National Eating Disorders Association

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So, I met my fiancé 5 years ago and absolutely fell in love. We have had a awesome life together. After being engaged in July of this year, recently he told me he has been battling with bulimia for 14 years. I was absolutely shocked. I almost didn't believe it. In hind sight, after putting together the pieces, it makes perfect sense. Not only has he be carrying the burden of that secret but 2 years ago he lost his father to cancer. He also battles with alcoholism. Since we got engaged it has been nothing but fighting about the wedding, about whatever he could grasp. So two weeks ago, while very drunk, he tells me he has been bulimic for 14 years. He said it has consumed his life, that he is very mentally ill and every is spiraling out of control. His friends and I offered several times to help but all he continued to do was lie and refuse to get help. So last week he told me he wasn't in love with me anymore and I had to move out of our apartment. He said he needed time and space and that he did not want to marry me. He has told a few friends, all of which don't know if they believe him or not. So I recently moved out, and that is when rock bottom for him hit. We had a long talk and come to find out, he had confided in this other female this huge secret and one night he got absolutely hammered and hooked up with her. He says he hates his life, that he doesn't want to live. I have been trying to process all of this but can't. He is so very sick, mentally, emotionally and physically. He says all of this made him realize how much he needs me and loves me and that he is fighting this because of me. That I'm what matters in his life. He realizes nothing can repair the damage and hurt he has done, but is willing to try his hardest. Yesterday he had called a treatment center, scheduled the intake, he also made an appointment with his primary care physician, came clean to his family about everything and is moving back home with his mother. I, myself, am seeking counseling because I cannot

I am so confused and have so many questions. Can I possibly forgive him for canceling our wedding, all the awful things he has said to me and the affair? How do you learn to trust again? Did he do these things because he is severely mentally ill?

I'm so sorry!

Hi amte1723!

Welcome to the NEDA online forum community! I am so sorry to hear that you're going through such a difficult time right now. It sounds like this has come to an absolute shock to you!

It's difficult to know exactly what to say in this situation. I think it is possible that there is some other psychiatric illness going on with him as eating disorders may occur with a wide range of other mental health conditions, as well. However, I am not a medical professional so I can't tell you that with certainty. I know from my own experience with an eating disorder, that sufferers make mistakes and sometimes do things they would never do if they weren't fully engaged in their eating disorder behaviors. I definitely did things I am not proud of but after a lot of therapy and help from friends and family, I have been able to forgive myself for some of the things I did in the past. However, I don't want to make excuses on his end, but I can understand it.

I know you both have been together for a long time so do you think it's worth trying to make it work as long as he receives treatment and is willing to make an effort to get better? These are some of the questions you can discuss with the therapist, as well. Also, the NEDA website has additional resources you can utilize. There is the Parent, Family and Friends Network link: This is here for families and friends of those struggling with an eating disorder by providing resources that fit your needs.

I hope some of these suggestions help and please feel free to write on the forums as often as you need to! I will keep you and your family in my thoughts during this difficult time. <3


Responsibility .

Dear Amte,

This sounds like a pretty chaotic situation alright, and that you've already had a taste of how crazy things can get with him. The fighting, the lying, him refusing to get help, and then saying he didn't love you and making you move out, and all this just a week ago ? I know I don't have to tell you that this really is some very serious stuff, as far as the ways that you've seen him act, and the ways that you've seen him allow himself to behave towards you.

While it's encouraging that he seems to have come to his senses, you've seen how he can be, so if it were me, I'd be asking the same questions you are :

" Can I possibly forgive him for canceling our wedding, all the awful things he has said to me and the affair? How do you learn to trust again? Did he do these things because he is severely mentally ill? "

I might have a hard time trusting him myself as well, after the serious things that he's put you through. Some times he must seem reasonable, and then other times not. It certainly seems chaotic and unpredictable to me, in ways that genuinely healthy relationships should never be. While it's good that he is seeking treatment, eating disorders and other sorts of mental health issues are tenacious sorts of things, and while treatment is good, there's really no magic bullet that fixes them.

" He says all of this made him realize how much he needs me and loves me and that he is fighting this because of me. That I'm what matters in his life. "

While I'm not in your shoes, it seems to me like you're asking yourself how close you should stay to this situation. Do you want to allow him to cast you as the rock he attaches himself to during his recovery, or should you keep some distance while he does this work for himself ? Not that it's always a black and white sort of thing as far as his own motivations are concerned, but maybe you know what I'm getting at ?

To be honest, and after all you've been through with him, if it were me I might have had my share of drama for now.

Even so, we can still feel love for someone it's true ( I've been in a similar situation myself so I know ) and because of that, feel as though we want to remain close as a positive force in their lives. Plus, when they come right out and tacitly urge us to take on that role…

But you know ( and I'm thinking about my situation again ) for things to stay healthy, I think there might have to be a lot of stuff they'd need to prove to me, before I'd truly feel safe with them again. Not just words, but changes in behavior that I felt were real.

In any case, it will be up to you to decide how close you want to remain from here on in. Seeking counseling for yourself is a really helpful step I think, and will provide you with a situation within which you can help work out your own answers to these questions, in ways that you can trust in as well.

Keep in touch ?

Bob J.

I'm sorry

I'm having my cup of drama with my girlfriend every other week. Eating disorders are severe mental illnesses, they take control of everything. And I ask myself all the time how much am I supposed to endure for love. Even she tells me she's losing respect about me, because I live in fear of her answers. Just today she told me at my work,that she wouldn't be home when I get back, some ours later she told me she had been crying and she needed to be alone, and later that she was calmer, but she never told me she had changed her mind, and I didn't know if she had left me or not, until she finally arrived with the kids and it was as if nothing had happened. I've lost count how many time something like this has happened, I wouldn't want anyone to go through this.

No relationship is a day in the park. But my opinion is that you're entering a long war, you not only need to forgive him,but to be able to fight alongside him the hardest of battles.

The trust issue. I find that you can only trust who you want to trust. We are not trustworthy, most of us have done things we thought we would never do, or things we know other people wouldn't approve if only they knew. I was married 15 years to a woman way more social than me. She went out a lot without me,I don't think she was unfaithful, but I chose to trust her, I could have been consumed with jealousy, and imagining things all the time. I thought maybe one day she would left me, but what was I gonna get worrying before it happened? Just pain.

So I think you should ask yourself if you want to trust him. In any case, you're gonna need time, and he should understand that.

Best of luck.