National Eating Disorders Association

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Girlfriend losing hope

So I will try to keep this short and to the point. It may seem like it moved along fast, but I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for about 10 months now. We are crazy for each other and its evident that we have never felt this way before for anyone else. We've both had long relationships in our past and we agree that this connection we have is like no other. From the moment we first spent time together we hit it off intensely and honestly and she explained to me that she has been bulimic for about 9 years. I have pushed for her to get treatment and have been there for her through everything. The road has been an extremely rough one because her emotions are often unstable and anger is a big issue. We have fought intensely and have overcome many problems together and always work to be together despite the major issues. The most prominent and immediate issue we struggle with is the substance abuse issue in which she binge drinks on the weekends in order to avoid binging and purging. It's her escape from the bulimia since during the week she works 9-5 and can't drink or she could jeopardize her job. We have stopped going out altogether on the weekends because her drinking gets out of hand and becomes major issues. She has promised me many times that she would stop drinking but she continues to on the weekends and this has brought many problems and fights. She is remorseful for many of the actions that have transpired because of the heavy drinking and I try to have as much patience as I can with her, but its beginning to wear thin and I'm feeling hopeless.

There are two major issues here, the bulimia and the binge drinking. Along the way to 10 months of this relationship, she has decided to try treatment again and has actually taken steps towards it. She explains that I'm the first person in her life that she has made such large attempts to change for because she doesn't want to lose this amazing thing we have.

She returned briefly to seeing her individual therapist and was recommended to do group therapy. She made the attemps to do group therapy and was denied because they believed she was too severe for the program. They recommended that she go into inpatient and that was the worst she ever felt, knowing that it will interfere with her entire life. We talked extensively and I supported her through all of it. We talked and reframed the experience as a positive and necessary experience to have a happy and healthy future. I promised her I would visit her everyday, if I could. It took a while until she built the courage up to agree to go into an inpatient program. She's an amazing individual and I tell her everyday how strong and courageous she really is. I admire her strength and courage so much. She always explained to me that when she was recommended to inpatient in the past, the insurance company would not pay for her even though she was at an extremely unhealthy weight. She was scared that this time would be even worse because she is at a healthy weight and inpatient out of pocket is extremely expensive. She still attempted it just to see if it would be different this time around and was ready to be taken out of her daily life and career in order to get better. She was also denied for this program because she was not severe enough to be admitted into the program.

She has lost hope altogether of getting better, partly because its beginning to effect her health and she can't stop it on her own, and partly because the system has been throwing her around and it's taken so much out of her to even make these attempts. I am losing hope as well, but I will never give up on her. It's tearing me apart and I hate the many problems we encounter that is interfering with an amazing relationship with a remarkable person. I'm writing in this forum hoping maybe someone can give me some insight or advice on the situation or how I can go about it or how we can work with the system to get the help she needs. It's breaking her down too because she goes through so many negative emotions making these steps forward only to be rejected over and over again. We just want to be happy. I know bulimia doesn't go away and I'm prepared to help her through it for the rest of my life, but I'm tired of seeing her health deteriorate before my eyes. It needs to get somewhat better and I would love to see her in recovery and out of the thick of it. Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Hi Worriedabouther,

First of all, I just want to say that your girlfriend is lucky to have such a caring person in her life. It is great that you are sticking with her during this time, because one of the most important components in recovery is having a strong support system. While some patients do have relapses, there are many others who have defeated the illness for good!

I'm sorry that she has been denied inpatient treatment by her insurance, but hopefully NEDA will be able to help you. Please ask your girlfriend to give the NEDA helpline a ring at 1-800-931-2237. They might be able to help her find an appropriate program. In the meantime, has she considered seeing a psychiatrist? They are skilled to help her manage both her eating disorder and the substance abuse. Although she might be better off in an inpatient facility, this does not mean outpatient can't help. Additionally, would the two of you consider couple's therapy with an ED specialist? This is a great way for the both of you to express your feelings about her disease. Please let us know what else we can do. Stay strong for your girlfriend, her recovery is definitely possible.
-sj728, NEDA volunteer