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Why Is Divorce Rate So High After Bariatric Surgery

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Why marriages fail after bariatric surgery

Doctors told him he had to shed the excess pounds. But if he had the surgery and lost the weight, would he stay with Michelle, 43? She had struggled with weight, too. She weighed about 350 pounds. I was scared of losing him, she said.

Vincent had weight-loss surgery on Dec. 13, 2007. Over an 18- month period, he lost about 300 pounds. Michelle was proud of her husband, but their relationship became strained. When I got below her weight, it bothered her, Vincent said. She became jealous about every little thing.

At one point, he got down to 185 pounds. I lost the equivalent of two average human beings, he said.

Their relationship was tested but, he said, She never had anything to worry about. I loved her, as is. And she loved me, as is, whether I was heavier or thinner. We have a good relationship.

Many websites that describe weight-loss surgery list divorce as one of the possible post-op complications. One site goes so far as to call it Bariatric Divorce.

There are several reasons someone might get a divorce after having bariatric surgery, according to David Sarwer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Sarwer said that the surgery can have a positive effect on a solid marriage, but there is a risk that it can tear apart a marriage that is already on the rocks.

Could she do the same thing?

In some ways, she had it easier. She had a built-in support system.

Weight Loss Doesnt Solve The Problem

Unfortunately, sudden weight loss will not curb addictive behaviors. Because binge eating isnt an easy behavior to revisit, other compulsive behaviors will present themselves for consideration.

Addiction Transfer is a predictable risk for some patients.

These transfer addictions include:

Transfer addictions emerge to comfort the addict and provide the needed distraction previously satisfied by food.

New Research Emergingthe Special Problem Of Addiction Transfer After Surgery

New Research has expressed concerns that Addiction Transfer or cross addiction is a personal risk for some patients after bariatric surgery. The definition ofAddiction Transfer specifically refers to trading compulsive eating for a new and different compulsive behavior, often another process addiction, such as sex or love.

There is also strong evidence of a biological reason for cross-addiction. New research reveals various forms of transfer addiction in almost 30% of patients who have had bariatric surgery. Another research project puts the rate even higher.

These patients, post-surgery, can no longer turn to food as a source of comfort. An intra-psychic pressure builds and a replacement addiction presents itself.

One of the challenges of process addictions such as food and sex is that they can serve many emotional purposes reward, and many levels of distraction.

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Divorce Option Appears Attractive After Weight Loss Surgery

  • Many who seek to improve their body consider bariatric surgery as an option.
  • There are several different types of bariatric surgery, that have a variety of pros and cons associated with them.
  • Divorce may appear attractive to either a spouse who had the surgery or the spouse who did not.

“While the marriage might be over or heading into rough waters, its important to remember the change was for the betterment of that spouses health.”

In a society that values appearance and reputation, its not surprising the lengths many will go to in order to improve ones image and self-image.

In the United States, the dissatisfaction of ones body starts at a young age, with 42 percent of girls in first through third grade wishing to be thinner and 45 percent of boys and girls in third through sixth grade wishing to be thinner, according to The Body Image Therapy Center. Seventy percent of men and women from ages 18 to 30 do not like their bodies. When diet and exercise seem like difficult or impossible options, many who seek to improve their bodies turn to bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery is a procedure that causes weight loss by restricting the amount of food the stomach can hold, preventing the absorption of nutrients or by a combination of both gastric restriction and the prevention of the absorption of nutrients, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

The Patients Featured In A New Research Article Underwent Rous

Khloe Kardashian makes

Compared to the general U.S. population, adults who are not married and get weight-loss surgery are more than twice as likely to get married within five years, and adults who are married and get bariatric surgery are more than twice as likely to get divorced, a new research article found.

The primary motivations for bariatric surgery are weight loss and decreasing the risk of potentially deadly weight-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, according to Mayo Clinic. However, preoperative patients have also reported having bariatric surgery for reasons related to romantic relationships such as improving intimacy and finding a life partner.

“Weight loss is generally the goal of bariatric surgery, but people have a variety of motivators for wanting to lose weightfor example, remission of Type 2 diabetes and improvement in joint pain,” the lead author of the new research article, Wendy King, PhD, said in a prepared statement. “Patients have also described the desire for romantic partnership or improving relationships as important motivators. Before this study, we had no quantitative data in the U.S. on how marital status changes after bariatric surgeryare patients more likely to get married, divorced, find romantic stability?”

King is an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The new research article features several key data points.

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Divorce Rate After Weight Loss Surgery

If the person was overweight or obese when the relationship or marriage began, the chances of separation/divorce within two years after the surgery is 80 to 85 percent.3

The two primary causes of relationships or marriages to fail after weight loss surgery4:

  • The relationship was in bad shape before surgery. A marriage that was not stable prior to weight loss surgery has a greater risk of failure. An unhealthy marriage doesnt change just because one or both spouses begin living healthy.
  • Partners are no longer able to relate to each other and drift apart.
  • Bariatric Divorce: Why Extreme Weight Loss Leads To Break Ups

    For people struggling with their weight, surgery can be a source of help and hope. But it often has an unexpected effect on romantic relationships

    Before Steven Jason Williams had his gastric bypass in August 2017, he attended group sessions to prepare himself. It was at one of these classes that Williams, now 44, was first told that many married patients will divorce within years of the surgery. He turned to look at his wife, Desiree, who had trundled him into the meeting using the portable wheelchair they kept in the boot of their car. Williams couldnt walk more than a few feet at his heaviest, he weighed 587lbs and he spent nearly all his time at home, being cared for by Desiree. He knew then that their marriage was over.

    I remember just looking at her thinking, thats going to be us. Because were already rocky as it is, says Williams. Two months after the surgery, Desiree was gone. I hadnt even got the stitches healed.

    Many people who have undergone this treatment describe it as a strong, almost life-changing event, says Prof Per-Arne Svensson of the University of Gothenburg, who led the research. Many things apart from just the kilos are affected: how they socialise with people, how they become more socially active.

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    Weight Loss Surgery Has A Big Effect On Marriage

    Aug. 9, 2022 â Kristal was only in her mid-30s when she decided to have surgery. Her doctor said it was too early. But the Oregon mom of three had found herself in the hospital twice for obesity-related lung complications before her 35th birthday. So she got the gastric sleeve.

    And at first it seemed like the best decision for her and her family. She was losing weight â 100 pounds in 16 months â and so was her husband. The whole family was more active and seemed to have more energy. But then her husbandâs weight began to creep back up.

    While she joined a running group and signed up for half-marathons, her husbandâs depression and drinking worsened. The healthier lifestyle theyâd shared was now an unspoken wedge between them.

    And the added attention Kristal was getting from men and women because of her thinner size only added to the tension. After 30 years together and 22 years of marriage, the high school sweethearts divorced in June 2021. Kristalâs weight loss wasnât the only problem, but she and her ex-husband believe it was the beginning of the end.

    An Unexpected Outcome?

    This U.S. data follows two Scandinavian studies from 2018 and 2020 that found similar relationship changes after bariatric surgery. But the post-surgery divorce rate in the U.S. was only about half that found in the Danish and Swedish studies, according to the new study published in the journalAnnals of Surgery.

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    Kristal, Oregon.

    Good Couples Therapy Can Help

    Marriage and Weight Loss Surgery

    How can a routine medical procedure present such a threat to so many marriages? the experience of bariatric surgery is often highly stressful and emotional. Many couples feel a need for couples therapy to navigate the process.

    Intimate relationships often undergo significant changes as a result of a sudden, dramatic weight loss. Spouses of bariatric surgery patients soon realize that comfortably familiar lifestyle choices are no longer an option.

    Change is often difficult, and conflict around food and leisure activities are common. During the first 6 to 9 months after surgery, marital bonds may be severely strained.

    Bariatric patients report strong intense emotional waves of anger, euphoria, and sadness. An innocent question from a spouse could provoke a fight. Or an innocent compliment may cause anger, confusion, or mistrust.

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    Design Setting And Participants

    Changes in relationship status after bariatric surgery were examined in 2 cohorts: the prospective Swedish Obese Subjects study, which recruited patients undergoing bariatric surgery from September 1, 1987, to January 31, 2001, and compared their care with usual nonsurgical care in matched obese control participants and participants from the Scandinavian Obesity Surgery Registry , a prospective, electronically captured register that recruited patients from January 2007 through December 2012 and selected comparator participants from the general population matched on age, sex, and place of residence. Data was collected in surgical departments and primary health care centers in Sweden. The current analysis includes data collected up until July 2015 and December 2012 . Data analysis was completed from June 2016 to December 2017.

    Failure To Lose Weight

    The stomach pouch can only hold half a cup of food in the first days after surgery. Over time, the pouch stretches. If you eat larger meals, weight loss may stop. This can happen if the stomach pouch is too large or you don’t follow post-surgery instructions.

    Research indicates that around 20% to 35% of individuals experience a long-term failure rate. Failure rate is defined as a body mass index of greater than 35 within 18 to 24 months post-surgery.

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    Bariatric Surgery Possibly Linked To Marital Status Changes

    Bariatric surgery is a frequent topic of conversation in the diabetes community, due to the potentially dramatic health benefits it can offer to people with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Less often discussed, though, are the social implications of having the surgery especially why people want it , and the effects the surgery has on the lives of people who undergo it.

    A recent study looked at how bariatric surgery is related to changes in peoples marital status following the surgery. While this study didnt directly compare people who did or didnt have weight-loss surgery, its results suggest that unmarried people who have the surgery may be more likely to get married afterward and that married people may also be more likely to become separated or divorced from their spouse.

    To get cutting-edge diabetes news, strategies for blood glucose management, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox, !

    Published in the journal Annals of Surgery Open, the study followed 1,441 U.S. adults for five years after they underwent one of two common forms of bariatric surgery Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. At the time of their surgery, 614 participants were unmarried and 827 were married. The median age of all study participants was 47, and 79% were female. Overall, 15% of participants were divorced, 5% were living with a partner, and 17% were always single.

    Main Causes Of Bariatric Divorce After Bariatric Surgery:

    • The pre-surgery marriage was unhappy. Perhaps there was emotional abuse, open conflict, or an uneasy peace characterized by diminished expectations. These expectations often come roaring back to life in the personality change after bariatric surgery.
    • Other marriages may not have been openly conflictual, but were more settled into an unhealthy and somewhat unconscious lifestyle around food. Marital conflict in these marriages often arises out of the sudden mismatch between the wants and needs of the two partners.
    • After bariatric surgery, they may be suddenly and uncomfortably out of sync. Relationships with food, activity levels, and leisure activities are now no longer shared. If the patient is to maintain their weight loss, their lifestyle must undergo a radical change, and bewildered spouses might be impatient and resistant.

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    Bariatric Surgery Linked To Changes In Marital Status

    The researchers found that in the five years after they had bariatric surgery, 18% of unmarried participants got married a rate thats higher than was seen in the general population over a similar period of time , as noted in an article on the study at MedPage Today. But also during the five years immediately following bariatric surgery, 13% of married participants became separated or divorced compared with about 3.5% in the general population. There may be many ways in which people who undergo bariatric surgery are different from the general population, so these numbers dont automatically mean that having the surgery leads to a higher likelihood of changes to your marital status but its possible that having the surgery did play a role in these changes among the study participants.

    Among participants who were unmarried at the time of their bariatric surgery, certain factors were linked to a higher likelihood of getting married. People who were cohabiting with a partner were 5.25 times as likely to get married, and those who were separated from a previous partner were 3.03 times as likely to get married, compared with those were were always single. Compared with participants who had a high school education or less, those with a college degree were 2.36 times as likely to get married, and those with fewer depressive symptoms were 1.47 times as likely to get married.

    Bariatric Surgery Linked To Doubling Chance Of Marriage Or Divorce

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    Bariatric Surgery And Marital Stress Leading To Bariatric Divorce

    Some of the problems Ive mentioned conspire together to compound marital stress on these families. For example, a new, developing dependence on alcohol can impair judgment and increase the likelihood of infidelity or other impulsive behaviors.

    The couples therapists working with these spouses need to get up to speed on the science behind the emotional complexities brought about by a personality change after bariatric surgery.

    Sexy And Beautiful For The First Time

    Why Do Some People Regain Weight after Bariatric Surgery?

    Research also tells us that the most significant pitfall for marriage after bariatric surgery is that the patient may suddenly, perhaps for the first time, find themselves seen as an attractive other.

    In an unhappy marriage, sexual acting-out can be a significant marital stressor, particularly in cases where the patient was obese during their teenage years. They may feel that they are making up for lost time.

    This acting out behavior can be particularly problematic if the patient was also overweight for the duration of the marriage as well while a teenager.

    For these patients, who may be experiencing the sexual attention of attractive others on a consistent basis for the first time.

    Patient Expert Cheryl Ann Borne reports that the odds of these marriages collapsing within two years after the surgery is an incredible 80 to 85 percent.

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    Bariatric Divorce In The First Year

    Divorce rates appear to climb among couples with a bariatric surgery partner, especially in the first year after surgery, as patients may see their current partners as unworthy and incongruent with their new sense of themselves.

    Another study noted that partners of bariatric patients can feel left behind by their new, thinner spouse.

    Drastic physical transformations often lead to profound changes in how self and others are perceived.

    As if this werent enough, many bariatric patients form a close emotional bond with new friends who have undergone the same procedure.

    Research is clear that many bariatric divorces were troubled marriages beforehand.

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