National Eating Disorders Association

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Missterpriss
Fiancée has eating disorder. Best ways to help?

My partner has struggled with eating disorders for many years. She has long periods of good, but we're heading into a tailspin right now, I feel. I'm having a hard time supporting her right now. Like, I want to do everything I can to help, but I feel like it's not enough. I'm worried about her. She's working in a place right now with a lot of young girls who are thin and hot or whatever and it's killing her. She's really stressing about it. She's not wanting to eat. I make her eat. I bargain with her like a child. Three more bites. Please. But then a couple weeks ago I confronted her about it. I suspected that she was purging. It happens when she's stressed. Lack of control. Intellectually I understand all the things that she's experiencing. But I am just at a loss for words for how to support her. How can I help her stop? I NEVER comment on her body (except to tell her she's gorgeous and perfect. And... Dat ass, of course). I'm terrified of watching tv or music videos with her because she will spiral out of control. I don't know what tangible steps we can take to get through this. I worry so much about what to say because I don't want her to be scared to tell me that she's having a hard time. I worry that I'm going to shame her about it. I worry that I'm gonna not say enough and she'll feel like I don't care. I've tried to set up a schedule for us. Tried to get a system in place to help her feel more stable and secure. I've created a menu and scheduled in time for a workout session every day so she feels like she is in control. I don't know what else I can do on my end. Helllllllppppp.

kelsey207
Hi Missterpriss,

Thank you for posting here! It's clear from your post that you are a caring partner. Please know that the fact that you care and that you're reaching out and trying to find out more about how you can help is a great sign. Many loved ones of people suffering from EDs don't know what to do and don't always try to learn more so they can help.

I want to recommend some resources for you from around the NEDA site. The first is the Parent Toolkit (It's not just for parents; it's for anyone with a loved one with an ED): http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-toolkit . Here are some other links that might be helpful to you, too:
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-family-friends-network
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/how-help-friend-eating-and-body-i...
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-should-i-say

Is your partner seeing a professional or otherwise seeking treatment? ED recovery can be very challenging without professional help. There are lots of different options she can consider: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/treatment . If you want to talk with someone at NEDA about your concerns and work with your partner to find resources near you that might be helpful, you can call or chat online with the NEDA Helpline: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/information-referral-helpline
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/family-and-friends

I know from experience how hard it is to watch a loved one suffer from an ED. It really makes you feel helpless, and makes you second-guess everything you say and do for fear of making things worse. Please know that recovery is possible; things don't have to be this bad forever. Don't forget to take care of yourself while you're trying to take care of your partner. Your health and happiness matter, too!

I hope this is a good starting point. These forums are a great resource for support, so please post here anytime you need a listening ear! :)

cldaum
adult male boyfriend with bulimia --

I'm sitting here happy yet heartbroken. My boyfriend whom I dearly love has bulimia, and I'm so proud of him that he took the first step to seek treatment. He just started intensive outpatient treatment last week. Last night, he broke up with me, saying that he was encouraged to simplify his life so that he can really focus on his recovery, and that he felt like he needed to do the treatment part on his own, not wanting to drag me along for the ride. We both love each other, and I want him to get healthy more than anything else in the world, and have been his biggest supporter in helping him get to this point. And while I totally understand his feeling of wanting to go about it alone in the program, I'm totally heartbroken and trying to understand and learn more about this disease.