National Eating Disorders Association

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Girlfriend with Restrictive ED

Hello, I am struggling with supporting my girlfriend. She has a restrictive ED, and it's just been getting worse. She went to an inpatient facility a few years ago, but now is back with her parents. She doesn't want help with her ED and wants to just lose weight. I'm at a loss for supporting her, and encouraging her to get help.

She keeps saying that there is no hope, and I am trying to constantly remind her that there is. But it feels like there's a block there, and it is not getting to her.

I don't know what to do.

Not wanting help.

Yep, people with EDs really can find themselves in that frame of mind. Can we force them to change their minds ? If we could, things would be a lot simpler, that's for sure, and EDs wouldn't be the pernicious problem they are.

At the same time, you can bet that she has a lot on her mind. And thoughts that she's trying to battle against. It may not sound like much I know, but being open to hearing what she's thinking about, and doing so in a non-judgmental way, things like that can make a difference I think.

Even if it doesn't count as "fixing", you know ?

Thank you. Yeah, it's hard to

Thank you. Yeah, it's hard to get out of my own perspective and try to see this from hers. Even now, we are talking about how to support her better. I don't feel like I am doing a good job, and she feels it's very one sided.
It's just hard to face her in that state. How do you get the courage to do so?


"It's just hard to face her in that state. How do you get the courage to do so? "

Personally, I try not to act like I have a bunch of answers or helpful suggestions. Pretty much anything I'd come up with is usually something that they have already thought of. Maybe you know what I mean ?

So again, I try and put myself in the other person's shoes. Because what's going to feel supportive to them is if they think that I "get it" you know ? Which, when you think about it, is usually what feels supportive to anyone. no matter what their issue might be.

Still it's good that you are asking her what she might feel is supportive. If her mood is bad, she may say "Nothing", but you might want to keep asking if she says that, and see if she can come up with something that might possibly be helpful. . Like that even the idea that she might be able to think of something, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant…that would count as something positive, you know ?