National Eating Disorders Association

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Help. My wife of 9 years has an eating disorder.

Hello, My name is Chad.
My wife has an Ed.I'm searching for someone or someones that are in my shoes that may aid me in some of the ways they handle this, approach this, can be there for their spouse. It seems like a fine line of triggering and understanding. My wife was at CFC a in house treatment center where i visited as often as i could and participated in family week. I did get some good information in that week.However i feel as if i have no one to talk to just about every day challenges. Maybe we could start a group text or emails or something where we can all chat. I'm also excited to help whoever i can with their side of the spouse with ed. Please anyone if you need to talk to be help or cause you need help reach out to me.


Hey Chad,

Is your wife back home now ? What sort of differences do there seem to be if she is ?


Yes, shes is back home. Has been for 4 months. I feel she is more honest with me about the Ed and how it effects her. She has her up and down days.I fear it will result in returning to treatment. W have a great support team for her where we live however. she has a hard time with the ed thoughts. I always wanna help like to "fix"it, now i know that's not possible but its just who i am so im struggling with that. Its hard cause it feels like whatever i say is damaging regarding this situation.I feel like everyone wants every thing tip toed around to protect her which get but at the same time how does she get better if everyone is always just hiding from the truth. They say her team is the one who is supposed to worry about that. her team doesn't see what i see and im sure they don't hear about from her what i see. I don't know. I know shes is better than when shes left for treatment. but its still a long journey. i guess my most important issue is my frustrations with it. i get frustrated and that effects her. now i feel that frustrations will come that's not totally avoidable but how i handle them is. that's the hardest part. we have two children and ed truly effects all 4 of us and its just hard that something is hurting my entire family and all i can do really is sit back and watch. praying the team and her will get this sorted out eventually. I know i may sound upset writing this,cause i am. But i love my wife and i want the best for her i will do whatever i need to help . I am just struggling.

Also thanks for taking the time to answer Bob i see you have answered a lot of people on here. Your a true hero in my book as for people who know how hard and long this decease is to handle. Truly Thank You

Tough Challenges.


Yes, it's easy to be frustrated alright. And to feel powerless too. If there's a role for partners in all of this, dealing with our own feelings in that regard is certainly a big part of it. Like you said, it's normal for guys to want to "fix" things, and when it seems like there's not direct way for us to do that….guys not be happy alright !!

Particularly when you realize how complicated this all is. "They just need to eat !" or "They are just being stubborn !"….I guess you've figured out by now that it's a whole lot more than those sorts of simplistic explanations. So it can leave us feeling pretty powerless alright. And the sufferer can feel powerless too.

And you are right. A person can start wondering about just how much the treatment team really "gets it" about the things that are going on day-to-day. And about how open your wife is really being with them. Again, it's hard to say about her team, but most people who've had extensive experience with people with EDs generally have a pretty good idea of how people with EDs operate. And how they can be reluctant to be truthful sometimes. Again, I don't know how experienced they are, but it's likely they know to take whatever she says with the proper grains of salt.

What you said about the walking on eggshells thing is a challenge as well. Because there's the whole shame thing to deal with. Your wife is probably well aware of the tensions that it causes for your family. Add that to the inner tensions she's feeling already, and it's easy to see where it can make for a pretty edgy-feeling situation. So then you add that to the situation too, and it's easy for her to feel shame. And really, when you stop and think about it, what's a more difficult feeling than shame ? I know in my own life, it's pretty much the worst, so keep in mind that she's probably dealing with a lot of that too.

If you can let her know that you understand that part, maybe it will help the two of you connect a little better, and help relieve some bits of the tension ? I'm not sure how open she is about talking about that, but it might be worth giving a try.

In return, I hope you can watch out for feeling shame yourself. This is authentically difficult stuff, so you should probably accept the fact that you're going to be "saying the wrong things" with some regularity. The things I hear sufferers talk about - things that their doctors and therapists sometimes say; even "the experts" say the wrong things with some degree of regularity, so try not to beat up on yourself if it seems like you do the same thing sometimes.

After all, it's some of the same "Dare to be Imperfect" stuff that our loved ones will be struggling with too. And something we have in common with them.

Bob J.

PS. And thanks for your kind compliment. A friend of mine passed away from this many years ago now, so that's what got me into all this.


Thanks Bob. I will use your advice. I'm tying its very difficult. I refuse to give up i want to be the best i can be in helping her situation go as smooth as possible. Need to keep reminding my self. Illogical to me is very logical to the ed and how it makes her feel. That's the hardest part.

Hi Chad

I feel like I’m in a similar situation my wife of 14 years went through a recovery program last year but is now struggling. So hard. I always wonder if I’m doing the right thing or saying the right thing.

Similar Situation

Chad, I myself have been married for nine years, have two small children and my wife also came to me with her ED a few months ago. Needless to say it puts a huge strain on our marriage and I'm struggling to find the right things to say. Most times it seems I'm wrong and she says that I'm not being supportive. It's almost like all trust has eroded and that I'm the enemy. I'm trying to take a crash course to understand everything and I'm on the outside looking in. I try to take things a day at a time but someday it's doesn't work that way when you have to talk finances, plans for the year, family activities and the day to day life. She is doing outpatient work and while I thought she was doing well last night was apparent she wasn't - so that was a fun argument at midnight. Now today is very awkward. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope things get better for you and your family.