Will Weight Loss Surgery Increase Your Chance of Divorce?

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on May 24, 2019

It’s become more than an anectodical phenomenon. The decision to drop more than a few pounds often has everything to do with health. However, it’s something you might already sense. For many, weight loss surgery increases their chance of divorce.

Last summer, a team of experts actually evaluated the correlation between bariatric surgery and interpersonal relationships. You may be interested in reading an abstract of their findings, published in JAMA Surg.

The results of the study led to conclusive evidence that surgeries like gastric bypass led to a higher incidence of divorce and separation. In fact, the greater the weight loss – the more chance of relationship changes.

What follows may be a story that hits entirely too close too home. In this scenario, Susan and David married ten years ago and started a family within a couple of years.

As Susan tells it, she never really lost her baby fat after childbirth. Meanwhile, she tipped the scales, gaining over ninety pounds of her optimal weight. In her early-thirties, Susan suddenly faced problems with high blood pressure and diabetes.

During that same time, David began to pay less and less attention to Susan. However, David denies that his lack of interest in sex had anything to do with his wife’s weight gain. Instead, work demands stressed him to the point that the only thing that interested him in bed was his pillow.

Fast forward a bit. Susan’s doctor suggested she consult with a weight loss surgeon. Otherwise, she risked jeopardizing her health. Ultimately, Susan lost over 100 pounds.

Not surprisingly, Susan felt better and looked better. Married at a young age, Susan was unaccustomed to male attention from anyone other than David. You can guess where the story goes from here. And, why they both needed to retain experienced family law attorneys.

Is There Really a Higher Incidence of Divorce?

Study after study confirms the high incidence of divorce after weight loss surgery. For those who were obese before they married, the numbers are extremely high. Some estimate that 80-85% of those individuals will wind up looking to end their marriages.

Meanwhile, infidelity isn’t the only factor that adds to a higher incidence of divorce for those who have weight loss surgery. Relationship dynamics change in other respects as well.

Did you know? According to statistical data for Tennessee alone, 73.2% of adult males are overweight.  A great portion of men actually falls into the obese column. In the meantime, the number of females in the same category equates to 63.4%.

However, here’s an interesting thing. A much higher percentage of women elect to have bariatric surgery than men.

For some, the change reflects more of a frustration than anything else. A man depicts his still chubby wife as sitting on the couch eating bonbons.  Meanwhile, a woman laments about her obese husband chugging down beers and watching television.

Stereotypical characterizations, for sure. However, the truth is that if only one partner changes, the chance that the two develop irreconcilable differences becomes a reality.

Meanwhile, there’s something else to consider. It could be that the marriage was failing already. Physical transformations make for more self-confidence and the ability to move on.

Weight Loss Surgery in Anticipation of Divorce?

Believe it or not, some men and women actually have weight loss surgery in anticipation of divorce. What in the world does that mean?

Some consider the prospect of the single life as less than an adventure. And, self-image adds to concerns about moving forward. Therefore, weight loss surgery not only helps their health – but what they think about themselves.

It may mean overstaying in a loveless marriage for longer than expected. It’s akin to stashing away money to afford a divorce and living apart as a family unit.

A pragmatic approach, for sure. However, one that happens each and every day.

Contact Us

Are you thinking about divorce? Has your husband or wife informed you that he or she no longer wants to be married? At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we can assist you.  Please call our offices to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.

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