Is Honesty the Best Policy?

Carrie BDecember 19, 2003

Last night I went out on a date with a nice, funny, smart and interesting man. We are scheduled to see each other for a fourth date on Sunday.

But...he's (quite) heavy. I don't know if I'll ever be able to be attracted to someone who carries around so much extra weight. I feel pretty shallow for caring, and like I should see beyond that to the good man he seems to be, but I don't seem to be able to get past this. So, do you think I should:

1) Work on getting over my body-type ism.

2) Make up a reason that I've decided not to pursue a relationship (ie: met someone else, etc).

3) Tell him the truth, that I can't see being attracted to him because of his weight.

4) Ask him if he'll consider dieting (I don't feel really comfortable with this option, since I do believe you should be willing to accept a person as they are, and not expect them to change for you).

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#3 - no discussion necessary! I would NEVER ever consider going out with an obese man - not even one 20 pounds overweight. Call me shallow - call me a snob - use any adjective you wish - but as for me - NO FAT allowed! I have aquaintenances who are overweight whom I visit with, and really care about, but to be with them in a romantic way - NO WAY!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2003 at 6:26PM
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Hi Carrie....the only viable option that I see is number 3 don't have to say it's because he's fat, necessarily, but you do need to be honest in the way that things aren't "clicking"......this appears to be a pitfall of the online dating that I hadn't considered....unless you went out with him knowing that he was obese to begin have you dealt with other prospects that didn't work out?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2003 at 7:20PM
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Carrie B

Thanks Kay and Mike,

I did see a picture of him before I met him, but it was not a full-body picture, and while I can look at the picture now and see that he is a big man, I really did not pick up on it when I saw the picture initially.

In the past, when I've decided to not pursue something with a man, I've told them (either at the end of a date, on the phone when they've called to set up another date, once in a phone message, and once via email) something to the effect of "I think you're a really nice/interesting/smart/fun man, but I don't feel there's chemistry/relationship potenitial. Good luck to you, I enjoyed meeting you".

I feel particularly bad because I've now been on three dates with this man, and, in a lot of ways, we did "click". We have a lot of the same views of the world, we laugh together a huge amount, etc. At first, the weight didn't seem to bother me as much, but I think as we go out more, the reality of a potential physical relationship looms larger, as opposed to just sharing a meal and some good laughs and conversation.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2003 at 11:49PM
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Do you see the possibility that you've made a wonderful lifetime friend? My friend (S.O.) and I have this understanding/agreement: if it doesn't develope into a long-term relationship, that will be ok - we want to always be best friends - he means this much to me: if it doesn't go any further than friendship I will be ok with that. Lovers come and go, but a strong friendship will withstand the test of time.

I would be kind to your friend, but inform him that there isn't a possibility of a romantic relationship with him because of the weight issue, but that a very strong, rock-solid friendship is definently possible. I would ask him how HE feels about being one of your best friends. You can never tell - he may lose the necessary weight some day - ya gotta believe in people. Perhaps if you were totally honest and let him know you are turned off by excess weight, that may be the incentive he needs to take those unhealthy pounds off. Just be honest, and fate will handle the rest.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2003 at 9:49AM
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Anytime that one overlooks "flaws" in a person to be with them, they are setting themselves up for regret further down the road when there is no turning add the male point of view..If I were the "obese" person, I'd much rather know where I stood at an early stage instead of being lead on and be told a month or two down the road....maybe you can overcome it because you appear to have developed feelings for him, and if he is clicking with you like no other it may be just a phase of the relationship that you are going through...kind of a "trying to find something wrong" type of's a decision that you have to make...the solution that I may offer is to prolong getting into the physical end of the relationship until you have a chance to decide that the weight problem is no big deal
Where this is your first 5 months of really dating, don't feel like you HAVE to do this or you will never get another in contact with him and continue in your search....good friends are hard to find and it sounds like at the very least, he is becoming that....with more time around each other, you will know for sure if it's capable of being more.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2003 at 4:23PM
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Michael has given you some VERY GOOD and sound advice - early-stage relationships are like buses - if you miss one, another will be along shortly. Aim for the solid and lasting friendship - after all, that's the base for a romantic relationship - or SHOULD be. I think of you every day - feel as if I almost KNOW you! LOL If any of us can help in any way, either post here or email us privately - most of us have paid our dues as far as relationships go and can possibly give you some further insight. Hugs (((((Carrie))))), Kay

    Bookmark   December 20, 2003 at 7:02PM
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Hey all, married guy here. Hope you don't mind my stopping by for a minute. Tinmantu hit on a very valid point about overlooking flaws. When my wife and I were married she was overweight by about 90 pounds. But because I knew her long before there was any romantic interest, I knew what kind of person she was. She was everything I wanted in a wife except for her size. Not wanting to risk losing an otherwise "perfect" woman I looked past the weight hoping she would eventually want to be as physically active and fit as me. Well, 7 years later we're still at the starting gate.

I love my wife dearly, but if I had been honest and true to self in the beginning, a lot of heartache could have been avoided.

Wife is finally on the way to a normal size but boy! did we go through some grief to get to this point.

Carrie, you either gotta' put the brakes on this relationship or be honest with this man about his weight.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2003 at 9:31PM
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Hi, Rotny - and welcome - of course you may post here - hey, MICHAEL - another male - look out ladies, Michael has reinforcement now!!! Rotny, Michael has been holding his position, as the lone male, on this board for quite some time. He has offered some valuable insight and added some light-heartedness to this board - I am sure HE thanks you for joining us, too! His responsibility has been heavy!!! LOL

Rotny, please - start a new thread or respond to ongoing ones and tell us about yourself.

Ms. Carrie, may I ask: I assume you dated in your younger years, before coming to this board - how would you have handled this situation back in your earlier dating years?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2003 at 9:47PM
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Welcome, Rotny.....knowing this stuff isn't a magical gift.. it's just a matter of experiencing what others have yet to go thru and try to relate it for future refernce....I'm glad you stopped by, because it does carry credence and consideration....I wish I had a buck for every unhappy marriage that occured because of flaws that were'd all be getting a new car for Xmas from the Tinman...good luck to you and your wife, sounds like you are on the right path.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2003 at 10:00PM
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Carrie B

Hey all, and I'll add my welcome to Rotny. I'm especially happy to have the advice of a married person, as I very much hope to join your ranks someday. Rotny, you say: if I had been honest and true to self in the beginning, a lot of heartache could have been avoided. How would you have handled things differently? What do you wish you had done?

To answer your question about dating in my younger years, Kay, well...I really never did. Fell into relationships was more like it.

It sounds like most of you think I should actually tell this guy (after 3-4) dates WHY I'm not attracted to him. Is that true? You think I should tell him, as opposed to saying something to the effect of "I like you but feel that this isn't right for me"? Why do you think I should tell him?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2003 at 11:38PM
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Carrie, as I said before, there is no reason to make any reference to his being obese.... if you don't want this relationship and don't want to hurt his feelings, speak your mind about it to have said that you were able to break off other contacts with no problem before, but you seem to be in a dilemma over this one in particular....we've given our opinion on how we feel and now it's up to YOU to decide how you are going to approach it..translated into laymans terms , it seems that you already have in your mind what you want, and you are not hearing what you hoped for from I wrong?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2003 at 12:22AM
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I'm a little overweight myself. Not by any means obese, but definitely, um, matronly. It's the way I am, I've been the same for years, and if people don't like it, they don't have to be my friends. After all, I'm not that enthralled with it myself! However, at my age, physical perfection cannot be expected. It's genetic. Much of it can be blamed on my children (many pregnancies).

Obesity in youth is a health issue. It contributes so much to heart problems, stroke, blood pressure and goodness knows what else (not excluding difficulties in one's sex life, such as impotence) that something should be done about it.

I think you really have to be honest with this man, especially if you really do like him (which means you are attracted to him at some level) - but there's no need to dash him against the rocks! Tell him how you feel (speaking in general terms rather than making it a personal attack) in such a way as to be showing concern for his/anyone's health, that you'd be worried going any further (in any relationship) because you wouldn't want to be a young widow. Perhaps suggest a weight-loss program including yourself, doing it as a together-thing. Monitor each other's progress, chastise each other for back-sliding and so on. You might not need to lose weight, but a sensible eating/sensible exercise program you embark upon together will benefit both of you.

Meantime, it's early days to start thinking about a future together. Develop your friendship and value it, don't think beyond it just yet. If it's meant to be, it will grow into something where nothing matters more than that you are together. If not - well, you can't have too many friends.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2003 at 4:29PM
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Oh, Daisy - How eloquent that oration was - and how ACCURATE!

Carrie, no one is posting suggestions to hurt anyone - we sense you are a very caring person, who would never want to hurt another, but first and foremost, you don't want to hurt YOURSELF.

Recall the phrase 'to thine ownself be true'. IF you chose to keep seeing this nice man, would you be true to yourself? Would you feel better 'leveling' with him now, or later down the road, devastating his ego by dropping a bomb on him? Each date only endears him more to you, so to be kind, IMHO, you need to lay all the cards on the table, so he can also make an intelligent and informed decision.

Please know that each responder is only talking from personal experience, stating what they believe to be right. None of us are psychologists, I don't believe, but ALL of us are humanitarians, with values we believe in.

I would suggest you copy all the suggestions down and take what you find of value, discarding the rest. YOUR happiness is our main concern, so know that we are only making suggestions from our heart, because we CARE about YOU! Hugs, Ms. Carrie - we DO want the best for you!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2003 at 5:45PM
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I would not say anything personal. This is the beginning, right? the time when you are both deciding whether or not to take the "knowing" farther. If you like this man, but are not feeling a spark, he is friendship material. Tell him that you value his friendship (if you do) and let your manner convey your intentions. If he calls you forty times and asks you why you don't love him, you dodged a bullet.

of course, a male friend tells me that men are never just friends. They are always hoping.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2003 at 12:57PM
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If his weight is a factor don't go any farther.Ihave been dating a man with the biggest stomach I ever seen.Since I don't have marriage on my mine it don't bother me.We go out to dinner three times a week and we have fun just talking.I must say however out of this relationship I have high cholesterol from too much restaurant food.But he is my Friend and I overlook his big stomach.It's what's inside that counts.As time goes on we all fall apart or get bigger.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2004 at 12:22PM
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I learned about 10 days ago that honesty is not the best policy...sometimes it's better to just remain mum, for the other persons sake.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2004 at 7:39PM
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Michael, I am surprised that you posted that you don't think honesty is the best policy! I don't think you really believe that. IMHO, there is NEVER a time to be dishonest - you just have to be prepared to accept that not everyone wants to hear the honest truth. Some folks are not mature enough to handle the truth, but one should always speak it, nonetheless.

Sometimes the truth hurts, and I know that better than anyone, but I have never NOT learned from the truth. I always preface my opinions with 'I don't want to hurt your feelings, but this is what I think'. I have stepped on many toes in the past, because I wasn't aware the person didn't really want the truth, but ultimately, they have said they were glad I didn't shade the truth.

Maybe it would be good to ask: 'do you really want the truth'?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2004 at 9:04PM
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Kay..It's not a matter of I perscribe to dishonesty in the least bit....I have just found that after meeting a few personalities on the net, that they are fine when they hear what they want to hear ,but if you opine something that they don't like, it becomes a that manner, mum is better than honesty(ie: I'm not going to change them, and they don't want to hear otherwise, so I let them go on with their life) know me well enough to realize that I am never going to keep quiet....diplomatic and tactful, yes....if those two things are ignored, then I can be as big of an a$$ as one has ever takes a lot to bring that out in me.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2004 at 12:37AM
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Carrie B

Thanks again for all of your advice, everyone.

I am a big believer in honesty, though sometimes not full disclosure, and occassionally, a white lie to save someone's feelings. When I was a little kid, I remember my mother teaching me that if I recieved a gift that I didn't like, it was better to tell a "white lie" than to hurt the gift giver's feelings. In such a case, nothing would be gained by telling the entire truth. Of course, now, as an adult, I can see where sometimes it would be best to tell someone I don't like a gift... (like an ex-partner who insisted on buying me cut flowers - even though the cats would shred them to pieces in no time flat - grrrrrr)

If the full truth very well might really hurt someone's feelings, then sometimes it is best to find a way to say something that gets the (true) message across in a gentle and compassionate manner, without necessarily revealing all of the details. Sometimes, it is all in the way something is said that makes all the difference. I'd like to think I have achieved that in the situation that inspired this post.

I went with the "I just don't feel there's romantic potential for me here" route. Despite the person in question being dissappointed, he thanked me for my honesty, said he'd really like to try to build a friendship, and we are meeting tomorrow for (a platonic) dinner. I don't see any reason to give him the full details of my decision - unless, perhaps, he asks for them directly.

Thank you again, this discussion has been an interesting one. I especially appreciate everyone's willingness to share their personal experiences.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2004 at 10:11AM
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Well, Carrie - it seems you handled the situation quite nicely and will still be able to maintain that all-important friendship.

I have a question for Carrie and everyone: How is one supposed to ascertain the true desire of someone asking a question, UNLESS it is clarified at the initial asking? Do you think the person asking the question should specify exactly what type answer s/he is seeking, OR - should the persons being asked clarify?

I am a blunt person, shooting straight from the hip, so unless someone preempts their question with 'I don't really want to know the truth', I am going to give my opinion as honestly as I know how.

I guess the point I am trying to understand is: under what circumstances do you folks believe it is 'appropriate' to tell a lie to someone seeking assistance with a problem? I don't think people randomly go about asking folks for help, then being upset when the answer doesn't please them.

Help me out here - maybe I need to consider changing my way of thinking on this (but I don't think so).

    Bookmark   January 3, 2004 at 1:03PM
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Carrie B

Good question, Kay.

For me, their are two basic types of questions:

1. Completely objective - for example, "should I head north or south in order to get from Philadelphia to Atlanta". In this case, there is only one true answer, and, presumably, the questioner wants to hear the factually correct response.

2. Subjective answers - for example, "how do I know when it is the right time to have a baby". Well, for this, there are so many possible right and wrong answers. It depends on so much. When I ask questions that I know are subjective, I am often looking for as much input as possible, so that I can take everyone's ideas and experiences into account as I assess them against my own experience, values, hopes, dreams, fears and ethics. Usually, in this case (at least for me), the questioner is not asking for "the" answer, just for insight and thoughts.

As far as your question, Kay, "under what circumstances do you folks believe it is 'appropriate' to tell a lie to someone seeking assistance with a problem?". Well, hardly ever. I only say "hardly" because I try to avoid words like "always" and "never".

There are probably a few situations where I might use a "white" lie. For example, if someone asked me, for example, "do you think I'm being paranoid", and I really did think the person was being somewhat paranoid, I might say, "well...I think you're being over-cautious" if I was worried that paranoia confirmation would really hurt that person (unless, of course, they needed real mental health care, which is another matter entirely).

    Bookmark   January 3, 2004 at 2:57PM
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I'm glad that you were able to come up with an amicable solution to your problem, Carrie....I knew you could.

Kay....IMO, one should have an open mind and realize that there are more personalities than just our own and deal with them appropriately as they arise in our lives....If we all had a blunt personality, then no one would really care what happened to anyone else and we'd have a world of isolationists, which would really be boring.
Sometimes being honest and knowing that you spoke your mind and hurt someone is harder to deal with, than to just know when to leave well enough alone and let the person figure it out for themselves (some of us are slower than others, but we still get it after a while)...that way if it backfires, they have no one to blame but themself and not the person that gave them advise.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2004 at 12:07AM
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Wanted to add that this can also be taken to the opposite extreme....if one is too soft or caring, they can tend to be bullied and carry the guilt of not being blunt and speaking up when they should have....that's why I say that every person should be looked at and approached in their own way.....I can't wait to see you analyzing all of us after you have gotten into your college courses,, maybe I nice to us in your term paper, please

    Bookmark   January 4, 2004 at 12:14AM
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I subscribe to the view that honesty is like being pregnant. You're either honest or you're not, and you're either pregnant or you're not. There are grey areas. That means, I don't like even the conventional little 'white lies'. Somebody says to me 'How are you?', I'll say 'Well, thanks' if I'm well, and instead of going into a boring recitation of my ailments, I'll say something like 'Could be better (or worse)!' if I'm under the weather. My friend asks how I like her new hairdo, which makes her look hideous. I won't hurt her feelings by telling her outright it's bloody awful, but I skate around the issue by saying something like 'They've done a decent job of it!'. Which is an ambiguous reply. If she asks outright if I like it, I'll say 'No'. It's a rare person who doesn't really prefer the truth in the long run, even if it does hurt initially.

There are ways of being honest, and then there are ways. You can be brutal, or you can be gentle. The 'I knew somebody once who...' or 'in general, I think....' approach can get a lot of messages across without directly hurting a person's feelings.

I think honesty really is the best policy. Even a tiny white lie can come back to haunt you sooner or later. As the saying goes 'What goes around, comes around'. Once a person has lied to me, or broken a promise, I write them off automatically as a dishonest person, and I regard them as such forever more. I would far rather have people dislike me for my brand of honesty, than to have them think of me as someone not to be trusted. Or in other words, I'd prefer genuine respect over popularity.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2004 at 3:48AM
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Now you're speaking MY language, Daisyduckworth - I don't see many, with integrity, in this world, so really appreciate those with the fortitude to speak the TRUTH! If you don't want to hear the truth, please don't ask me - I won't lie to you. Thanks for posting my exact beliefs. Truth forever - lieing NEVER!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2004 at 7:57AM
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woohoo you all are tough! I like to think that a reasonable percentage of the population has integrity. (I just looked that up and I am not sure its something I want to shoot for myself...the words "rigid adherence" scare me a little. Are integrity and an open mind mutually exclusive?))

I guess I am not positive that my opinion always qualifies as the truth.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2004 at 10:34PM
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Daisyduckworth brought up one of the things that annoys me - When you ask, "How are you?" and people take it literally instead of what it actually is, a simple greeting. Now if they say, "Really, how are you doing," I'll tell them.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2004 at 4:35PM
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So, have you changed??? And now your advice would be different???

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 8:19PM
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Who are you asking?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 8:45PM
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Kay, you asked the question. Is twenty pounds too much for you, now, that you changed? All who replied, now are you really different? Look at the advice given.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 9:01PM
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I don't have any regrets for anything I said on this thread....errrr...well...other than a couple of words I didn't spell correctly. My using the quotation of overlooking "flaws" could be substituted with alcoholism, compulsive shopping/gambling, constant nitpicking, egotism, etc., on any other thread that ASKED of strangers, what should I do? But this particular discussion had to do with Carrie wondering what to tell this guy. The question didn't ask me if I would never date someone as Carrie described, it was that she was having a problem with it and I'd say she got some fair answers. If you have a problem with someones appearance or lifestyle, run away!!! Very far away.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 9:57PM
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Who among us doesn't have illusions of one sort or another. Could be looks, weight, mental ability, and on and on. If I look in the mirror and see a pleasing sort of person and you look at me and think I've lost my mind, who are you to tell me I'm not a pleasing sort of person? I remember what my Mother taught me as a child. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

I can only look back on the couples I've known through the years and count the ones I wondered what he saw in her or vice versa. I do know that if you truly enjoy someone's company and spend enought time with them, you will find that the things you objected to in the beginning disappear.

I really don't think it's about honesty or dishonesty. To say something to hurt anothers feelings is never necessary. IMHO.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 1:39PM
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You do need to be honest about reasons for not being with the person only if you are already involved or serious. If you only went on 3 dates, you absolutelly should not be hurting another person describigntrue reason. It is very painful to be rejected because of your looks, it will put him down. Just say you don't see a potential and move on. There are plenty of women who will find his weight not to be an issue.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 5:16PM
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I told my current boyfriend the next day after our first date that I did not feel any romantic chemistry, but that i really liked him as a person and would like to be friends.

It was true though, I did not feel an instant attraction, but he seemed like a genuine person with a big heart, which was something I wanted to know.....but not romantically.

I had to tell him becasue I did not want him to think there was a chance with me when there wasn't, I did not want to lead him on.

Funny thing is, it was just a matter of a few weeks before I started to change my mind. Seven months later our love continues to grow for one another! :-)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 6:43PM
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