National Eating Disorders Association

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Binge-Purge Partner Need Advice

Hi Everyone- I recently moved in with my partner. Because we are both very independent, I didn’t realize the extent of his food restrictive, binge, purge behaviors. Now that the dust has settled, I can see that I am not equipped to be his partner without guidance on how to support him, and keep my sanity. So, I thought I’d start with a general post. Where do you get your guidance? What do you do with your frustration around it? What should I know as I start to walk this path? He’s going to some counseling, but it doesn’t seem to be helping.... but at least he’s aware.

Just an example of what frustrates me... last night I asked him if he wanted to do something today. (He wanted to do something last night, but there was no good options so late) He got agitated and said he didn’t know what he wanted to do the next day. I told him that basically we could do anything as long as we hang out. What I pretty much understood at that point was that he didn’t know if he wa going to feel like binging alone. But I didn’t point this out, because he doesn’t believe he plans binge times. Today, exactly as I knew would happen, he siaid he had to go into work, which is crap.. he’s going to binge. And when he gets home, he’ll be distant and crabby and I’ll know why, but won’t say anything, because it’s embarrassing for him. It feels like this could quickly become a routine with a lot of built up resentment. Where should I start so I don’t have to unwind tears of resentment later? Also please feel free to tell me how to see this situation differently if that makes sense? Maybe it’s perspective?



I am so sorry that you are going through this and that your partner is suffering. EDs are selfish, horrible diseases and it is so hard to break free. I wish I had first hand experiences to share with you but I don't. I was the sufferer and, when I was acting in ED behaviors, towards the end when I was really sick, I was a horrible person. I tried to actively push everyone away so that I could die alone, without witnesses. I had multiple things happen, all fairly close together, that were the final blow and were the reasons for me seeking recovery and intense treatment. One of those things, which might be helpful to you, was seeing my strong, quiet, painfully introverted mother beg me, plead with me, and cried in attempts to get me to eat one bite of a piece of fruit. I refused, ultimately, but it showed me that my mom really loved me. Sometimes, just being there for the ED sufferer, showing your support and love for them and being a constant in their life can be really important.

Have you contacted NEDA helpline and looked at their online resources? It might be a good starting point for you. Please keep us posted on how things are. The forums are a safe and supportive place to go.

NEDA Contact:
Helpline 1-800-931-2237
Chat at
Text "NEDA" to 741741