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DURING the past 20 years, the average weight of those in the dating pool has changed dramatically.

A time-lapse series of maps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows how abruptly our bodies have transformed: A map of obesity rates in 1985 shows only eight states, shaded dark blue, where 10 to 14 percent of adults are obese; as the maps roll over from year to year, more states turn blue, including Illinois, where Rob Gaughan was already a hefty high schooler.

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For most of my dating life, my amplitude was something to be overlooked, overcome. I remember one man, an alcoholic who’d begun taking red wine before his morning coffee, sitting across from me as I held a vegetable roll between my chopsticks, and asking, with an earnest obliviousness, if I might consider “eating healthier food.” My suitors were always taken enough with everything beneath my skin — heart and wit and good old-fashioned moxie — but only taken so far.

Even if our breakups were rooted in banality of mismatched ambitions, uneven libidos, or just plain stupid youth, there was always a thin tendril muscling up from that root, one that choked our relationships: the stigma of dating a fat girl. He’d been unabashedly open, enthusiastic even, about his preference for those of us on the Melissa Mc Carthy end of the size spectrum.

As the map speeds through 2002, 2003, 2004, more states turn red, first across the South and the Midwest, and then in 2006, Mississippi and West Virginia need yet another designation--dotted, dark red--showing that 30 percent of the adults who live there are obese.

Green Singles was one of the first online dating sites, originally launched in 1996 and has been serving Green Singles for over 30 years, since its inception as a paper newsletter back in 1985.Varney says mixed-weight marriages tend to have much more friction."The types of arguments are much more personal, they are much more vicious," Varney said.Body image also becomes a major friction point in the marriage.He’d reached out to thank me foran essay I wrote about my choice to duck-and-roll off the hamster wheel of constant dieting and accept, even embrace, my size 24 figure.We talked, and wrote, with increasing length and flirtatiousness, about body acceptance and the vanquishing of secret shame, our upbringings (or lack thereof) and aspirations; ours was a courtship knit by the camaraderie of misfits, an affection that felt as easy and natural as spring grass, and as vital as rain.