Is Divorce More Likely After Weight Loss Surgery?

Posted on February 23, 2018 02:29pm
Is Divorce More Likely After Weight Loss Surgery?

Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, is supposed to have a positive impact on your life and health, but some studies have suggested that these surgeries may lead couples to divorce. Recently, psychologists and weight loss surgeons have noticed an increase in divorce rates for individuals who have undergone bariatric surgeries, such as gastric bypass. In fact, some sources claim the divorce rate may be as high as 85%. Weight loss surgery can bring with it many changes, but if divorce is one of them, is it worth it?

Many people have heard that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce, putting fear in the hearts of those wishing to avoid such a separation. However, for those who undergo a weight loss surgery, divorce is likely the last thing that they worry might occur as a result. A study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Florida found that nearly 80% of individuals who were obese before their marriage will divorce their spouse within 2-3 years after receiving a weight loss surgery. Studies like this one suggest that some of the common emotional and behavioral changes weight loss surgery recipients undergo can amplify marital issues.

For many weight loss surgery recipients, the changes that occur post-surgery are more than just physical. Various studies have shown an increase in depression, health issues, and self-esteem problems for individuals suffering from obesity. After weight loss surgery, many gain confidence and renewed energy from a healthier lifestyle. It is understandable that these large steps in self-improvement will carry over to their personal lives as well.

Increased confident in bariatric surgery recipients may drive them towards new goals. When the goals and aspirations of each spouse do not align, it can create marital problems or worsen problems that already existed. For example, if the spouse who lost weight now aspires to travel or make a significant career change, his or her spouse might not be willing to make such an adjustment and it could lead to serious arguments. Or, contrarily, the spouse who did not receive the surgery may be upset by the changes occurring in their partner, causing sadness or feelings of resentment.

Another factor that may lead to higher divorce rates in weight loss surgery recipients stems from a newfound perspective. When someone struggles with self-esteem issues, they may be more likely to stay in an abusive, unhealthy, or unhappy marriage. Dramatic physical changes are often mirrored with emotional or mental changes, which can alter the way a person sees him or herself. If individuals who lose a significant amount of weight have a more positive perspective about themselves, they may then discover underlying marital issues they’ve been avoiding for a long time. This self-realization may spur individuals to action, calling for upfront confrontations with relationship issues, some of which might not be resolvable.

If you feel your marital issues are not resolvable, and you and your spouse are considering a divorce, our firm wants to help. Contact McKinley Irvin at our Oregon office to discuss your case with our attorneys.
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