amandr

Pre-Op marriage counseling?

20 posts in this topic

Hey all,

Wanted to get a general feel for how everyone's experience went. I know every relationship/marriage is different so I'm not necessarily asking for a definitive answer, but to get a sense of how things worked out for you.

My husband and I will be married 4 years this April, and we've been together almost 9 years. He's very supportive of my decision to have WLS and has been wonderful through this pre-op process. He's also overweight but not enough to be considered for WLS surgery, so he's currently working on diet/exercise and sees my WLS as a benefit to his lifestyle change as well. 

We are really solid, communicate well, and haven't had any major issues. We've both overcome personal challenges since we got together in college and have grown really strong because of it. I don't foresee us having any huge problems after I have surgery, but that's the thing--who does? I have no idea how I'm going to change, both physically and mentally and I fear our relationship may suffer, even though it's not founded on anything now. We've never gone to couples therapy, we try to talk everything out before it becomes an issue, so I wanted to see if any of you--particularly those who had a perception of your relationship being strong and healthy--went to couples counseling before you had WLS and if it was helpful for you. If you didn't go and still feel like you have a great marriage, did you do anything special to help through your transition?

Thanks!

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Congratulations on your decision to have WLS! And, congrats on having a strong marriage! The general sense around here seems to be if you have a strong marriage going into WLS, it will only get stronger after surgery.

My husband and I had been together 11 years before I had surgery. He had a front row seat to my battles with my weight and the emotional roller coaster I rode as I would gain or lose weight. For me, I had to admit to myself that I was a food addict before I had surgery and started to deal with those demons. It was very hard for me to break my carb addiction. I was an emotional eater - happy, sad, mad, glad - all reasons to eat. When I stopped eating like that I was quicker to anger, quicker to cry and generally far less pleasant to be around. 

I was in therapy and talked to my therapist extensively about how my surgery and my changes would impact me. We also talked about how it would impact my marriage. One of the things my husband and I would do together was go out and eat a few times a week. This was going to change. I knew he would miss that. And, I would miss it too.

At first, all I wanted to talk about was my WLS. I didn't tell many people so I wanted to tell him about every little thing. Plus, we had a couple of fights about it. I think it was the 3rd night after I came home from the hospital - I woke to the smell of cinnamon toast. I hobbled into the kitchen and nearly threatened his life. What smells better than toast with melted butter, sugar and cinnamon?! I exploded and the poor guy had no idea that cinnamon toast would bother me. Once I calmed down I realized this wasn't a good path to be on so we decided every night at a specific time we'd set aside a few minutes to talk about my surgery, weight loss, how I was changing, how it was impacting him, etc. It was a safe space where we both could say whatever we needed to say. If we wanted to talk for more than 5 - 10 minutes we both had to agree to continue the conversation. One of the best parts of this nightly check-in was if I had something I wanted to share or say, I could hold it until that night. Rather than peppering him with a barrage of WLS stuff through out the day. 

We both had fears. I had all the standards fears about WLS. Would it work? How could I live without Doritos? How would I cope with my crazy mother without ice cream, etc. He had fears too. 

After a few weeks we stopped having this nightly check-in because we didn't need it anymore. :)

We had a strong relationship before my WLS and it is even better now. In general, I am happier, more laid back, fun-loving and easier going. My body no longer holds me back from the things I want to do. I looked at WLS as hitting the reset button on my life. I want to be out and about doing things I couldn't do when I was big - like riding roller coasters. He loves all the changes.

Because you have a strong relationship and you are asking these questions now, I expect you both will do just fine!

Cheesehead, Aussie H, LeeC and 9 others like this

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You're a sweetheart Steph, anyone who misses your happiness simply doesn't see, how can they miss that it's contagious?!

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2 hours ago, tmcgee said:

You're a sweetheart Steph, anyone who misses your happiness simply doesn't see, how can they miss that it's contagious?!

:wub: Awww, thanks Tom!

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Steph what amazing advice! Thank you so much for sharing. That was really wonderful and very inspiring!

Stephtay likes this

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i never really thought about WLS and my marriage until i saw some posts on here about divorce and WLS, and some of the books i was reading also talked about it. There was also a you tuber I watched who got divorced after WLS.  At that point I felt really scared, and I talked to my husband about it. He was calm and reassuring. I still worried but hoped for the best. We kept open lines of communication.  In your case, you guys seem to have figured out the way to survive things. You talk things out a lot, you support each other, you recognize issues and address them before they become a big thing.  

There are going to be some rough patches for you after surgery. Your mind will want to eat pizza and french fries and you can't.  Something may upset you and you can't drown your sorrows in cake.  So when that happens, you may take out your frustrations on those closest to you. Knowing that now can help you prepare. Let him know that you may be awful sometimes, that it's the head hunger talking and it will pass. 

After a while, your way of life will become your new normal. And, like steph said, your body won't hold you back anymore. He'll be happy about that! Keep communicating openly. Don't let fears build up too much. Keep talking. You will be ok. 

LeeC, BurgundyBoy, Stephtay and 3 others like this

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Thank you both for such great reassurance. Like you I have read so much about how divorce runs rampant after WLS and that's the last thing either of us want. Needless to say it did freak me out too. I feel much better now. :)

bellamoma likes this

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Weight loss surgery only made my already strong marriage stronger. My spouse respected that it showed that I wanted to be healthy (and thus able to do more things with her) and I loved the way that she supported me and my new diet.  

If your marriage is based on mutual trust, respect, thoughtfulness and friendship, weight loss surgery should not result in any great strains on your marriage. 

bellamoma, tmcgee, amandr and 3 others like this

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We've been married almost 35 years.  He saw my struggles with weight, what it was doing with my health. He's been behind me all the way (and to think I was terrified to tell him I was going through with steps to get wls because he'd seen me fail so many diets).  He's behind me and props me up when I need it.  I can now share his passion of scuba diving (I couldn't get my dr to sign off before with my health problems).  He's said he's loved me whether I was overweight or not.  He's also said he never saw me as overweight.  He's helped me keep a sense of humor with his cracks about having eyes bigger than my belly and about not having the "guts" to eat something.  

At first it the hardest part for him was when I'd leave the table when I was full.  I don't want the temptation to graze.  He's adapted when I go through periods of not wanting to eat.  He will ask occasionally if I'm getting my protein in.  We've adapted.  We had a solid marriage before and I really didn't see any reason why that would change..

Jen581791, GAviv, amandr and 4 others like this

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My hubby and I had been married for 7 years when I got the RNY.  I was stunned/horrified when I started reading statistical and anecdotal information about WLS and marriage. I worried, read, cried...and then started reading the threads in a different light. It seemed to me like many of these men and women were saying the same things----either

1. now that they had newfound confidence, they wouldn't tolerate the bad behavior their spouses had been showing since the beginning.  For me, it seemed that WLS gave them the confidence to see a future for themselves beyond their bad marriages....

or

2. The husbands and wives in strong marriages found ways to address jealousy, new priorities, etc...and their marriages got stronger. 

It seems (and feeling is not fact)...but it seems as though WLS can act as an amplifier of the marriage you already have. 

My personal marriage was never a cakewalk, but we always managed a way through the mess. Our mantra: scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. 

My bald man went through this journey with me. That thin man was my rock!! And we had FUN picking out new nighties and buying clothes for date night. He picked me up just because he could....

No one has to be a WLS divorce statistic. My guess is that those who got divorced shortly after WLS were already headed down that path. All the surgery really does is give a married couple different things to overcome. 

Hang in there. Your worry alone gives me hope for your marriage. Last word of advice: involve your spouse in the FUN of WLS, not just the "oh my gosh, the scale hasn't moved in 2 hours, IM A FAILURE" part of WLS. 

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Love all of the posts here. This was a big scary thing for me. My husband and I have been together for close to 8 years. We have had a rocky start, but grow a little stronger each year. We're both extremely loud mouthed and hard headed. When I decided to have the surgery I read a lot of statistics in the marriage failure rate. I went home and talked to my husband and told him I was scared about the stability and what this could do to us. I wanted to get it all out on the table. We are currently better than ever. I think if there are big problems on the foundation of your relationship, this is why it fails. My husband has been amazing, supportive and honestly can't keep his hands off of me. For the first time ever, I weigh less than him. He likes to carry me around which is amusing to us both. Just keep talking and expressing concerns and feelings. Work through it and grow (shrink) together.

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On ‎7‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 3:39 PM, nestingdoll said:

 

My hubby and I had been married for 7 years when I got the RNY.  I was stunned/horrified when I started reading statistical and anecdotal information about WLS and marriage. I worried, read, cried...and then started reading the threads in a different light. It seemed to me like many of these men and women were saying the same things----either

1. now that they had newfound confidence, they wouldn't tolerate the bad behavior their spouses had been showing since the beginning.  For me, it seemed that WLS gave them the confidence to see a future for themselves beyond their bad marriages....

or

2. The husbands and wives in strong marriages found ways to address jealousy, new priorities, etc...and their marriages got stronger. 

It seems (and feeling is not fact)...but it seems as though WLS can act as an amplifier of the marriage you already have. 

My personal marriage was never a cakewalk, but we always managed a way through the mess. Our mantra: scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. 

My bald man went through this journey with me. That thin man was my rock!! And we had FUN picking out new nighties and buying clothes for date night. He picked me up just because he could....

No one has to be a WLS divorce statistic. My guess is that those who got divorced shortly after WLS were already headed down that path. All the surgery really does is give a married couple different things to overcome. 

Hang in there. Your worry alone gives me hope for your marriage. Last word of advice: involve your spouse in the FUN of WLS, not just the "oh my gosh, the scale hasn't moved in 2 hours, IM A FAILURE" part of WLS. 

I think you have hit the nail on the head with your assumptions.  I was a divorce statistic.  We actually both went through the whole process together and had WLS a month apart from each other. I had dealt with a lot of things with him prior to surgery but I felt that he was the best I could find. But then he seemed to get worse and I was starting to finally feel a lot more confident and realize that I didn't deserve the treatment I was getting from him.  We would probably have made it longer but my ex was also an addict who really struggled with his recovery (one of my biggest fears of him having the surgery was getting the pain killers and I was right). His addiction became more out of control than I had ever seen and when he couldn't get the drugs he turned to alcohol (I had never seen him drink) and that made him become violent. So after dealing with that all for another year I finally got out and started rebuilding my new life.  I can say that I have never been happier. After doing some growing and figuring out what I wanted I eventually found the man of my dreams.  My ex on the other hand continued to go downhill and eventually destroyed his life. Had I stayed any longer he would have killed me - I have zero doubt about that.

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Whoa @SweetP!!! So glad you're out of a scary situation. That's awful for him, but fantastic for you. 

SweetP likes this

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5 hours ago, nestingdoll said:

Whoa @SweetP!!! So glad you're out of a scary situation. That's awful for him, but fantastic for you. 

Thanks.  And let's just say that after everything he put me through I didn't shed any more tears for him and felt just huge sense of relief when I got the call that he was gone. We were still technically married at that time because I couldn't find him to finish the divorce so I no longer had to deal with that either.  I know I sound cold and heartless (and I probably am) but it was seriously just a relief.  Let's just say that funeral was interesting. :o

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10 minutes ago, SweetP said:

Thanks.  And let's just say that after everything he put me through I didn't shed any more tears for him and felt just huge sense of relief when I got the call that he was gone. We were still technically married at that time because I couldn't find him to finish the divorce so I no longer had to deal with that either.  I know I sound cold and heartless (and I probably am) but it was seriously just a relief.  Let's just say that funeral was interesting. :o

Not cold and not heartless...just relieved that the nightmare he created for you was over. No one can blame you for not being willing to rip your heart open again to cry for him. No one else had to live the life you did with him. So glad that you're strong enough to move forward AND strong enough to talk about it. I'm a firm believer that coincidences do not exist....maybe someone in TTF space needed to read that. 

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Not cold and heartless at all, SP. I've known your story for a few years now, nobody deserves what you've been through.

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On 3/29/2017 at 10:46 AM, amandr said:

Hey all,

Wanted to get a general feel for how everyone's experience went. I know every relationship/marriage is different so I'm not necessarily asking for a definitive answer, but to get a sense of how things worked out for you.....still feel like you have a great marriage, did you do anything special to help through your transition?

Thanks!

As @Stephtay said, "The general sense around here seems to be if you have a strong marriage going into WLS, it will only get stronger after surgery." and the converse, if your partner belittles you - then having WLS will probably be a threat to him/her (and so maybe that marriage was not for the long term).

The good gets better, the bad falls apart. 

A great little tidbit too from @Stephtay - "...so we decided every night at a specific time we'd set aside a few minutes to talk about my surgery, weight loss, how I was changing, how it was impacting him, etc. It was a safe space where we both could say whatever we needed to say." Your spouse can be supportive but not ENDLESSLY supportive. Putting a limit on how much you talk about yourself and your needs is an important tool. My wife and I have been together > 40 years (35 married) and on a routine night, when we ask each other how the day was, I limit myself to 3 or 4 sentences, then am sure to ask her about her day. Almost no one, unless they are bucking for Saint Status, really really really wants a blow by blow of your every thought or decision during the day. What they really want is for YOU to listen to THEM! :rolleyes:

Stephtay likes this

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On 3/30/2017 at 1:20 PM, amandr said:

Thank you both for such great reassurance. Like you I have read so much about how divorce runs rampant after WLS and that's the last thing either of us want. Needless to say it did freak me out too. I feel much better now. :)

(It's not the WLS that provokes the divorce, it is usually the "taking control of your life" that threatens the Other... )

Clickin, Aussie H, LeeC and 2 others like this

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38 minutes ago, BurgundyBoy said:

(It's not the WLS that provokes the divorce, it is usually the "taking control of your life" that threatens the Other... )

I'd "like" this a million times over if I could.

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22 hours ago, nestingdoll said:

Not cold and not heartless...just relieved that the nightmare he created for you was over. No one can blame you for not being willing to rip your heart open again to cry for him. No one else had to live the life you did with him. So glad that you're strong enough to move forward AND strong enough to talk about it. I'm a firm believer that coincidences do not exist....maybe someone in TTF space needed to read that. 

 

22 hours ago, tmcgee said:

Not cold and heartless at all, SP. I've known your story for a few years now, nobody deserves what you've been through.

Thanks to you both.  I'm still rather bitter with him because it seems that things still end up coming back to me that I have to deal with (lawsuits, etc.) and his family seems to stalk me and randomly "pop" up. And sadly I'm sure that I am not the only one in situations like this so if I can help anyone I'm here - that's why I put it out there. It takes the shame of it all away.

Clickin likes this

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