National Eating Disorders Association

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Dating Girl With Possible ED

I’ve decided to delete my posts. I’ve come across someone with a very serious eating disorder. She’s probably had it her whole life, was probably exacerbated after breaking up with an abusive boyfriend a few years ago and worsened after getting sick from antibiotics a few months ago. It doesn’t help that she lives alone and probably cannot care for herself, has an alcohol problem, and has low self esteem. Most of this post will probably get deleted but I think it’s important to stress just how serious it is. This in not just some skinny girl who doesn’t eat much it is extreme. She will not live much longer like this there is no doubt.

I’ve come to this board for help because I’m not equipped to help her and I haven’t gotten any. I was told that discussing specifics may trigger behaviors in a reader and then someone said you might want to try talking to her. Well gee, how is someone going to help me help without discussing specifics? And you don’t think family, friends, and co-workers haven’t tried talking to her? I told her basically that I need some proof that she’s trying to eat an appropriate amount before I can see her again.

Hi Newbie12! Welcome to the

Hi Newbie12! Welcome to the forums! Your post was edited slightly because it contained specific behaviors and numbers that may be triggering to our other forum members. Please refer to our Community Guidelines (, and please continue to post! 

I’m not sure how you can


It can be a little bit

It can be a little bit frustrating trying to describe the symptoms without getting too specific, but those specific behaviors and numbers can be really triggering for some people in recovery. When looking for support, those minute details don't matter that much, as we are all here to help each other.
I can see you care for this girl you're dating; posting on here is a great first step. Have you tried talking to her about your concerns? Is that something you feel comfortable doing? For some that struggle with eating disorders, there may be a chance that she denies that there's a problem, and think that you're judging her.
The forums have helped me so much in dealing with my own recovery, I hope that you also keep us updated!

We ended going out for kind


We had dinner together,



I first want to say how sorry I am that someone you care about is hurting and suffering. I'm sorry that you're feeling hurt and concerned regarding this individual.
Eating disorders are really difficult to live with, not only for the sufferer, but for those who care about the person.
That being said, I have some ideas on how to reword some things in your post so they are less triggering to those who read your post, as I am one of those sufferers on this post.
It is possible to post without using specific numbers. For example, instead of saying X calories, you can she's eating very few calories. Or instead of saying she weighs X lbs, as you did, you can say she doesn't weigh very much or is underweight.
Instead of saying she has a BMI of X, you could say she has a very low BMI.
I hope some of this is helpful.

Newbie 12,

Newbie 12,

I understand your situation. If someone is in the medical field, it's natural to want to list the specifics. But here, if you say the the situation is bad, most people are going to understand just what you are talking about.

Having said that, you are right : no matter how much we study up on the issue, if a partner has problems, they are our problems too, no matter how much we might feel we can distance ourselves through knowledge. Thats' simply the way of things I think, so if you feel unsettled that's only normal I think.

So yes, what can we do to add something positive to the situation ?

One approach you might take is to try and put yourself in her shoes, and think about what might feel supportive if you were her. Things like that can give us a different and better perspective on things I believe.

Also, if the situation has been acknowledged (has it?) then you might ask her what you can do to be helpful. "Nothing" is likely to be her response, but I wouldn't let her get away with that. Keep pressing, and she may admit there are things that you can do, even if that means simply listening when she's having concerns.

Because EDs are usually about a whole lot of things besides simply the food issues. Concerns about having control over their lives, concerns about self-worth and the like. Concerns that many normal folks think about too.

In any case, this is just a short response I know, but perhaps it has helped a bit.

I hope you can keep writing.

Bob J.