Though I am not looking to leave my husband I do have to admit that I wish things were different…very different.  I constantly struggle with how to “deal” with the changes that have taken place in our marriage.  I hadn’t realized until about six months post-op that a majority of our relationship was based on being “bad”.  We were BOTH overweight.  We BOTH liked to eat crap.  We BONDED over gluttonous food choices, late night Taco Bell runs, eating entire bags of chips and packages of cookies while watching a movie marathon on our couch.   Sad but true…

This is a blog that I’ve been meaning to write for a long time, like a REALLY long time but I’ve put it off, waiting for the right time to express my thoughts and opinions intellectually without too much emotion.  So here it goes.

When I decided to have gastric bypass surgery people would ask me and my 350lbs husband, usually at the same time, if he was worried that I would leave him when I lost the weight.  This didn’t just happen once or twice, this was a very common question that came from just about everyone we told that I was having surgery.  It was usually followed by a statement that was meant to be a compliment to me like, “she’s beautiful now, what’s going to happen when she’s skinny and hot?”

Being the slightly narcissistic person I am, I did take it as a compliment but my husband felt differently about those types of statements.  He took it as a direct insult and looking back I can see exactly how and why he would feel that way.  In fact, I should have taken it that way too.  After all, those kinds of questions and statements make it sound like we were only together because we were both fat- like we were the best the other person could get.

I don’t know statistics but I do have personal experience with friends and friends of friends that have had gastric bypass surgery who ended up in divorce.  This does seem to be a common side-effect of losing a significant amount of weight, but why?

I believe it varies based on the individual and the relationship but typically based on one of three factors:

One- The person who loses the weight becomes very focused on themselves.  They become obsessed with losing weight, exercising, buying new clothes, changing their hair because for the first time in a very long time, perhaps in their entire life, they are feeling good about the way they look.  They begin taking more pride in their appearance and begin getting noticed by others, they start feeling more attractive and desirable.  This type of attention is addictive.  Everyone wants to feel desired, it’s just a part of who we are as humans, so once that begins to happen we crave it more and more, especially if it has never happened before.   That feeling takes over and becomes more powerful than the feelings we have for our spouse and…we end up divorced.

Two- The relationship was not worth maintaining prior to the weight loss but the person who lost the weight didn’t have the self esteem necessary to leave the relationship.  In this case, the weight loss is merely the avenue that allows the person to leave.  There are other factors that could have the same effect like a new job, a new friend, a large sum of money…anything that makes the person feel empowered and able to leave; no longer dependent on the person they are leaving.

Three- The “other person” gets left behind.  Though I think this is probably the least likely reason for divorce after gastric bypass or significant weight loss, it s the one I know the best.  This is what is happening in my own marriage.

Before I go any further let me assure you that I am not leaving my husband.  I love him very much but I’d be lying if I said that these issues that I’m about to share with you didn’t exist.

When I decided to have gastric bypass surgery, I told my husband that my life was going to change.  I told him that I had planned to do the things I had always wanted to do and that as much as I wanted to do them WITH him, I wouldn’t let him stop me if he wasn’t willing/able to do them too.

I had always seen myself as an active person trapped inside a fat body.  I wanted to be outdoorsy and adventurous but I wasn’t physically able to do the things I wanted to do.  I knew that when I lost the weight, that would all change.  The whole reason I decided to have gastric bypass was so I COULD do those things and it worked.   If you follow my blog regularly then you know that these days I am pretty fit.  I’m not skinny but I am living the life I had always seen for my life.

I am extremely proud of myself and I’m absolutely loving my new lifestyle, however, it has definitely taken a bit of a toll on my marriage.   Deep breath…

I often wonder how different things would be if he lost weight too.  Would he want to do mud runs with me?  Would he being willing to go whitewater rafting?  Hiking?  Camping?  Do Crossfit?  He says “yes” but it’s hard to know for sure.  All I know is that those are the things I want to share with him.  I don’t care about attention from other men.   I’m not in a bad relationship that requires improved self-esteem in order to get out.  I just want to be able to SHARE my LIFE with my husband.

It’s tough.  Really, really, tough but I am being patient.  I am living my life the way I want to live it every day, hoping that eventually…SOON?  my husband and I will be able to bond at the finish line of a race, over a campfire in the woods or while working out in the gym.  I have faith that it WILL happen.  Until then I will continue to love my husband and feel grateful to be loved by someone who accepts me just the way I am.  When it boils down to any relationship. that is what’s important.  That is what we all want.  That is what we all need.


And the Video Follow Up HERE—> Brett and Andrea on WLS and Divorce



Update to this post…

This post was originally written in May of 2013. As of October 2016 we are still happily married (most of the time, because let’s be honest, marriage is ALWAYS hard!) and we have a beautiful baby boy. We have been through lots of ups and downs but we continue to communicate our needs and work towards living our best, happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life, together!