This post was submitted anonymously.
For the past few months, my girlfriend has been having self-esteem issues and poor self-image, and I don't know how I can help her. I've tried complimenting her on a regular basis, and telling her that the models she sees in ads are mostly airbrushed, but the problem runs a bit deeper than that.
For starters, she says that guys never hit on her on high school. She's never been asked out, or hit on; one of her high school friends told her that she has nice eyes, but that was mostly it. She also tells me about how guys used to ogle other girls and talk about how hot they were, right in front of her, repeatedly, but it was never her. One of her band mates even compared her to a waitress when she was at a restaurant with them; he had the balls to say, "Why can't you look like that? Haha, I'm joking."
Having been a shy guy in high school myself, I tried to tell her that plenty of guys probably did like her, but were probably just too shy to tell her or hit on her. I also have a thought that perhaps guys were hitting on her in ways she couldn't tell.
It frustrates her to hear about how other girls complain about being hit on constantly, or mostly valued for their looks. "At least they know they're pretty!" is her response. She'll also say, "If I was pretty, I'd be complaining about having pretty girl problems, but it's not happening."
It's been months of this, and no matter how many times I've tried to comfort her, she's in a lot of anguish and depression. She's constantly thinking back to the guys in high school who idealized the models on magazines, and sometimes even worries that I might leave her for someone prettier than she is. I'm starting to feel like an inadequate boyfriend for not showing her how wonderful she really is.
Can anyone give me advice on how to better help her?