We often talk about Love in a marriage in terms of “forever,” but we rarely talk about what that means. How do you get to forever? Many of us haven’t even been with the same car insurance company for over a decade, yet we automatically assume we all posses the loyalty necessary within us to truly Love someone unconditionally in sickness and in health, til death do us part.

This week on BadOnLineDates.com, I was asked to write about one such scenario where you might still Love the person you’re with but you you are no longer physically attracted to them. In this specific instance, I was asked to write about what happens when your partner, by choice or complacency, decides to let themselves go during the course of the relationship. What recourse do you have? How are you supposed to feel? When it comes to physical maintenance, what do you believe is your partner’s responsibility in the relationship and what is yours? Or do you believe that a committed relationship dictates that someone should love you for what you have on the inside regardless of how you begin to look on the outside? Please keep these questions in mind as you read the following excerpt from BOD, A Man’s POV: When the Woman You Love Gains Weight, and use the comment section below to share your general thoughts or personal experiences with similar situations in your own, friends, and/or family’s relationships.

Look, I know we all gain weight over the years. Thirty-year-old WIM is not as slim as twenty-year-old WIM and chances are forty-year-old WIM will be bigger than both of them, possibly put together. Many of us need travel no further than our favorite social media site of choice to see the shrinking hairlines and/or expanding waistlines of our former teenaged peers. But, who cares if the High School jock I never liked is now bald and overweight? I’m not dating that guy (although if you are the guy dating that guy, not that there’s anything wrong with that!). What I’m worried about is what happens when the person I decide to spend the rest of my life with is also the person people look upon with unflattering confusion on Facebook when asking themselves, “What happened to…?”

I’m sure we all have stories that begin like this but there’s this girl I almost dated awhile back. I can’t tell you why we never officially became a couple. Then again, you can probably relate. You meet randomly, decide to go on a few dates, you like each other but you don’t see yourself walking down the aisle together. Somewhere along the way, you don’t respond to a text or phone call fast enough and lacking the drive needed to pursue a serious relationship your dates grow longer and longer in between, until all of a sudden you’re “just friends.”

In this instance, since I only see her a few times a year, the superficial observations of our meet ups are exaggerated. For example, her “new” haircut might actually be a few months old but to me it’s brand new. Any other number of progressive changes she’s made to herself over the months are thrust together in one quick snapshot whenever our paths happen to cross. Maybe that’s why on one visit I quickly noticed she had put on some weight. At first, it was barely noticeable – maybe 10 pounds around the waist. Then I began to notice that almost like clockwork, she gained more and more weight between each visit, until during one visit in particular it was suddenly very noticeable. All those 10 pound increments had finally added up. In only a few years, her physical appearance had completely changed. I’ve spoken about the affect 50 pounds can have on a relationship before.

As we sat talking, I caught myself looking her over. She was still an attractive woman but the weight gain couldn’t be ignored anymore. Maybe things would have been different if I didn’t know how she looked beforehand. Still, if the history of our infrequent meet-ups were any indication, she wasn’t going to stop gaining weight anytime soon. While I could give her the benefit of the doubt since she wasn’t my girlfriend, I couldn’t help thinking that I might have dodged a bullet. Then I found myself wondering how I would have reacted if this weight gain happened within the confines of a relationship. I know love is supposed to be unconditional and blind but…read more.

Do you expect your partner to try to keep themselves in good physical shape relative to the state you met them in? Have you ever grown un-attracted to someone you were in a relationship with because they let themselves go? How did you handle the situation?