When I was younger, I went to an all-girls school and I was one of the tallest there (I’m 5’11) – I remember once being in Year 7 and getting moved to the Sixth Form section of the whole school photo; because I was just too tall to be with the other girls my age. I’ve always been the tallest of my friendship group, as well as the biggest – I think because of this, I always assumed that it meant I needed an even bigger boyfriend so I could feel like I was in a stereotypical rom-com relationship.
For me, there is a huge lack of representation of relationships in the media – there is by no means enough representation of the LGBTQ+ community, of mixed-race relationships or of people of colour in general. I saw a tweet a few weeks back about how every low-budget Christmas film has the exact same movie poster and it’s such a good example of how the media feed us a cookie-cutter template of what relationships should look like, and it very rarely shows a female being larger than her male partner.
I met my boyfriend Alex whilst I was doing an internship, he’s my best pal and I’m absolutely smitten – he’s probably a good 3 inches shorter than me, and wears a size small whereas I veer more on the XXL side.
In my head, I never considered dating someone smaller than me – I didn’t have many dating prospects, but I had still completely ruled out an entire group of people because it just isn’t what we’re told is standard for a heterosexual relationship. I constantly see tweets making fun of short men and tall women, saying that the girls aren’t feminine and it used to make me feel mortified of my body; I would feel like I was some sort of girl-zilla that needs to find a 6’6 Viking to feel small and pretty and how you’re ‘meant’ to feel when you’re with a man.
At the start of our relationship, I felt so self-conscious about my height; I felt like I needed to give people a warning that I was taller, so they wouldn’t make fun of me for being so much bigger than my boyfriend. I was worried Alex’s friends would make jokes about him being with a female reincarnation of King Kong or that we couldn’t have cute couple pics because I would look manly. Being completely honest; no one cares. I feel silly for feeling self-conscious about other people would think, because they don’t care and frankly why should I?
I was definitely concerned about being with someone smaller than me (sorry if you’re reading this mum), I thought I was this huge lump that would crush anyone who took a risk on me. In the beginning, I felt self-conscious constantly; I didn’t want Alex seeing my cellulite or my stretch marks, I didn’t want him touching my tummy or seeing my rolls – I didn’t understand how he could possibly fancy me, because how could anyone find someone with my body attractive? I started to push Alex away because I just hated my own body so much, and even did stupid things to try and look better for him.
Alex never cared about or saw the things I was concerned about, and he tried so hard to make me feel good but in the words of RuPaul, if you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?! (Amen)
It’s so easy to pick out bits we don’t like about ourselves, but it’s important to remember that others don’t see your body the same way. Here’s the thing: my size was never a secret – you can’t exactly hide being big, Alex knew my body type and he still wanted to be with me. Looking at it from that perspective, it’s so silly that I constantly chastised myself when there was really no need – I was projecting all my insecurities onto the relationship, which just made me feel more self-conscious than ever.
Although my body type hasn’t changed, I’m trying to change my relationship with it. I have wobbly bits, but wobbly doesn’t necessarily mean bad– it’s also okay that my boyfriend doesn’t have the same wobbly bits. I still get a bit iffy about him touching my tummy, and sometimes have days where I get angry that I don’t feel as feminine as I imagine slim, petite girls do but we’re so much more than just a body; it feels ridiculous to place worth on something so insignificant when there are tonnes more meaningful aspects of my relationship.
If I could give any advice to those in a similar situation, it would be to forget what the media paints as a cute relationship – it’s okay to be bigger than your partner! People don’t feel the same way you do about your body, so don’t let it affect your relationships with the people you love. Tall girls can be feminine, big girls can be feminine, anyone can be feminine – partners have no impact on that. Your partner would not be with you if they didn’t want you; they don’t see chub or cellulite like you do, they see something they find attractive. Above everything else, your relationship is no one else’s business– as long you are happy and healthy, who cares if you’re a bit bigger?
Thank you for reading!