Dear ShanTellem,

How do you tell your mate that you’re not attracted to them anymore? I don’t want to break up but he just doesn’t take care of himself like he used to. I love him and our connection is amazing, but I need him to put forth a bit more effort when it comes to his appearance. He’s gained at least 30 pounds since we’ve been together, which hasn’t been that long. I eat well, work out pretty regularly and try to cook healthy meals for him, but he still eats crap. I have even asked him to join me at the gym! He says he wants to do something about the weight gain but never follows through. I find myself not wanting to have sex with him because of this.


No Longer Feeling It

Dear No Longer Feeling It,

As messed up as it sounds, you’re experiencing a pretty common issue. Over time, we’re all going to change and all that we can really do is hope that we do not deviate from the person that A) we wish to become and B) that our significant other is attracted to. Sadly, it sounds like your mate has swerved on both accounts.

Telling someone you love that you’re no longer attracted to them is never easy—but some form of communication is necessary otherwise the problem will get worse. You’ll soon find yourself not wanting to connect with them intimately (which it sounds like you’re already starting to experience), and you might even seek fulfillment outside of the relationship. You mentioned that your significant other wants to change, but has yet to follow through on behaviors that will yield the desired results. I hate to say it, but he’s either lazy, depressed, comfortable in the union, or thinks he’s fine the way he is. Either way, excessive weight gain and a lack of exercise is not healthy.

African American adults are nearly 1.5 times as likely to be obese compared to whites. Approximately 47.8 percent of Blacks are obese (37.1 percent are men). Overall, more than 75 percent of Blacks are overweight, compared to 67.2 percent of whites. While your boyfriend is in “good” company, it’s not the company that he should be striving to keep.

My advice is to be blunt with him. You’ve tried to subtly offer for him to work out with you. You cook healthy meals. It’s time to lay it all out there because your relationship is at risk. Your mate is the one person you should be able to talk to in a direct way. Tell him that you’re not as attracted to him as you were before, but be sure to remind him that you love him. Communicate to him the importance of getting healthy. Buy him a couple of items of clothing that you’d like to see him in. Most importantly, try to find the source for this sudden change. Did he lose a job recently? Has a loved one passed away? There must be a reason for the sudden change in appearance. Do not seek to change him, but a bit of healthy encouragement to get him back on track can’t hurt. After that, let it go. You’ve communicated how you felt and why at this point. No need to nag. Now it’s time for him to decide if he agrees with what you’ve stated. If nothing changes, then unfortunately you’ll have a decision to make.

Good luck and I wish you the best.

Shantell E. Jamison is an editor for and Not confined to chasing headlines, this Chicago-based writer, radio personality and cultural critic is also the author of “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self.”