National Eating Disorders Association

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please husband has an eating disorder

I have been married for six years and I've known that my husband has had a problem with food and also with over-exercising. He only eats a few specific things, in pre-measured amounts. Recently he has lost an alarming amount of weight, and he said he is finally at the weight he's always wanted to be. His reasoning is that he has to be so thin in order to race as fast as he wants. He spends an excessive amount of time at the gym every week. We have talked about his struggles in the past and I've always tried to be positive and keep the discussion on his terms, when he initiates, because it's such a sensitive topic. But he has gotten so thin and it seems worrisome to me, so I finally brought it up that I wanted him to think about whether or not his weight, his food control, and the amount of exercise is healthy. Things escalated and I got upset and told him he is too rigid and controlling. It totally blew up in my face and I have never seen him so enraged and hurt. He accused me of stealing all his joy forever in the thing he loves (fitness) and being selfish and self-centered- that I only brought it up because I want him to fit into my ideal of a husband, not because I care about him. He added that the only reason I brought it up is because I am not attracted to him when he's so thin. In other words, he thinks he has no problem at all and that I am just this cruel, heartless person who doesn't understand him and wants to make his life miserable. As you can imagine, I am distressed that i hurt him and terrified about what this means for the future of our marriage. I don't know what to do now. I asked him if he would consider marriage counseling with me and he said he doesn't want to.

It's clear from your post how

It's clear from your post how much you care about your husband and want to help him. It can be very difficult to negotiate the topic of disordered eating with someone who isn't ready to see they have a problem. The best thing I can recommend is to call the NEDA Helpline, who might be able to give you some suggestions about where to go from here, such as local resources and personal support and guidance. Here is the number: 1-800-931-2237.

If you can, let your husband know you're there to listen to him if he wants to talk, and that you're concerned because you want to support him. ED's are incredibly toxic, and often do affect relationships, sadly, but having a supportive, caring person is one of the most valuable things someone with an ED can have.

Also, please take good care of yourself. These issues affect loved ones powerfully, and it's important to make sure you're getting the help you need, whether it's consulting with a mental health professional, calling a friend, taking a walk, etc. Let us know how you're doing! You are not alone, and we are here to listen.


I'm so sorry that you are in this situation. It's often hardest to help our loved ones with this illness. I agree with PianoGirl about speaking with the NEDA helpline. It may be a good place to start in terms of gathering knowing what/how to say certain things and the resources that could be of use to both of you.

I wish you the best.