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Study: Weight-loss surgery can increase chances of divorce

Losing a significant amount of weight through bariatric surgery or any other method can have a big impact on your physical health, your self-esteem and the way you live. It can also affect your love life -- for better or worse.

According to two recently-published studies by Swedish researchers, while losing weight can be great for single people, it can cause problems for those who are married. As one U.S. surgeon notes, losing a lot of weight "leads many to re-examine their relationships with others."

One Swedish study compared about 2,000 obese people who had weight-loss surgery with approximately the same number who did not. The other study compared about 29,000 people who underwent the surgery with 280,000 people in the general population.

The authors of the studies found that people who were married or in a relationship when they underwent bariatric surgery increased their chances of divorce or separation. One study followed people three years after their surgery, and the other looked at data over ten years.

Even the Swedish researchers were surprised at their findings. As one professor noted, "One might have thought that existing relationships would strengthen as bariatric patients experienced an improvement in their mental well-being and self-image."

The U.S. surgeon points to some potential reasons for the connection between weight-loss surgery and divorce. He says, "Maybe the bariatric patients wanted to experience new relationships. Maybe the partners of those patients felt less connected to the "new person" that they were married to."

Couples may no longer share an interest in the same activities after one loses a lot of weight -- particularly if those activities were largely sedentary or revolved around food. Moreover, when people are feeling healthier and better about themselves, they are more likely to be more active and want to get out and do things that they weren't able to or had no desire to do before.

This likely helps explain why people who were romantically unattached prior to their surgery were more likely to begin new relationships and even marry after their weight loss.

When one spouse undergoes any kind of significant change, for better or worse, it can impact a marriage -- particularly if the marriage was already troubled. It's important to seek guidance from an experienced Texas family law attorney even if you're just contemplating divorce or you believe your spouse is. It's wise to be prepared.

Source: HealthDay, "Big Weight Loss May Bring Big Relationship Changes," Alan Mozes, March 28, 2018

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