So fast-forward to after WLS. New weight, new shoes, new self-image. With newfound confidence, dating gets easier, and sooner or later Mr. or Ms. Right comes ambling up, carrying a nonfat yogurt and a smile. What’s not to like?
If only it were that easy. It’s one thing to talk about all the great things WLS — and the accompanying changes in appearance and self-esteem — can bring. It’s another thing to live those changes — and their results. Meaning, it’s okay to be anxious, even depressed, when things start going well in the romance department post-surgery. Smooth sailing doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to get seasick once in awhile!
Here are two tips to help you cope for the moments when you’re not sure how to handle the anxiety that post WLS dating can bring.
- Hold onto your power. The newfound attention that a change in appearance — and self image — can bring can be frightening, even demoralizing, at times. After all, underneath the new dress size, you’re the same person you were before. Are these people liking — or even loving — you for something as shallow as your new butt? What’s going on? Give yourself some credit. Unless you’re picking out partners based solely on their dance floor prowess, and hopefully you’re not, your new romances are still getting to know the real you, just maybe more quickly and more easily than they might have a hundred pounds ago. And let them. Share your thoughts, your feelings, your likes and dislikes readily. So much of our time is spent making up lists of what we want in Mr. or Ms. Right — what about your list? Why not draw up a list of what makes you wonderful — aside from something as superficial as your appearance? Remember, those qualities were special when you were heavy, and they’re special now. You may have changed, you may have grown, you may look different since WLS, but our inner selves cannot yet be altered or enhanced by surgery. Yet. We can only hope that the cast of New Jersey Shore can get personality Lap-Bands in our lifetime …
- The three-month rule: no matter how wonderful your new romantic partner may seem, don’t throw away your receipt! Give yourself at least three months — 90 days — to return them. It’s easy to get swept away by the hopes and dreams we’ve been lugging around since childhood when someone arrives who looks like they might be The Guy Or The Gal Of Our Dreams (patent pending). Who doesn’t want to feel like that? Come on, Cinderella doesn’t tell her handsome prince she needs to take things slow after the shoe fits, just so she can make the successful transition from flip-flops. But nevertheless, the human heart is more than a cartoon story. When two people meet, they’re on their best behavior: wearing new underpants, flossing regularly, and dragging their nicest personality traits out from whatever box in the closet in which they are normally stored to wear them everyday as if they’re casual slacks. But hold on. Only time and wear can show you if this new Mr. or Ms. Wonderful is worth your trust.
These strategies are only two for handling post WLS dating; you, hopefully, will develop many more. What are some tips you would suggest to others?
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