Getting back into the dating world after—or during—the many physical and emotional changes that accompany VSG is a unique challenge. From unrealistic expectations (“It’s going to be a piece of cake now that I’m thinner”) to insecurities (“Who’s going to think all this excess skin is attractive?”), it can be a steep learning curve. Below are some things to consider as you dip your toe into romance after gastric sleeve in Mexico.
When to tell dates
Some people are very open about their vertical sleeve gastrectomy, while others take a “need to know” approach with telling people. Comfortable sharing with your date? Then feel free! But if you’re hesitant, there’s no need to rush the info. Before venturing into the dating world, you might want to think about how far you’re willing to go, ethically, in order to avoid the truth, though. Are you willing to out-and-out lie (“I’m not eating much because I had a big lunch”)? Or would you prefer to deflect an explanation (“I don’t drink much—it’s a long story best saved for another day”)? This is your life, so there are no right or wrong answers. But it’s smart to think ahead and consider your own personal comfort level. One caveat here is that it’s probably best to share your VSG journey, just as you would any other important information about your life, if you believe a relationship is headed into the “serious” category.
New dating itineraries
A few of those questions might be headed off if your dates revolve around things other than eating and drinking. Go for a hike, take a class, do volunteer work for your favorite charity, or just meet for coffee or tea. You can probably come up with a long list of outside-the-box ideas, and your date likely will be thrilled with something more creative than the traditional dinner rendezvous. Even if you’re open about having VSG, your gastric sleeve diet won’t take kindly to rich, multi-course dinners. Think about interesting options in your local area so you can counter restaurant suggestions with something like, “Actually, I’ve been dying to try horseback riding. Are you up for that?” After all, there’s a whole new world of possibilities thanks to your new body, so get out there and start enjoying it!
If you haven’t dated since you were much heavier, you’re undoubtedly in for a much different experience. In our society, people associate “thinner” with “more attractive,” meaning that you’ll have a much larger pool of prospects to choose from. It’s simply human nature to judge the outside until we get to know the inside. If you have more interest than ever before, it can be hard to keep a level head. Dating someone new every night might be your goal, but if you’re looking for something a little deeper, remember to stay focused on the qualities you desire. Go ahead, be picky.
Then there’s the opposite side of the coin. For every VSG patient who can’t wait to jump back into dating, feeling more confident than ever with their body, there’s someone who still feels uncomfortable in their own skin (and can’t imagine showing it to anyone). But if you’re looking for a healthy relationship, you need to be a healthy potential partner. Yes, you can expect a romantic partner to support you and prop you up when needed. But you can’t expect them to supply you with a constant stream of reassurances that they like you as is, that your body is attractive, etc. That’s just exhausting. If you can’t wrap your head around the possibility that you’re worthy of a great relationship, do yourself and future romantic partners a favor and invest in counseling. “I am a firm believer in therapy to work through whatever issues we may have,” says Cama, a VSG veteran who found her ideal mate. “Confidence can be one of those things.” Recognizing your worth and valuing yourself is one of the best ways to attract the kind of partner you deserve.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.