National Eating Disorders Association

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Husband BED - fourth relapse, contemplating divorce

Hi all.

I have posted here before periodically. My husband has a lifelong history of binge-eating disorder and is currently in his 4th relapse. We recently re-entered counseling, during which I finally brought up the divorce word. (We've been married for 22 years.) )I recently found out that he has been spending upwards of $750 a month on his binges. Up until now, I have been understanding and supportive (as all the literature says), taking positive steps and taking care of myself, avoiding blame, going to therapy, etc. The one thing I didn't do was more carefully monitor our finances, and now I feel like a complete chump.

The patter is that he hits a sort of bottom, then things improve, then he relapses. He has and is lying to me about so many things that I don't trust him any more. His financial betrayal is going to heavily impact my son's ability to go to college and our ability to retire. I want out so I can rebuild my life in a healthy way.

I'm looking for advice from anyone out there who has decided to divorce their ED-affected spouse. At what point did you know that it was the right thing to do? What advice do you have about making it the least painful for the ED sufferer or for your family? What thing do you wish you knew before you started the divorce process?

Many thanks.

Hey Z.


While I've not divorced any partners myself, I can understand what a difficult situation this must be

From what you've said, you've certainly done your very best with your 50% of the relationship, and it seems like your husband has made efforts too. And yet in the end there have still been these deceptions it seems.

Is the ED and it's continuing re-occurance the main issue here, or does it seem to be the deceptions which feel like the tipping point ?

As you said, there are pragmatic matters to consider as well, in the ways in which it's impacting your child's future. Should you decide to leave, if that would provide better opportunities for your son, then that's a legitimate matter as well.

At the same time, 22 years is a long time to have been together, and I suspect that your husband is none to proud of where this disorder has led things. EDs are tenacious and secretive simply by nature, so shall he be labeled a bad person or what ?

Only you can do the balancing of these various aspects I think, and make the decision as to what weight you'll put on each of them. From here it sounds like you've done 100% with your 50% of the relationship, while he may have continued to be secretive, so there's that part to consider as well.

Bob J.

Thank you

Thanks Bob for your reply.

It's both the continual re-occurance and the deceptions. I'm just worn out. It's exhausting. He's sick... I know that. I'm in my mid 40s and one of my parents died suddenly 2 years ago. It made me realize in a very visceral way that life can be over in a heartbeat. I feel like I'm wasting mine accommodating this madness. It's not healthy for anyone...


You certainly have a point. There's the eating disorder, and it's unhealthy nature, and then there are the deceptions that often come along with it. The two are linked of course, but even so, it's a hard thing, being expected to live with deception as an integral part of one's relationship with another person.