A SIZE 26 model and her partner say they are proud of their mixed weight relationship despite cruel comments from strangers.
Leah Stanley, 33, from Vermont, met tree surgeon, Dan 37, from New York, on a dating app in August 2019 and hit it off straight away.
The couple quickly moved in together and say it was love at first sight – even though they're regularly trolled for their 12st 8lbs weight difference online.
Digital content specialist, Leah, who has chosen not to disclose her exact weight, said: "Numbers don’t matter, your weight difference doesn’t define your relationship.
"It’s literally a topic that’s never come up for us. Clearly, we both know that I’m much bigger and that’s it.
"I think in a world where people are obsessed with numbers of all sorts, it’s important to remember that they’re exactly that – just numbers.
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"When we first met, we just clicked straight away.
"As soon as he walked into the bar on our first date, I gave him a hug which I never usually do.
"We moved into a cute little apartment together in June.
"He's the sweetest person to me, I've never had anyone treat me as sweet as he does.
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"We have lots of happy times, we joke around a lot, we laugh a lot, we're just a funny, goofy couple."
But despite their perfect relationship, the couple do face negativity from online trolls who suggest that they aren't right together.
In a recent Instagram post, Leah revealed some of the 'harsh' comments people have made about them.
She captioned the short video: "Mostly because I think these comments are just so mindless and for that reason they be funny.
"It's important to know that there's always going to be someone unhappy with what you're doing and that's why you need to live for YOU."
Some of the examples of cruel comments include: "He's with you for the money" and "Run for your life, man" as well as "He must be cheating on her".
But the couple dismiss suggestions that they can’t love each other because of their size difference and are speaking out because they want to see more mixed weight relationships normalised.
Leah who wears a US size 22 (UK size 26) said: "No one ever says anything to our face but online, people will make comments about the difference in our sizes.
"People say he looks really uncomfortable in photos with me because he isn't as comfortable in front of the camera as I am.
"They just pick apart everything they can.
"These people usually aren't in relationships themselves, see a bigger girl and can't understand how I can be in a happy relationship.
"It's never bothered me, I'm really confident with who I am and what I look like but I think Dan maybe is a little less confident.
"When we're together, weight isn't an issue, it just doesn't come up because it doesn't matter.
"Our happiness doesn't depend on our size so we don't really care, we're just happy being together and what other people think doesn't really matter."
Leah confessed that as a young girl, she was self-conscious due to her weight but has a newfound confidence, even becoming a plus size model.
Leah said: "Plus-size women struggle when we're looking for a relationship.
"We feel self-conscious and don't know who to go after or who would like us but there's someone out there for everyone and if you give up looking, you'll never find them.
"Everyone deserves love but as a young girl I struggled to find relationships.
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"I never really had boyfriends because there was something in my head saying I wasn't good enough but I'm a lot more confident now.
"We can't control what someone says about us but we can control the way we react. I take it with a pinch of salt. It's cowardly for them to do it from behind a screen."
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