My negative self-image... a long story... :(

Hi there! First of all english is not my native language, but I´ll hope you understand my problem. I´m dealing with depression since I´m probably 15 or 16 (I´m 36 now), it still comes and goes, but since I took professional help I can handle it. At hime during publerty me and my parents actually never talked about my condition, I was just a lazy guy for them who didn´t care much about school and in their opion I was more interested in videogames. Long story short, I failed at school. One of the quotes of my mom were :"You´ll never get a girlfriend if you ..... (fill in, what I did wrong at that time (e.g. cleaning rooms, misbehaviour of any kind....) Socializing wasn´t easy either, I was a chubby dude, my classmates often made fun of me, so school wasn´t the place to be for me, although i I never skipped school (I was too coward :) ) Since all the mocking about my "chubbyness" during puberty happened, I can deal with it now, altough it left a scar in my soul. At the age of 23 I met my former wife, we got together, married and got divorced 8 years later. During my "not so sucsessfull" marriage me and my wife had a lot of verbal fights (I actually got physically abused by her from time to time, still have markings from her fingernails on my left lower arm) I just couldn´t handle so much anger towards me, so I kind of closed my mind to her needs, because I didn´t want to get hurt anymore. But that made it all worse and left her full of anger. Since she knew, hurting me physically didn´t affect me anymore she knew how to "push the buttons" very well (Of course I told her about my negative self-image)... So she started commenting negatively on my body and my looks. At the beginning she did it more on a joking way (E.g. "my ass looks like the butt of an old man (I was 24 years old)"). When our marriage worsened her taunts got really mean. After the marriage I lost a lot of weight (80 pounds) and started dating women, who were only interested in my sexual skills (to my surprise, because the exwife told me I did poorly in bed). I didn´t see any sense in life and tought about commiting suicide. But I got myself together, took personal help, got medication and did psychotherapy. One lucky day I met a woman at an (to my opinion extremely attractive and who´s my age) exhibition. I did well in covering up my insecurity of my self-image which still wasn´t gone and for a long time, but she didn´t believe me at first. My dating times were over and we´re still together for one and a half years now. I became a little chubby again, my girlfriend is fine with that and she still thinks I´m hot and attractive to her. We love going to the spa toghether, in Europe you enjoy the Sauna fully nude. For the first couple of times I didn´t care much, but last time I felt like the women at the spa (a lot of them were younger then we are) were checking me out and turned away from me in disgust. I love my live now, don´t feel any suicidal tendencies, my loving girlfriend assures me, that she thinks I´m sexy. But i still have a bad feeling about my body and my self image and don´t think I may be attractive to other women. How would you guys (and girls) deal with that?

User Comments
Anon-1

I can relate to a lot of what you said up until where, at your age (the age I'm also at now) you've found someone who loves you for who you are. I'm not there yet, though I'm sure I'll get there someday. Meantime, though, don't worry about what strangers think; have faith in your girlfriend, and try to learn to love yourself for who you are. See yourself the way *she* sees you, and the way you see *her*. If someone that wonderful loves you, you can't be too bad, right? 

Anon-2

I have serious problems with self-image. I tried looking at myself in the mirror, every day, for almost a year, and telling myself that I was fine. Not lying, not making things up; "I'm fine. I'm cool as I am. I'm a good guy. Girls dig me," which was true enough; I've never had a huge amount of trouble there (standard troubles only, I'm guessing). During part of that time, I had a girlfriend; I repeated the things that she told me about myself, like "I'm a good-looking guy. I make people laugh. I'm handy, helpful, and positive." 

Anon-3 Thank you for sharing. I still struggle with my body imagem, reading the stories helps me to recognise that I am not the only one suffering with this.