National Eating Disorders Association

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My girlfriend and I have been together almost a year now. It may be a bit early to say, but I love her very much. She has struggled with an eating disorder since she was eleven and was admitted to an outpatient facility four years ago, she was twenty one. When we first met she spoke openly about her disorder. She was honest and unashamed, I was drawn to her courage. She told me of previous boyfriends & I promised her that I would never judge her humanity, and that I would support and encourage her in any and every way possible. It wasn't long before we fell head over heels for one another. We laughed and smiled every moment we spent together. We played and went on adventures. It was amazing. I couldn't believe I had found her, that she was even real. It was the most open relationship I've ever known.
In January she moved away to go to school. We skyped almost daily and She said she loved me. Last week I discovered that two weeks after the move she began texting a former boyfriend. He lives in the city where she goes to school. I found out he stayed with her for a week while he was looking for a new apartment. That happened three weeks after she left.
After she came clean, she was inconsolable, she said her eating disorder took control soon after. She told me she was afraid to be by herself.
For the past week I've been scouring eating disorder message boards, forums, and informational websites. What I don't understand is that if she had only used him to punish herself and that she was lost, because if that's the case then we can work through this. If what she is telling me is true, we can grow and learn from this, we can push past this dark point in our relationship and be together. I need advice. I need to understand. Please, anybody, HELP.



First of all, thank you for reaching out and trying to understand what your girlfriend is going through. She is very lucky to have someone as supportive and willing to understand as you. Though I cannot speak for her or her actions, I do know from first-hand experience that eating disorders are very difficult to handle alone, and she truly may have just needed someone to physically be there with her.

On another note, does your girlfriend have a therapist that she’s seeing? If not, I highly suggest you talk to her about seeing one, because nothing can take the place of professional help. In the meantime, I encourage you to browse NEDA’s website for support, starting with this link: Also, please know that the NEDA Helpline is available at 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday, 9am-9pm and Friday, 9am-5pm), and the trained volunteers working the helpline will be able to provide you with additional support and help answer any other questions you may have.

Thank you for reaching out, and I wish you the best of luck!


Hi Coyboy1991,

Hi Coyboy1991,

Thanks for sharing. I am so happy for you that you found love and it is wonderful to hear about such a beautiful and open relationship. It is wonderful that you were drawn to her courage of having fought and struggled with an ED.

I know that change can be difficult for just about anyone and for those who struggle with ED, change can be terrifying and triggering. I don't know your girlfriend or the situation so I am not able to comment on whether or not the experience with her ex-boyfriend is justified. However, I am confident that you will be able to use the skills you both gained in having open communication in your relationship to sort through this.

Wishing you the best of luck. If you would like to learn more about ED, feel free to contact NEDA at 1-800-931-2237. They're available from 9-9 EST M-TH and 9-5 EST on Friday.