National Eating Disorders Association

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My husband has an eating disorder

I knew long before he did that the way he was eating and exercising was a form of bulimia. Binge eating at night and waking early in the morning to rigorously exercise. He was diagnosed with low testosterone, levels so low he was barely producing any. His endocrinologist referred him to a nutritionist. At first I was hopeful he would get better. He asked for my help, I hid the scale and when he started to binge on fruit and vegetables I was to tell him to stop. I said something to him 3 times about bingeing and on the third time he acted like a baby, threw his food away and ate nothing instead. He was mean to me and I told him I was only doing what he asked me to do. I've been treated like crap for three years and I thought things were finally going to change. He is slowly killing himself. We have a 3 year old and 1 year old. I don't know what to do anymore. At the rate he's going I can't imagine him living a long life. Our marriage is so strained I am not sure if I can do this much longer. I know I married for sickness and health but I can't watch him kill himself. Help.


I am so sorry for what you are going through. I have never dealt with a significant other dealing with an eating disorder but I have personally dealt with the disorder. I have seen the effects it had on my loves ones though.

It definitely sounds like your husband is going down a horrible path. Have you ever thought about writing a letter to him? Sometimes it's easier to write your feelings down. I think that if you pour your soul into that letter, he will be able to see how serious his condition is. From that point, maybe you could look into treatment options. Talking to a therapist could be really helpful. If he is resistant to go, it could be helpful for you to talk to somebody. While I was getting help, my dad was going to therapy as well. I did not know this until recently but he said that talking to somebody about what was going on helped him to understand and properly deal with it.

If you would like to look into treatment options for your husband, NEDA has a link which can give you what you are looking for:

Another helpful source is the parent, family, and friends network: NEDA realizes that eating disorders not only play a role on the victim but their loved ones as well.

Here is another link for family and friends: It can help you personally find help as well as know the right things to say.

I really hope that your husband finds help! I can feel the pain that you are feeling and I think that if your husband knows this, it will give him a push to get help. Stay Strong!


getting educated

It sounds like your husband believes that what he does is healthy, much like what I thought when I used to eat only oatmeal and eat tons and tons of fruits and vegetables (nothing else). I used Splenda in my oatmeal and coffee too. Is he in the normal BMI range? I apologize for writing about myself below, but it is the only way I know how to relate with your husband and try to give you insight into maybe how he views things and the steps my family took to help me when I didn't even think I needed help...

I'd say he has Orthorexia, which is what I now realize I had. Being a bystander must be difficult and I am so sorry to hear you have to deal with it, especially while trying to support your two children. There were only two things that opened my eyes. One was when my mother challenged me to see a specialist. I told her I could prove by going that I was just really healthy and it would get her off my back, while she thought it would prove that what I was doing was harming my body. The specialist sided with my mom, but I feared gaining weight, despite knowing I probably should. Even that didn't completely help, because I didn't want to gain even "healthy" weight...I truly didn't think I was doing anything to harm my body. I was convinced everyone around me was just being over dramatic and sort of jealous that a person was capable of doing without any junk. The second thing that began to open my eyes to see I wasn't doing things exactly right was when my dad bought me "Nutrition for Dummies" book. I read it since my whole approach was to leading the healthiest life I could. I'd read many magazines and articles on nutrition and I always thought I had it down to a science and that people should be asking me for advice on weight loss.... reading this book, however, made me realize I was not incorporating many important nutrients and it made a lot of sense. It was a very, very slow process to get me to reverse my ways, and I will admit I am still extremely healthy today, in eating and my almost everyday running routine, but I am at a healthy weight. Not only that, I have a healthy mind again. No matter what you do, it has to come from him. My mom also printed out the Orthorexia list of symptoms and gave it to me. I was angry at her, but I admitted in my mind that okay, almost all of them applied. Every case is a little different, and my parents tried many many more ways than the ones mentioned to try to show me that I had a problem. None of them led to anything but fights. The ways I mention worked, because they were ways that gave me independence to figure it out on my own. Good luck, you sound like a supportive wife and my heart goes out to you.

Hi! Thanks for your feedback.

Hi! Thanks for your feedback. I thought it would go to my email and decided to check the web page when I hadn't received any emails.
We've been to couples therapy. I've been to individual therapy. My husband sees a nutritionist and he is lying to her and me. Last night my 3 year old went to sleep at my Pareto house and she ended having to come home around 9 bc she wanted mommy. My husband lost it. He actually scared me with how angry it made him. He paced around and clenched his fists and said how agitated he was. I asked why and he couldn't explain it. I think it is bc it was not part of his nightly routine. I now know I must give an ultimatum. I am now scared of my husband. Something so small set him off. That is unacceptable. I am literally at my wits end. My 3 year old now constantly talks about food and eating and says she's always hungry. I can't keep playing this vicious cycle.

So sorry to hear...

Hi there!!!

I am very sorry that that event had to occur between you and your husband regarding your daughter. You are certainly worthy and deserving of being treated with kindness and respect.

I know that it is really difficult knowing how to help someone when they are mentally ill. I know that you love your husband, but please do not forget to take care of yourself... It is still very important to keep you and your daughter safe. You deserve that.

Would you be able to speak with a therapist about what has happened recently? I truly hope that you can feel confident and strong in getting your needs met.

Please let me know how else I can help!

Well now I am at an utter

Well now I am at an utter loss as to what to do next. I wrote my husband a letter. I explained everything I was feeling and we talked last night. He has told me he feels as though what he is dealing with is anorexia. He is more concerned with restricting food and feeling fat, even though he is very very thin. I gave him the ultimatum of seeking professional help. He works for a public figure and is in a high stress job. Right now they are in a two week session and he said that he can't do anything until the session is over.
I am so blown away by his admission of anorexia. I never in a million years would have thought it was anorexia. Subjecting my two daughters to this is even more scary. I just want my husband to get better but I don't know if it's even possible. Is this something that will always weigh over us?

There is hope!!!!!

Hi again!!

I am very excited to hear hat you were able to speak your feelings to your husband! And it is great that you are both able to be honest with each other!!

There is absolutely hope of recovery!!!!! I have recovered and many other males like me have healed from this as well!!!! Here are many sources of support and encouragement on NEDA's site! Here are just a few!!

I hope this helps!!! Let me know if you need help!

Thank you michael26! The past

Thank you michael26! The past 2 days have been full of research. My husband and I are talking more now than we have in a year, if not longer. Now, I just have to hope he will get the professional help he needs. We talked at length last night and he showed me a picture of himself from when our youngest was born and asked if he still looked that way, I told him no, he was thinner and he was truly shocked. I had read a story about a mother taking pictures of their daughter to show them because for some reason the pictures showed a thinness the mirror does not. I suggested this to my husband and he said not tonight but he thinks it's a good idea. So i am going to mention it again this weekend, but not in a pushy way. My husband said he wishes he could get better without help but I think he's realizing from his own research that that is not possible because his body and mind is so lost in this illness. Michael what made you get help and how long did it take to find your road to recovery?

Hi Cdunn7906,

Hi Cdunn7906,

I know that your above post was directed towards michael26, but I just wanted to say that I'm so glad the communication between yourself and your husband has improved over the past few days. It is wonderful that you are showing him this concern and encouragement, and I hope that you have been able to find support for yourself and child as well through these forums and the "Parent, Family &Friends Network" ( Stay strong!

-sj728, NEDA Volunteer

Hello again!!

Hi there!!!

Thank you so much for the kind remarks!!! It means so much to me to hear about the progress you've been able to have with your husband!!! Communication is very important especially when navigating through an illness. So it is great that you've been able to work on this already!!

As far as my story of recovery, I would love to share!!! I just want to make sure I make note that recovery is a very individual and personal thing. Certain details such as extent of treatment and mode of treatment vary person to person naturally. My eating disorder started at a very early age and it took a while to get properly diagnosed. I went into treatment when I was 19 and spent the better part of a year working on my eating disorder and OCD. The thing that truly made me realize I needed help was having a feeling of safety in my support network. Before that, I had always been afraid to pursue recovery because I knew I was scared to face my fears. But once I knew I had safety in my support network, I was able to be honest with myself and that was majorly helpful. During my hardest time, I was in a residential facility and that really helped me discover ways I could help myself recover.

I hope that helps!! How have you and your husband been since your last post? I hope all is well!!