National Eating Disorders Association

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Girlfriend pushing me away

For over a month now my girlfriend had been very distant and I was wondering why and she wouldn’t tell me she said she’s just focusing on herself and that she is just doing this alone I kept personalizing it and thought it was me or the relationship that we had and I asked her multiple times and told her that I’m not happy that I’m not happy in finally over a month she told me that she has been going to see a psychiatrist which I don’t know if it’s true or not but she said that she was diagnosed with anorexia and that she only has her self and she hast to get through this alone I tried to assure her that I’m here for her and she got agitated withWith me and it’s like every time she’s around me she just gets agitated and wants to leave her friends house she said I’m the only one that knows and doesn’t want her best friend knowing because she feels like he will be all worried she told me two days ago and I have not heard from her since even though we both live together she’s been ignoring my texts and calls I don’t know if I should give her space or what else to do I feel like she’s taking this out on me and she’s making me to be out to be the bad guy I don’t know if space will work or not but I feel like it’s the only option everyone else keeps telling me I need to break up with her because I relationship isn’t healthy but that’s the last thing I want I just don’t know how to get through to her and for her to stop being so annoyed/agitated with me

Hey there.

I just saw your note, but it's after midnight here, so hang in there and I'll try and get back to you in the morning !

(OK I'm back )

One thing to keep in mind is that people can be really conflicted about their ED. On the one hand they are beginning to suspect they're in trouble, while on the other hand they're horrified of being asked to gain weight. Granted they know that EDs are bad, but eating and not restricting simply doesn't feel like the right thing at all.

So of course they know other people (as well as therapists and doctors) are going to be saying "Oh you need to start eating !" and that they may be keeping a close eye on them in any situation that involves food. So just imagine how that must be for them.

So yes, the solution can seem to be pushing people away, so that they don't have to deal with well-intentioned helpers or people talking about food or asking what they plan to do about their situation, or any of that.

Because it sounds like she's in the stage of her ED where she really doesn't know what she wants to do.

And that might be what you'll want to say to her. "It must be a really difficult to not knowing what you want to do about this."

Because that's what it sounds like she's struggling with. And why she feels wary about other people knowing. Because she already knows what they're going to think, and probably what they'll say too, but it's still something that she hasn't made up her mind about yet.

Which can be an awfully uncomfortable feeling, and may be the source of much of the crankiness and agitation that you're seeing from her.

And everything Alyki said below too.

Pushing you away

Hi sourcandy14,

I hope you're going okay. I am by no means an expert at this but I thought I would reach out just because I am in a very similar position. My girlfriend was diagnosed with anorexia last week and has similarly been pushing me away, becoming agitated, getting defensive, self-isolating. I too am finding it difficult because sometimes it feels really personal - even if it's not. It can also feel like no matter what you say, you have said the wrong thing.

From a combination of my own experience and advice that I have already received from people on this forum, there are a few things to note about this situation.

1) Often people with EDs distance themselves because they don't think they are worthy of love/support. They think that they have to suffer in silence because no one will care if they told them, they would become a burden, or simply because they want to be able to continue their self-destructive behaviours in peace. While there's no simple solution to this problem, hopefully that gives you some insight into why she's acting that way.

2) Communication is key. Whilst you can't pressure them into having a conversation, it is important that you address it. If you let the problem grow and balloon without talking about it, both of you will end up the worse for it. Try and sit her down in person - in a comfortable environment, after a mealtime, face-to-face, no one else around - and raise some of these issues with her. Some of the following affirmations could be helpful: 'I really value this relationship. You are worthy. I love/really care for you. It hurts me to see you sufferring. You don't have to give me the nitty gritty details but I think we should talk about this'. Ask her things like 'how can I best support you? Is there something I can do better?'

3) Try not to take things personally. Ultimately, anorexia is a mental illness and people act out of character because of it. I know it's hard, but try and step above and recognise that the reason they are acting bitchy is because they are in pain.

4) Just because it is hard, it doesn't mean you should break up. I was given similar advice that I should break up with my girlfriend, just because things were getting hard. But if you are really committed to someone, you are committed to them through thick and thin. If you really love this girl, don't listen to what other people say.

I hope any of that helps!