - - that's different. I suggest going for speed walks (or walks at first till you can speed walk or jog or run) in a natural setting for at least 30 minutes a day where you really get your heart rate up. Listen to music or audiobooks or the radio or whatever -if you like. Feeling better inside -do you eat well- how much water do you drink every day -what kinds of things do you eat/drink you might be able to cut back on to feel better? - that's the key to me anyway. Physically feeling well improves your mental/emotional outlook no matter if you have 6 pack abs or not. Being outdoors will help so much especially during this covid time.

 

And yes don't date him if you don't trust him.

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He has the right to be who he is. If you'll only be happy with someone if they change in a major way, he's not the right person for you.

 

If you lose him, the most likely reason will be that it's hard to love someone who doesn't love himself. Because think about your demeanor--your facial expressions and body language as you are thinking like a worry-wort. All of those toxic thoughts exude in your aura and how you're portraying yourself. Not a pretty picture.

 

It's a joy of life, enjoying your partner's company, and just being in the moment that are some elements of a satisfying partnership.

 

Realize the only control you have is being the best bf you can be, and to choose a partner wisely in that you share the same dating/life goals, and possess the same ethical compass. If things fall apart, you'll survive just fine--that is if you keep a fulfilling life BESIDES have a bf.

 

In the meantime, read some books and articles on how to boost your self esteem and to change the reel you have going on in your mind to more positive self-talk. With practice, you can re-train your brain to think in more positive ways, and believe me, it will show in every pore of your being. When you can think, "I'm a catch, and anyone would be lucky to be my bf." Then you will know you have accomplished self-love.

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You have deep-seated body image issues and he likes being uninhibited (different ideas about modesty). Those are two separate issues completely on top of the third - general fears about his sexuality and attracting "literally anyone". Going to the gym for instance isn't going to make those differences in modesty/inhibition between the both of you go away and nor is it going to erase the trust issues that seem to be stemming from his sexuality.

 

Once you're more self-empowered and have a greater appreciation in yourself, you'll have a better sense of yourself and where your boundaries and limitations are in terms of picking an appropriate partner that's most compatible to you. You'll be able to see where these are issues and where an intimate relationship won't work very well. You'll also be able to see other traits of a person that will make them more of a better friend than a lover or partner.

 

Be kind to yourself. Practice more self-love, raise your self-worth and don't second guess everything. The people around you should reflect a lot of your own beliefs, ideas and approaches to life. If you can stay confident in that I think a lot of areas of your life will eventually align - not always perfectly - but as close to perfect as it will be as we evolve and change with time too.

 

You can work with a therapist on your body image and improve your self-esteem that way but it won't change the fact that your boyfriend and you have different approaches. Both of you will either expand and grow together or change your ideas and evolve together or you'll evolve apart. None of these things are bad things as long as you keep on growing forwards. Even if you do choose to end the relationship for this reason or other reasons down the line, you should know it has nothing to do with your self-worth as long as you keep exploring what makes you happy.

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Have you spoken to him about your insecurities? If he does like you, he should want to help you work through the anxiety and might be willing to cover up more to help your feelings. He can help ease any doubts you might have that someone may become interested in him and that he would like them better. Remember, you choose to be with you, "average" body and all.

 

Also, realize that there is no perfect body. Even people who fit the stereotypes of attractiveness will probably be harsh on themselves about some aspect of their body. What attracts one person, may not attract someone else. I'm skinny, non-athletic, glasses, won't ever see a six-pack, etc. I'm a geek. But girls have found me attractive. And I've been attracted to plenty of girls who don't have so called model looks. In fact, plenty of people most would call "beautiful" I don't see anything in. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So don't place so much emphasis on what people look like.

 

Instead you need to be happy with who you are. Are you healthy? That's what counts. From there, look at the person you are. That is what really draws people in. Are you nice, respectful, kind? A pretty face and nice body might attract superficial attention at first, but is that the attention you really want? Or would you rather people actually focus on and get to know the real you.

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Change your perspective....enjoy the view....I wish I could get to see that everyday. Any guy shirtless I have seen lately is the fat old drunk guy that lives behind me or the old guy down the street cutting his lawn which looks to be wearing just his gaunch. I will be planting some cedars along the back fence next year....

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you say he goes shirtless

 

WHEN HE IS AT HOME IN IS UNI SHARE HOUSE.

 

He is not out strutting down the street in the fall or winter with his shirt off and flexing. he is at HOME.

I am getting the impression that he could have a couple of roommates.

If you are freaked out about him not wearing a shirt AT HOME, then what is he supposed to do?

 

If this were a male/female situation and you had a girlfriend and freaked out that she was in her pajamas in front of her female roommate (top and bottom, but no bra), or that she was going from the shower to her bedroom in a towel wrapped around her with a towel on her head, you would be seen as extremely controlling and need to get a grip.

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So you believe if he kept his shirt on no one would find him attractive?

 

That is a strange mindset.

 

If you went out wearing a nice dress, would it be because you are looking for attention or for people to hit on you?

 

Its two dudes....

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