I knew I would have to write this article one day, but I didn’t think it would be so soon. I didn’t know my marriage would become a statistic to the rising divorce rate in the United States, but here we are, getting ready to file after the first of the year.
Our marriage has never been perfect, I doubt any marriage is, but we’ve had communication problems for several years now. It is both of our first marriages, so it’s been an enormous learning curve, which neither of us really learned at all.
My husband had a great foundation on how a marriage should be. I grew up in a very toxic household with both of my parents. There was so much arguing constantly with my parents that I grew up only knowing that. I let my childhood dictate a marriage, which is not how it should be. There were also so many times my father would make comments about my mother’s weight as well as mine, which resulted in a lot of self-esteem issues.
We have tried to make our marriage work, but we had to realize that it just wasn’t working. Unlike most major reasons marriages fail, there haven’t been any extramarital affairs, substance abuse, lack of commitment, domestic violence, emotional abuse, or other typical strains that cause a divorce. However, we did have an unhappy marriage due to financial issues.
I’m a spender, but I also budget. He’s the guy who will only spend money if all the bills are paid first. While this is fine and great; however, some things are needed around the house or come up, so the money may get shifted around to pay bills. Add in having kids who always want or need money, clothes, or something, which adds to the financial strain that can plague a marriage.
He is a good husband, but not the husband for me. As I said, we tried to make things work; we’re just two very different people now going along two different paths in our lives. There are things he needs to work on to fix for himself. However, several things caused a lot of strain in our relationship that caused me not to be a very good wife.
Sometimes I would drink a bit too much, and everything I felt would flood out of my mouth. I started taking my mental health a bit more seriously when I began my bariatric journey because I had to. I had to get my mental health in check; that was the first step in my journey. This journey is 70% mental, 15% physical, and 15% dieting. I knew I could do this if I could work on my mental state.
When deciding to have bariatric surgery, it is crucial to be aware of the possible risks and complications. One of the most serious risks is a higher divorce rate. Recent studies have shown that the divorce rate after bariatric surgery is significantly higher than the national average.
Bariatric surgery is problematic from the first day you talk to your primary care physician and beyond. Throwing marital problems into the mix can contribute to divorce for any married couple.
It’s no secret that obesity can take a toll on your health. But did you know that it can also take a toll on your marriage? Studies have shown that couples struggling with obesity are more likely to divorce than those with a healthy weight. And interestingly, this divorce rate jump is even higher for couples who have undergone bariatric surgery.
81% of couples were still married five years after surgery. But where the U.S. national divorce rate of 3.5%, bariatric patients in the study had one of the highest divorce rates at 8%. Likewise, those who’d never been married before the surgery had marriage rates of 18%, compared to 7% in the United States population. While surgery isn’t a death sentence for a marriage or a partnership, there is an uptick in high divorce rates and separations after weight loss surgery.
Why Is The Divorce Rate So High After Bariatric Surgery?
Divorce rates tend to be high after bariatric surgery because people who have the surgery can often make significant changes to their lifestyle and relationships that can be difficult to adjust. I’m going to talk about a few of the most common reasons that married couples decide to get divorced after one or both have bariatric surgery.
I am not a lawyer, so I won’t give you any legal advice, but I want to make you aware of a few of the causes of divorce that you may come across while going along on your journey. The last thing I want is for you to worry that your happy home will be broken by your decision to have this surgery. If you feel your relationship is at risk of divorce, I urge you to seek marriage counseling.
Significant Changes To Lifestyle
Divorce rates are high after bariatric surgery because people who have the surgery can often make significant changes to their lifestyle and relationships, making it difficult to adjust to the changes. Changes in eating habits, exercise routines, and body image can lead to tension and conflict within even healthy marriages. When one partner undergoes such a transformation, it can be challenging for the other to adjust. Jealousy and resentment are common emotions in these situations, which can strain even the strongest marriages.
Changes in lifestyle that come along with weight loss surgery can be too much for some couples to handle. After surgery, patients are advised to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and avoid drinking alcohol. This advice can be challenging for couples who are used to indulging in their favorite foods and drinks. One partner may feel like they are being forced into a new lifestyle that they’re uncomfortable with, which can lead to tension and conflict within the relationship.
Start to Assess Their Family Life
Bariatric surgery is a life-changing event that can cause couples to reassess their relationship and whether or not they are still compatible. This is what happened with my husband and me. We just started going down separate paths in our lives. Even after nine years of marriage, we started learning more about ourselves, which unfortunately meant that our goals in life weren’t aligned any longer.
It’s essential to be aware of the potential effects on your fertility. Excess weight can trigger hormonal imbalances, which can cause ovulation cycles to change. Fertility can impact young couples trying to conceive and older adults nearing the end of their reproductive years. In some cases, bariatric surgery can improve fertility by correcting hormonal imbalances and restoring ovulation cycles to normal.
It is also important to be aware that fertility may decline with age, even in patients who have undergone successful bariatric surgery—as such, discussing your fertility goals with your surgeon before surgery is essential. With careful planning, you can ensure you maintain the best possible chance of achieving your reproductive goals regardless of age.
Unrealistic Expectations of Support
Some couples find that they can no longer support each other through the challenges of weight loss and surgery and decide to end their marriage instead. Recovery from bariatric surgery can be difficult, and many side effects often accompany it. These side effects can include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue. Additionally, many people who have undergone bariatric surgery experience “dumping syndrome,” which is a condition that causes food to move too quickly through the digestive system and can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and dizziness.
According to the American Psychological Association, unrealistic support expectations can harm even the most successful marriage. When people feel they’re not getting the emotional support they need from their spouse or loved one, it can lead to mental health problems. These problems can then strain the relationship and eventually lead to divorce. Therefore, it’s important to be realistic about what you can expect from your partner before you make any significant decisions. For example, if you’re considering surgery, sit down with your partner and discuss your concerns. This will help ensure that you’re both on the same page and can agree on a plan.
The Cost of Surgery Creates Financial Stress
It’s not just the difficult process of the surgery itself but also the cost and the way it can affect your relationship with your spouse or significant other. If you have insurance that does not cover the cost of the surgery, you may have to pay for it yourself or put it on a credit card. This can cause financial stress, leading to arguments with your spouse or significant other. In some cases, this can even lead to divorce.
When one spouse is the breadwinner, it can create a sense of inequality in the relationship. The breadwinner may feel superior, and the other spouse may feel they have no say in how the household income is spent. This lack of equality can lead to arguments and financial disagreements, which can eventually lead to the dissolution of the marriage. Studies have shown that financial problems are one of the leading causes of divorce.
It is important for both spouses to feel like they are on equal footing when it comes to finances. They should have a say in how the money is spent and work together to make financial decisions that are best for the family.
Obesity affects not only our health but also our relationships. Couples struggling with obesity are more likely to divorce than those at a healthy weight. And for couples who have undergone bariatric surgery, the rate is even higher.
If you’re struggling with your weight, consider seeking help from a professional. Bariatric surgery is a big decision, but it could be the right one for you and your marriage.