Research reveals that your relationship could be tested when your waistline – or your guy’s – begins to grow (or even shrink). Learn to maintain a strong and loving union, scale be damned.
Sitting on my boyfriend’s lap at a bar in our hometown a few months ago, I was feeling a little sassy and started whispering sweet (and by sweet, I mean salaciously dirty) nothings into his ear. Playing along, he went to give my ass a flirtatious squeeze – a move he’s favoured since we started dating a year ago – but, instead, managed to grab a handful of my ample lower back. Yep, definitely not my butt.
Admittedly, by swapping yoga classes for cocktails with my man, I had put on some “happy weight” – those kilos people add when they’re blissfully head over heels – or what Channing Tatum calls “fappy”, for fat and happy. My guy said he adored my new curves, but they were making me self-conscious. And that love-handle grab didn’t help.
Insecurities are nothing new, but as Sarah Varney reveals in her book, XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis is Complicating America’s Love Life, new evidence suggests that when a partner gains or loses a considerable amount, the shift can push a rock-solid bond onto shaky ground. But not always: research also shows that lots of couples manage to remain tight in the face of weight change. Follow these strategies to stay hot and heavy with your partner – no matter what the scale says.
Love can send emotions – and dress sizes – soaring. Experts blame spousal concordance, the phenomenon in which partners gradually adopt the same rituals, for better or for worse. Have you submitted to his Sunday TV binge-watching routine? Joined his late-night McDonalds runs? You’ve fallen prey to spousal concordance. Melding your worlds creates intimacy, but it’s also one reason why happy couples tend to gain weight, according to a Health Psychology study. While adding a few extra kilos isn’t so bad, starting unhealthy habits is. “Asking your partner to encourage healthy habits and discourage destructive ones can help motivate you,” says Joburg-based clinical psychologist Liane Lurie.
Her advice is also critical for twosomes who are challenging themselves to lose in dangerous ways because they think their partner won’t be attracted to them otherwise. “Perhaps the words ‘For fatter, for thinner’ should be added to our modern-day marriage vows,” says Lurie. If you both need to get back on a healthier track, set small goals you can achieve together: commit to taking a 15-minute walk or run together every weekend morning, or swap takeaways (whether fast food or green juice) twice a week for a home-cooked dinner.
Own those curves
Unfair, but true: relationships can get extra tricky when one partner expands but the other doesn’t – especially if the gainer is the woman. A study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that husbands and wives are both more content when the wife’s BMI is lower than the husband’s – even if she’s still overweight. “A less-heavy wife could make a man believe that he’s done well on the mate market,” says study author Dr Benjamin Karney.
But what if you’re the buff one? Take heart: size isn’t the only predictor of relationship success; sex and communication count too. In fact, what’s far more important than your comparative proportions, is how you feel about your body.
Joburger Dawn Tlhapane had always been petite, but after dating her guy for a while, she started gaining weight, and went from a size 28 to 32. “I was worried he wouldn’t find me as sexy,” she says. A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that whether women were tiny or voluptuous, those with a poor body image were less sexually fulfilled, likely because they were too hung up on how they looked during the deed to actually enjoy it.
Since that’s no fun, it’s crucial to work on improving your confidence. “I eventually confronted my guy and, it turns out, he thought I looked beautiful with a few extra kilos,” says Dawn. “It actually brought us closer together.” “Every time your partner compliments you, thank them and repeat the compliment in your head, even if you don’t believe it,” suggests Dr Jessica O’Reilly, author of The New Sex Bible: The New Guide to Sexual Love. Then keep those good vibes going in the bedroom. “Everyone looks hot from behind and there’s no such thing as a bad close-up of boobs,” insists O’Reilly, so try reverse cowgirl: get on top, facing his feet, and roll your hips in a circular motion to get you both off.
Support his weight
Dudes don’t have it easier: they often care about their weight as much as we do. One guy we spoke to gained nine kilos while dating his now-ex. “I found myself wondering why anyone would want to have sex with me,” he says. It can be easy to pin your guy’s weight troubles on a pre-existing problem you have with him. So, what was once a peeve about his messiness can morph into: “He’s lazy. And it’s showing.”
If your guy is slimming down, you might interpret that the wrong way too: Is he getting ready to leave me? Not necessarily. Your guy may be going through the same thing. Capetonian Basha Taylor, 35, says dropping 64kg has refreshed her 14-year marriage. “I feel sexier, have more energy and want to be outdoors,” she says. Basha and her husband use this to their advantage, watching the sun set from the sand dunes every Sunday… “My husband spoils me now; I’ve never seen that side of him.” Rather than take his shape-shifting as a sign that you’re growing apart, think about what might have caused it. And be supportive – just as you’d want him to be if you put on some extra padding.
It’s a fact: exercising together can improve your bod and your bond. Research has shown that after participating in an exciting joint physical challenge or novel activity, many couples reported feeling happier in their relationships. And a recent survey revealed that 85 percent of duos who work out together said that it has improved their union, with one in five claiming that it “saved their relationship altogether”. Visiting a hiking trail versus a couples’ therapist? Far less pricey, that’s for sure.
Organ harvesting: Dino Melaye reacts to arrest of Ekweremadu, wife
Former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye has expressed his support for ex-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu amid controversy of alleged organ harvesting.
Melaye said he stands with Ekweremadu because there was no wrongdoing by the Senator.
Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested in London for allegedly plotting to harvest the kidney of a Nigerian minor.
The UK metropolitan police had arrested and charged Ekweremadu and his wife to court, but the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.
“These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until 7 July back here at Uxbridge,” Magistrate Lois Sheard said.
Ms Sheard remanded both defendants in custody ahead of their hearing next month.
Sharing Ekweremadu’s letter via his Twitter handle, Melaye wrote: “Sen. Ike Ekweremadu notified the British authorities on his trip with the said boy. I stand with Ike.”
Supreme Court set to rule on controversial Electoral Act on Friday
The Supreme Court of Nigeria will on Friday deliver judgment on the legality or otherwise of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 .
The apex Court is set for its verdict in the suit instituted against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice.
A notice for the judgment delivery has just been sighted, indicating that the apex Court will make its position known this morning.
The notice was served on Buhari and the National Assembly on Thursday, inviting them to appear before the court today for their judgment.
Our correspondent further observed that the suit is the only one for determination today.
Buhari and Abubakar Malami had filed the suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.
In the suit filed on April 29, Buhari and Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.
Section 84 (12) has been a subject of intense litigation and political debate in Nigeria since President Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act 2022 into law in February this year.
Shortly after signing it into law, Buhari had asked the parliament to delete the controversial clause in the Electoral Act, but the National Assembly declined the president’s request.
According to Section 84 (12) of the legislation, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot. These are the biggest decliners
After two years, Vienna has overtaken Auckland as the world’s most livable city, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Vienna ranked first in 2018 and 2019, but was overtaken by Auckland, New Zealand, during the pandemic and slipped to 12th place in 2021, according to the Global Liveability Index 2022.
The EIU said that Auckland’s position on the index dipped to the 34th place this year because of higher Covid-19 infection rates and strict border controls in 2021. Although lockdowns ended in New Zealand in December, well-vaccinated cities in Europe and Canada had begun easing restrictions earlier.
However, it’s unlikely that Auckland would’ve clinched the top position in this year’s ranking even without a pandemic, according to the EIU.
“Other cities falling was why Auckland was top last time. Without Covid, it would likely be top 10, but not number one,” said Simon Baptist, global chief economist at the research and advisory firm.
Five other European cities — Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt and Amsterdam — also made the top ten. Canada’s Calgary and Vancouver took the third and fifth spots respectively. Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared 10th place — the only two “Asian” cities that made it to the top 10.
The 172 cities that were included in the rating were assessed on these categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Cities in New Zealand and Australia were the biggest fallers in the EIU’s livability ranking.
New Zealand’s capital Wellington dived by 46 places, while Australia’s Adelaide and Perth lost their 2021 positions in the top 10. They are now in the 30th and 32nd place respectively.
Australian and New Zealand cities snagged six of the top 10 spots last year, but were “much, much lower down” on this year’s list as their partial reopening coincided with the spread of the more contagious omicron variant, Baptist told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.
But the EIU is optimistic that these cities would bounce back.
“We can expect to see Australian and New Zealand cities moving up the rankings next year, when we do the next round of the survey. And this will be because they will have relaxed more of their Covid restrictions,” said Baptist.
Other cities in the region saw their rankings slip as well.
Singapore fell three spots to 37th place this year, while Hong Kong dropped to 62nd place from 49th last year.
“This is a long term change, it’s not just about Covid. That is part of it. But Hong Kong’s loss of connectivity is likely to be permanent,” said Baptist, citing the decline of cultural and political freedom in the city.
Russian cities plunged
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw Moscow’s livability ranking fall by 15 places, while St. Petersburg dipped by 13 spots, the EIU reported.
“Both cities record a fall in scores owing to increased instability, censorship, imposition of Western sanctions and corporates withdrawing their operations from the country,” the report said.
The war on Ukraine also affected the rankings of other Eastern European cities that have been facing political standoffs security threats, food and energy insecurities, and rising inflation, EIU said.
For example, Poland’s Warsaw and Hungary’s Budapest saw their stability scores slip as a result of rising diplomatic tensions, the EIU added.
Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was also excluded from this year’s report, and 33 new cities — 11 of them in China — were added.
The top 10
These are the world’s most livable cities and their scores, according to The Global Liveability Index 2022:
- Vienna, Austria (99.1)
- Copenhagen, Denmark (98.0)
- TIE — Zurich, Switzerland (96.3)
- TIE — Calgary, Canada (96.3)
- Vancouver, Canada (96.1)
- Geneva, Switzerland (95.9)
- Frankfurt, Germany (95.7)
- Toronto, Canada (95.4)
- Amsterdam, Netherlands (95.3)
- TIE — Osaka, Japan (95.1)
- TIE — Melbourne, Australia (95.1)
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- World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot. These are the biggest decliners