National Eating Disorders Association

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The Woman I love has an ED

The girl I have dated for a while off and on for the last 5 years has an ED. I love her, she's kind, passionate, a hard worker, beautiful, smart, strong, ambitious and she loves sports. My family loves her and her family likes me.

But, I will admit the first few years I knew her, I didn't know about her disorder and when I did I thought I could help her. out of ignorance and hubris I took it personally because I could not. Obviously as I've matured and educated myself I have learned that I must accept her for who she is and ALL that comes with it.

I come here looking for fellowship and maybe a relation in common experience. Since I've known day we can be head over hills intimate(not necessarily physical) and the next it's like I don't exist.... she will have this blank look, send one word texts, assume the worst of me and she won't make me a "priority."

I think it hurts because I know in a lot of ways during these moments she continues to live her life... but I'm not a part of it.

She has told me that I have to be able to deal with those moments and understand them for what they are and she truly does care about me.

I'm just wondering if anyone here deals with a significant other that completely shuts off and you don't exist to them because of the disorder.

And if you do, how do you handle these moments because they really hurt my feelings and I feel alone.

As significant others, we face challenges too

From your post, it sounds like you have been very supportive of the woman you love and committed to helping her. It's not easy to see a loved one suffer, and I hope you know you are not alone in your role. One thing I try to keep in mind is that an eating disorder is not a lifestyle choice--it is a serious mental disorder. For us who support loved ones, we must strive to provide encouragement and support. Even when it may not seem to help, our love ones depend on us.



Yeah, after 5 years it's gotta be difficult to deal with these things. Because as you said, things authentically do seem to be good between the two of you.

Except for the monkey wrench that ED throws into things. :(

But yeah, we all like to be able to feel secure in our relationships, so how does one deal with being shut out like that ? What sort of conclusions is a person supposed to draw ?

Because relationships are indeed personal, so how are not supposed to take things like this personally ? And yet I don't think that we can, if someone is going to stay steady through all this. Because someone needs to be steady, you know ?

" She has told me that I have to be able to deal with those moments and understand them for what they are and she truly does care about me. "

As difficult as it is, I hope you can take her word about this.

Even though though it's hard to feel reassured when a person gets shut out like this.

I appreciate the support you

I appreciate the support you all. She has told me she wants me to help her with her situation but it's difficult because the things I suggest make her uncomfortable....

I don't want her to hurt herself but it is difficult for me to stand by idle and do nothing.

I want to be with her and I want it to be good. I just want to be able to rely on her

How to help her...


"She has told me she wants me to help her with her situation but it's difficult because the things I suggest make her uncomfortable…."

It's good that she trusts you enough to actually ask for some assistance. The fact that she's allowed you that far into her situation…not all people with EDs would allow that, so it is a matter for encouragement I think.

Still, it's asking a lot of you if she is not able to be clear about the sort of help she feels might be useful, and leaves it to you to suggest things.

Not to put too fine a point on things, but she will need to take some responsibility in this, by letting you know exactly what she feels would be helpful. Are you supposed to be helpful by finding ways to go along with her ED ? To be honest, it's a fact of life that some people simply aren't ready to change yet, and want us to help make that end of things more comfortable for them.

Or is she interested in the sorts of help which might help her fight it and get better ? While a part of us doesn't want to make things more difficult for them, you will need her to be honest with you about which direction she wants to head is what I mean.

Because these really are two different directions : Sticking with things as they are, or making attempts to get better.

These sorts of questions may feel challenging to her, but there's always an element of challenge involved in dealing with EDs.

Perhaps she'll be able to understand that part, and excuse you if some of your questions should indeed make her uncomfortable ?

Keep in touch ?

Don't Give Up

Roll_WTP, you aren't alone. Your post could have been written by me about my experience with my wife. 10 years as friends, always thinking something was wrong but never willing to see or accept it was an ED until it starting tearing us apart. Our relationship was just like yours - one minute we'd be fine, and the next she would shut me out; this only got worse when she moved home to work on things and because she accused me of being a trigger for what she said was her anxiety. There are just a few things I'll share, since I too came here looking for people who are in your and my situation, to know I'm not alone.

First, I'd recommend you see a therapist, preferably one who deals with addiction/ED. I never wanted to, but it was the best decision I've made in a long time. Hearing someone say everything you're thinking isn't crazy, that you aren't alone, and to have a space where you can say anything without feeling judge and actually be heard for once is worth more than I realized it could be. Second, read "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie. It's not the best book, but the key points have shown me you will only feel better if you start to take care of yourself first. Especially someone with an ED, you can't ruin yourself trying to control them. This is the toughest thing I've had to do during my wife's recovery, accepting that I have to look after myself too, because my work/personal/family relationship had collapsed and I didn't even notice it, I was so preoccupied with worrying about my wife's ED.

I hope this helps. If nothing else, know you aren't alone.

Annnnnd of course, for the

Annnnnd of course, for the last month now she keeps flaking on me.

1 minute she schedules plans with me and the next she cancels them....breakfast, dinner, coming to hang with my family.

I haven't been in the city for a while and I've been back for multiple weeks now and she has not seen me...she stays 15 minutes down the street.

I'm torn because I know the ED is playing a factor in her behavior... just last night she was feeling up and confident and wanted to go to dinner with me, but a hour after her declaration she canceled on me because her "head hurt" due to sinuses and then I couldn't come over and say, "hi" because her Roomate was sleep....

Then of course she canceled breakfast this morning because she didn't feel well because she had a headache due to sinuses and the afternoon hangout for the same reason...

What bothers me is she still managed to have people come over and watch a big game last night and she still made it to church this morning despite all the sicknesses.

Even at our most intimate this has happened. Idk if this has to do with the anxiety/ed anymore or what...and even if it does is it worth it?

Just a big mumbled jumble post, sorry y'all. Confused

I spoke to her today about

I spoke to her today about how certain things make me insecure and then she says "you don't deserve someone messed up like me." This is the cycle....

Then we'll be hanging out in a few weeks.

So expressing myself only makes it worse. Imagine MY menta health

15 mins away.


Trust me, I know how you feel. I had a girlfriend who after some stuff hit the fan, refused to see me for a couple of months, despite living literally 5 minutes away. And all the while she was telling me she loved me and such. I simply could not believe she would treat me that way, as surely she must have known how I was feeling. So I didn't call her on it, just to see how long she would let this go on.

Of course it had to do with things she was ashamed of, and feared that she'd be confronted about. In the end it was a mistake for me to not to have pushed the matter, as it would have brought about some kind of resolution sooner. Rather than me just sitting and stewing, and wondering when she'd stop with the blatantly weak excuses, and decide to live up to her relationship responsibilities.

In her instance it was not ED related, but the avoidant dynamic was still just the same. They just fear getting into it, you know ? And the whole "you deserve someone better" thing too.

Which is dumb, when we're willing to forgive them ( if they will let us I mean !) and then we could get on with things.

So…it may be letter-writing time, you know ? I found from personal experience that allowing this sort of stuff to drag out rarely leads to the sort of resolution that we hope that it might.

Sure she may say that she wants to break up, because when it comes to "the withdrawal thing" ( I did 10 years on another partners board, and this same withdrawal thing was absolutely the #1 issue guys would show up to talk about ) they often see that as their only option. But see what you can do to not allow herself to sabotage things in that manner. Because in withdrawal situations like this, it rarely has anything to do with her seeing you as a bad fellow.

Keep in touch ?

can anyone recommend a

can anyone recommend a support group for friends and family in Atl, Ga?

Support Groups


You might want to give the NEDA hot line a call, and see what sort of information they have. Local hospitals often host locations for groups like this, so you might want to call around locally to the hospitals and see what they have to say.

Edited Post

Hi BobJ48. Just wanted to let you know your post was edited because it mentioned specific medical treatment center/provider. Please refer to our Community Guidelines here:

NEDA has a resource to help

NEDA has a resource to help you find support groups -

I hope you decide to contact NEDA. They are there to help you as best they can. The helpline number is 1-800-931-2237. You an also chat NEDA at or text "NEDA" to 741741.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing! We care and support you.