National Eating Disorders Association

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Hey buddy,

You wrote :

" She's not talking (well giving me one-word answers) and is even blaming the climate in our home on our little dog, she want's to control everything, and when she's alone with the dog and it wants to play for a bit, and she doesn't well... again it's a control issue."

I'm sorry that she's being so non-responsive, and seems to be deflecting her anger off in all sorts of random directions. My sense is that she knows that much of this stuff has to do with issues regarding her eating disorder, and is beginning to feel a bit backed into a corner with it all.

As you said, it may revolve around control as well. Not so much that she is in control, but the fact that she realizes that she's not really in control of it now. Which is frequently the sort of realization that brings about reactions like this. The person has worked so darn hard at restricting, and exerting the terrific discipline that's involved in starving themselves like that, that it can come as a real shock to them when they realize that now they can't stop restricting. even if they wanted to.

Which means that rather than being in control, things have moved beyond their control instead.

And now their loved ones are expecting them to do something about it, when in the back of their minds they know they can't.

People can really find themselves on edge when they find themselves in that position, and that sounds like where she's finding herself now.

How she's going to come to terms with this helplessness will be the thing I think. Finally admitting that there's this huge thing that they are NOT in control of pretty much goes against every single thing they've been working towards.

So yeah, the "coming to terms" thing. That sounds like the next step in all of this, and it's really not an easy step to take.

Bob J.

Circle back.. Trainer/Nutritionist for couples.

Bob, I'm very heartened that you're out there and giving a damn about my wife and I.

I hope my feedback helps others too.

Well after my getting frank about the situation here is what happened.

She kinda cooled her anger and seemed a little happier.

I don't know if it was out of spite, or if she realized she hit the wall or just nothing; but she went a certain amount of days without running on that damn treadmill. AND!!!! She ate some normal portions and was even eating a certain food... It was remarkable.
I kept my mouth shut... as rubbing stuff in anyone's nose etc is not a good thing.

I was going to tell her that it's nice to sit across from her and not worry about what she wasn't eating.... me just biding my time and realizing it may be temporary as she's danced up to the line before. It's just nice to see her make something that looks like a normal portion and eat it and not pick at it. It's stunning that it happened.

I brought up in our mini argument that I was kicking myself for not "green lighting " her getting a trainer a few years ago, and that her workouts were missing ONE thing and that was the Fuel.

Well I told her I've let my upper body kinda go to heck, and my cardio stamina is not what it should be so we went TOGETHER to a trainer today, like a date and at our mutual agreement. The guy is a great fit he is a certified Trainer and NUTRITIONIST, and has an Olympic Gold medal for a team sport many years ago... he's 63 and looks fantastic. His attitude about the body being the most valuable asset we have rings very true.

It's funny our evaluation is exactly what I've been seeing with her... she "looks pretty fit" but is pretty weak for actual strength. Me, he found exactly what I knew... cardio is kinda off for an my upper body needs some work.

So I'm signing up with her to go twice a week to train and listen to this man. He was delighted that we didn't eat out much... I had to almost go cross eyed when my wife said she was "addicted to chocolates and ice-cream" I won't do portions and stuff, and I'll give her that she does eat some of that but her restraint is the envy of every other 50ish yr old she female knows, via/examples of my previous testimony.

I hope this bring she and I closer. I have no issue with my wife's desire to be fit and trim... but getting her on a the same page with a Nutritionist (I didn't know he had that cert. until our first meeting today) seems to be money well spent.

I'll circle back in a couple weeks.

Post Edited

Hi vlostwalt,We are glad that you are finding support here on the NEDA forums. A portion of your post was edited due to the mention of specific numbers and specific foods that may be triggering to other forum members. Our community guidelines are always available to review here: In the event you need further assistance please call the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday 9:00AM-9:00PM Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM EST). Again, thank you for posting, and we hope you will continue to do so!

Back at you.

Hey V,

I'm glad to hear that the emotional stuff seems to have settled down for now. That sort of scattered anger, it really can be a sign of different sorts of inner turmoil that they are dealing with.

And yeah, good that you held your tongue when you saw her eating somewhat normally again. After all, it's not really about us ( well, in theory at least) but about them working on things themselves.

You'll have to see how things go with the gym. People can go overboard there too, as it can hold a lot of the "control" elements that eating disorders do. I had a GF for a while, and she kept hurting herself at the gym because of some over-excercize issues that she had which were really hard for her to get a handle on. "Moderation in all things" is what a person needs to go with I think, particularly as we get older, and "preserving our equipment" becomes important.

Bob J.

Yeppp!! Not easy

First night at the gym with trainer was good for me ... and well she likes that. What I found so disheartening is I went home and cooked a good nutritious meal. I don't know what I'm allowed to say etc here... I got out the super healthy food. She "none of that it mine." this is after an hour workout. Oh also trainer gave me a smoothie to make for pre-workout. It was good. I poured us both a small glass. The trainer is a certified nutritionist. He knows... he said he'll talk more about nutrition.

"All that food "


Yeah, being able to actually eat is a tough thing for them, no matter what sort of logic or reason is applied.

What I mean is, it's going to be an emotional thing instead. and it's going to involve risk-taking.

Willingness to take a risk, that may be the theme you'll have to go with. Because eating just isn't going to feel emotionally safe, and is an emotional issue that will need to be confronted at some point.


Update ... whatever.

I will try to post without breaking rules.... but facts are facts. I am doing great (personally health wise with trainer). My wife loves going to trainer. She doesn't have the fitness/issues of a 52 yr old guy. Trainer is telling her what to eat before and after workouts. He absolutely sees what I am seeing. He puts her through a big workout ... SHE WILL NOT EAT HALF of what he recommends. Twice she has worked out (morning treadmill run X minutes) BEFORE our 10 am session. I am going to recommend that we stop seeing trainer if she's going to go on this way. She's got no extra mass anywhere.... Lady at gym got nosey and told my wife she was afraid she was doing more than her body could handle. Trainer asks her to eat and then checks with me... he say's "give it time.... it takes time". I'm waiting for her to just pass out... it has to happen... right?

Not the agreement.

Vlost, Yep,it kind of sounds like she is just using this situation to go deeper into her ED. But in a "healthy" way. Sanctioned by a trainer,even. Of course it's not that way at all, but a lot of people use the gym as a cover for their behaviors. It's a pretty common thing. She knows exactly what she is doing though, and no one is being fooled,so it's got to be frustrating for all of you, and perhaps even her. My sense is that rather than you telling her what you are going to do next, it would be better to ask her what she thinks should happen next. What I mean is that she needs to start taking responsibility, if you follow me?

Thanks for affirmation.

Still 48 hrs after she started that single serve bottle of Ensure it sits in fridge. Bought 6 pack last Saturday she was to drink one a day and 4 are unopened.

Couples workout at noon today with trainer, and she just finished X minutes on treadmill. Yesterday was more of the same, non compliance of fueling recommendations..not even close.


One thing to keep in mind is the idea that eating that,Endsure is going to represent failure, as far as her ED mind is concerned. The idea of success and failure is something that she is going to need to get a better handle on, and as she may tell you, for someone with EDs, that sort of mental adjustment can be a really hard battle.


Lot's of exercise ... she will not come close to eating what the trainer/nutritionist recommends.

I've documented some of the elaborate food prep behavior (that I can not describe here -trigging others).

I've called a local eating disorder service. They have 4 people that are booked out months, and will not talk to me. They say the client must be the one to call and answer the screening questions.
I asked even if I got her to call, I'm not sure she would answer the screening honestly!!!
They said I can not influence a sick person, they have to accept that they have a problem.... so round we go.

I asked if I have to threaten to leave the house to get her attention. They said "that sometime is what it takes." WOW!!!!

I feel like a trapped rabbit in a den of foxes... I've started binge eating because of the stress.


"I've called a local eating disorder service. They have 4 people that are booked out months, and will not talk to me. They say the client must be the one to call and answer the screening questions."

Unfortunately the reality is that there are more people with EDs than there are therapists and treatment places to treat them. Add that to the fact that people who end up in treatment often don't want to be there and just relapse again when they get out, and you can understand where the place that you called might have things set up so they cherry-pick the people who they choose to help. Only those who at least have the initiative to call, in this case.

( This might not be the case if you had a big pile of money. If it seems that you have lots of cash, many private treatment places would accept her I think. But even with all that money in place, her actual success would *still* depend on her attitude, so the folks that you spoke to still have a point, as far as successful outcomes are concerned.)

"They said I can not influence a sick person, they have to accept that they have a problem.... so round we go."

They have a point with this too - One of the landmark phases in the progress of EDs is when the person decides for themselves that they have a problem. Even that's not always the turning point though - The next phase is the decision that they're going to try and effectively fight it. It may be that your wife has hit that first benchmark, and can admit to herself that she does have a problem, but the second one, where she's decided to effectively fight it…she may not have reached that one yet. The psychological risks that would be involved (of which there are many) may still seem like too much for her.

"I asked if I have to threaten to leave the house to get her attention. They said "that sometime is what it takes." WOW!!!! "

I've read a LOT of "What did it take for you to finally decide to recover?" threads, and it can be all sorts of different things. The accumulation of different sorts of consequences, or moral or existential or psychological concerns. In some circumstances leaving might have an influence, and in others it might not. But yeah, in some situations things do have to get drastic.

" I feel like a trapped rabbit in a den of foxes… "

Part of that feeling can come from the fact that there's no proven treatment for eating disorders. When I first got into this I assumed that there was, but there isn't. People do get better, so that's'true. And people can benefit from going to treatment, so thats' true as well. But as far as there being any sort of proven treatment, there isn't one. On top of that, if you read writings from people who have recovered, where they talk about what made the difference for them, their responses are all over the map. So yeah, when we are searching for some sort of specific emotional security to latch onto…it can be a difficult matter for sure.

But again, many people DO get better. So it really can happen. But the personal aspects of the individual plays a huge role, and while we can be supportive (which *can* indeed make a difference) many of important parts are still out of our hands.

Keep in touch, OK ?

Thanks Bob

Thanks for responding back.

I was close to snapping last night as she measured her little breakfast for the next day.

Thank god despite here very thin frame and diminished stature from a couple years ago (thin then, but not scary) she is healthy.

I know I'm close to a total breakdown. She loves me, I just need to cut loose and plead with her. Perhaps if she understand the daily pain I experience the past couple years that alone will get her motivated.

I've talked about an intervention with a couple of her siblings coming in from 300 miles away. I'm worried she will just feel attacked and betrayed by me. I already feel I've betrayed her trust. But then again if I were knocking back a case of beer and bottle of vodka each week I'm sure she'd be talking at me... and I'm sure I'd be fighting back... perhaps not though, I know drinking a lot is very bad.

Thanks for letting me ramble.


Hi... Long summer / spring of a lot of frustration during meal-time/planning/night out etc.

I think she's looking a little worse. Sex life is nill.... I find her boney frame un-appealing, she is asleep most nights 5 minutes after hitting the pillow.

I was thinking today that I'm like a spouse of an alcoholic... I know they are going to crash or get a DUI soon, just bidding my time until it happens.

I think her family is just too polite to say anything, we don't see them much so they like everything to be happy when we do. What I can't figure out they said something about 12 years ago when she bumped up against the edge and she snapped into line. Now I think they just think she's getting older like the rest, I find it sad when someone 10 years her senior has happy looking eyes, because there is a little fat under their skin. I'm a very visual person.

She's still trying to control our daughter, hiding foods from her when she is in the house. I got real pissed about it.

82 degree breezing evening (sun still up) last week, on a walk and she pulls on a fleece!!!

Breakfast on Sunday, slightly air conditioned Panera. I look at her arm, the hair is standing up like she saw a ghost in January!! (It's August). I said are you ok... she said "yes, but I'm cold". The hair was straight up and on end, I've never seen it quite that dramatic. It's haunting, I know what's going on, she thinks its because she's delicate flower.

She wore her parka in the house now and then up until April when she came home for lunch. I showed her sister some photos I took of the nonsense. (We do heat our house) She said it's chilly and the coat is cozy.

The evidence is everywhere.
-no energy
-very irregular periods for past 9 years
-always complaining about consitpation etc
-blocked up stomach
-measures food

---- I'm toast and rambling.

Medical Signs and Symptoms

Hello. When you get the chance, please take a look at our community guidelines here: You mentioned that she is experiencing quite a few concerning symptoms. We are going to post this list. The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:• accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury• become suicidal• confused thinking and is not making any sense• delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)• disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are• vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea• experiencing dizziness or fainting spells• too weak to walk or collapses• painful muscle spasms• complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing• blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit• a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16• an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)• cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees FahrenheitOr any other serious medical concernsIf she experiences any of the above, we highly recommend that she seek medical attention as soon as possible. Another option is 911. Seek medical help soon on an outpatient basis if she:• has significant heartburn and/or a burning sensation after eating• has other gastrointestinal concerns• hashigh blood pressure• struggles with significant joint or muscle pain• has difficulty sleeping (falling and/or remaining asleep)• struggles with fatigue, sudden weight gain, and/or hair loss• has frequent urination or unquenchable thirst• has gained and lost significant weight repeatedly• has gained significant weight in a short period of time • struggles with chronic diarrhea or constipationPlease take care.

Hi vlostwalt

This a is a very strange board, as there is little interaction between the members. I am never sure if I should answer or not. I feel your pain. Mental illness/addiction are terrible problems. Reason does not work. This is not something that can be cured by anything that we do. So, our only option is to realize that we did not cause this. We cannot control this. We cannot cure this. It is the same thing that people living with alcoholics or drug addicts have to come to terms with. It is the first step that we have to take in this battle.

The war is not really with their ED. The battle is with ourselves. We want something that they are not willing to do. We want our reality to be different. Wanting a different reality will not make a different reality. So, sometimes the best thing we can do is come to terms with what we have.

I'm sure that is sounding very hard. We are asking our spouse to take care of themselves by eating. We must be willing to take care of ourselves too. Baby steps... you know? Wishing you peace on this journey.

Yes I've thought that. Only

Yes I've thought that. Only issue is the symptoms of the issue; wearing a parka indoors, refusing to sit down to eat lunch rather than pace around the kitchen, not able to enjoy the surf in Maui, second guessing if she deserves dessert on a night out with her husband. These issues and many others were NOT so much a thing 8 or so years ago. She is painfully frail. The trainer we went to see together would put her through his paces, tell her what to eat when she went home and should wouldn't. He asked her her goals, and she said it was to build muscle and gain some mass. I told her I couldn't watch her do the exercise and not fuel, so I quit the trainer. Now she goes to "pound" on her own, comes home and diets. She is a very smart and successful business person. I just feel like I can't enjoy and evening out with her or a lunch. She's figuring out what to eat with the "leftovers" during dinner on our anniversary night out. Saying what she's going to cook with the items she's planning to save from dinner. I try to let go, and what triggered me yesterday is that if she drops dead or ends up in the hospital with grave issues related to the flue what will my kids say? They see everything I see, they talk about it amongst theirselves to. Thanks.... your insight is spot on "diittoditto" I can not disagree, and I bounce back and forth with being in your camp and then wondering how I can let this go on. What also kills me is how here in Indiana obesity is such a focus, that I really feel that her doctors think she's one of the few people trying to be healthy. Her gyno uses her to train her interns/residents now and then, as it's "so easy for them to feel where her woman parts are" she comes home every other year on how an intern was asked to feel her because it's so easy. The doctor called me back once and agreed she is very thin, but seems to be maintaining. Doctors have about 20 minutes and move one. I'm the one with a woman who falls asleep and can't watch a movie, can't go to a nice dinning place and not order the most bland thing and then sit and complain that it's not good...


I'm having a bad day. I'm wondering if typing and talking and thinking is worth it.
I grew up in a very toxic household, gossip got you nowhere but it's all my mother did.
I'm so bloody conflicted, if it weren't for the evidence staring me in the face every morning and night, I want to say it's all in my selfish head.


vlostwalt, I think we all experience exactly what you are feeling. Dealing with any mental illness or addiction will leave you feeling used up, empty, and depressed if you are trying to "fix" them. That is because it is not possible to "fix" anyone else. We each fix ourselves. Some of us don't fix ourselves and they grow worse. But this is the battle your marriage has handed you: you must learn where your control begins and ends.

You have choices: You can stay and keep doing what you are doing that isn't working. Will that help your spouse? Will that help you?

You can change the dance... meaning that you change your behaviors and your responses to ones that are healthy for you. Will that help her? Who can say? Will that help you... yes.

You can leave. You can decide you can't do this any more and you can build a better, happier life for yourself. Will that help her? Who can say? Will that help you... yes.

Right off the bat you have two ways that you can improve the situation for yourself. I bet if you think about it you will come up with more ways. Perhaps you might seek help from a therapist. Maybe you might decide to attend Ala-non meetings to learn the steps. Their steps are the same ones that spouses of people with ED find helpful.

Something else that I wanted to mention is that a primary emotion we experience as we watch our spouses starve themselves to death is anticipatory grief. Everyone dies. It is not possible for us to stop death. Yet, we want to. We need to feel that control in life. So, maybe something to focus on too goes back to the first step of coming to believe that we cannot control this. It is not our responsibility to control this. It is our responsibility to control ourselves; to walk on our side of the street; to keep our spoon in our own bowl. We set and maintain our own boundaries. We are responsible for us and our actions. We cannot control the actions of others.

Sending best wishes. Be kind to yourself.

ANOTHER year !


I've been tying to just live with her issue.

That said, my father expects/expected up to just live with my mother who is a Manic/Depressive.

I got a lot of my life together in recent months. Clearing out my hoard of stuff on e-bay. Getting my business back on track.

Nothing has change for the good with my lady's condition.
This is just wrong.

What smacked me in the gut wasn't that she was still more thin that ever before; it was what do I tell my adult kids for doing next to nothing about their mom? I'm terribly mad and frustrated my dad gave up on my mom's issues 30 or 40 years ago, I don't want my kids to harbor that kind a anger and resentment toward me or their mother.

On new-years day I hand delivered a letter and evidence to her OBGYN. I had called her before but never heard back other than my wife saying "you've been talking to my doctor?!"

The doctor is well aware and she said while my wife is generally healthy she agrees; "she has no fat whatsoever."
The doctor said that her being cold so often, bad hair/nails, skipping periods (in her early 40's) are big warning signs. She said my wife hadn't told her about skipping cycles. I said it's been going of a while.

So the doctor is going to call her in and get her referred to a councilor / nutritionist.
The doctor agreed that the situation could easily turn dire, and that if my accounts of eating small meals around big exercise events is accurate she certainly is burning muscle occasionally.

Anyway, preparing for the blow-back when the doctor calls her. I gave her permission to tell her I'm the one who initiated this.

Standing by. I can't believe I've been feeling this way and dealing with it for over 5 years. (2nd time around dancing up to the issue)

My daughter is now in college and is studying exercise science, and nutrition, biology.
She came to me the other day incensed with the miniscule lunch her mom had, and then announcing to us she was going to an hour-long "Pound" class after work.

Best, Happy New Year.

Just re-read the moderator's

Just re-read the moderator's post.

has significant heartburn and/or a burning sensation after eating ---YES
has other gastrointestinal concerns--- YES
has difficulty sleeping--remaining asleep ---YES
struggles with fatigue---YES,
hair loss ___YES
has frequent urination or unquenchable thirst --- SURE DOES recently
struggles with chronic constipation--- YES

wears parka, gloves, knit hat, with parka hood up in 50 deg F. --- YES


Hey Buion ddy,

Yeah, it's hard to know how to think about things like this. There's clearly a problem, but as a partner, a person is not really being presented with anything they can do about it. So yeah, how is a person supposed to live with that ?

This is just me of course, but I wonder how self-aware she is about her situation ? The other board I work on - the one for people who are in the midst of their EDs and who are still madly going for it - Even though many of them are still resolutely pushing forward with weight loss (often despite many bouts in the hospital) , on the whole they all know it's a problem, and in the balance, a negative thing in their life, and that the longer they press on, the deeper they are digging themselves into trouble. Not everyone feels that way of course, but the overall tribal verdict is that it's a trap that they really hate finding themselves in. No matter how otherwise "healthful" their behaviors may seem to casual outsiders.

After all of these years, your wife is not willing to admit to that yet ? Because really, most people in her situation have come to that conclusion by now, even if they have not reached a point where they are willing to say it out loud.

"I got a lot of my life together in recent months. Clearing out my hoard of stuff on e-bay. Getting my business back on track."

That sounds like a step forward to me. While I know things are still bad, it's not good when our worries result in our own lives being put on hold. So yeah, good for you for taking charge of that stuff. I hope it gave you a little more feeling of power.

Good luck with the doctor situation too. It's often easy for people with EDs to talk their way past doctors. And besides, Doctor So and So has other clients waiting out in the lobby. But perhaps you'll get lucky, and this woman won't let her off the hook. It sounds like you gave her a pretty good run-down, and since she's a woman herself, she's probably a bit more aware of these things than a male doctor might be.

In any case good to hear from you, fingers crossed, and I hope that you'll keep checking in.

Bob J.

Post COVID and stilll

Hi, I thought I'd never log in here again, I thought things might be getting better, she's been seeing a nutritionist. Guess what... things are still bad.

She was diagnosed as a "pre diabetic" she now watches her food ever ever more closely. She still goes on exercise binges without having much of a proper fueling session in the morning.

My sister in law RN thinks that indeed she may be damaging her endocrine system with "disruptive diet syndrome" basically a body that goes from famine mode, to storage mode and back to famine mode many times a month.

I was talking to her family about reading the owners manual of some cars. It often says; "while the low fuel warning light alerts you to the need to fuel, do not drive prolonged or always use this as a time to fuel." Why? I'm a bit of a mechanic... it's because modern fuel injected cars use the fuel to cool the fuel pump, and excess fuel is recirculated in the "loop". So when you are down to the last gallon and a half and drive a couple times a month in the low state with no thermal reserve you eventually cook your fuel pump.

My wife has been cooking her fuel pump off and on for 40 years. She judges herself harshly, one of the first things she told me about her nutritionist is "how beautiful she is for her age." I responded; "perhaps she knows something about health."

I called the nutritionist's office today and let them know that I think her eating behavior overall is worsened despite her constant vigilance on eating the right things... just not enough to support her desired activity level.

Vlostwalt - post Covid

Hey Bud,

It's OK that you wrote, or at least I hope you felt OK about it. Things like this are frustrating alright.

" I called the nutritionist's office today and let them know that I think her eating behavior overall is worsened despite her constant vigilance on eating the right things... just not enough to support her desired activity level."

Yep, people can concentrate on "eating the right things" and yet still be scared to death of gaining. How they go about losing that fear is hard to say. From a psychological standpoint, it would symbolize losing control over their life just in general. An idea that would be frightening to anyone.

So as you've observed, a person can reach an emotional point where they feel that they really have to be vigilant if they don't want to see things slip out of control. Not enough exercise, too many calories, improper foods - in a world that's filled with enough uncertainties as it is, those things could be a road to ruin alright.

Plus I think there's often some OCD that's involved. Anxieties surrounding certain rituals and behaviors that are almost beyond the person's control. Psychologically OCD stuff involves feelings of safety, and who among us likes to feel unsafe ? So it's a difficult matter alright.

She'll have to be willing to take risks I think. And to be honest, seeing the nutritionist may have felt like a risk. Then again, she may have turned parts of it to the advantage of her ED. If she's now "eating properly" then that may feed her feelings of control. And we just ignore the fact that we're eating WAY less of the proper foods that are recommend.

Ugh, sorry if I seem overly sympathetic with what she's going through. But after all these years I'm sure you know that she's not doing these things to irritate you. Plus, as I've mentioned before, I'm pretty sure that she knows there's a problem. One that most likely she does not enjoy.

So yeah, "flexibility". That's one thing that people with EDs can complain about too. How they've lost the ability to be flexible about so many things. And how that inflexibility restrains them, and robs them of the sorts of carefree experiences that other people seem to be able to enjoy. You do hear people with EDs talk about this. How they envy the ways that other people can eat, and feel happy and flexible about things just in general. So I'm pretty sure that she knows there's a lot that she's missing out on. Which is another sad thing about Eds.

So again, it's the willingness to take risks. And an openness to the idea that she, as her own person, might be able to change her attitude about things. I suspect we both know how difficult it is to change our own attitudes, so for someone like her to even imagine she could…it would be a pretty brave thing, you know ?

In any case, I think it's still fair to see the nutritionist thing as potentially positive.

Her next brave step would be seeing a therapist, which have we talked about that before ?

Bob J.

your posts made me want to cry

Hello to Bob J and vlostwalt. I am looking for help/support for my husband who is dealing with me and my ED for years; pretty bad right now. I almost cried when I read your posts. I hope it is not inappropriate for me to interject, but I wish that my husband would talk to someone like you guys. You are so supportive and just doing your best to help spouses and work on it fo yourselves too. I knowit is incredibly hard on my husband. Honestly, I wish he was as concerned for me as you are concerned about your spouses. AND I wish he would get help dealing not only for my benefit but HIS. I am trying. Getting help. Prob need higher level of care soon. Know my weird "stuff" causes consequences and discomfort. I am trying. I spent a lot of time feeling terrible about how he must feel and like he has no one to talk to. And I know its all my fault, but he doesn't know how to help me or understand me or support me and I am really scared on my own. I realize that I am self obsessed and controlling and I do want to change but I am so scared. How do I get him to talk to someone, reach out, get support for himself??? I've asked him to try groups and/or read etc. i think he tried a bit but mostly blows it off. it's like he resists doing it. do I even have the right to ask? I am so moved by your interaction. I wish it for him. I know I am sick, but want to support him bec I am sure it's SO f-ing hard for him. any suggestions? Be well to both of you.

Husband of sufferer with "tips"

Hello, dwyer.karen1. I've been hovering these forums for a couple of days and decided to make an account to post my own story, I figured I'd start with responding to yours.

Your husband sounds like he's in a similar situation as I am, that my wife has an eating disorder, is aware of it and is beginning to accept the notion that it's gone well beyond "just wanting to be thin," and that my knowing about it has opened up a whole slew of things that were otherwise buried.

I'll leave my story to my own post and focus on how I'm feeling in hopes it helps relate to how your husband is feeling.

He's probably feeling helpless. If he's like most guys, we like to "do" things, to fix things, to take action. We see a broken faucet, we fix the faucet. We see a broken relationship with body or food, we want to "do" things to fix it. And the helplessness sets in when we come to terms with how we simply can't. It's important to know that this thing isn't ours to fix, it's not "in our yard," so to speak, and that leaves us feeling helpless. Truth be told, your concern for him might not be landing properly either. If he's seeing your concern for him as superceding your concern for yourself, then his feeling of helplessness is for naught because he sees that you aren't as concerned about yourself as he is for you, thus his feelings of concern are being disregarded. To put it simply, why are you more worried about him worrying about you than you are worried about yourself?

Please don't hear this that it's a bad thing for you to be concerned about your husband's well being, of course! It's natural that we're going to care ABOUT our loved ones, but it's hard to come to terms with how we can't care FOR our loved ones.

I tend to ramble and get long-winded, so I'll just shorten it up here. The best thing you can do for your "us" is to take care of your "you." While I certainly don't know exactly where you are on that journey, it sounds like you're aware that some care is needed and you're taking steps to do just that. What your husband might really benefit from hearing is you sharing that you're concerned about him, but that you know it's a struggle to see you struggling. Reassure him that you're taking steps as you feel safe to do so, and that you want him to take care of himself too. The goal is to come together in the middle, to create a beautiful garden between both of your yards that you can enjoy together, and that starts with cleaning up the yards on either end of the garden, which is each yard owner's responsibility. And leave it at that. Always be open to ways that you may be able to help or come alongside him through this, but accept that it's his job to care for himself.

Just the same, it's your job to care for you. What he REALLY wants is to see you better. The best chance of you helping him to achieve that is to care for yourself first. Bring him along whenever you feel safe to do so, walk together whenever you can, but otherwise focus on taking care of you.

Did I say it enough yet? Self-care is the first step to reaching "us-care"


Hey there.

And yes, it's fine that you dropped in. I don't think husbands and partners get much of a chance to know how folks on the other side feel, so I'm glad that you came and gave your perspective. I've worked on "that huge ED site who's name we can't mention" for nine years now, where I'm the only person who doesn't have an ED. And worked on recovery sites for many years before that. So I know how difficult it can be to be in your position.

And you are right, it would be great if there was an active forum for partners. EDs can be a big puzzle for them. Guys.tend to be "doers" so the idea of "support" can be a hard concept for them to get a handle on. They don't like the idea of feeling helpless, when it appears like there's nothing concrete that they can "do". As you said, guys can be tempted to just blow the whole thing off, when the methods of helping don't feel as filled with action as they might prefer them to be. So yeah, the "support" part, it can take some getting used to for them.

Back when "other said website" was still around, their board for spouses and partners was pretty active, and I worked there for ten years. But since they shut down, I haven't been able to find any other forum where partners can talk and support each other. This site is the only place I know of now, and if we get one post here every ten days or so, we're doing good. It would be great if NEDA made an effort to publicize their forums more, but I think you've seen how hidden away they are. How people manage to find them at all is a puzzle to me.

And really, I'm not sure how you can get him to reach out for himself. When I was on "other said website" it was pretty clear to me that I was generally only talking to guys who were OK admitting that they weren't on top of the situation. Which….not a lot of guys are interested in admitting to that either. Plus if you look at what the NEDA folks do here when guys show up, it's mostly just a big list of what they are supposed to do from a professional standpoint, and guys aren't always comfortable being told what to do. So you are right, it can be a difficult situation for guys.

How you can support him, I'm not sure. My sense is that if he can see you taking some real steps to try and get better, that's what's going to feel hopeful to him. "Getting a higher level of care" (as the old saying goes) can't be easy for you to approach either I know. "I'm not sick enough yet"….I know how that can feel, as well as all the other parts about whether a person actually deserves help or not. Those can be hard things to fight against I know, but if you should be able to take those steps for yourself (rather than being forces into it by your Dr, or a medical situation) then that might help him feel better about the situation ?

Otherwise, like you said, if he could educate himself about EDs, to the point where he can put himself in your shoes, that really can help I think. But where does a fellow go to learn that ? Honestly, it should not have to be your job to educate him, because of how close the two of you are. It's just too much for you to ask of yourself to have to be the one who does that.

So yes, it would be great if there was a big forum for partners too. But for now, there isn't one anywhere that I know of.