National Eating Disorders Association

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BF does not trust/believe in recovery

(Posted this in another section of the forum but realized this was a better place for it)
Is anyone else out there dealing with the intense frustration of a partner not believing you when you say you are recovered?
I was acutely anorexic from the ages 12-16 or so, and my recovery, which spanned a good decade, probably the defining struggle of my life. I draw an immense amount of personal strength from that experience, and my recovery journey is a huge part of what shaped who I am now. As an organic farmer, I am intimately connected with where food comes from, and I rely on a strong and healthy body to do the work that is required and that I passionately love doing. My relationship with food has been completely transformed, and for several years now I have been very confident in my recovery.
Have been with my BF for four years, and told him early on about my past struggles so that he could know me better and hopefully appreciate my strength. I regret telling him, because though I have never relapsed since we've been together, he holds onto my past and continues to worry about me and treat me as though i am still sick. I am naturally thin, always have been, but very healthy. There have been times when I've lost weight due to illness or stress since we've been together, but i have intentionally gained the weight back each time, not just to prove him wrong but because I truly have no "use" or desire for EDs in my life anymore.
Part of what bothers me is that he brings it up in very unkind ways (angry and accusatory), talking to me as though I am in the throes of an active ED and in denial and harming my health, not trusting/believing me no matter how many times I tell him the full-circle story. Often it seems as though he uses it as "ammo" in unrelated arguments, trying to tear me down. The lack of trust also bothers me - as my partner i feel like he should be open to listening to where I'm at with this, and trust me, and not just make up his own truth. But more than anything, i feel like he is seeing me as so much less than i actually am, because coming through the struggle is such a big part of who i am, and he is in effect denying that whole experience and journey.
This makes me lose my mind with frustration, to be honest.
At what point does a loved one's relentless "concern" become a damaging thing that ties you to your past and to an unhealthy identity?
I guess i'm just wondering if others out there deal with this too, and if it's normal to be so upset by it, and if anyone has had luck working through this with a partner.
I also wonder if it's more of a relationship issue in general than an ED issue.

BF feeling threatened ??

Dear Mtoto,

No, not so much an ED issue. This sounds more like a relational issue to me.

Granted, I'm just guessing, and going on what you said in your post, but it's hard not to notice that he seems to want to keep using your past issues against you. Like it almost seems that he *wants* you to think of yourself as weaker and more vulnerable than you actually are. And who would want to see that in their partner, you know ?

And why would they want it as well ?

Backtracking a little for the moment : It might not be unusual if our partners were worried that we might relapse for some reason. Caring partners might indeed worry about that. But that doesn't seem to be the case here at all. It's almost like he is wishing you were !

To me, it seems like he understands that it took real strength to recover from your ED. And that somehow he's intimidated by that ? So things would somehow be more comfortable for him if you were less strong and still struggling ?

It sounds to me like he has some issues of his own that he's not having much luck confronting or getting a handle on. And that he feels threatened and somehow "less" within the relationship because you managed to get on top of yours ?

Just guessing of course, but as you said, something of a psychological nature seems to be going on here, and my sense is that it has to do with issues of his own.

Which he needs to start owning himself, rather than trying to project them on you ?


Thanks BobJ48, it's

Thanks BobJ48, it's refreshing to hear someone else say that. We do have an out-of balance power dynamic in our relationship and he is indeed very insecure about a lot of things. He has a made comments about going for "fixer-upper" types in the past (cringe). Overall he's a good caring guy with a big heart but not great at communication on emotional things. Thanks so much for your point of view!

"Fixer-Upper" types.

I must admit, I may have been attracted to fixer-upper types too at some point. I do care about people, and perhaps in my sympathy, it's that I like to feel as though I have something of worth to offer to them. Acceptance, and understanding and all that. Which is kind of what all of us want.

But I certainly would not be throwing their problems back in their face, if for some reason I was frustrated. I'd be glad for them that they had gotten things back on track and had gained confidence.

So perhaps it's time for marriage counseling ? That can be a scary idea, and it can cost money too, but at the same time, it's often astonishing the things which can get said, and the sorts of breakthroughs, and "getting unstuck" things that can happen, once things are brought out in the open in a safe and supportive environment.

Again, thanks for the

Again, thanks for the perspective... it helps. I like to think of my partner as a good, caring person with a LOT of communication issues. I have been trying to push counseling for years. It has been wildly unsuccessful. Have tried writing letters... things always seem to improve for a little while and then just snap right back in an instant. I am at a total loss... but i think that is beyond the scope of this forum!

Taking a Risk.

Not to get all reverse-phycology here, but it's true, heaven only knows what might happen in marriage counseling !! Oh brother, things could come up that…well…might be almost impossible to talk about ! Even for…well…guys !! Guys like to see themselves as "manly", but holy smokes, couples counseling…it might be too frightening even for the most manly of fellows !!

And on and on. Perhaps you are getting my drift. If you can frame it as something something that might be this big risk-taking thing, and tie it in with his manhood…What red-blooded fellow would ever admit that they were afraid of taking a risk ?

So there's that part, plus the part about him taking a risk as a way of affirming his commitment to the both of you. Because things like this are for the overall good of things. And what fellow would not want to take the sort of risk that has the chance of making things better ?

Anyhow, I also know how set in their ways people can get too, so I know I'm making it sound easier than it probably is, but still, the idea of being willing to take a risk…that is something that can resonate with fellows.

Edited Post

Hi Mtoto22, welcome to the forums! Just wanted to let you know that your post has been edited to remove some of your personal information. You can find our forum guidelines here: Please keep posting!