National Eating Disorders Association

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Not sure how to help

First off I would like to say I'm sorry if I am posting all this in the wrong forum.

I am in a very serious relationship with someone with an ED. We have been together for close to 6 months and I am still trying to grasp the nature of this illness. I started looking into ED after she told me about her past experience with it, but I still feel like I'm not as supportive as I can be.

I would really like to hear ways I could be more supportive for her that might be a bit more positive. Instead of the "You look so beautiful" if she is feeling bad about herself. I am scared that those types of things might be supportive of something negative. If that makes any sense at all.

I would really like to hear what you guys think.
Thanks again

Happy to have you here

I am so glad you came on here to talk about this, as this is a very common issue with those whose loved ones suffer from ED. Oftentimes, people don't know what to say or how to act, so you are not alone in that. The best approach is a loving, supportive, empathetic one, although it sounds like you are already on that track. And keep in mind that it's ok for you to feel angry and frustrated towards her ED. It's best to keep the anger away from her, but you will need a place to express yourself as well. A support group is a great place for that. It will also help you feel like you are not alone. And you can always come on these forums for support. Just as your girlfriend needs support, you do too!

Your girlfriend is really lucky to have you. It's wonderful that you want to learn about what she is going through, as well as find the best ways to support her. You have no idea how much that will help her!

Here is some information about how to best support her:

Here is where you can find a support group for yourself:

I am not sure if she has already begun treatment, but if not, you can find treatment in your area:

The best chance for recovery is with a treatment team, but she may be hesitant towards the idea. The good news is that she trusted you with her deepest secret. It is a very hard step to tell someone when you have an ED. Try to remember that her ED is not about vanity or weight, but about an emotional issue and that she did not choose this. That is one of the reasons a treatment team is so important.

I hope this helps! Let us know if you need more information. You are an amazing person for wanting to help her so much!

thanks for asking :)

I admire you for coming on and asking about this. This is a very important issue but it's really easy to just push it to the back burner out of not knowing how to deal with it. When I began dating my fiance, I was not fully recovered yet, and one of the things he did that helped me the most was just consistently remind me that he is there for me and open to talking about it. He was very supportive whenever I was having a hard day. I was very secretive and ashamed of my disorder and he didn't push me to talk about it, but just reminded me that he was there to talk if I wanted to. I would recommend reminding her regularly that you're there to talk if she wants to, if she is showing signs of kind of wanting to talk but not being sure. Sometimes eating disorders produce a lot of shame, so even if we want to talk about it, we are scared to. Best of luck!

Thank you both so much. :)

Thank you both so much. :) Its something that shouldn't be left in the dark or ignored. I have took your advice and was able to open up a line of communication with her. She has that twinkle back in her eye, something that is so good to see. :) I feel like this web site is going to be able to give us both a lot of tools to help us.
And she is even taking me to see her therapist tomorrow to help me understand all this a bit better. :) I just want her to stay happy and on the road to recovery :)

Awesome news!

I am so happy for you both - happy for you because she is letting you in and letting you help her; happy for her because she has you and is making positive progress towards recovery! She is lucky to have someone in her life that is so willing to learn about this disease and support her.

I'm so happy to hear that she is seeing a therapist! She is taking the right, albeit hard, steps towards recovery. Together, you guys can beat this!

I have to say that this site

I have to say that this site has helped me under stand this more then I could of ever hoped!!! And to all those that have responded, all I can say is thank you :)
I still would like some advice and tips on things such as relapsing and such of that nature. She has told me in the past that she is scared of relapsing (it has happened before). Is there anything I can do to help keep that from happening? Besides of course keeping open lines of communication. And once again thank you all for being so open and giving me such wonderful advice. Our relationship has never been stronger :)

So glad we can help!

I am so happy that our information is helping you and your girlfriend get through this battle together! I love the positivity I am hearing your posts. They sound so hopeful, which is exactly how you should feel! Her fear of relapse is a valid one. It is a normal part of the recovery process and it's important to let her know that relapse does not equal failure. Here is some information for you both to take a look at:

You are a shining example of the support needed for people suffering from EDs!

NEDA is here to support you during the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. The health of our community, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus' serious complications, remains paramount. To access resources that can provide free and low-cost support, please click here.