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Weight grows along with relationship

Q. I met a great man about a year ago, and we quickly became friends. It wasn't long before we found ourselves attracted to one another. We've been dating for about six months, and ever since, he's put on a lot of weight. As much as I hate to admit it, it's negatively affecting our relationship.

I don't mean just an extra 10 pounds (I'm not exactly in the best shape myself) -- he's gained closer to 50 pounds. Not only do I feel my attraction to him slipping, but I'm concerned for his health. I love him and don't want to hurt his feelings, but I also don't see us lasting if he continues to gain weight. What can I do? J.J. - Buffalo

A. It's normal for people to put on some extra pounds during the early stages of a relationship. You feel euphoric, content, excited and happy; a lot of people respond to happy feelings with overeating. However, the amount of weight he has put on is a bit alarming and definitely a health risk.

While it's not a good idea for you to simply tell him he has to lose weight or he's going to lose you, you can encourage him to change his habits in other ways. If the two of you share a lot of meals together, cook them at home using fresh and healthy ingredients rather then going out to eat.

Tell him that you're thinking about trying to get in better shape for the new year, and want to start exercising. If you make it about you, and ask him to support you and accompany you on this journey, he will be more likely to oblige.

If he continues to gain weight, it might be an emotional issue and time to have the talk with him about his health. Making an appointment with your doctor or a trained professional in this matter may be helpful.

> Gift for the casual date

Q. I've been dating a bit casually over the past few months and have met some wonderful people, though I haven't developed any true connections yet. There are a few for whom I'd like to buy holiday gifts, to express that I am grateful to have met them, but am not sure what would be appropriate, if anything at all. R.D. - Tonawanda

A. When you're only casually dating, and your goal is to present tokens of affection/appreciation, it's best that they're not too personal -- just simple, fun, frivolous and under $30.

Acceptable gift ideas are books, DVDs, CDs, gift cards, a dinner out at a restaurant they love, movie tickets, baked goods or a nice bottle of wine.

If you are given a gift that you don't feel comfortable accepting (expensive jewelry, electronics, a vacation, etc.) -- don't accept it. It's better to decline than to give someone the wrong idea about where your relationship stands.

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