Following weight loss surgery, it is common to experience a number of changes, both physical and otherwise. It is normal to start feeling different about many aspects of your life. Dating can be hard enough, without adding post-operation transitions to it.
To help make the dating process after weight loss surgery a bit easier, here are some things to keep in mind:
People may treat you differently
Whether it’s from people you know well or total strangers, you may find yourself getting treated differently than you had been pre-weight loss surgery. This may come in the form of attention. It is common among WLS individuals to find themselves questioning suitors and wondering if they would have received this same attention had they not undergone this operation. You may find yourself resenting people who just have an honest interest in you. You are so much more than your weight, and this surgery may just give you the opportunity to show that to the world. Own it, and trust yourself enough to distinguish the people who are attracted to you for the right reasons from those who are not. With attention usually comes compliments. Try not to look for hidden meaning behind words or question people’s motives. You deserve the compliments you get, so receive them openly. Another significant thing to keep in mind throughout the dating process is that some people may have trouble understanding the personal anxieties and concerns that came along with life before weight loss surgery. Be patient with these people, because chances are they do not know what it is like.
Dates will be different
Following weight loss surgery, you will have certain restrictions and requirements that may have you rethinking the types of dates you go on. Since your body will no longer be able to process the same foods or amounts that it did before, you’ll have to stay away from many-coursed dinner dates. If you do decide to go to dinner with your date, it may be helpful to plan your meal beforehand. To rid yourself of the worry of food options at a restaurant, check the menu online beforehand. Being aware of your food options will allow you to make the necessary adjustments before you go on the date. Another restriction to consider when planning a date is that, depending on where you are in your post-op, alcohol may not be an option. Therefore, going out for a drink may not be the best date option for you. Coffee dates may become your new go-to. For helpful advice about eating right along your weight loss surgery journey, click here. Another great date alternative may be physical activity dates like hiking, dancing or strolling through the park. These kinds of dates have the added benefit of getting in your daily activity as well.
Disclose when you are ready
When it comes to sharing any personal information, there is never one perfect moment. It is your journey and, your body, so pace yourself and when you are ready, share your weight loss surgery story. Some people may choose to wait until they know the person better before telling them about their WLS, while others prefer to disclose that information in the early stages of dating. Either way, it is a personal choice that you will have to make. The important thing to remember is if the person you are dating is not open-minded and accepting of the person you were and the efforts you have made to improve your quality of life, then that person is not the ideal match for you.
Be confident in yourself
The wonderful thing about WLS is that it may give you the confidence to put yourself out there and try new things. Get some dating experience under your belt, and do not be discouraged if it takes a couple of outings before you find someone who you really connect with. This is all part of dating. This is a transitional period in your weight loss surgery journey, and you need to find a partner who supports your effort to achieve a healthier life. This can mean finding another post-WLS individual or a partner who already values health. When you do find this special person, motivate and support each other in every step of your journey. Most importantly be confident in yourself and the work you have put into improving your life. Nancy Valazquez, a bariatric program social worker at St. Luke’s, explains: “Dating is about self; it’s about how you value yourself and what you believe you are entitled to. A person who does not think she is good enough to be loved, very often has a low sense of self-worth. This lack of self-worth comes from a lack of self-love. If you cannot accept yourself and your worthiness, how can someone else see that in you?…We learn to love by first loving ourselves.”
Like most things in life, dating is a process that takes some getting used to. The best way to gain experience is to just go out there and do it. Chances are you won’t meet the one for you right away, but every person and experience will teach you something. You have already taken a big step towards a healthier and happier life, and your journey is only going to continue. Finding someone to share the journey with is worth the intimidation and awkwardness that may come along with dating. Make the most out of every situation and be confident in yourself!
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