If you’re considering weight loss surgery, you’re probably thinking about the possible side effects. They’re plastered all over the internet—everything from occasional indigestion to bruising and muscle soreness to hair loss. There are worse side effects, too, but, let’s face it, all surgery carries significant risk.
In the case of weight loss surgery, though, there is at least one risk that most doctors don’t disclose to their patients: divorce.
It may seem odd, but awareness of the numbers of patients who undergo weight loss surgery and then divorce is rising. In a truly healthy marriage, of course, weight loss surgery probably wouldn’t have such a profoundly traumatic impact. But in an unhealthy marriage, the effects can be devastating.
Weight loss can dramatically change the dynamics in a relationship. Obesity can have a serious effect on self-esteem, and can cause a person to settle in a relationship because they don’t think they deserve better. Weight loss can also change the hobbies you used to enjoy together. While you used to eat and veg out in front of the TV, that may no longer be an option. The partner who had weight loss surgery suddenly has more energy and wants to go out—see and be seen. There’s also jealousy—your partner is suddenly getting a lot of attention (and maybe even extra attention from the opposite sex). Suddenly, you’re dealing with jealousy that didn’t used to be there. Combined together, all these changes can really hurt a struggling marriage.
You need to take some time to truly consider ALL the possible side effects. A good way to start is to have an open and frank discussion with your doctor about foreseen and, more importantly, unforeseen side effects that he or she has seen in practice. Staying fat may be better for your marriage in the short term, but staying fat may have devastating effects for your health and welfare over the long term. Is your marriage worth risking? It’s obviously a personal decision, but the alternative may be that you’re stuck in a self-destructive cycle and risking type II diabetes, blot clots, stroke, heart disease, cancer, sleep apnea, and gall bladder disease.
If you’re considering weight loss surgery and aren’t willing to sacrifice your marriage, your next step should be to talk to your husband and make a plan for how to deal with the way things will change in your relationship. There are marriage counselors and other professionals available to help coach you through the process and to help make your marriage stronger. You shouldn’t have to choose between your health and your marriage—so you’ll have to make a strong commitment to both.