National Eating Disorders Association

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13 years

My mind is eaten up by the years of lies and betrayal that my wife's bulimia has caused.
We've been together 13 years. Star struck lovers with bold plans for our futures.

About 6 years in she admitted to me about her bulimia. I studied about it, braced myself for it and even went to therapy with her. I've never had a problem with the bulimia itself. I've caught her binging at times and gotten (i think) good at telling when she's in the throes of it. Its unhealthy and I know she's getting better. I proudly support her and the woman she's become through it.

In the meantime, we went through some very lean years, and we both come from humble origins, and those 'bold' plans required a commitment to getting out of debt, establishing good careers, saving money, etc. Significant financial planning. Moreover it required us (and our careers) working toward one another.

Early on (like 2 years in) she got a job at a non-profit. A prestigious company that didn't pay (as with most non-profits). I would counsel her to leverage the prestigious non-profit into the for-profit world and get a job that can help with our 'bold' future... at a minimum help with the debts and expenses. Put our finances ahead of a non-profits finances.

Relatedly, I hate her job. I loath it. While it's prestigious, her boss is a psychopath. For years, deep in the lean years, my wife would come home after a day of work in tears from her boss being cruel and manipulative. Her boss would demean her, demean me, demean our marriage..and under pay for extreme hours of work.

She ignored me and ignored our plans for the future. I didn't connect this to her bulimia. Ultimately she used the non-profit as a way to hide her bulimia and to deal with some very significant insecurities. Insecurities I was only vaguely aware of (aren't we all insecure?).

About 3 years ago I snapped. After yet another year of hopeful/naive encouragement ("Please leave your job and do something that will help toward that future we always wanted"). I think she sincerely feels she's doing her best but its not enough. As of today she's still at that job. She still struggles with insecurities about how to move on. It's almost like a Stockholm syndrome, she's survived at this job for 10+ years and now feels she can't move on (skills and resume to match a job market).

Ultimately this just leads me to a cycle of thoughts that I tried for years to prevent, to be supportive and encouraging and that it was all wasted effort. That our communication was all lies.

And now while we talk more and I'm aware of the dimensions, I don't want the life that bulimia has forced on us.

I fought hard for the 'bold' future and I still want it. I feel betrayed and dismissed. Hoodwinked. A bold future is still very much possible, just not with her. I want to be happy and I haven't been happy in a long time.

I'm not sure why I posted. I just don't know who to turn to. I don't know that a therapist would help.

My heart is broken. I love her but I don't want the life she & bulimia are forcing on us.

Common goals.


This sounds like a matter for marriage counseling. Your resentments are real, and the two of you will need to confront them at some point. Sooner rather than later I'd hope.

Granted, the situation is difficult, because she's the one who's going to be asked to change. So it's possible that she'll feel put-upon, and like the one being blamed, which will make matters difficult too.

None the less, it sounds like things may be coming to a head for you ? Which no matter who may be in the right or the wrong, still counts as a legitimate issue.

So yes, I'd recommend giving couples counseling at try, before you begin to think about giving up on things altogether. Because no matter what the outcome may be, when the time comes for you look back on this situation, I think you'll want to be able to tell yourself that you tried everything.