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Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Romantic Relationships

Regular readers may recall previous posts in which I commented on the significant impact (both good and bad) that undergoing bariatric surgery can have on personal relationships.

This topic is extensively dealt with in an article by Katherine Applegate and Kelli Friedman (Duke University) published in Bariatric Nursing.

As the authors point out patients can encounter diverse relationship issues as they consider, undergo, and live with bariatric surgery.

These problems can stem from the patients’ and their partners’ expectations, the patients’ increase in energy, their enhanced confidence, and changes in appearance.

Other common concerns include changes in sexual intimacy and beliefs about the stability of the relationship and risk of divorce.

Although overall, there is considerable research showing that most patients will report improvements in
relationship satisfaction and weight-related sexual quality of life after surgery, problems can occur and health professionals should certainly be aware of and well able to counsel their patients on these issues.

As always, it is best to communicate these issues professionally and accurately and help patients recruit support and obtain psychological counseling when needed.

I’d certainly like to hear from any of my readers on how they have dealt with such issues or have counselled their clients about these problems.

Hamburg, Germany


  1. I can totally relate to this one, unfortunately. Yes, it is hard on a relationship if one of the partners change signigicantly what a major weight loss does to you. Sometimes time can help but in other cases it doesn’t at all. After all it comes down to communication and if that breaks down it’s hard to do any repairs not matter what the reason is. A lot of times there were issues before the surgery (maybe not seen or realized) and the change just brings it up to the surface.
    Nevertheless, I would still do the surgery in a heart beat – no regrets as quality of life has increase so much.

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  2. I have seen every possible combination of outcomes. I have seen spouses abandon the relationship at the mention of weight loss surgery, I have seen spouses become impossibly jealous and controlling after their wife/husband has weight loss surgery, I have seen realtionships on the rocks get better, I have seen families fall apart, I have seen intense sibling fights, I have seen divorced couples remarry. I can say that none of this is predictable ahead of time before surgery, and I think that marrage and family couseling should be available post op if needed, but there are not enough counselors available and most if not all have no experience with the problems and stresses brought on by weight loss surgery.

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  3. I had surgery and lost in total about 70 pounds so far. I find that sex is easier when a person is thinner so it happens more often! Even though I’m a lot more attractive to other men and they show it (whereas before I was ‘invisible’), I’d rather stay faithful to the guy who loved me no matter what I looked like.

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