Sage Advice: Wife's Extreme Weight Loss Affects the Marriage

By Amy Dickinson | April 17th, 2019

When one spouse gets skinny and the other gets left behind


Gastric_Bypass Image

Dear Amy: I have been married for 16 years, and have been with my wife for 18 years.

She is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and has always weighed around 200 to 230 pounds. Eight months ago she had gastric bypass and now weighs 135 pounds.

I know she is healthier and she is happier, but I am miserable, as I feel I lost the person I fell in love with.

She makes me feel like I am a bad person for not liking a skinnier wife, but I don’t find her sexually attractive anymore.

I am not sure what to do at this point. How can I save my marriage and find her more attractive? Do I have to settle? I am 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 320 pounds and have been heavy my entire life.

– Hefty and Confused

Dear Hefty: Extreme weight loss is a major stressor on relationships, for some of the reasons you are citing. When a person literally transforms into another person, they move through the world differently, with different interests, needs, habits and perceptions. (It’s not just about how your jeans fit.)

Spouses often assume “designated roles,” and now your wife’s role has changed. But what about you?

I imagine she is also receiving a lot of positive attention, which might make your alienation and disorientation worse. Her new body might also make you feel self-conscious about yours.

Because this change is so extreme, and so rapid, I hope you will be patient as you both adjust. Please seek professional help, as you transition through this marital disruption.

The hospital that performed her surgery should offer a referral for a counselor specializing in this common relationship response.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2019 by Amy Dickinson

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