Relationships usually change after gastric bypass. Most patients report positive changes in relationships, but sometimes there are struggles. The more weight someone loses, the more likely they will report new experiences with family, peers, and partners.
It is important for your partner to be supportive of your weight loss goals. A healthy relationship should have both parties wanting the best for each others health. Deeper relationship issues may be at play if one partner doesn’t support the other’s health.
In some relationships, the partner who loses weight will begin encouraging the other to get healthy. This encouragement may be great, helping motivate their partner to modify their lifestyle. This may also cause tension in relationships if one party is not ready for lifestyle change.
The power dynamics in a relationship can also change. Increased confidence and others giving you more romantic interest can make a partner feel insecure.
Open communication before and after weight loss surgery is important. Relationship counseling prior to weight loss surgery should be considered to minimize conflict after surgery. Include your partner in the weight loss surgery process.
Sexual relationships are known to improve after gastric bypass surgery (34). A reduction in body image dissatisfaction is linked to improved sex after gastric bypass (35).
Patient Quotes from Before And After Gastric Bypass Surgery
On Confidence Around Others
“When I was obese my confidence was so low that if someone did talk to me, I’d shut it down pretty quickly. A lot of the ‘nice society phenomenon’ after surgery could probably be attributed to us being more open to being talked to.”
“I feel so removed from that past life and so much happier. I believe I project that. I do feel sad and sorry when I see people in that category (obesity) now.”
“The bigger part (of being treated nicer) is my own attitude. I feel better about myself, confident, I walk about with my head up high. I think people smile more at me because I smile at them first, they are friendlier towards me because I am friendlier, and I get into random conversations because I start random conversations – instead of hiding in a corner.”
On Romantic Relationships
“When I got below her weight, it bothered her. She became jealous about every little thing. But 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.”
“My boyfriend said he was looking forward to other men flirting with me when we had surgery, but then when it started happening he got incredibly jealous.”
“My husband is great — most of the time. He loves that I look healthier & my Type 2 diabetes is resolved & that I think more highly of myself.”
On How Society Will Treat You After Weight Loss
“New people are nicer. Dating is easier. Interviewing is easier. Enjoying your body is easier, the lens you see yourself through is better. You’ll notice people giving you good looks and you ignore the bad ones much easier than when you’re fat or unhealthy.”
“After I took the weight off, the cashiers were warmer and kinder to me. These were the same cashiers as before, but they were friendly to the smaller me. The only thing that changed about me was my size. I didn’t become friendlier as a result of losing weight to elicit their welcoming interaction with me, yet they were friendlier to the smaller me anyway.”
“Strangers are much nicer to you. You don’t get the judgmental looks of apathy towards your lifestyle or eating. You don’t get the fake smiles when you’re trying on clothes. You don’t get the disappointment when you are on the same pickup team. You don’t get your friends dancing around your weight when talking about reasons you’re single or unhappy.”
“…losing weight has definitely had a positive impact — I feel much more confident about how I look and everything just feels better.”
“Lost 100 lbs, went from not having sex to having sex. Yes it improves it.”
“Yes, there has absolutely been an improvement. I feel better about myself (which probably plays the biggest role), I have a much higher sex drive, I have more stamina, I don’t need as long to ‘cool off’ after.”
Getting More Romantic Attention
“I’ve noticed it, guys never said much before, now they flat out hit on me. It annoys my partner haha. And she notices women checking me out more. I don’t. I really don’t pay attention.”
“I understand that on a basic level I must seem more attractive to them but I also feel like it’s really disappointing that I have to be skinnier to be treated nicer. Also, the influx of attention now when I have very little practice dealing with it almost makes me want to hide and tell them that this weight loss was not for them.”
“I’ve lost 70lbs in 7 months and I’ve noticed how people, mostly men, are so much nicer to me now. Not that they were rude before, but more like I’m not so invisible now “
“I never enjoyed much flirting/being hit on and have been amazed at how much attention I get. Made me feel so awesome in the beginning, but because I am a big flirt back it got me in a lot of trouble with small town rumors. Always be honest with yourself and your spouse.”
Treatment from Peers
“People who I only sort of knew from class and mutual friends started going out of their way to talk to me, help me with things, tell me jokes, walk me places, etc. My personality hasn’t changed at all. It’s amusing but kind of sad to watch people laugh disproportionately hysterically at jokes you make now that you’re thinner.”
“After I lost around 100 pounds, some of the people that seemed to be supporting me in my journey were now asking me, ‘Do you really need to lose any more weight?’ They supported me in being less fat, but didn’t support me in wanting to get fit and lean. I became a threat to some people.”
“I lost about 20 pounds one year. It may have affected my friendships negatively. One of my friends admitted that she was jealous. I think she was used to being the more attractive friend, so when I lost weight and I started getting as much attention as her, it made her upset or something.”
For real life experiences and advice from other Gastric Bypass patients, see our Relationships After Weight Loss surgery page.