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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Facing Facts After WLS - Matters of the Heart!

The facts are that 80 - 85% of all gastric bypass or weight loss surgery patients divorce within 2 years of their procedure.  That is a sobering statistic. 

Why is the divorce rate so high?  Does the rise in our self esteem threaten our partners?

A common belief among professionals is that obese patients tend to "settle" for relationships in which a "normal" individual would not.  I am not sure I believe in a fairy tale version of "normal".  I truly believe that everyone exists with a certain amount of dysfunction in their lives.  I believe it is those differences that make us special and unique.  I don't wish to be like my neighbor.  Now, do I believe I tolerated more when I was heavy to avoid being alone?  More than likely. 

As a weight loss patient who has lost half of her body weight, I can tell you that my self esteem has grown expeditiously.  I also know that my husband is 145 soaking wet and has a hollow leg!  He has never, nor will he ever understand what it is like to struggle with his weight. And as I have struggled to recover, there is very little sympathy.

Some couples may experience issues with jealousy and trust.  Suddenly, their spouse has gone from a size 24 to size 4 and the other sex is paying attention to them.  Your spouse may not know how to deal with their emotions and insecurities.  Also, as the individual that is going through the transformation yourself, you may quite enjoy the attention.   Promiscuity may even become an issue within the marriage.

I also believe that some weight loss patients believe that the sex has died in their marriage due to the obesity and when they lose the weight, it will return.  However, it maybe that your spouse just doesn't want sex and this symptom may have nothing to have to do with your weight and everything to do with your spouse.

Professional are quick to make the psychological testing part of the pre-surgical criteria; however, a huge part of the puzzle is realizing what we have been using food for.  Those realizations do not come until after the surgery and you're standing in front of the pantry door for no apparent reason other than an emotional one.
Weight loss surgery is not a magic bullet.  It will not save your marriage.  Please seek professional help as issues arise whether they be personal or with your relationship with your significant other. 

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