National Eating Disorders Association

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Heart-broken and frustrated.

Today has been one of those days. I feel like I have completely blown it. My wife was doing so much better and now here we are, she snuck around behind my back and exercised for six weeks. After she was discovered, I had her come with me to the gym in some foolish attempt to teach her some moderation. When I saw that wasn't working, I became demotivated to continue on this same path. Now she's not working out at all, or at least I don't think she is. She's constantly in pain and yet she still won't eat. I can't force her to eat and any attempt to convince her that this is what she needs is met with dismissal, rejection or flat-out bullying behavior. I'm so tired. I don't know what to do. I don't trust her right now. Which is weird because I've always trusted her. Everything I say to her causes her to be defensive and it doesn't even have to be about ED. She has now taken to belittling me and I swear it almost seems like some sort of preemptive counter-strike that is aimed at clipping the wings of my resolve before I can interject something about her situation. I just want my wife to live and I want her to be happy, but this isn't happiness. She's miserable and she's killing me, our marriage, our home and she is going to mess around and put herself in danger if she doesn't quit heading down this path. She's become something I don't recognize. I'm scared. We've been married for almost 17 years and this has been apart of our marriage the entire time. I've been no saint. I've coped in some really negative ways in the past, but I am not that man any longer. Haven't been in years. I'm about to turn 40 and she turned 40 last year. She's been dealing with ED since she was 16. I'm just trying to hold on to hope that one day she will decide to really deal with this.

Shane - A Mental Health Issue.

Hey Shane,

No kidding, the people we love can seem to be transformed into a whole other person once EDs start really ramping up. For someone's manner to change so completely, it's no wonder they are regarded as a mental health issue.

I'm sorry that she seems to be getting snippy towards you. We want the best for them, and yet now we are having to walk on eggshells all the time.

I suspect that she knows that things are not right, but when it comes to EDs, what's "right" can seem to get pretty narrow. Seeing those numbers go down - That's certainly "right". Lot's of exercise, that's "right" too. A person's whole outlook can really start narrowing down when their ED gets all stirred up.

Again, no matter how irritable and defensive she gets, I'm pretty sure that there's at least some part of herself that knows what the story is. After so many years of fighting this, how could she not know, you know ?

Not to state the obvious, but since it's effecting your relationship to the degree that it is, perhaps now is the time for couple's counseling ? Granted, that's not the same as ED treatment, but if it's effecting your relationship in the ways that it is ( would she deny that it is ?) then it would seem like an appropriate step. It's true that it costs money, but I suspect you would pay some money if it helped things.

Of course she might say that she doesn't need it, so it would probably be OK to make it be about yourself. Like you are the one who needs help with the relationship, and that you'll need her to come along to help you with that ?

In any case, I'm sorry things are so rough now, but again, no matter what she may say, she can't be totally clueless about where this is coming from.

Keep in touch ?

Hi Shane,

Hi Shane,
I hope things are going as best as possible. Please keep us posted on how things are going. Remember, the forums are a safe and supportive place to seek help. I also encourage you to contact NEDA as they can provide some insight and assistance. They have trained volunteers that want to help.

While I cannot know what is going through your wife's mind, I know that when I was deep into my ED, I pushed people away and purposefully tried to alienate myself. Part of what makes the ED so difficult to shake is the relationship and, in a sense, bond between the person and their ED. EDs become apart of us and that makes it all the more difficult.

I strongly encourage you to contact NEDA and seek help. You need to take care of yourself just as much as you take care of her. Self care is vital. Please keep us posted on how you and your wife are doing.

NEDA Contact:
Helpline 1-800-931-2237
Chat at
Text "NEDA" to 741741


My wife exercises and is snippy and "hypervigilant" she also measures and examines all caloric intake. She has been EXHAUSTED!!! too.

After a afternoon of cooking fancy food for friends she sits and cries at how tired she is...

I'm sort of in down time mode, my daughter is about to graduate high school so I want to keep the peace (for her sake), but on the other hand if I were drinking X beers a night or a bottle of tequila each week would she be so patient. But eating disorders are funny that way.

I'm worried I will be complicit in my wife's cardiac issues... I just know they are coming. She is very thin, and alway fatigued. At least I (she) made it through another flu season! You know she must know... the minute flu shots are offered she's there with her arm rolled up!

Her doctor isn't much help.... they say she has to realize it's an issue. They won't say much to me because of HIPA always saying they could be fired for sharing or sharing with her they talked to me...... I told them they will be invited to the funeral!

"She's miserable and she's killing me, our marriage, our home and she is going to mess around and put herself in danger if she doesn't quit heading down this path. " <<<< Summs up my life too! She can't eat a normal meal, and go to bed without complaining about stomach and she's been worried about shortness of breath and such over the years.

I went to Key West with her in December. Free Mimosas with breakfast. She refuses!!! I drink mine... I'm pissed!!! because she won't have fun with a beverage. It's 85 degrees in Maui last year... she said it was too cold in the surf... I have a GOpro video of her shivering in the surf... me and the kids swam off and stayed in the bathtub warm water for 2 more hours!!! My sister asked how cold it was in Hawaii... I said it's wasn't .... she said "why is Lisa always in a coat?"!!! My wife wore her Parka, Balacava, and mittens on a 55•F walk in March... I wore shorts and a hoodie.

I know some here won't like my rant, but husband to husband... I'm venting and about to cry...

Back to the mimosa... she wouldn't have one with me in Key West but she has these dinner parties a couple time a year with her friends, she made mimosas for them... I don't know if she had one, I came home at the end of the party and had one alone on the deck... she wouldn't she was tired, and 62 degrees and breezy well she needed a parka so she stayed inside!

I've posted elsewhere... She danced up to a dangerous line back after our kids were born. I didn't notice at the time, but her family did. Well she's dancing right up to the edge again.

She is concerned with whatever she puts in her mouth... plays with food and takes forever to eat. FOREVER!!

Ok enough... it's bad...


We are glad that you are finding support here on the NEDA forums. A portion of your post was edited due to the mention of specific behaviors, specific food and food associated behaviors, and wording that may be triggering to other forum members. Our community guidelines are always available to review here In the event you need further assistance, please call the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (M-Th 9-9 F 9-5 EST).Again, thank you for posting, and we hope you will continue to do so!


Hey Lost,

Yeah, you have to wonder when the impact of all this is finally going to hit home for her. Most people with EDs hit that realization at some point in time. They realize that they are no longer in control of things ; It's their ED that's in control of them instead. Which can be a pretty unsettling realization.

It sounds like your wife has still not reached that point. Which is remarkable when you think about it.

Does it really seem to her that everything is "fine" and that this all has to do with "health" and fitness ?

Some folks can continue to believe that it seems, but usually that stage of things does not last forever.

Keep writing ?

Hi there, I'm new to this

Hi there, I'm new to this forum, so not sure if I'm really allowed to post here as I'm someone suffering from an ED and trying to recover.

I just want to say I'm sorry for what you all are going through and it's helped open my eyes about what my partner might be going through. Sometimes when you're in this ED you become so obsessed about calories and numbers and you don't notice how much you are making your loved ones suffer.

Just by reading what has been written here, I have been able to see things from a different perspective. Maybe it will help writing how you feel down (just like you've done here) and giving it to your wife? Sometimes we can get out more about how we feel by writing it and sometimes it's good for the other person to be given the time to process it without feeling like they need to be defensive?

I hope things get better for you both.


How are things with your wife now? As someone mentioned, this is a place for recovery, and it's hard for me to read about the things she does in detail. It's hard for a couple of reasons. One, it hurts to see the suffering of someone you love, but it's also triggering to me as a sufferer. The details that include specific food, alcohol, and food measurements are triggering. Please be mindful that other sufferers see your post and it can be triggering and unintentionally cause them to go further into a relapse or symptom use. Plus, it is in the guidelines of posting on here. I do hope things improve with her and that things can be easier for her. Please keep us posted on what's been going on.

Still suffering...

I just don't know how to do it, perhaps I should just print out these pages.
I love her... the kids are out of the house and I am strung out on anxiety and anger.

She had a bout of sick stomach and ultra small meals last weekend, but still climbed on the treadmill.

I just want to leave with my dog, and be happy and stop wondering where she went.

I've asked her to go to a "GI" doc, I also told her to seek some counseling.

She knows I have.


Hey lost,

Boy, I'm sorry that things are continuing on like they are. From what you've said there doesn't seem to have been very much progress.

And no counseling ? She still want's to pretend things are fine ?

What would she say about the state of your marriage ? Does she think that that's fine as well ? If you said there were problems, and that you felt that the two of you needed compels counseling to address them, so things might get better, do you think she would really say "no" ?

Bob J.

Pulled off the band aid.

She blew up about some minor thing blind-siding me the other night.

I decided not to retreat and hide anymore. Part of the reason (which I'll spare the details of) was that I didn't want to go to an event with her that would involve a night eating, so I went solo to enjoy myself.

I told her the other night when she was undressing I saw her back and those ribs glaring out at me, and I went to the living room and cried.
I told her that I'm there for her, but will not let her do this anymore without saying anything. She claims she is X # it's a number she loves and uses (I know numbers aren't looked kindly here) but she clings to it like a trophy, and I don't think its an accurate number.

Anyway, I told her I'm worried with each year flu season comes. I tell her I'm tired of her complaining about the bland lo-cal stuff she order and complains about. I told her I can't get over her shivering in the sun in Maui after exiting the 80 degree water at noon and sitting in a blanket the rest of the day while I played with our kids for hours.

She's not talking (well giving me one-word answers) and is even blaming the climate in our home on our little dog, she want's to control everything, and when she's alone with the dog and it wants to play for a bit, and she doesn't well... again it's a control issue.

I am reading up an Anger cycles with people like her... she can really blow her top with me. The day I told her I had to talk about what the cardiologist had to say about me was a good example. She told me she "didn't have time for that"...

I know it's a loss issue. She lost her mom to a brain issue at 62 and then her sibling a few years ago to a brain tumor.
I've asked her in the past to seek some council for her grief which she will not let out, and now I've told her that I think the grief issues and what I perceive about her 'physical self' part of it.
She's quite a clothes horse... and that's another long time worry of mine because if she did get back / realize that she could get back to a more healthy weight, she's going to have to toss out $2500 in nice clothes... and boy she loves them, it's been 15 years since I washed something of hers (even a t-shirt) she's particular... I've learned that hard lesson.

Thanks I'll check back.

@BobJ (intamacy mariage... she blames it on our dog of 1 year. I told her things were a bit off long before the dog came along.... she was grasping at straws.... she likes the little bugger, she doesn't like things she can absolutely control. I bought her a new car a couple years ago, it got hailed on 6 months later... and she's had a big fit about why you shouldn't buy a new car... I took the 0.9% financing and that's why she had the outburst... she thinks we are "paying on damaged goods)... car is fixed... sure it's never perfect but it's a damn car. We are not the 1%, but money isn't an issue... sure everyone want's more ... but we are generally fine and on track to retire at 65 or 68 and die around 88).

Medical Signs and Symptoms

Hi, vlostwalt, we're sorry to hear about your worries in regards to your wife. Just because you mentioned her feeling cold, we wanted to post up some signs and symptoms of a medical emergency. The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:• accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury• become suicidal• confused thinking and is not making any sense• delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)• disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are• vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea• experiencing dizziness or fainting spells• too weak to walk or collapses• painful muscle spasms• complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing• blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit• a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16• an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)• cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees FahrenheitOr any other serious medical concernsIf your wife experiences any of the above, we highly recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Another option is 911.