Can Obesity Damage A Relationship

by Jan 2, 2021Weight Loss

Can Obesity Damage A Relationship

There is a substantial amount of information on obesity and the adverse effects it has on the body. One topic that is now coming into play, newer than most with obesity, is weight and putting a strain on a relationship. That is right! One more thing to consider with being overweight. Not that all the known health issues are not enough.

How Do We Define Beauty?

Is beauty defined as tall, thin, and appealing to the eyes? Or does it go deeper than skin and look at the personality, traits, intellect, kindness? This is a complicated question to answer because it is a personal perception. What one person thinks is beautiful, another person thinks is not. How can the same person have two different appearances from the two different people? 

Historically beauty was defined as thin, tall, and physically appealing. Some of the stats around this are the average female fashion model is 5’10” and 110 pounds, but the average American female is 5’4″ and 140 pounds. 80% of all 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. 42% of first through third grades want to be thinner. 69% of elementary school girls say magazines influence their concept of the ideal body shape. This list goes on and on.  

Today, there appears to be a shift from this idea of perfection with height and weight to more self-awareness. People are now focusing on their own personal swagger and individuality but still have an awareness of weight, just less focus on this issue.

If beauty ideas have shifted from height and weight to more individuality, is there truly concern with weight and relationships? This question can go back to how two different people have two completely different views of the same person’s beauty. It all comes does to personal preference.    

Does Marriage Have An Effect On Weight Gain?

There are numerous effects that weight has on the body both physically and emotionally. The physical effects are evident through the medical community, including heart disease, heart failure, some forms of cancer and higher cancer risk, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased risk of stroke, increased risk of heart attack, and cardiovascular disease and many more. The emotional impacts are now just becoming known, with mood and anxiety disorders increasing by approximately 25%. Mood and anxiety disorders include bipolar, depression, panic, or agoraphobia. Adding these elements to the difficulties of making a relationship work adds undue pressure to the situation.   

Let’s face it; marriage is challenging; at one point, the divorce rate in this country was approximately 50%. Fortunately, the level of divorce is declining. Self-confidence and self-esteem are directly related to the amount of weight one carries. Adding extra harmful elements into an already tricky process is not the right direction a couple needs to take. Making the process run smoother is the advisable approach.  

Now here’s the kicker, studies have found that married people are less likely to take care of themselves in the weight category. Some reasons for this are that married people are comfortable with each other and no longer seeking a suitor; therefore, they tend to let themselves go. Also, married people tend to focus on mealtime as a source of bonding and information exchange. A dinner table is a place of comfort and relaxation so that the couple can exchange their day’s events and partake in the food. At this point, the average married woman gains 24 lbs in the first five years of marriage due to this newly-engaged eating together. 

So people are attracted to one another become a couple. Then become comfortable with each other and let themselves go and gain weight. The additional weight adds additional stress to the relationship. The entire process is ironic and comes full circle.    

Other studies have found that when one person is obese in a marriage, the other has a 37% higher chance of becoming obese. Couples tend to do the same thing together, which also means eating habits, exercise habits, and physical activity. If one in the marriage does not exercise or use good eating habits, this tends to flow to the other half of the marriage.

Mixed-weight marriages generally have higher levels of friction. This can be attributed to the image and how the non-obese spouse feels about the appearance of the obese spouse. 

All of this sums up to additional variables that go against the successful relationship. Weight gain can unintentionally cause undue stress in a relationship. The funny thing is the weight gain occurs because of compatibility and high comfort levels established from the relationship. So the weight gain can be caused by compatibility, which in turn causes compatibility issues.     

Other Issues That Produce Stress On Marriages

These are just some of the simple facts that obesity places on a relationship. There are many more that are more geared to the physical side instead of the emotional side that is talked about above. These would include health issues attributed to obesity. Health-related problems from obesity can come at a high-cost putting a financial strain on the relationship and physical impairment, causing additional strains. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and heart surgery is one of the most expensive surgeries offered today. Recovery from heart surgeries is generating lengthy, all of which add to the stress, pressure, and strains on any relationship. 

The inability to do things together can also produce additional stress. Just remember when you were first dating or first married the amount of activity you had with your spouse. As one or both has physical difficulties, this will limit the amount of activity the couple can have. This kind of goes back to the old saying, “remember when we used to take walks in the park,” and now this is a thing of the past due to physical limitations. 

Marriage Statistics And Obesity 

Some studies attempt to correlate an increase in obesity has caused an increased rate and divorce. Some of these studies use extensive amounts of data and highly complex mathematical equations to calculate and substantiate this information. But can they really apply a mathematical model using data from defined sample sizes to calculate that an increase in obesity equals higher divorce accurately? I do not think this is possible! It all comes down to the individuals in the relationship and their attitude towards each other. More times than not, the weight will be an excuse but not the real reason that a marriage or relationship ultimately fails. 


Can one’s weight put a strain on a relationship? There is scientific evidence to support this claim. And there is scientific evidence to refute this claim. As the saying goes, “love is blinding,” so weight issues are not seen in this case. Healthy weight or not!!

The best situation is maintaining a normal weight, ditching the physical inactivity habits, and getting the body mass index (BMI) to a healthy range, and living your best life. This will allow both in the relationship to prosper and reduce outside negative influences that will only help the relationship move forward in the best possible environment.    

If you don’t have time to take care of your health, YOU WILL make time to take care of your illness!  What side of the equation do you want to be on?

Hello, my name is David Zaepfel. I blog about things that matter to you and try to break them down into simple and easy terms so that you can understand what is really going on.  I am a firm believer that simple is the best way to go.  Don’t overly complicate things as life is complicated enough without being bombarded with over the head talk.  Keep it simple!  Let me know what you think.


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