Many people who have gotten dangerously overweight are turning to bariatric surgery to lose those unwanted pounds. The significant weight loss that they experience as the result of this surgery can drastically change their appearance. It can also improve their overall health -- both physically and mentally.

Trends for Single People vs. Those in Relationships

Not surprisingly, these changes can impact people's relationship status. Recent studies have found that single people who lost a lot of weight after undergoing bariatric surgery were more likely to get into a romantic relationship or even get married than those who didn't have the surgery. However, people who were married or in a relationship increased their chances of divorce or having their relationship end.

Of course, not all relationships are destined to crumble if one partner undergoes a significant weight loss. As the author of one study noted, "In solid partner relationships, weight loss after bariatric surgery is probably not an issue, and in many cases the relationships can even be strengthened." However, one bariatric surgeon said that in "partner relationships that are somewhat unstable or nonfunctional, weight loss may increase the risk of partner separation."

How Can Weight Loss Impact a Relationship?

As the surgeon noted, when people lose a significant amount of weight, they often become more self-confident. They feel better physically and about themselves, so they embrace new activities and interests. They may be less likely to want to share in the activities they used to enjoy with their spouse or partner -- particularly if those were more sedentary activities.

Meanwhile, their partners may feel "less connected to the 'new person' that they were married to." The doctor says, "I think this leads many to re-examine their relationships with others."

Doctors Should Discuss Potential Relationship Issues Prior to Surgery

Of course, fear of your relationship crumbling should be no reason not to have a procedure that could significantly improve your health and self-esteem and potentially lengthen your life. However, the surgeon says that doctors should prepare their patients for the fact that their weight loss could impact their marriage or relationship.

Whenever one spouse undergoes a change that upsets the equilibrium that the couple used to have -- even if it's a positive change like becoming successful or losing weight -- there's always a risk that a couple's relationship won't survive. If you determine that divorce is the best option for you, it's essential to have the legal guidance of an experienced divorce attorney.