National Eating Disorders Association

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My partner went to treatment, is back and struggling...feels like I'm devoting a lot of time to this recovery without space for my own (from other things) and I don't know what to do about it. I'm exhausted.


Hi dismayed. Welcome to this forum. I am sorry to that you feel that your partner's ED recovery has taken over your life. I completely understand how it feels that way -- the early stages of recovery can be so painful for loved ones and require so much attention, ED conversation and emotional struggle. I think it can feel like your own life has been consumed by the ED, which can generate feelings of resentment (as well as exhaustion). Please know, however, that your support of your partner right now is critical. Have you taken a look at the Parent Toolkit on this website? It's not intended only for parents of children with ED's -- it can be very helpful to anyone supporting a loved one. Also, I encourage you to consider engaging in therapy for yourself. Talking to a third party -- especially one with ED experience -- might give you the emotional outlet that you need and allow you to explore ways to cope with all of the demands created by your partner's recovery struggle. Alternatively, you might consider finding a local support group (the NEDA Helpline can help with that if you'd like). In any case, please keep posting.

thanks for the welcome!

I'm seeing a really amazing therapist that specializes in my own recovery issues, which is probably why I'm not in the hospital myself right now.

I will definitely check out that toolkit as my life really is being consumed by my sweetie's needs right now x.x

Now what ?

Hey D,

Yes, I imagine that a situation where both partners are in recovery could be difficult. And that for…whatever reason, there might be some resentments involved. Like what exactly are our responsibilities to the other person, and what are their responsibilities to us ?

And on top of that, what are our responsibilities to ourselves ?

Add to that the fact that where there addictions involved, it's not so easy to change things even when we want to. I'm not surprised that you guys are finding it hard to find an achievable balance in all this, simply because of the nature of the circumstances themselves.

I know that both of you would like to be taking the responsibilities that you should be taking, but where does being supportive of the other person fit in, when we honestly do need to be devoting energy to our own selves as well ?

And then the whole part about people feeling guilty about this or that. It really does sound like a difficult thing.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but if it's going to work out in ways that are good for you both, I don't think it's something where you guys can afford to let resentments fester. Or let the guilt thing take over either.

Blah blah blah - See a therapist and all that. That's probably a fairly predictable thing that people are likely to recommend , but even so, it really does sound like something that's worth thinking about. There's just naturally going to be a whole lot of various sorts of energy floating around this whole situation, and I know that neither one of you want to see those energies heading off in destructive directions.

Which could all too easily happen, you know ? Even when both of you have the best of intentions.

Keep writing ?

Bob J.

resentment yes

needs > energy and I feel like the sense of responsibility is NOT mutual


Right when they get out of treatment is a classic time for them to have big troubles again. And be ambivalent about what direction they'll end up going.

They can appear self-centered and indulgent. And not "doing all the right things". It can seem irresponsible. And after all that time in treatment too.

It's no secret though : EDs are some extremely pernicious stuff. The way it worms it's way into the person's brain is different than with other addictions. It just is.

A partner can feel like they've reached the end of their rope with it.

And where can we be expected to dump our frustrations that might actually help things ?

What's a person supposed to think about that , and what amount of patience should a person be expected to have ? Given how we've seen how it can be ?

It doesn't mean that a person is uncaring when they ask themselves questions like that. We do have a responsibility to ourselves as well.