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Recovering From Obesity

Sex Love and Obesity Part 9

In part 8 of Sex Love and Obesity I was getting on a plane and going back to wrap up my life in Portland – put all my things in my car and move myself all the way across the country to be with the man I had loved for the last 10 years.

I did that. I arrived in North Carolina in February of 2014 after 3 miserable months in Portland of trying to figure out how to tell the people in my life where I was going and what I was doing.

Now let me be honest about what that looked like in my world and how I rationalized this. I didn’t tell them I was leaving and not coming back. I told them I was going to North Carolina to take a job offer at a gym where I had the opportunity to get my start in fitness, build my career, and that I’d be back in a year.

Why? Well I had a lot of good reasons when I made the decision to lie about my plans. The third-party in our relationship asked me not to make any decisions right then. They wanted a chance to get their life together and get settled before I broke the news to my husband and they got faced with the challenge of having to move out on their own and stand on their own two feet financially.

I had this weird sense of broken obligation. I had made a commitment to be a slave. To do whatever he told me and even though he had broken every promise he had made to me along the way, I had some weird sense of financial obligation to make sure that when I left, all his finances were in order.

But more than anything, I didn’t want to face what was happening. I wasn’t ready to say the words “I want a divorce, I’m leaving” out loud because the one thing that I’ve been afraid of my entire life is being alone. If things with Superman didn’t work out, if I needed an escape route in that relationship, a safety net to fall back on, even though I was unhappy, leaving the way I did allowed me a sense of security if things went horribly wrong.

So far, life had shown me that things usually go horribly wrong.

I never used that safety net. I never went back. But things did go horrible wrong, and it was nobody’s fault but my own. I hadn’t even begun to deal with my issues. I had dealt with my obesity, I had dealt with my addiction to food. But I hadn’t come near dealing with the stuff that and drove me there to begin with.

On top of those unresolved issues we had now added to the mix the grief of losing my Father. Something I hadn’t dealt with; I had instead masked it. I had relapsed into smoking several times. When life got stressful I’d pick up a pack of cigarettes, chain smoke, and then quit again.

Back in 2011, stuck in a house in California surrounded by my dysfunctional family and not having food as an available coping mechanism while I was trying to deal with my father passing away, I had started smoking marijuana again as a way of escaping the emotional pain. In the family I come from, drugs are a readily available, accessible and acceptable escape route from our problems. When I’d gotten back to Portland after my father passed away, I had obtained a medical license for it. I had spent the better part of the last 3 years smoking the pain away in one form or another.

I had started drinking. Not to the point that I would consider myself an alcoholic, but to the point that it was becoming an issue. As a bariatric patient, I get drunk fast, it can get away from me quickly if I am not being responsible.

My intentions when I moved in with him were to not do any of those things. I wasn’t going to smoke anything, I wasn’t going to drink. He didn’t do any of those things. His life was low drama other than my involvement in it.

At first things with Superman and I were perfectly fine. For the first few months. I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, our life was everything I wanted it to be and more. I was happy for the first time in as long as I could remember.

But June rolled around, Father’s Day came, and neither one of us was prepared for how that grief was going to hit me. I didn’t know how to ask for help, I didn’t even know I needed it. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I felt like I was suffocating, I felt anxious, I was stressed out.

Then July came around, the anniversary of my Father’s death hit, and it just got worse. I didn’t even know what was happening. There was this feeling in me I couldn’t explain or describe, this pain that nothing made better. I don’t think either of us realized what was happening. I started smoking again. Chain smoking. Something he very clearly told me he found unattractive.

He started becoming distant with me. Less affectionate. I felt rejected.

I understand, now, far too late, that this is where it really started to fall apart. Looking back, I wish I had realized what was happening. I wish I had gotten back into therapy, started trying to get help. I had recovered from my food addiction. But I hadn’t realized that the food addiction wasn’t my primary addiction. My primary addiction was sex.

It makes so much sense to me now. Now that I can look back on it, have gotten into therapy, can reflect on it. I could write an entire book on how sex had been my primary addiction my entire life. But once I started smoking and he stopped being intimate with me, a down whirl spiral was about to ensue.

I was trying to grieve. But I had no idea how to even begin the process. Sex was healing to me. It was one the thing that always made me feel better. Now, the choices I was making were causing him to not want to have sex with me, and him not wanting to have sex with me had my whole world spinning upside down.

I couldn’t do this again. I’d been in sexless relationships for far too long. I needed sex to make me feel better. I needed intimacy to make me feel wanted and loved. But now, in the middle of trying to deal with everything that lead me to obesity and the grief of loss of my father, sex was pretty much being withheld from me.

Him withholding sex from me made me feel abandoned.

I started burying all of that in a bottle. Not just a social drink here and there. No, this was more like, start drinking and don’t stop until you don’t feel anything. This was another behavior he didn’t find attractive. The more I exhibited behaviors he didn’t find attractive the more he disengaged from our sex life. The more he disengaged from our sex life, the more I looked for something else to escape in.

The situation just kept spiraling and neither one of us realized what was happening. I kept looking at the relationship wondering what was wrong with me. I kept wondering why he couldn’t give me the one thing I really needed from him. I tried to tell him what I needed. He didn’t want to lay the blame for the lack of attention at my feet, so he made excuses. He blamed it on age, lack of libido, anything but me.

When the alcohol started to affect my weight, I panicked. Regain was one of the most terrifying things in the world to me. I’d gained all my weight back once before, I wasn’t going to do that again. I stopped drinking and went back to smoking marijuana again. Another behavior he didn’t approve of. The cycle continued.

I think if either one of us knew how much the decisions we were making were hurting each other we both would have tried to fix it. We both would have tried to get me help.

Our relationship just kept circling the drain.

We went close to a year, in this vicious cycle where my actions made him reject me and his rejection pushed me deeper and deeper into my vices. I told him several times that if he didn’t give me the attention I wanted I’d start finding it somewhere else. My threats only made the situation worse.

Eventually, I made good on my threats. I started cheating. First it was a one-night stand at a weight loss convention that I’d never admit happened. Then it was me running off for a weekend to fool around, completely denying it while asking him to drive me back and forth the airport.

In less than two years my inability to recognize I needed help dealing with the grief, my lack of understanding of an underlying sex addiction and my tendency to turn to anything that would make me feel better rather than face it all had all dramatically damaged our relationship.

He was still there though. He wasn’t leaving me or giving up on me. But the lack of sex left me feeling unloved and feeling unloved and rejected by him was something I’d lived with inside of me for the last 12 years and something I just couldn’t do anymore. He loved me. I had no doubt he loved me. To this day I have no doubt that he loves me. But I couldn’t accept love in the way he was speaking it. I was just too broken and damaged to be loved.

Unfortunately for us both, someone else had come along and offered me “happily ever after”.  Someone else was offering me the best of both worlds. Someone else was promising me unconditional love, unwavering acceptance and an absolutely amazing sex life.

Two age-old adages apply to my story here.

For me, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” – I went to go check out other pastures.

For Superman, “If you love something set it free, if it comes back it was meant to be.” – He let me go, without any fight or any resistance to see if I could figure it all out.

Stay tuned for Sex Love and Obesity Part 10 – Broken Promises, Broken Dreams, Broken Pandora


Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Sex Love and Obesity Part 8

In Sex Love and Obesity part 7 we left of with Superman being an unattainable man in my life, me being unwilling to tell him the truth because now that I had lost all my weight for the second time in my life I was plagued with the excess skin issues that still made me uncomfortable with my own body.

It is amazing, the shift that happens after you lose so much weight. I always thought I would lose the weight and life would be perfect. I’d lost 250 pounds, but with all the skin, I still looked like someone who suffered from obesity. I was happy with my weight loss. But, I was still ashamed of my body. I might even say I was more ashamed of my body than I had been before I lost the weight. Because quite honestly when the skin issues set in. there was this mental part that came with it. I had to face the mirror each day and see the damage I had done with my food addiction and with my struggle with obesity. It was hard enough for me to deal with. But it kept me from telling Superman the truth because I really didn’t think my heart could handle the rejection I’d feel if he couldn’t love me because of it.

It was now 2013, I’d been lying to this man for the better part of 10 years.

I was in the middle of planning my exit strategy. I was finally at a place where I knew I was leaving my husband. I had come to terms with the fact that I had to move on with my life. I had stopped working as a phone sex operator. I had accepted that my body even after reconstructive surgery, wasn’t going to be perfect and I wasn’t going to progress that career into video technology. I had started attending weight loss conventions. I had found a new passion to help others that were struggling with obesity. I wanted to do something for a living that I was proud of and I was in the middle of get the education I needed to pursue a career in the fitness and wellness industry.

It was the summer of 2013, I was in Dallas on my last hiatus from home before I started to figure out where I was going when I left. I was just about to undergo my final round of reconstructive plastic surgery. What I looked like after this, was going to be as good as it gets. This was going to be my final outcome. Whether I liked it or not I just couldn’t afford anymore reconstructive plastic surgery to fix anything else.

Superman and I were discussing meeting for the 100th time in the last 10 years. I can only guess that in his mind, we were planning another trip I would never show up for.

My life was in such an emotional place that I honestly can’t tell you how it really went down. Maybe someday I will ask Superman how he remembers it. But somewhere, during planning this trip I think we both assumed would never happen, I remember him saying something to me like, “We’ve been doing this for 10 years. Whatever it is that you need to tell me. Whatever it is you’re lying about, and you are afraid of, after all this time I deserve the truth and the opportunity to decide whether or not it is something I can deal with.”

After 10 years of loving him, years of fearing his rejection. It all came down to this moment…

I told him the entire truth.

I admitted to every lie I had ever told him. I sent real photos and I crossed my fingers held my breath and hoped that he’d be able to forgive me for everything I had put us through and love me regardless.

The following October, I got on a plane and I went to meet this man I had been in love with for nearly a decade.

A two-week trip turned into a four-week trip. We were everything I had always dreamed we would be. The trip had gone perfectly. I had known I loved him for 10 years and I wasn’t wrong. Everything I had done up to this point had been worth it. It had worked. He loved me. We were going to have a future together.

I didn’t want to leave. All my things were in Portland, I had so many loose ends to tie up. I had no job, no income, no idea where my life was going, – all I knew was that I didn’t want to be away from him. I didn’t want to say good-bye. I didn’t want to get on a plane, go back to my miserable life in Portland and face tying up all those loose ends. I just wanted that part of my life to all be over. I wanted to be with him. He wanted me to be with him. We were going to be okay.

I sobbed the entire way on the two-hour car ride to the airport to put me back on a plane.

I could hardly get out of the car when we got to the airport, my legs didn’t want to carry me. He watched me break down, watched me struggle, and part of me resented him a little bit for it. Why was he making me go back? Why didn’t he tell me not to go? Did he not see how much this was hurting? Didn’t he understand that I didn’t know if I was strong enough to face everything I had to go do?

We sat at a little table outside the path that leaded to the TSA checkpoint postponing our good-bye for as long as we could. He was on his phone. At first, I was angry. Here we were about to say good-bye, part of me questioned whether we would ever see each other again. I silently wondered if he was putting me on a plane and sending me home so that he could break up with me when I got back there instead of having to break the news to me face to face.

It wasn’t long before he sat down the phone, held my hand, looked me in the eye and in that voice that had been my solace for so many years explained to me that he had been texting his roommate and making sure that what he was about to offer was alright with him. He suggested that I didn’t have to go home, that this could be home for me now. We could have them pull my bags off the plane, put them back in the car and I could put an end to all this right then, stay with him, figure the rest out as we went.

I wanted this entire saga to be over. I wanted to not be a sex slave. I wanted to not be with someone who wanted to control me, take advantage of me. I wanted to not ever answer another phone sex call again. I wanted a normal life, with a normal man who loved me as much as I loved him.

Every single fiber in my being told me to stay.

All I wanted to do was get back in the car and go back with him. But that little voice in your head that plays the devil and angel on your shoulder started talking. How do I explain to people waiting for me back in Portland that I am not coming back? What about all the things I have there? What if they get so angry at me that they destroy all my things? What about my dog? What about my car? What about my Dad’s things? All I have is what is on the suitcases on that plane. Can I just let it all go and risk losing it all?

I didn’t want to get on that plane. But I knew that I had to. I had to go back and get the things that were important to me. Strangely enough, I suddenly had the strength to do it. His offer had given me the strength and confidence in the fact that we were going to be together in the end. I wasn’t afraid of the sting of his dismissal and rejection hitting when I got back home. His offer to let me stay right then and there told me everything I needed to know. He loved me. Somehow, after years of lying to him, he’d forgiven me. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t the girl in the photos anymore. I was me, and that was who he wanted.

I got on the plane, went back to Portland and started the wheels in motion to move to the other side of the country to start a new life. Superman and Lois Lane against the world. I’d fought obesity and I’d won. I was on my way to a brand-new career, I had the man of my dreams. This story should have had a happy ending. Should have. But things don’t work out quite the way they should sometimes.

Stay tuned for Sex Love and Obesity Part 9 – I was too broken and damaged to be loved.


Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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