National Eating Disorders Association

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Trying to stay the course

I just found this site after a search for how to help my wife with her anorexia and bulimia. Being able to read a few of the posts in this section has been a real help.

I married a "recovering anorexic", or so I was told, almost 25 years ago. Not long after we were married I noticed the most beautiful and healthy woman become skinnier and skinnier until, within the space of about a year, she became nothing but skin and bones. She sought some help which seemed to make matters worse. It seemed like all her councilor did was convince her to focus more and more on herself. At one point I was invited to participate in one of her sessions where I heard that much of the problem was my fault because I wanted intimacy. They, my wife and her councilor, requested that I not ask for sex because it would help her deal with her problem.

Over these years I done my best to love and support her. I have tried to give her whatever she wanted without question. I allowed her 100% control of our family resources knowing she was wasting thousands on binge food and constant purchases of new clothes. I know I am far from perfect and try to never judge her for her struggles with this never ending trial.

I can relate with the posts from others about feeling like a care giver more than a spouse. I have long felt like my wife was more of a dependent than a partner. Mostly because of the how she wants nor gives much physical affection. Sometimes I feel so lonely and distant that I don't feel like I even know my own wife. Worst of all I have this anger and jealousy that comes from seeing guys I work with who seem to have a relationship with their spouse that I can't ever have. In the past I attempted to talk to her but have learned not to try and communicate about anything besides the mechanics of her day.

I wish there was some hope in sight.....



I'm so sorry to hear about the struggle facing both you and your wife. You seem like such an incredible person for supporting her through all of these issues, and I really hope you are able to find helpful advice on the forums. It breaks my heart to hear that you feel lonely, because that is the worst feeling in the world. All I can say, however, is that your wife appreciates all that you've done for her, even if her disorder prevents her from showing it. Have you considered encouraging her to try getting professional help again? You mentioned that she saw a counsellor at one point, but is that all she has done? Sometimes it takes a long time to find the right therapist who meshes well with a patient. There are also so many other options like nutritionists, group therapy, psychiatrists, and more....neither you or her should give up hope that she can overcome this disorder. If you feel hopeless and trapped, just imagine how your wife must feel, being trapped in her own brain and body with this horrid disorder. She might feel so trapped that she doesn't even consider getting professional help, thinking that it wouldn't do anything, but I know that there is still a good chance that she can beat this disorder if she works toward it. With a supportive husband like you, she can certainly at least try!! :) If you call NEDA's helpline, they can give you all sorts of information about treatment options in your area and how to pursue them. Maybe your wife will feel less overwhelmed with the idea of seeking treatment if you already have the names/contact info of the various places she could seek help. You can reach NEDA's helpline Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (EST) at 1-800-931-2237

You are an amazing husband for helping her through this, and you are an inspiration to eating disorder sufferers and their loved ones. Please stay strong, and know you are not alone.
Best of luck,



I commend you on your strength and ability to be honest with us and yourself. Your feelings and experiences are very real. It can be heartbreaking to watch as a loved one suffers from this illness. I understand you feel hopeless and helpless. I am curious, have you shared these feelings with your wife? Perhaps the ones you feel more comfortable with? For more insight, I encourage you to reach out to NEDA's helpline Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (EST) at 1-800-931-2237. It is so important for you to have a community in all that you are experiencing.

All the best,


Thank you for being brave and

Thank you for being brave and honest. It is so hard to watch loved ones struggle, want so much to help, but feel lost and alone in the process. Your feelings are valid and I commend you for continuing to support and love your wife despite how you feel. Remember that she is not her disorder. The person you first married is still there - but the eating disorder has made a place in your home too. It's an un-invited and unwanted guest. I wonder if your wife feels this way too? Even though it may be hard right now, please know there is always hope. Recovery is possible for everyone and relationships can be healed. I would encourage you to reach out to the NEDA Helpline at 1800.931.2237 M-TH 9-9 EST and F 9-5 EST. Finding the right support system can be challenging, but they can help you in your search. There might even be a spousal support group in your area.



I also feel alone in working with my fiancee. Unfortunately I live overseas and so we don't have much in the way of support groups. I am seeing a therapist (the same one as my fiancee but separately--we both know that we're both going) and it's helpful to have someone to talk through the issues. I struggle most with the anger that is directed towards me. Reading these boards do help though and I have read some books that provide good information. I am telling myself that it is a long road and there will be twists and turns. Still, it can be hard.

Thanks for sharing your story.