National Eating Disorders Association

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soterry21
Just told my wife I have an ED

Hi,
Just looking for some guidance here. My wife has suspected I'm anorexic, and I told her yesterday that I am. I've struggled with my body image & weight for some time now, but it has begun to get out of control. I know this isn't me, and I don't want to be this way. I compare myself to other men knowing that I'm supposed to look like them instead of skinny. Non of this is done inappropriate (I'm happily married with 4 children & very comfortable with my sexuality), but since telling my wife she's questioning my sexuality. I think blindsiding her with this has her confused & frustrated in which I can understand. I'm seeking help and want to be better, but I also don't want my wife to be confused & upset. We are a very loving, happy family, and this has thrown a major wrench in the gears. I'm not trying to get attention from anyone of the opposite or same sex. I just have a fear of gaining weight. I weigh myself all of the time, and get very upset when I gain weight. My wife has a blood sugar issue that has her on a very strict diet, and she has to control everything she eats daily. I feel so sorry for her and her struggle, and I believe that this is what has caused my problem. Some sort of sympathy pain. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

dropthemetaphor
re: Just told my wife I have an ED

Hi soterry21--welcome to the forums! You've come to the right place for support. We're so glad you found this community. First of all, I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you're going through this and that your wife's reaction has revealed such enormous misunderstanding about EDs--why they happen, what they are and how she can be there for you. How comfortable do you feel discussing with her how her response to you courageously confiding in her has negatively impacted you? I encourage you to talk with your wife and try to inform her about the ways she's not taking your ED seriously as a mental illness. Here are a few links that might be helpful in getting the conversation going (whether you share them with her directly or simply read up yourself so you're armed with knowledge for your next conversation):

General information about EDs (lots and lots of useful links on this page): https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information

FAQs about EDs: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/faqs

Overview of anorexia specifically: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/anorexia

Destigmatizing EDs in men: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/resear...

Parent Toolkit (don't be fooled by the name--this is a must-read resource for anyone who is supporting a loved one with an ED, which includes your wife): https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-toolkit

NEDA blog (always good for insights, tips, stories of hope, etc.): https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog

No matter what, please do not internalize your wife's reaction. Stigmas and myths abound about EDs in general, and that's even more true when the sufferer is male. Your ED is a serious mental illness--don't let her make you think it's trivial or frivolous, or that you're not worthy of care and recovery.

Second, I want to make sure that you're taking care of yourself during this difficult time. Have you ever been officially diagnosed with an ED? Have you considered getting professional help? NEDA can help you get screened (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/screening-tool) and find affordable treatment options in your area (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-treatment/treatment-and-sup...). This can be a really overwhelming process to navigate alone, especially during this shaky time when your wife doesn't know how to be supportive yet. Talking with someone at NEDA about your options might be a step in the right direction.

Please keep us posted on your progress. We care about you and we're looking forward to supporting you as you begin the recovery journey.

iwanttolive
soterrey21

Hi there, and welcome to the forum. I too am sorry for the way your wife reacted, but sometimes when someone gets news like this they may respond out of fear of the unknown, just fear, or not knowing what to say. Having no knowledge of eating disorders can be scary for someone to learn a loved one just learning that their loved one has just confided to them that they have one. Sometimes it takes time for the, your wife, to adsust, to really hear and absorb the information and to learn a little about eating disorers before coming back to talk with you with a little more level headedness. It was probably a shock to her to hear the news. She may even had suspicions but to hear it as reality can be upsetting for anyone to hear.. I like the advice of the others that you share with her the information NEDA provides and for you even to educate yourself also. Being an adult male does have its own difficulties and that is not the way it should be. Eating disorders do not discriminate. Male, female, old, young. I would try to give you wife some time to absorb the news and then approach her again with some information. Reassure her of your love for he and that there is no one else.

I am really sorry you are suffering and feeling alone. Please post again if you need or want to.
iwanttolive