National Eating Disorders Association

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The ice is broken. Let's talk about it.

I am a son, brother, and husband. I grew up not knowing how to express emotions or feelings, for I was taught that mine didn't matter. I have been with my, now wife, for almost two decades. She met Ed not long after we met. Hell, what college aged girl doesn't have thoughts about her weight,etc. Unfortunately, I sat idly by as she and Ed began to have an intimate relationship. I didn't have the balls to call her on it, as my own issues of confrontation "kept me from seeing the truth." The truth is, I was complicit. Those are the three most shameful words I have ever spoken, "I was complicit". I sat by and watched the woman, whom I professed to love more than life itself, waste away to nearly nothing, all because of my own fear and insecurity. I was the definition of a coward. I would have rather watched her waste away and die, right before my eyes, than risk confronting her, and possibly losing her. When I did finally confront her, she began to earnestly pursue recovery. There has been much work for the both of us. In addition to dealing with my own sh*t, I've had to learn her triggers (will there be food at parties, will it be an actual meal or just hor d'oeuvres, do we need to eat before or after, will there be alcohol, etc.) and her tells. When she starts to "go blank", it's time for me to wrap my arms around her and remove her from the situation and bring her to a "safe zone". For those of you out there who have a spouce/partner whom has an E.D., you're not alone. Nobody has all the answers. From my experience, yes, it does get easier (it's still there, Ed still makes appearances, but once the topic no longer taboo, and you are willing to take a chance and talk about it, it's manageable).

Here are what I consider the two most important things I have learned on this journey; "Joy shared, twice the gain. Sorrow shared, half the pain" and "The impact of our actions on others is all that matters in love."
My name is Dan, and I am the husband of someone recoverying from Ed. Join me, talk about it, and let's make E.D. a speakable phrase; for once he's brought into the light, he's not nearly as scary.

Glad you are talking about it

Dear diefledermaus -

It sounds like your wife is very lucky to have you! As you have learned, your support of her recovery and education of ED is so very important. Also important is to remember that there is no perfect way to handle a situation when a loved one gets sick, so try not to beat yourself up! One thing you are not is a coward. When we see someone suffering from an ED it's hard to know what to do and how to confront someone about it. The important thing is that she is getting the help, love and support that she needs. I'm glad you have found us to talk to - the people who play the supportive role need support too! Just like you tell others above that they are not alone, you too are not alone! And the NEDA helpline is always ready to help you if you need tips on how to help support your wife and yourself through this tough but rewarding time.

1-800-931-2237, M-F 9am - 5pm EST.

Good luck!
NEDA volunteer

I just wanted to say that you

I just wanted to say that you re an AMAZING husband and your wife is so lucky to have you.

I'm glad I found this

Hello everyone, my name is Nick and I am a college student. My girlfriend, who I have been dating for almost two years now, was diagnosed with an ED last summer. The road has been incredibly difficult, and I feel sometimes as if it will never let up. She is on the road to recovery, and often she relies on me for help. I feel as if I have not been able to talk to anyone about it, especially since I feel most people can't relate. Luckily I have found this forum, and reading your post, I feel the exact same things you were feeling. I am working on writing a book called "At Your Darkest" which discusses the relatively unknown world of someone you love having an ED. It's mostly a collection of stories and thoughts I have as a significant other of someone with ED. I want others to feel that they are not alone too.

After all this, we both know that we want to end up together. We have both shown incredible amounts of support for each other, and I almost wonder what our lives would be like if we had not met each other at the right time.

I'm incredibly thankful that this forum exists, because I was beginning to feel as if I had no one to turn to.



I met my companion 27 years ago in college. I always suspected she had issues with ED on an off and on again basis.

Things have unravelled for my lady about the time she lost her sister to an incurable brain tumor.

Our life together has been pretty happy with two great kids, but ED has a strong hold on her, and people think it's just a teen-or 20-something problem.

She's lucky to have you!!

Nick - As someone who once suffered from an ED myself, it makes me so happy to hear that you haven't given up on your girlfriend. My husband felt alone too when he supported me. I think it is so awesome that you are writing a book - not only so you can express your own feelings, but so that other significant others will not feel alone. People who do the supporting need support as well and I love that you will help spread the word! A support group may be good for you and I know you can find them on this website under Find Help & Support (you may already be in one). Good luck and I wish you both well!!

Hello everyone, my name is

Hello everyone, my name is Rick and I am the husband of a wonderful woman who is struggling with an ed.
I had known that this had been an issue for my wife in the past but she always talked as if it was behind her. We have been together for 16 years and are very close, so I thought that I knew her quite well. Over the last few months I had noticed a definite change in her behavior, not just towards me but everyone. She was very moody, and lost her temper very quickly. She became distant from me, which caused me to worry even more because we are a very passionate couple. When I tried to talk to her about all of my feelings she said that she was depressed but she didn't want to seek any professional help.
Fast forward to last week when I was on my way to work and I got a text from her apologizing for being a burden and that she couldn't take it anymore. As soon as I called her she broke down and explained that she has been binging and using laxatives and that she had hit rock bottom and couldn't handle it anymore.
I am determined to help her through this no matter what it takes. She has since seen her regular dr and told her and is on the waitlist to see a specialist in our area to help get her started in the right direction. We are talking open and honestly about her condition now and I feel like she is on her way to a healthier life.
I've come here to educate myself, so that I can be the best support system to her. I have lived a life filled with dealing with other family members various addictions, but this is different. This is the mother of my children and the absolute love of my life. I cannot and will not let her down. I know that she has to do the work but I want to do my best to support her. Thanks for giving me an outlet to discuss this, I can't do it on my own either.



There are so many wonderful things I want to compliment you on that I almost don't know where to begin! Thank you for loving your wife enough to educate yourself and go through this with her. She is so lucky to have you, and your role is an important one. I have no doubt that with you by her side, she will get through recovery successfully. Thank you for being aware enough to realize that your wife was pulling away and something was wrong. Thank you for your determination to help her.

It can be very hard to understand what your wife is going through when you have never had an ED. And you may never fully understand. But you can learn how to best support her. Here is a start:

Also, it never hurts to find a support group or a therapist for you. The loved ones in support roles need support too. A support group for spouses or loved ones will help you realize you are not alone and your frustrations are common.

Again, your wife is so lucky to have you. Your support will help propel her towards a life free from her ED.

Thank you for the quick

Thank you for the quick response and the kind words. I will begin looking into the links right away. I know that my wife has taken a huge step forward just by admitting that it was out of her control and I'm very proud of her. I couldn't imagine doing anything but supporting her, she knows that she doesn't have to try to tackle this on her own. Thank you for having a forum like this so that I can understand that I'm not the only one feeling the way that I do about this. It was very comforting to read other stories of how people are affected, we are not all so different.

If you need anything...

You are right - your wife has taken a huge step by just admitting what she is going through. I have a lot of faith in both of you! Hope the links help and if you need any further assistance or just want to talk about what you are going through, come on here anytime!


I don't feel very alone or ashamed or sad about this anymore. Thanks for sharing. I stand with you.



....these words for me too!!! (I'll try to hold these close... for the next month or two.)

"Those are the three most shameful words I have ever spoken, "I was complicit". I sat by and watched the woman, whom I professed to love more than life itself, waste away to nearly nothing, all because of my own fear and insecurity. "

My parents fought my whole life...(and they still do at 80ish!!).... it made me hate conflict, I became a peacemaker. Thing is no peace is perfect or lasts.

I keep reflecting on those burned in moments in my mind/heart's memory of those fun moment when I knew she was the one, the one I wanted to share dinner with, breakfast, and grow a family with. We had so many fun times. We all change, become more stubborn or forgetful or distracted by worry and life, but we need to hold close why we got here. For me leaving her isn't an option, but I feel bad so very bad thinking in might be eventual if she pushes me away or gets sick in this state.

useful information

Hello everyone... I am so emotional about this topic and reading these posts just give me such a strong feeling... I have listened to a podcast which helped me a lot in figuring out stuff, how to talk to people affected by an ED, and it opened my eyes in terms that- there is one person who is showing signs of an ED, but the problem is not only in her, but in her environment... so ask yourself, HOW ARE YOU CONTRIBUTING TO A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT?


Hello ellie123. Your post has been edited for content. As SavedbyGrace stated, users are not allowed to post outside links. Thank you for you understanding and please feel free to continue posting.


We are not allowed to post outside links.


Sorry I was slow, and didn't get to see your link before it was edited out. It sounds like it was helpful, or you would not have taken the time to post it.

As Saved said though, the administrators only allow links to NEDA material here, which is their privilege, but it can feel a bit paternal at times.

I'd be interested in hearing more about what they said about "environment", if you can paraphrase the parts that seemed useful to you ?

Circle Back...

I responded in detail in another thread about my post-confrontation results.

Just here to say I sucked it up and broke the ice and it went decently after a 24 hr cooling off.

She and I are going together to see a Certified Physical Trainer/Nutritionist. He seems like a very good fit... too good... like a gift from God for the situation I found myself in.

I'll check back in a month or so to say how it's going. This could be a win-win for us and any future grandchildren as I was letting myself go because of depression and my wife seemed to be running herself into an early grave by just runnning and running without enough / proper fuel.

Thanks to everyone and I hope my words are helping others. To the OP of this thread... his testimony is the best medicine I ever received for the situation I was just kicking down the road a little more each day. Now I'm doing / we are doing something proactive.

Thank you

Thank you

I read this post on a whim. My wife came out to me and I was super unsupportive. I have feelings of failure and guilt everyday. It has been hard to deal with and I have to stop telling her. Her ED is not associated with her weight. Reading your post has given me hope. Thank you so much Dan. Is there a way I can reach out to you or you to me. I really feel like I need to talk to someone who has gone through this.


Hi. I am do not have a significant other, as they say, but I am in recovery. I wanted to respond to your saying you were not initially supportive. Sometimes if feels as though an atomic bomb has gone off when someone you love tells you something you feel you "should" have noticed. One thing about eating disorders is that those affected are really good at hiding it because of fear of it being taken away, or embarrassment or shame or other reasons. I want you to know that you do not need to feel guilt or failure, especially every day. That must be such a painful experience. It doesn't help you, and it isn't going to help your wife. She will pick up on your feeling guilt and it may cause her to feel guilty because you are feeling guilty and it will be a vicious cycle. I think if you educate yourself on eating disorders, there is a parent tool kit here on NEDA that is good for anyone who has a loved one who is suffering, and learn how to support your wife that would be helpful. Just being there for her and making yourself available to listen. You don't have to have answers. There may not be any and she may not want you to give her any. Just letting her know you are there for her. That you still love her. Secrecy is a big thing with eating disorders. Try not to take it personally but understand it is a function of the eating disorder. Now that I am in recovery, when I talk with my parents that live three houses away, and I share something with them, sometimes they get angry and try to tell me I should do or shouldn't do, and why. I am 51. I try to tell them I just want your encouragement and support. I don't want to be afraid for telling you something, such as dropping a class before the semester started because there were three papers. They got very upset with me and I finally had to tell them it hurts me when you do that. Being husband and wife is a little different, but what I am trying to say is just let her know you are there, and you don't have to have all the answers. I am glad you are there for you wife and it may take a while for trust to form again. That is okay. Try to be gentle with yourself and if you need support, go get it. There are support groups for spouses of people with eating disorders. NEDA can put you in the right direction. Keep posting here for support. As I said, I am single. But I understand eating disorders as I suffered from them for thirty-two years. There is hope, help and recovery. Keep being you.