Dating After Having Weight Loss SurgeryOctober 1, 2018
Dating after having weight loss surgery can be a struggle. Let’s be clear though, dating, in general, these days can be a struggle. Particularly after weight loss surgery, there can be a lot of questions that come up about whether to share that you’ve had surgery with your prospective date, or how to discuss it, or whether to even bring it up at all. Depending on where you are on your WLS journey, it would be important to address these how you see fit.
Tips for Dating After Weight Loss Surgery
There can also be a lot of junk that comes up regarding dating that has nothing to do with the weight at all, even when you think it does. There are boundary issues, self-esteem or self-worth issues, and, of course, body image. These come up when you’ve been ghosted, cannot seem to find the right one or all the people you meet seem like duds instead of studs.
While these seem overwhelming, there are tips and tools to help you navigate dating in modern times so you can stay sane while preparing to meet the partner of your dreams.
Everyone gets ghosted at one point or another – Don’t take it personally
While many people take ghosting personal, it likely has nothing to do with you. Even if the person is not interested in you, it still is not about you. Many people have a difficult time saying ‘I’m just not that into you,’ and as a result, they disappear because they don’t know how to say it.
Dealing with uncomfortable social situations is one of the top reasons that people ‘ghost’ others, especially because most often people don’t want to hurt another person’s feelings. Yet, ghosting in and of itself can be hurtful because it leaves the receiver asking ‘what happened?’. You may never know the true reason you’ve been ghosted, and it’s easier to just keep moving forward. This leads to my next point.
He or She is just not that into you, and that’s okay
So, you’ve met someone and he/she is a real catch! You are totally into them, you meet in person and then… crickets. They don’t feel the same way and you may be struggling to wrap your head around why they don’t like you back. The question you may ask is “What’s wrong with me??”
The truth is … NOTHING is wrong with you. This is just a part of the process… for EVERYONE.
Whether they have ghosted, started seeing someone else, or actually gave you a thorough response such as “it’s not you, it's me”, this is likely to happen at some point in your dating journey. Not everyone is up front and you may never know why he/she is just not that into you, and it is essential that you don’t take it personally. When it comes to attraction and compatibility, personal preference is hard to explain.
Some people expect an instant spark or attraction while others are more interested in getting to know the person better before deciding. In other situations, there may be one party that is solely interested in their own sexual needs and not in forming a long-lasting romantic partnership. They may just want to ‘hit it and quit it’. Whatever, the reason, know that dating like most things, is about consistently putting yourself out there and staying resilient when experiencing rejection.
It’s okay to say “next” and Don’t take it personally, how many have you rejected?
It’s happened to you, so why is it difficult to pass on someone you don’t like? No one likes to get rejected. It’s important to realize that just like you might have been ghosted or turned down, you’ll have those feelings at some point too. There will be someone who is into you, and you just don’t feel the same way. In this situation, you’ll be the one doing the rejecting.
It’s up to you whether you want to give them the soft let-down or leave the experience without notice. You may take the ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ approach, however, no one is really keeping score. The important thing to remember though is that you will find people you don’t like or aren’t a good match for you in the same way that you may not be a good match for others.
Keep on keeping on and don’t turn this inward on yourself. You are worthy and deserving of a good healthy relationship. Instead of getting down on yourself, refocus your energies on how amazing you are. Then, put yourself back into the dating pool.
Tapping into self-confidence and self-understanding
Your confidence or lack thereof will make a big difference in how you are viewed by others. If you lack confidence, you’ll likely have this desperate energy about you that gives off the vibe that you are looking to date just about anyone. Nobody is attracted to someone who will accept anyone.
What are your relationship limits? What will you accept or not accept in a relationship? What is an absolute “NO” for you? What are your desires?
Dating in some ways is kind of like sales, if you are selling something no one would ever want, why would they ever buy it?
Likewise, if you present with……
“I have a lot of baggage, and I am a difficult person who is not very pretty/handsome, I let people walk all over me, and then when they do, I get passive/aggressive, and when I don’t get my needs met because, well, communication is hard and I’ll emotionally withdraw.”
– then what type of person would be attracted to this? Do you think this person will be easy or difficult to date? Would you sign up for this?
Whenever dating, you need to be clear about who you are, what you bring to a relationship and what you are looking for.
What makes you awesome? What makes you great? How do you love and support those who you care about? What do you like to do that makes you unique? What are your best qualities inside and out?
It’s also important that you examine your behaviors when in a relationship so that you can create the dynamic you are looking for, not the dynamic you might always have had in previous relationships.
Let’s talk about sex, baby!
Sex and Dating. It’s the topic everyone wants to know about. Here’s the thing, consensual sex within the confines of an intimate relationship is awesome.
Likewise, if you decide to have sex and are NOT in a monogamous relationship, and you choose this consciously, please be aware of the emotional consequences. Whether you are going to have a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship, one-night-stand, booty calls, or any other type of arrangement, look into WHY you want to engage in this type of relationship. Is this healthy for you emotionally? What do you hope to gain from this? Your awareness into this is key. There is no judgment here, only that you are fully aware of the emotional consequences of engaging sexually with multiple partners and how this may impact your life.
Many post-op patients still see sex as love and the feelings of rejection after engaging in a sexual relationship without commitment can be emotionally devastating. Having sex will not make someone love you more if they didn’t already care about you. Additionally, women get far more attached in a sexual relationship than men. So, if you are on the fence about whether to have sex or not to have sex, use your better judgment to look at the situation holistically.
It’s also important to discuss and address the issues of replacement behaviors and transfer addiction in this section as well because some people may hop over to sex after weight loss surgery because they can no longer eat the way they used to. Trading one behavior for another is not healthy and if you notice this happening as a post-op, it would be important for you to reach out and address this with a counselor sooner rather than later.
Other sexual issues to discuss are using protection if you are not in an exclusive relationship as STDs are still possible no matter your age, weight, gender, sexual orientation, etc. This is also an important issue to discuss with your potential partner before engaging in sexual behaviors. If you have difficulty with this conversation, that will also give you insight as to your sexual readiness.
Communication is key
Interpersonal communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. If you feel that you are not an effective communicator or you have unhealthy communication patterns, it may be a good thing to get in touch with a therapist to help you work on this. Take a look at your past relationships and examine what went right, and what went wrong.
This will give you insight into your own relationship patterns and what you can improve upon.
Whenever entering a new relationship, it’s also important that you don’t hold this person responsible for the last person’s mistakes. Each person is different, and any baggage you may have could potentially impact your future relationship. Be open and communicate your needs. Have fun with the dating process and get to know the person before making any long-term decisions. This will help you gain more insight into yourself, into them, and help you as you move through the dating process.
The next time you get onto a dating site or meet someone in person and begin to date him/her, take a deeper look into what you desire in a relationship and what you are putting out there. This awareness will help you grow. Also, remember to not take anything personally as you may also be judging as others judge you. It’s all part of the process.
Be resilient. Love yourself. Release the fears. Have fun. Enjoy the process.
Best to you on your dating journey!
ABOUT THE AUTHORKristin Lloyd, PhD is a licensed psychotherapist, mindset mentor, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and energy psychology practitioner guiding individuals to embrace healthy habits and fuller lives after WLS. A WLS patient herself, Kristin understands the challenges of WLS patients. She is the founder of Bariatric Mindset and author of the two bestselling books: Bariatric Mindset Success and Release Your Regain; both available on Amazon.
Read more articles from Dr. Kristin!