What does “letting oneself go” mean to you?

    I was reading the answers around a man’s “allure” to his wife and I saw this comment, “A problem for some men – for instance if their wife has let themselves go.

    So what does that mean to you?  Does it mean a wife (or husband) is no longer the size or weight she was when they married?  Does it mean she doesn’t lose her baby weight?  Does it mean she quits dying her hair and lets the gray come out, and so she looks older?  Or is it around attitude and confidence? Etc. Etc.

    I know that when I “hear” that phrase, my thoughts automatically go to “I should look like I did when we first met.”

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    9 Answer(s)

      For me it is the “unnatural” changes that go unchecked.  We cannot change gray hair.  We cannot change loss of muscle tone due to age.  We cannot change the lack of stamina.  We cannot change lack of lubrication or erection hardness.  To me “letting oneself go” is the excesses that we have control over.  If a spouse loses the ability to engage physically due to an accident or tragic disease, that is beyond their control.  Over eating or unhealthy habits that one can control that lead to obesity, which then can lead to health problems that affect the quality of married life for you and/or your spouse should be eliminated.

      I don’t expect my DW to be the same weight or have the same physical abilities that she had when we were just married.  But is it too much to ask for a healthy height/weight proportion?  And I don’t just put the onus on the woman.  I hate it when I see a woman who has taken care of herself standing with a husband who has a big gut.  It is not fair that she will most likely be taking care of him when his health caves in due to his own issues.

      Would I like my wife to ‘make herself up’ for me when I come home?  Not really.  I didn’t marry a woman like that.  She appealed to me like she was.  Do I mind sweats?  Nope.   In fact, I prefer blue jeans and basic tops to dresses and fancy hair and make up.

      I just want my wife to be the best she can be for her age.  It is okay to age.

      I almost answered the original “allure” post, but never hit POST.  My DW has put on significant weight since we married.  Like over 50% of her wedding day weight.  It is causing joint issues for her and I do struggle with the ‘allure’ of her body.  I never saw myself married to an obese person.  I love her and will serve her and care for her, but it isn’t they way it should be in my opinion.

      Queen bed Answered on November 22, 2020.

      The “control” vs “non-control” makes sense, and that means we can take into account what genetics plays or illnesses or medicines that affect weight gain.

      on November 22, 2020.

      That is true to a degree.  I don’t know about every case, but even in cases that you mentioned, there are times/cases that a person can minimize the effects of those.  For example:  if you are ‘big boned’, your diet and/or activity level can still affect how ‘big’ you are.  If you have thyroid issues, you can be proactive to regulating your med’s and eating more/less than is good for you.  Illnesses we typically have no control over.  Many things can be done to do the best we can with most any situation.

      I’m thinking that even if a spouse, man or woman, struggles with maintaining good physical condition, they can still look and act the best they can by the way they dress and present themselves.


      on November 23, 2020.

      “To me “letting oneself go” is the excesses that we have control over. ”

      Well said.

      Men are way worse than women when it comes to letting themselves go.  We go to the YMCA.  The place is seriously misnamed.  Most of the participants are old women. More often than not these women are married to grossly overweight and sedentary men. No wonder women tend to outlive men.

      on November 23, 2020.
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        This is an interesting topic. I have to say that I have read the “letting herself go” comment many times from males. Almost all of the time, it appears to be a judgement based on physical appearance – and not always a fair judgement, either.

        Who are we to judge how much weight gain is reasonable for someone else? Who are we to judge whether someone should have better looking hair? Or better looking clothing?

        @Lookin2Him said: “I hate it when I see a woman who has taken care of herself standing with a husband who has a big gut.”

        Isn’t this just judging based on physical appearance? Could it be that she actually HASN’T taken care of herself? Maybe she’s one of those people who can eat any amount of junk and still stay slender (I know some who are like this) – but she gets the tick of approval because of her outward appearance.

        We might see a mother dressed nicely and with great looking hair. She’s taking care of herself, right? Maybe. Maybe it comes with a cost. Perhaps she spends too much time and money on that hair and the clothes, to the detriment of the family budget, or maybe it leaves her with not enough time to do the other things she should be doing as a wife/mother. But when we look at her, she looks great, so she can get a big tick as well.

        I could go on, but I won’t. I’m sure you get the idea of what I’m getting at. It does seem to be a very superficial physical judgement much of the time.

        I understand what @Lookin2Him says about the things we can control vs those we cannot control, and I agree with that. The thing I find hard is that many times it seems that people make these judgements when they don’t really know the individual circumstances. They don’t know how much effort someone puts in. All they can see is the outer package. Is it fair to judge that?

        Maybe yes, maybe no. I think in a lot of cases, the answer is probably no.

        I do understand that there are times when someone CAN make a judgement, especially when it’s your spouse, and you see all the behind the scenes stuff, not just the outer physical appearance. What I don’t really like is when the judgement is passed quickly, based on physical appearance, without knowing that person’s particular situation, their efforts, their struggles, etc.

        California King Answered on November 23, 2020.

        I tend to agree, but it seems many have some kind of standard they go by. Therefore, what is this standard that they’ve put upon their spouse? And what of the people who actually chose and married someone, who by others standards may appear to have “let themselves go”, there was an apparent preference there.

        With the quote about a man’s gut… there is a whole thing around a “dad bod” now, and the attraction to it. 🙂 If by body alone, I had a choice of a man with a dad bod and a well-fit muscular man, I would go for the dad bod.

        I decided to take a chance and ask my husband if he ever looked at me and thought I “let myself go”? Because there are days that around the house I dress comfortably in sweats or pajama pants, a hoodie w/ no bra, and no make up touches my face for days.. During this time of seclusion I took the opportunity to strive for healthier hair, do you know what that means…. not washing it and it getting greasier (not that I didn’t shower my body I’m pretty dependent on a nightly hot shower.) How I coped… ponytails, and baseball caps if I went out. To some, that would seem to be “letting oneself go”, it’s nice to know it’s not for my husband.

        on November 23, 2020.

        SeekingChange: That sounds to me like taking care of yourself according to God’s standards and ignoring the world’s standards.  This isn’t “not caring.”  Good for you!

        on November 23, 2020.

        If all you wore was torn up sweats and paint covered T-shirts, that might be too much, but that comfort level is fine  most times with me during time around home.  Especially the “no bra” part.  lol

        on November 23, 2020.

        MQ, you have made valid points on my statements.

        RE:  the woman taking care of herself vs the man’s big gut.  True, that is judging on physical appearance w/o knowing the whole story.  I guess I am just thinking of couples I know personally.  Yes, some people are lucky in their metabolism, but we all know the types (male or female) that visit the church pot luck line more than they should vs the ones who enjoy food but don’t make it all about the food.   We need to make choices.

        RE:  spending money/time on hair/clothes/etc.  That is one thing that attracted me to my DW in the beginning.  She looked nice, took care of herself, etc…  but was not high maintenance.  I have never understood when a woman (I’ve seen it with some guys too) cannot leave the house without make up, perfect hair or the coordinating outfit.  I actually prefer my DW to not wear any make up.  She has a pretty face without it.  And wind blown hair is fine too.  I love that my DW shops at 2nd hand shops too.  Sure, she has some newer outfits for special times, but she is the girl next door and that is what I’ve always loved about her.  (She hates shopping too!  Bonus!!)

        on November 24, 2020.
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          I think it comes down to this – when someone thinks their significant other has “let themselves go”, it often can be tied to the feeling of being taken for granted by them. It’s here in Brynna’s comment “I said because I didn’t care anymore. Then, he said that if nothing else, I could do it for him.”  

          BUT – we all should also understand and embrace that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and should be cared for thusly. Doesn’t mean you should be a marathoner or weight lifter, but probably shouldn’t be willingly carrying around 50+ extra pounds and chain-smoking either. “Letting yourself go” in the extreme regard represents a loss of self-respect, which also is loss of respect for God IMO.  I also think if you are letting yourself go, you know it. It’s a conscious decision.

          Under the stars Answered on November 24, 2020.

          I personally believe that many people’s belief or teachings on our body being a temple and equating it to dieting, exercise, etc is bad theology.

          on November 24, 2020.

          Maybe so. But the scripture does instruct us to care for others as our own body – presuming we would not intentionally harm ourselves. There is a principle there. Like I said, I don’t think it requires a “perfect specimen”, but how could ravaging one’s body with bad habits be God honoring? It’s not in my estimation. Nor should we be worshiping the body either, which may be the bad theology you mention. I have heard some make the point you refer to and it can seem a little idolatrous.

          I should want to take care of myself, and being the image bearer of God should be one of the positive motivations for doing so.  He makes me worth the effort. I see nothing wrong with that thought.

          on November 24, 2020.
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            I realize this is dangerous but I’ll go, especially since my wife is on these boards…but this is something we talk about and she’s brought up going both directions SO there’s nothing I’ll mention that has not been discussed between us and even brought up by her.  When she no longer cares about her looks, her attractiveness, her sex appeal, about her health.  When she starts wearing sweats because it’s easier not to care and they’re  forgiving of what’s underneath (her words, not mine).

            PS – Sadly, my wife is the same way one of the ladies mentioned in a previous post about when they lose weight, when she loses weight, the first place I notice is in her breasts. Why can’t we pick and choose where the extra adipose tissue can stay or go? 😀

            Under the stars Answered on November 22, 2020.

            Is her “attractiveness” and “sex appeal” more a physical thing or an attitude thing?  And what does “caring about her looks” mean?  One can still wear sweats at certain times, and still dress up at other times…. is that not caring?  Or are all sweats banned from the home, otherwise it shows she is letting herself go?   Do you desire for her to be “made up” every evening you come home from work?  (My dil was given that advice before she got married.)

            on November 22, 2020.

            LOL!!! No, sweats are not banned from the house. Yes, I would love for DW to be “made up” every night. “Made up” in lingerie and garter belt stockings or wrapped only in Saran Wrap when I come home with candles and frying up bacon 😀 ,…apparently, it’s not gonna happen. 🙁   And her daughters might think it as too much…but a guy can always hope! 😀

            It’s both SC. DW likes to dress attractively and she likes me to stay healthy and dress nicely…as much as I want to get a velour workout suit and Velcro shoes. (I’ve been banned from purchasing them.)

            on November 22, 2020.

            I caught myself looking at Merril slip-ons yesterday…. I put them back! At least they were somewhat outdoorsy.

            on November 24, 2020.
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              There was a time when I might have talked like this about others, but I see that statement now as rude regardless if true or not, or what it might mean or about what gender.  Nevertheless, here is what it means to me…..gaining more than a normal amount of weight.  So the next question is what is normal?  For about 95% of us, it is normal to gain a little weight as we age.   But, I’m talking A LOT of weight gained with no regard to what is eaten.  I do not view it as you described   “I should look like I did when we first met.”  That is simply unrealistic thinking for about 99.5% of the population.

              Fell out of ... Answered on November 22, 2020.
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                I agree with Lookin2Him, some things are beyond our control, particularly as it relates to aging (or giving birth to children, etc.)

                In our case, DW uses that term more than I do. She has decided for herself that she won’t let herself go and she regrets to see other ladies letting themselves go. She feels it is a bit of bate and switch type of thing. She sees it both as an attitudinal thing as well as a physical thing.

                The fact that DW is conscious about how she looks and each day seeks to look her best, means I am motivated to do similar things for her. Even if she didn’t, I would still value putting effort into keeping myself from letting go. Or if I passed, she would still do that for herself. It is a matter of stewardship.

                For some who “let themselves go” they might think, “if my spouse can’t love me the way I am, it isn’t my fault.” I agree, marriage means we love the other for better or for worse. And for who we really are. But we also feel it is the loving thing to do your best to be attractive for your spouse and seek to be as loveable as possible (in all dimensions).  We are fortunate that we have similar values.

                DW and I often talk about people doing well with what they have.  We don’t expect perfection of each other, nor in others. But when we see people caring about  how they look or act or relate, we talk affirmatively between us about such people.  Those are other ways in which they aren’t letting themselves go.

                Under the stars Answered on November 22, 2020.

                How do you and your wife look upon others and know whether they are truly “letting themselves go”? Is it by appearances because they don’t meet a personal standard of what you think it should look like? Or do you only make that call when you know intimate details of what’s truly going on with the individual and the couple?

                on November 22, 2020.
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                  I have always taken this phrase to mean that a husband or wife has neglected physical maintenance to the point of being unhealthy (e.g seriously overweight) or being a slob (e .g. not brushing teeth, not using deodorant, etc.).

                  On the floor Answered on November 23, 2020.
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                    For me, letting myself go, means not caring. It means doing nothing about the things I can do. I don’t know how bad I would have to get before DH noticed. But, we do the little things for each other. He likes it if my legs are shaved smooth. So, I shave every night. Occasionally, I put deodorant on before going to bed. I keep my hair nice. One time, at a really low spot in my life, DH asked me why I no longer ran a comb through my hair. I said because I didn’t care anymore. Then, he said that if nothing else, I could do it for him.

                    As to someone letting themselves go, I believe it mostly boils down to attitude. It sort of seems obvious when they care or when they don’t care. But, when I let myself go, and when someone else does, may look totally different.

                    Under the stars Answered on November 23, 2020.

                    Great example of a Godly woman taking care of herself!

                    on November 23, 2020.
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                      SeekingChange: I was reading the answers around a man’s “allure” to his wife and I saw this comment, “A problem for some men – for instance if their wife has let themselves go.”

                      That was my comment.

                      So what does that mean to you?

                      “Letting yourself go” simply means not taking care of yourself.

                      I know that when I “hear” that phrase, my thoughts automatically go to “I should look like I did when we first met.”

                      No, not at all! My wife was 16 when we met 😱.

                      Consider the spiritual aspect of our bodies. We are the temple of God. The Spirit of God lives in us. Therefore we should take care of ourselves. Does God want us to be healthy? Yes! Does God want us to exercise (including Kegels 🤣), get plenty of sleep, and live a good life, balancing work, recreation, spirituality, family, etc. Yes! Does God want us to be clean and dress appropriately? Yes. Does He want us to be happy and feel good? Yes. God wants us to reflect Him. We are made in his image, after all.

                      God doesn’t care gray hair, wrinkles, or a few or even a lot of extra pounds. He doesn’t care not about coloring our hair, or fancy hairstyles or makeup. He doesn’t want us to get Botox or plastic surgery. He doesn’t want us to go into debt so we can wear the latest fashions. It is not about vanity or obsessing about how we look.

                      Or is it around attitude and confidence? Etc. Etc.

                      Yes! Yes!

                      Lookin2Him: We cannot change lack of lubrication or erection hardness.

                      I don’t want to derail the thread, but do want to make sure everyone reading this knows that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can change that. It has for both of us. It also helped the weight come off.

                      King bed Answered on November 23, 2020.
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