Let me explain a little further, because I didn't mean to offend, but also, I want to be very clear about something I did not understand myself until recently, and it was a hard lesson to learn.
Like many bipolars, I had taken weight gaining medications, and had gained a lot of weight. Over the years, I gained, lost, gained, lost, maybe 35-50 pounds lost or gained at a time. My husband was always very supportive, never commented on my weight, understood it was a side effect of the medications.
Let's be perfectly honest, okay? Living with someone with bipolar disorder has got to be INCREDIBLY difficult. I've now realized he went through years of being afraid to say ANYTHING to me about ANYTHING, or telling me about any need he might have for fear of triggering any kind of emotion I might have. He had basically been walking on eggshells for years and years, and I didn't even know it. I had been living in la-la land, thinking everything was wonderful, I had the most perfect, understanding, kind husband in the world who put up with everything I did. Guess what? He actually didn't. For years, he kept it all inside and didn't say a word.
So for all of these years, he kept all of these things inside until he just couldn't take it anymore, it exploded, and he didn't know if the marriage could continue. There were too many things that had built up over the years. How can someone who has bipolar disorder not understand that a spouse might feel that way? I can honestly say that it would be extremely difficult for me to live with someone with my own disorder, I don't know if I could deal with it.
So he dragged me to marriage counseling, and the counselor, who is very good actually, and is a trainer of other counselors as well as specializes in marriage and bipolar, gave us a "needs" assessment that we both did on our own. It included many things, such as communication, intimacy, affection, sexual satisfaction, appearance of your spouse, quality time, etc. etc. Communication was his most important need, attractiveness of your spouse was his #3.
He was afraid he was being shallow, that we were married and it should be beyond that, but that is just how he felt, and the counselor said that is the way many men feel they are loved - when their spouse takes the time to make themselves attractive for them. Ladies - we cannot just "let ourselves go" and expect our men to love us unconditionally! True, there is so much more to love and marriage than appearance, and there is so much more to our marriage than appearance, and we're working on those as well, and our relationship has NEVER been better.
Someone commented "what if you were disabled". Well guess what? I'm NOT. So there's no reason to "let myself go", but even if I were disabled, why would that be a reason to "let myself go"? Why would I stop trying to be attractive for my husband? I think NOT taking care of yourself shows your husband that you are taking him for granted, which, in hindsight, I think I was, and that was wrong of me.
If that is a way in which he feels loved, like I feel loved when he shows me affection, then that's what I'll do. His #1 need is communication, so that is what I am more focused on than appearance.
But more from our counselor than my husband, I learned how men really think and how they feel when women don't take care of themselves, how hurt it makes them, how unloved they feel. If I had met my husband when I didn't weigh 125 (and I still don't, but I'm working on it), then that would be different. But I don't want my husband to be one of the MANY men she sees because they are unattracted to their wives because they gained weight or let themselves go, they stopped taking care of themselves, and the women are at home thinking their marriage is perfect and their husband is so in love with them.
As far as weight gaining medication for bipolars, sure, I get it. It happened to me, for years. But I made that a Number 1 priority for medications - no weight gainers. I got off any meds that I was taking that were weight gainers (Seroquel and Geoden), and my doctor put me on Latuda, and that's when I started losing weight. Well, and I changed my diet and I exercise a lot - I run 5 miles 4 times a week. And the difference in the way my husband treats me now is astounding. Part of that can be attributed to counseling - he got the chance to air out all of his baggage he'd been holding on for years and we negotiated ways for each of us to change to make the other person feel more loved. An example of that is we're now a lot more "intimate". But also, part of that is because he finds me more attractive. Men are just VISUAL, and that's the truth.
He's still a bit afraid to tell me when he has a "need" or a concern, so we still go to marriage counseling because I think he feels safer talking about it there, where I won't get emotionally unstable. Like I said, living with a bipolar must be rough. I've obviously scarred him somehow, but it's getting better.
Be surprised all day that our marriage counselor didn't tell him "you should accept her no matter how she looks, it's what's inside that counts", but in the end, how would that have helped? That wouldn't have changed how he felt. Just like if she had told me "he's just not an affectionate person", that would not have taken away my need for more affection. But see, the funny thing is, when I met his need, he naturally met my need. When I was more attractive for him, he instinctively wanted to be more affectionate towards me.
Yes, I thought it was VERY shallow in the beginning, and he even said I would think he was shallow. But ladies, seriously, I think it's very rude and disrespectful to let yourself go and expect your man to be okay with it. If you loved him, why wouldn't you want to make yourself attractive for him, and for him to be proud to be seen with you?
I get the weight gaining thing from medication, I totally do, I was there for years. But I didn't exercise, my self esteem went down the drain because of my weight, and I thought, why bother with my appearance? I'm already fat, it doesn't matter. But it does! We can still wear nice, flattering clothes, buy sexy shoes, get manis/pedis, and EXERCISE! Exercise is SO important! Maybe you are on a weight gainer, but you can combat it with a ton of exercise.