A Surprising Truth about Relationships and Bariatric Surgery

I became so much healthier physically and mentally after weight loss surgery. Not only did I lose all that weight, but my relationships have become healthier as well.  Some relationships that weren’t so healthy pre-surgery—with other people, and with things like sugar—have faded away on their own, while others I’ve made the effort to transform.

The world seems to treat you differently when they perceive you as a “normal” person because you are slim, trim and beautiful. That reflects itself in the way you behave and experience the world.
A healthy relationship is anchored by reciprocity and authenticity.  A frequent common denominator of some of my previous relationships was weight issues.  Oh how we commiserated with each other around the dissatisfaction of being overweight and unhealthy and our activities around futile attempts to lose the excess pounds.  I am eternally grateful for these relationships because they provided support in lots of areas.

Actually, I still need these relationships and if some folks perceive me differently post-weight loss, then I hope the ups and downs of my journey can inspire them on theirs.

I find that relationships with men generally take on one of two different personas. When they see the new me, they are super complimentary and supportive, then go about behaving the same as before. On the flip side, others have a hard time making eye contact, make no mention of the new me and sneak in a compliment quiet enough so their partners don’t hear anything.  I feel like I need to go to confession, but I can’t figure out why.  If they are post-bariatric, I become a comrade and sometimes a mentor.

Reactions from women are much more diverse, ranging from super-affirming to never calling me again. Most immediately mention their own weight-related challenges.

This isn’t just my perception either.  Researchers from Arizona State University spoke with over 200 adults who had bariatric surgery.  Participants reported they felt better after the weight loss surgery, had more energy and were more likely to engage in social activities than before.

It’s clear, the psychological benefits of bariatric surgery go deep.  But when it comes to relationships, sometimes it’s hard to know how to react to the responses you get.  I try to let me positivity flow outward, and be supportive of other peoples’ choices.  Your true friends will accept the new you, and be there when you need them on your journey.  And of course, you’ll be there for them too.


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