Let's start by acknowledging the incredible journey we've been on. We've transformed our bodies and gained confidence aplenty. But before we rush headlong into the dating scene, it's important to take a beat and make sure we're emotionally ready.
Weight loss surgery can bring up a mixed bag of emotions, so let's make sure our hearts and minds are aligned before venturing into the dating jungle.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I Comfortable with Myself? You want to have reached a level of self-acceptance and love for yourself before seeking love from someone else.
- Have I Processed My Emotions from Surgery? Are you at a point where you can discuss your surgery and its impact on your life openly? It's essential to have a clear understanding of your own emotional landscape before sharing it with a potential partner.
- What Are My Dating Goals and Boundaries? Are you seeking casual dating, a committed partnership, or something in between? Establish clear boundaries and expectations for yourself.
The Big "When and How" Question: Disclosing Your Surgery:
One of the burning questions for many post-op daters is when and how to disclose their weight loss surgery to a potential partner. Do you drop the bombshell on the first date or wait until things get serious?
Well, there's no one-size-fits-all answer here, but here are our best tips:
- Timing Matters: Only share your surgery story when you feel comfortable. There's no fixed timeline; it's about finding your own pace.
- Honesty Is Key: When you do decide to share, be open and honest about your journey and how it's shaped you.
- Choose the Right Moment: It may be beneficial to discuss it when you feel a deeper connection, as it can lead to more meaningful conversations.
Food and Dining:
Ah, the classic dinner date – a staple of courtship. But with our new tums, we may have some reservations when it comes to dining out with someone new.
Fear not! From choosing the right type of restaurant to navigating the menu, we've got some helpful tips and tricks up our (gastric) sleeves to ensure you can savour your meal without feeling self-conscious, or sacrificing your health goals.
- Choosing the Right Type of Restaurant: When planning a date night, look for places that provide a variety of options, like tapas-style small sharing plates or half size portions. Additionally, reach out to your local bariatric support groups for WLS-friendly restaurant recommendations!
- Navigating the Menu: Prioritise dishes rich in protein. Look for options like lean meats, fish, or vegetarian sources of protein. These will help you feel satisfied while supporting your dietary goals.
- Skip the Liquid Courage: Be mindful about the potent effect alcoholic drinks have on your new tum. Being too tipsy to drive, wobbly on your feet or slurring your words is not cute!
- Eating in Front of Someone New: It's natural to feel a bit self-conscious when eating in front of someone new. Focus on the conversation and the experience of dining rather than worrying about how you appear while eating. Asking your date questions and engaging in the conversation can help distract you from any self-conscious thoughts.
Remember, dating is about getting to know each other, and a supportive partner will respect your choices and journey.
Finding Your Support Squad:
Dating can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster, so having a support squad to lean on is crucial. Connect with others who have been through the same experience by joining one of the local bariatric support groups on Facebook, or attending a WLS meet-up. These safe spaces are the perfect place to share stories, exchange advice, and find understanding souls who are on a similar journey.
Bonus, there are a Facebook groups specifically for Bariatric singles, ie. NZ Bariatric Singles
Embracing Loose Skin and Being Vulnerable:
Let's face it, dating (and the prospect of getting nakey in front of someone new) can be a tad intimidating. Loose skin is a common side effect of weight loss surgery, and it tells a story of your resilience and determination.
Instead of feeling self-conscious, embrace loose skin as a symbol of your strength and success. Here's how:
- Communicate Openly: If you're nervous about revealing your loose skin to a new partner, open communication is key. Share your journey, including your experience with loose skin, before taking that step. This can help create a supportive and understanding environment.
- Focus on the Connection: When it comes to intimacy, remember that it's about connecting with someone on a deeper level. A caring and compassionate partner will appreciate your vulnerability and admire your journey, flappy bits and all!
- Self-Confidence Matters: Confidence is attractive. Embrace your body as it is, and remember that self-assurance is a powerful tool when getting intimate for the first time. Believe in your worth and your beauty will shine through.
In the end, what matters most is finding a partner who values you for who you are, inside and out. Be bold, be open about your experiences, and approach intimacy with confidence. The right person will admire your strength and celebrate your journey with you.
So, as we venture forth into the realm of post-op dating, let's remember that your new tum is something to be celebrated, not hidden. Own your story, set and respect your own boundaries, and believe in the power of love – because you are deserving of every bit of joy and happiness that comes your way!