DEAR AMY: I've been dating my girlfriend for nearly two years. We live together and love each other. The problem is that we have very different ideas about fitness.
While my girlfriend is a sweet and caring woman who means the world to me, she is very overweight. She does not yet have weight-related health problems, but I feel it is merely a matter of time (we are in our 30s).
I care about her, and it is driving a wedge between us. I like to go to the gym and do active things, while her idea of a good time generally consists of being docile in various locations.
I've tried several ways to change her lifestyle. I've bought us both gym memberships, signed us up for fun runs, suggested healthier cooking and recipe ideas, and have tried to expose her to fun fitness activities like yoga, Zumba and spin classes.
Nothing sticks! She seems to find any excuse to stay docile and has actually gained weight!
It's beginning to affect my confidence. I'm beginning to feel that I'm just not worth the work it would take her to get to a healthy weight and lifestyle. I feel so shallow that this is a concern for me, but I don't want to go through my middle years doing activities alone and dealing with the health problems a life of inactivity will bring to her.
Do I need to end this relationship? Is this something that can be worked through? -- Healthy Boyfriend
DEAR BOYFRIEND: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that even if your girlfriend was thin and inactive, you two would still be a mismatch because you are an active person and she likes to be "docile in various locations."
But imagine if your girlfriend wrote to me and said, "My boyfriend will not slow down. He is too thin and fit for me. He will not be docile in various locations with me. I've tried everything I can think of to force him to become more sluggish, but he won't."
I would tell her that she cannot change someone else. That's a simple truth.
Your only option here is to try to change yourself. One huge change would be for you to accept your girlfriend exactly as she is (watch the movie Bridget Jones's Diary for inspiration). Another change would be for you to slow down and become more like her.
Realistically, I don't believe you can do either of these things. Be honest with her about how you feel and describe the impact of her lifestyle choices on you. Ask her to join you in talking about this with a relationship counsellor.
DEAR AMY: I gave my bother a $50 gift card for Christmas.
Some months later, he took me out for lunch and paid the cheque with the gift card I had given him.
Am I right in thinking that was a little strange? -- Generous Brother
DEAR GENEROUS: If by "strange" you mean "thoughtful and kind," then yes, this is strange.
Imagine this: You give your brother an expensive bottle of wine or a fresh baked blueberry pie. He thanks you by inviting you to share it with him, thus letting you enjoy the gift while also witnessing him enjoying it.
Your brother arrived at a thoughtful way of using your gift to spend time with you. That's a nice thing to do.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from "B," about an extreme age difference in a relationship, I married a wonderful woman 23 years ago when I was 64 and she was 49.
We were both healthy and happy for 22 years, but she is now paying the price. Walking is a problem and my hearing loss has caused depression.
Most young people do not realize how fast the years go. The old joke is "I'll marry a young girl so I'll have someone to push the wheelchair when I get old." That's nothing to laugh about. -- Achy
DEAR ACHY: Thank you for offering your perspective, but I'm going to assume that your wife has no regrets; 22 years is a lot of happiness.