National Eating Disorders Association

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My partner has bulimia and i am lost

Hi my names Sean and i would like to start by saying thank you for taking the time to read this.

My girlfriend suffers from bulimia, she had gotten past it but since starting a new job it has come back.
I am absolutley devoted to her, we were talking about having kids and getting married recently and everything was going so well.
I left on a business trip last week and was gone for 7 days, the first day I noticed she wasn't texting as much as usual, usually we stay up and text for hours. The next day I didn't get a reply from her which I thought was strange as normally we are inseparable.
I decided to wait a day because maybe she had a very stressful day at work and that tomorrow she would text.
After the third day I got very worried and tried calling, sending texts all day long but got no reply, I had contacted her best friend because I was worried sick and she said she seemed fine just a little stressed. After 6 days she replied saying "I'm sorry but it's too much for me" and nothing more.
I got back The other day and heard nothing from her. I am starting to lose my mind. I've hardly slept, unfortunatly I suffer from quite strong abandonment issues, that I had got past, but now they are back.

I went to her work today just to see if I could see her and maybe remind her of what we have together,
I waited outside (as I didn't want to go in and cause a scene) and text her to come outside and face me or I was coming in.
She replied saying that I was sick for doing this and that she was never going to speak to me again if I came inside.
I told her if she wanted space she should have just said so and I would have understood.

Then she brought up the last time she spoke to me about her problem. I had replied telling her I was there for her and that we should look forward to getting married and having kids because I thought giving her something to look forward too might be helpful but she threw it back saying that I didn't understand and didn't care about her problems.

She just wants to lock herself away and be alone. I've suffered from depression in the past and I know that it's the worst thing to do and I keep telling her but she won't read any of my messages or reply.

I love her more than anything and I have to be there for her but I don't know how.
If anybody could give me some advice It would be very appreciated as I am completely lost without her.

Thank you for reading this. Sean

ED style troubles. :-(


Yep, this is how things can go with EDs, unfortunately.

The people who have them can find themselves…easily overwhelmed, I guess you could say. Which sounds like what has happened with her.

The pressures of a new job, the nagging ED thoughts, and the pending demands of a relationship - For people with these sorts of emotional vulnerabilities, things can abruptly start to seem like too much. Just like she said in her text, you know ? :-(

*NOT* that you are putting unreasonable demands on her, because from what you said in your note, I really don't think that you are. Maybe a little though, if you have abandonment issues, but it sounds like you've been doing a pretty good job of keeping those to yourself.

Have you ?

Although she may have been angry with you, I suspect that she's feeling ratty and guilty about this whole thing, and how things have seemed to suddenly fall apart for her. So keep that part in mind too if you can. It's very unlikely that she's going to be feeling happy about this either, is what I'm trying to say.

Also, keep in mind the fact that EDs are about control. Or at least they have that association for the people who have them, no matter how out of control they may be in real life. So you'll really want to avoid giving the impression that you're trying to control her, as her ED will rebel against that.

However, my guess is that she's more than aware that she has a problem; I think you can be sure of that too.

Has she gotten help for her ED in the past ? It sounds like she may have, and if so, and if her experiences with that had some positive aspects, then that will work in her favor.

Really, what you'd like to see happen is for her to take steps for herself. Rather than others trying to pressure her, you know ? So you could say something like this, perhaps :

" I know things must be difficult right now, and if you can think back on what helped you in the past, I hope you'll find yourself taking those same steps again. "

Otherwise, you just may have to be patient, and see how calm and collected you are able to be with a situation that you can't really control. This sort of stuff can be a growing experience for us too from that standpoint, so I hope you can see it that way.

Also, do your best to *not* let her know that you are having problems with this yourself. I mean who wouldn't worry of course - any caring person would, but perhaps you know what I mean ? You don't want her to feel responsible for you feeling bad, because that will just feel like more pressure to her.

These are very difficult matters for sure, but if you can project some calmness of your own that will help things.

Even if you have to fake it you know ?

Thanks for the reply, it's

Thanks for the reply, but I can't talk with her, she just ignores me so there is nothing I can do. it's nice knowing that there is someone somewhere that can relate. My issues have been at bay since only recently and yesterday I told her that this was killing me and to see how I am suffering from this, which now I know was a stupid thing to say, I just keep sending her loving texts and telling her I am here for her but she doesn't want me to be there.
Yes she was in a group and managed to get back from being unhealthily skinny to her normal weight, which is curvy but I love that about her.
But I will take your advice and try my best to be calm and not stress her out. Leaving her is not an option so all I can do is wait and see, which is killing me but I will try and not show it. Thank you


"..My issues have been at bay since only recently and yesterday I told her that this was killing me and to see how I am suffering from this, which now I know was a stupid thing to say…"

Yeah, not the best choice. I know your issues make it hard to think about her rejecting her, but you can't be making her feel like she's to blame for your feelings. Even if she is, you know ?

For now, you may have to respect how she's feeling towards you. You may want to hold off on the album thing too, as that may feel a bit overwhelming to her. If you get what I mean ?

Also, I have to tell you, the thing where partners suddenly begin to withdraw : It's a really common thing, so you're not the first guy to find that happening.

It's a difficult situation for sure.

Good idea or bad?

I am thinking about making a photo album of us, of all our special moments, she loves my perfume so maybe put that on there too, wrapping it up and putting it in her mailbox. I wouldn't want to make things worst. Does it seem like a good

What helped me

Sorry to hear you're going thru this, I did as well and it's incredibly difficult and confusing. I'll tell you this, you have to leave emotion out. After my girlfriend broke up with me, I didn't talk to her for a while, a text here and there, but just brief "hi", "hope you're doing well", etc. After a fair amount of time I sent her a very involved text. Again, no use of terms like I feel, you feel, etc.
I just wrote with facts, things like, "in the time we haven't talked I've been reading about ED's in hopes of better understanding what you're going thru. I've done this in the hopes that you'll still be able to rely on me as a support if you need someone to talk to. What I've learned I believe will better equip me to be a source of help for you"
I found it helped me, not getting wrapped up in emotion, and she also responding thanking me for my kindness. After another week I simply texted, "I'd like to be able to talk to you". She agreed, and again, I went in without emotion and just explained where maybe I'd gone wrong and gotten in way over my head. I explained what I'd learned, how I still would be there for her if she needed me, and that is promised her I'd help her anyway I could and that whether or not we were together, that I still am keeping that promise.
We now talk everyday, no relationship, but she talks to me about things, and our friendship is evolving in a very healthy open way. Believe me, I was a wreck, but you have to be strong, and you have to think long term, not I hope she's back tomorrow, because it could take years. She still has days where she's absolutely vicious, but I'm in a place now where I can brush it off and tell her that I need to get off the phone.
Anyways, best of luck, it's a long road, but you may just learn a little something about yourself and your issues along the way.



Based on what you’ve said it sounds like that she is very stressed and going through a very difficult time. Ultimately you are the one that knows her, I don’t, so I won’t venture to say whether it is a good move but I would caution you to balance being supportive and putting undue pressure on her.

I know it is hard to know how hard to push; supporting a person with ED is not easy and there are no easy answers. NEDA has some great resources for learning about ED and recommendations on how to start a fruitful conversation. I’ve found this toolkit below to be helpful.

I wish you the best; your girlfriend is lucky to have someone that cares so much for her wellbeing. Please remember to take care of yourself too!

I really don't know,

I really don't know, everything I am trying is having no effect what so ever, she still won't read let alone reply, and won't see me. I really don't know what to do, I just can't understand how in 1 day things could go from amazing to this, I don't feel like eating and I haven't really slept much at all. I really don't know how you guys manage this, you must be amazing people.



Yes, if there's anything that will teach us what worry is, this sort of stuff is it. It can seem like our hands are tied, and during some parts of this they pretty much are.

Like I said earlier though, you don't want to make her feel like she's responsible for making you feel awful. Anyone would feel terrible it's true, but you want to do everything you can to avoid dumping that on her.

Because if she feels that she's making you feel bad, then that's one more reason for her to stop being in touch with you.

Because of how toxic she feels that she's being for you, you know ?

It's a difficult situation for sure, but it may be one of those situations where you'll need to say something like this :

"I know things must be difficult for you now, and that you need your space. I understand how it can be that way for people sometimes, but I want you to know I still care, and will always be willing to hear from you, should you feel like getting in touch."

Notice how you are not pleading for her to contact you, and how you seem calm and understanding ?

That's it. That's what you need to try and project. I'm not saying you shouldn't feel awful, but you'd rather not let her see that part, you know ? Because that's likely to just make her withdraw even further.

But yes, you may actually have to give her some space, and give her some time too. And have faith that there is still some value to what the two of you shared.

You'll have to be strong yourself too, is what I mean.