According to Bariatric TV, 80-85% of patients who were obese prior to their marriage will, within two years, divorce after weight loss surgery. There are people who agree with the study and others who argue its validity but we won’t get into that because this is a blog, after all. The bottom line is that if you were obese before you got married you are pretty likely to get a divorce if you have a weight loss surgery. Why?
Is it because the spouse who chose somehow reinforces negative behavior that you are trying to modify by redefining yourself? Is it because a failed marriage can lead to depression and only increase the level of obesity and lower self-esteem and the realization of this only takes place after the physical healing of a weight loss journey? Is it that both partners during the course of the marriage shared the challenges of obesity and created a marital pattern that is exactly what you are trying to leave behind?
It can be any reasons above, a combination or even some not even pondered here. Regardless of why, the status quo has changed in a marriage after weight loss surgery and when the status quo shifts sometimes certain issues rise up to the light. Similar to the increase in divorces during Covid or other life events, such as a loss of employment, home renovation or even the death of a family member. Ultimately it may boil down to empathy. The ability to recognize your partners desire to make lifestyle changes for the betterment of their health and the further recognition that in order to maintain the connection with your spouse, they both may need to join and at the very least respect each other’s journeys. Interestingly enough, empathy is at the core of a successful mediation. It is through a guided conversation that one can discover one’s own ability to empathize, and therefore relate or humanize another’s experience or perspective and pull one out of their fixed position and into a more accepting place that is receptive to change and growth.