National Eating Disorders Association

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anonop
My Girlfriend has an ED and I need help

My girlfriend is suffering from an ED in which she often stops eating completely, especially when in a time of stress but it is something completely beyond her control. Only I and a couple of her friends know and telling her family or a doctor is not an option or her condition will only get worse.
My issue is that I asked her if it would affect her if I at any point decided I wanted to split up with her (which I have no current plans on doing) and she told me she would likely stop eating completely for a long time, since we both agree we are each in the happiest relationship we've ever been in and it would be a horrendous loss for her.
This, I'm aware is completely beyond her control but I can't help but feel that I cannot break up with her ever now, because I could never let that happen to her - but what if I do eventually decide I should move on?
Any advice is appreciated.
Thank you.

BobJ48
Personal Autonomy, Loyalty, Responsibility, and etc.

Hey Anon,

Yes, it's a dilemma alright. And she's probably right, her ED would get triggered should you guys break up.

But as you said, there are a lot of things to consider. Is it fair to be held hostage by a partners' ED ? And who should be responsible for that?

And what about persona loyalty ? I have a few web friends who I just stick with, no matter what happens, because loyalty is a big issue for me. Moreso than it has any right to be be for other people it seems.

Also, in a sense a person's ED is beyond their control. Like Depression and Bipolar and other mental heath conditions. But on the other hand, a person is not totally helpless, because they could seek professional help for their situation, rather than being passive and feeling like they are helpless to fight it.

But yes, what if you should decide to move on ? As we know, couples break up fairly frequently. It's sad, but it's not unusual either. If we have been responsible about the break-up, should we feel responsible for their sadness, or whatever reactions they should have ? Or is it time for each person to look out for themselves ?

You'll have to see how you feel, and see how her ED develops. If it's a now-and-then thing that would be one thing. But if it turns into an everyday condition, and she's not choosing to get help, then it would not be irresponsible or uncaring of you to find yourself feeling like it's a lot tome asked to put up with.

This is just me of course, but I suspect that how things proceed will hinge on whether her ED gets worse, and if she then decides to get help or not. While a part of ourselves can long to be their rescuer, in my experience that's not our role. Or role is to be supportive of their struggles to get better, and to support them when they start feeling down.

On first glance, that may not resemble "doing something" as far guys tend to see things, but it can also mean more than we think.

In any case, perhaps not much of an answer. I guess what I mean is that you'll need to keep track of the situation, and then decide what you want to do as matters progress.

It sounds like the two of you may have some things to go through that are still in the future, so do keep in touch, OK ?