I am Christopher Maxwell; the esteemed-awed partner of Dionne Gomez. I have heard through the grape vine that many of you have been curious about my experience being her partner during her health journey. Well you have come to the right place. I have been with Dionne since she started her journey at 300 pounds and couldn’t even run a block without breaking into a heavy sweat. I have seen her change a lot over the past 3 years.
Before I get into sharing my thoughts, I feel it would make sense if you got to know a little bit about me aside from what Dionne has shared. And p.s., she is a sweetheart for painting me in the light she has in her posts. Anyway, let’s see… I was born in Michigan and went to Central Michigan University. I am the oldest of five siblings, son of two loving parents, and a lover of learning. That last part is important to me because in order to learn and grow, I have to understand what makes people who they are and how to engage them accordingly. My value in humility has helped me be the support Dionne deserves in this ever-going process. It is important to not only be present and involved in their experience, but to also learn about it too so that you can play a positive, contributing role in their success. And like I said, I love to learn so it was a win-win for us both. Now that you have an idea about me, let’s get into those questions.
- Did you become more or less attracted to her when she lost weight?
The woman I had met back in 2013 became smaller right before my eyes. And it was sudden too. She became much smaller in the waist, her face was smaller as well, and she had excess skin hanging on her mid-section. When I would go and hug her, my arms could wrap around her much easier. However, my attraction never faded. She still looked attractive and appealing to me as she did when she was larger, because for me the attraction always stemmed from her personality, drive and curviness – not her size. She was smaller than what I had known, but her body was still proportionate and curvy. I’ve always had a thing for curvy and glad it was not lost. In terms of her personality and drive, that did not change. If anything she was happier due to her ability to be able to do more like running and sitting on roller coasters without worrying about the safety belts hurting her. She now even has a better chance (not too much though) of being able to run away after talking smack when winning Monopoly.
- How did her size change and excess skin affect intimacy?
This is a doozy of a question here. Well, to be honest there were obvious pluses and minuses in terms of intimacy and her changes. The obvious plus, with her being smaller she looked more slim in her waist, her hips poked out more on her side, and she was curvier. You could notice it as her hips popped left to right as she would walk about. The minus was her excess skin on her stomach. I am sure you have seen pictures and it is not eye appealing. We struggled with physical intimacy mainly because of how her skin looked. It made her reluctant to engage in intimacy at times and I didn’t have the responses to immediately reassure her that everything was okay. To help combat that, we worked to reinforce the notion that the skin is a part of her weight-loss journey and the success she had achieved not with just the surgery, but being consistent with her daily habits of being healthy. So in a way, I treated it as a trophy in my mind. I made sure to compliment her physically every day in various ways. From her smile, her hair getting done, breasts, smooth skin. Whoo, I better stop. A gentleman never kisses and tells. A thing to know is that seeing the hanging skin did affect me at first glance, but not to where it took my attraction away from her. Not at all. It served as a reminder of her healthy progress and that fact helped me know how to express my overall attraction to her.
- Were there any psychological changes you both had to deal with?
Plus-size Mentality: For those that have known her, she was large all her life and she connected with that aspect of her identity very much – she was proud to be a plus size woman. When Dionne lost the weight, while she KNEW that her body had become smaller, she still had the mindset of a larger woman. What do I mean by this? I am sure you have read the story about her and Halloween costume shopping experience. If not, check the story out here. Long story short, she thought that she needed a much larger size than what was in the store. I told the clerk to get a medium. Dionne tried the medium and was stunned to see it had fit her even with it being almost two years since her journey began. It is understandable though. I mean, if you spent the past 27 years being very large and thinking a certain way about yourself, flipping the switch to smaller sizes takes quite a while to adjust to being 2nd nature and to embracing it. It is one thing for me to see her change and remind her she is still amazing and wonderful, but I am not going through it. She is.
Compliments: We had talked before the weight loss took place and she expressed how that she did not want for me to be more attracted to her due to being smaller. Hearing that, it worried me that by complimenting her smaller size, she would think I did not appreciate her before the weight loss. But, not saying anything about my thoughts made things awkward, as she would wonder how I felt and go to worst-case scenario. It would freak her out. It took time for both us to see how much her original size played a role in communicating to each other, but we embraced the reality as her being not better, but healthier. Now I just tell her like it is and sometimes she wishes I would stop. That bashful little minx.
Diet: Surprisingly, the most impact full adjustment was to our diet. I am the kind of guy that can eat 10 tacos and not worry about the excess piling up in my body. I should be careful with that since my metabolism is slowly going away as I get older. But when it came to eating at home, what we prepared, what we had for take-out, I had to bear in my mind that while I have more free range than she does, my habits around her can be discouraging. So instead of having pizza, having salads with chicken breasts is the switch. Instead of chips, having edamame beans works. I gotta tell ya, those beans are pretty good. I’ve also become more fit in the process.
- Do you have any advice for a spouse going through the same thing?
Please take what I am about to tell you very seriously because without it, everything that happens in your relationship will take you both down a bad spiral. Don’t take my word for it, check this out here.
Now hear is what I have to tell you… YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE A PIECE OF THEM IN THIS JOURNEY. Not just physically, but also in terms of how they view themselves and the world as well. For someone that was heavy for a substantial portion of their life, how they’ve interacted with the world, and with you, had some basis on their size. So to lose that, to lose part of that identity, and to adjust knowing how to properly engage them in their new size, it means that your outlook and theirs will change. That aspect of how you connected with them is gone. But that also means that new possibilities come with the loss. More hiking, more delving into what makes your relationship real, more understanding of how you view the world based on size. But most importantly, refining your connection with their body. Being able to handle them being smaller or you being of vastly different weight than them. Being able to handle how you two interact with the world and vice versa now versus then. It is a tough process, but only one that will make both of you stronger.