The Mighty Logo

When I Finally Let My Husband See Me Naked Again

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.

Soapy suds ran down my naked body in the shower. I closed my eyes in an attempt at one minute of peace in my whirlwind life as a working mom with two babies.

No such luck.

“Honey,” my husband yelled as he swung open the bathroom door holding Marjorie, our daughter. “Did you know the stovetop is loose?”

“Yes. Yes, I know it is. I will call the contractor.”

Jordan walked out and Manning, our son, entered a few minutes later showing me a truck I have seen (and picked up) a thousand times.

Sigh. So much for a few minutes alone. I turned the shower off, opened the door, grabbed the towel and stepped out of the shower. Jordan and Marjorie reappeared, this time trailed by our two dogs.

I stood before my husband, naked, as he went on telling me about his day, weekend plans and other non-important news. My thoughts had nothing to do with my body and everything to do with my desire to have a solid five minutes alone.

As I began to dress — with husband still talking and Marjorie reaching for me — I had to laugh. This would not be the scenario five years ago. Jordan was not allowed in the bathroom back then. He was not allowed to see my body “unprepared.”

What if I had a food baby? What if he saw my rolls?

What if? What if? What if?

The best advice I ever received in regards to Jordan viewing my body was from my former therapist, Christy. In January 2010, I received a pass from treatment to spend the day with Jordan. We made plans for lunch and walking around, but there was also the looming possibility of going back to his hotel room.

The thought of Jordan, my husband and partner for over eight years, seeing and touching my body sent me into a panic attack. In my mind, my body had changed so much in my few short weeks at the Carolina House. Re-feeding and nourishing my body after years of abuse led to bloating and mythical weight gain in my mind.

Tears grew in my eyes as I explained this fear to Christy. As always, she listened, validated my feelings and went on to challenge me with an exercise:

“When he places a hand on your hip or side, ask Jordan ‘What do you feel?’”

I laughed as she said this. What an weird question to ask my own husband. Seriously, I thought, he already has a wife in treatment. I don’t need to act any “crazier.” There was still so much shame about being in treatment and complete vulnerability was overwhelming and terrifying.

But I had trusted Christy from day one and I wasn’t going to stop then.

Jordan and I ran out of things to do and he wanted to watch golf so we opted to go relax at the hotel. My heart raced as he opened the door to his room. I didn’t want him touching me. I didn’t want him seeing me.

We laid together on the big king bed, curled up like two spoons. We watched the golf tournament and chatted about life. Then his dreaded hand moved from a neutral position onto my hip, my side, my most hated body part. I froze in sheer terror then forced myself to ask the strangest question on earth:

“What do you feel?”

Jordan gave me a similar look that I gave Christy.

“What?” He asked.

“I mean, do you, like, feel something? What do you feel when you, um, put your hand there?” I said.

“Um, I feel your hip.”

Christy’s challenge suddenly made sense. My fear and unwarranted anxiety about my body vanished once I spoke out my shame. Jordan was right. He felt my hip. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a hip.

He did not feel a “muffin top,” fat or any other name I called it. Jordan was not looking at my body through the same cruel eyes I was. He viewed my body with his own loving eyes. Jordan adored every inch, every line and every curve, but most of all he adored the woman within.

Five years, two babies and countless hours of breastfeeding and pumping later, my body has been through the ringer. Some things hang a bit lower and a large scar serves as a constant reminder of my daughter’s difficult birth. But through it all, Jordan continues to view my body through those same loving eyes. And my eyes finally see what he has seen all along.

Today, spooning sessions and shower scenes are anything but anxiety provoking. They are also anything but sexy thanks to two small children and two four-legged children. I no longer flinch when the shower door swings open and I no longer hide my body when changing. No body is perfect and nobody is perfect.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to look and be perfect. We convince ourselves our partners see what we see in the mirror. We all need a mirror (and hip) check from time to time. Speak your shame, share your fear. You might be surprised at your partner’s response. My guess is they view your body with love and see nothing but beauty inside and out.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via marzacz.

Originally published: April 26, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home