My Bariatric Life: The Potential for Marital Stress Following Weight Loss Surgery

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • In a prior post, the correlation between gastric bypass surgery and divorce was explored. The fact is that the divorce rate following bariatric surgery is high.


    There are several leading reasons for marital stress following weight loss surgery. 


    Sometimes the marital partners can no longer find a common ground where interests are shared. One person in the relationship is comfortable with the lifestyle that existed prior to the obesity surgery, while the other has been energized and no longer finds that prior lifestyle attractive.


    Perhaps the relationship or marriage was poor before the weight loss surgery. The new and more confident partner now finds the esteem and courage to end a bad situation.

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    Marital Conflict Resolution

    This is all fair, but perhaps an exploration of feelings could be exercised before ending the marital relationship. Why abandon a ship that may not in fact be sinking?

    Change, both positive and negative, can promote stress. The loss of familiarity calls for adjustment and, in a relationship, if one partner sways the other must necessarily follow in some capacity. Mutual adjustment to the unfamiliar will grate patience especially if one of the partners is much less enthused than the other about the adjustment. If your marriage is strained and you are confused about what to do, marriage counseling might help provide resolution.

    It must be understood that the purpose of marriage counseling is not to save marriages; it is to resolve conflict and promote solutions. Sometimes conflict resolution only can be had by dissolving the marriage. Divorce can be a solution.

    Marriage counseling is a type of psychotherapy and is usually practiced by licensed professionals. Counseling is usually short, and both partners normally participate although not always. Couples need not be married to participate, and a couple can be heterosexual or homosexual. Another term for this type of counseling is couples counseling and, as the name indicates, marriage is not a prerequisite. A couple sharing a relationship will suffice.

    Marital Counseling Prior to Weight Loss Surgery

    A troubled marriage the not the only criteria for counseling. Couples in healthy relationships often attend to further strengthen their already strong unions. Pre-marriage counseling is often done to help couples address differences prior to taking vows. Likewise, marriage counseling can be undertaken prior to the weight loss surgery so as to strengthen the marital relationship for the changes that are going to take place following the weight loss surgery.

    Working with a Marriage Counselor

    When selecting a counselor some of the more pertinent questions might be about the counselor's level of education, general availability, number of sessions per week, length of therapy, fees and coverage through health insurance.

    Counseling will involve discovering the strengths and weaknesses in a relationship, improving communication, and developing problem solving skills. Sessions can be animated, argumentative, or pass in stony silence. Your therapist must be able to guide all sessions regardless of the climate.


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    If additional but separate problems surface (alcohol consumption often rises after bariatric surgery), the counselor should involve other professionals who specialize in those areas of need. Counseling also can be used to addressed episodes of aggression or domestic abuse, but matters of abuse are perhaps best addressed by reporting them to the authorities. Domestic abuse is non-restrictive; that is, either men or women can be perpetrators. 


    If the sessions lead to the discovery that the marriage is beyond repair then it could very well in the best interest of both partners to terminate the relationship. Although such decisions can be emotionally difficult, such difficulty is probably preferable to remaining in a hopeless relationship. 


    Question for the Community

    How has your relationship been affected by your weight loss surgery? Please share your experience by posting a comment. Thank you!



    Up next: Divorce Rates Soar Within Two-Years After Weight-Loss Surgery; Its Not Necessarily a Bad Thing



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    My Story...

    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.

Published On: January 21, 2012