Weight loss adds stress

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS -

Dear Amy: My hus­band had weight loss surgery about five years ago and, al­though he’s lost an in­cred­i­ble amount of weight, no one pre­pared me for the ex­treme psy­cho­log­i­cal changes.

He is health­ier and has more en­ergy and con­fi­dence, but the neg­a­tive changes blew me away.

He has be­come ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive. He writes down ev­ery­thing that goes into his mouth. He weighs him­self ev­ery morn­ing naked. He has be­come self-ab­sorbed and is wor­ry­ing only about him­self.

Along with that, he is go­ing through a midlife cri­sis. He bought a cou­ple of sports cars and cruises around on the week­ends. He goes out a cou­ple of times a week by him­self for a few drinks.

He has such a high opin­ion of him­self, he could be cheat­ing for all I know, since our sex life has changed; I can’t get used to how he looks.

He’s lost so much weight that he looks like an old man. His skin is hang­ing off of his body and he will not have it re­moved.

I’ve checked weight loss web­sites and I’m read­ing about the ef­fects of ex­treme weight loss on a mar­riage and fam­ily.

We tried coun­sel­ing, but he refuses to ad­mit the change in him. He blames ME for not ac­cept­ing him since the weight loss.

I am “self-coun­sel­ing,” read­ing oth­ers’ sto­ries, and try­ing to learn how to cope.

What do you think, Amy? Dis­tressed

Dear Dis­tressed: The psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact of ex­treme weight loss is be­ing in­creas­ingly stud­ied, be­cause our cur­rent obe­sity epi­demic is mak­ing ex­treme obe­sity, and ex­treme weight loss, more com­mon.

Some of your hus­band’s habits (keep­ing a de­tailed food and weight di­ary, for in­stance) are rec­om­mended af­ter surgery as a way to keep the weight off. His other habit — drink­ing al­co­hol — is NOT rec­om­mended. And go­ing out a cou­ple of times a week with­out you is not good for your re­la­tion­ship. Plas­tic surgery to re­move ex­tra skin is ex­pen­sive and car­ries risk. (But this also ap­plies to sports cars.)

He may have slipped into com­pul­sive be­hav­ior or an eat­ing dis­or­der, but you do need to un­der­stand that this change has brought on a whole-life trans­for­ma­tion (for him) that is al­ter­ing not only his own physique, health, and out­look but also the way the world re­lates to him.

There is no ques­tion that some of your hus­band’s be­hav­ior is not good for your mar­riage, and yet you are com­pletely fo­cused on him and his changes with­out un­der­stand­ing that to stay to­gether, you will also need to change.

You may be mourn­ing the man your hus­band was be­fore his weight loss, but that man is gone. The guy who re­placed him might be a jerk, but if you want to stay to­gether you should both fo­cus on change and com­pro­mise.

Dear Amy: “Try­ing to For­give” de­scribed her feel­ings of be­trayal be­cause her hus­band’s best friend (a pas­tor) knew he was hav­ing an af­fair but didn’t tell her.

Amy, I am a pas­tor, and dis­cre­tion is an im­por­tant part of our pas­toral role. The pas­tor friend would have vi­o­lated this if he had told her. Pas­tor

Dear Pas­tor: I was fo­cused on his role as a friend rather than a pas­tor. Thank you for the clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

Send ques­tions to Amy Dickinson by email to askamy@amy­dick­in­son.com.

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