National Eating Disorders Association

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intimacy, lake thereof

hey all.

first off, i'd like to express my gratitude for all the sharing and work happening here! it is heartening to know i am not alone...

my wife and i have been together for 5 years. i love her. she is smart, thoughtful, and has taught me so much about what love can do.

however, there is a narrative in our relationship i need to better understand.

Intimacy and eating disorders.

for the past 3 years i have been finding it harder and harder to connect to her physically.
as i continued to learn about her journey with ED, i began to witness (more and more) the effects of ED on her body/mind. and it has affected my attraction to her on a deep level.

poor hygiene, lack of oral care, very strange/restrictive eating habits, irritability, and other common tropes of ED has really made it hard to stay sexually connected...
at times it throws our whole relationship dynamic off, making us feel like roommates. i love her, but have trouble connecting physically.

any thoughts, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. many thanks

Thoughts on Intimacy

Hi gsanders,

I see no one is commenting on this, so I thought I would give it a shot.

In many marriages... even those without ED.... there are periods where one or the other party loses the desire for intimacy with their partner. In the case of poor hygiene... well, that's pretty big.

If you are able to have a loving and gentle discussion with your spouse about the importance of good hygiene, that might help, especially if you can find some type of reward (emotional, or physical, or material) for positive changes.

If you can get that corrected, a lot of feelings of intimacy have their origins in our own minds. Creating fantasies for ourselves can stimulate our feelings. Sharing pleasant experiences can also help to revive those feelings.

Lacking anything working, some couples stay together simply because their relationship meets other needs and they forego the sexual side. Some people stay together while they quietly find gratification outside the marriage. And some people simply call it a day and end the marriage.

I've found that lacking any sort of ED support system for yourself, Al-anon can somewhat meet the need. People dealing with alcoholics face similar frustrations and issues and their 12-step program can be beneficial in all sorts of situations. I've also found it helpful to ask the Ann Landers question: "Am I better off with them or without them?" and write down your reasons so you have a clear understanding of your decision and motivation.

You have choices. You just need to explore what will work for you.

Sending best wishes.