National Eating Disorders Association

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?s for those who are married

How much do you involve your spouse in your recovery? How has your ED affected your marriage? How do you keep your marriage afloat when you're in recovery and unpacking the trauma of your past and everything is so up and down emotionally?

I'm probably not the best one

I'm probably not the best one for advice, but I thought I would share my experience. I don't really involve my husband too much. When we first met I was still pretty deep into my ED, and he helped pull me out of it. That being said, I still don't think my husband knows a lot about EDs to recognize signs. Like if I'm using restrictive behaviors I think he worries on a general level but doesn't understand how serious that can be. The only way it really effects my marriage is when I'm going through a relapse I'm more secretive. We usually share everything, but during those times my thoughts seem to dark to share. It's hard to deal with at times. And I am to blame too because when I'm going through a down period I tend to act like everything is fine. So this is something I really need to work on. But I do believe it would be easier for me to be more open if he understood more about eating disorders. When I recovered, I didn't get any professional help, and I mainly did it for my significant other... but obviously the best thing to do is be open and honest about how you are feeling. Your husband is there to support you and help you get through the difficult times. It's important to know when you should lean on him. And that's my problem right now, my husband is going through stuff of his own so I feel like I shouldn't be piling onto it. But that's just not how it is. Leaning on each other for support and sharing your feelings is so important. I know how hard that can be! Best wishes!

Thanks, Lizz! I'm the exact

Thanks, Lizz! I'm the exact same way! I've always kept every thing secret and have brushed everything off as fine. I've had to get really honest w/him about where I've been at and he went to one appt w/me. But, there's a lot he doesn't get and he feels I should just be able to get over it, stop thinking too much, etc. and doesn't see that it's not that easy. I feel like my ED is one more strain on our marriage and it's easier to gloss over it to keep the peace, but I also feel pressure from my recovery team to learn to use him as a support. I don't want him to see me so weak (emotionally/mentally) bcs i try so hard to be strong for everyone. IDK. He's all there in supporting me financially to get the help I need and wants to make sure I'm okay, so I'm not on my own, but there are areas I don't think I can't share w/him. Maybe with more time.

You definitely should be able

You definitely should be able to use him for support, but I totally understand not being able to completely share. My husband has begun to understand my anxiety more. But with the ED I think sometimes it's really hard for a person who hasn't been through it to understand. I have tried to open up more about my ED a little at a time. I find it very hard to talk about though.
I'm sorry you feel like it's a strain on your marriage. But you shouldn't have to just ignore it either. Part of marriage is supporting the other even through the most difficult times. But also know you don't have to share more until you are ready. I know how hard that is. It's a good sign though that he wants to help you get better and has gone to an appointment with you. Maybe he's more open to understanding than you realize.

Just sharing my experience too

I have a fiance, we are getting married in less than 6 weeks (exciting!) and we've been together for about 3 years. It was just after my first try at recovery failed that I met him. He is an addict/alcoholic and has been to rehab twice. Once before he met me and once during our relationship. He caught me in the midst of my behaviors last summer and he is the only reason I have sought help, professional or otherwise, outside of my own willpower.
I like to think we have a connection through our mental troubles. While addiction and ED are different, similarities exist that allow us to empathize with each other and also make really outlandish jokes that others would find horribly offensive!

He supports me and I support him. And as long as we build on this mutual support and understand that we can't gain our own self-acceptance from the other person we are doing okay. Some days, more recently, I need his support more. And some days, last September, he needs mine more. The thing is, we accept each other. And since we have developed this trust, we know the other person isn't going to break it. I know I can tell him anything and he won't leave and likewise. Still doesn't make it easy. And it still can lead to either one of us saying something so dark and hard to take that we need to tell the other they need to seek another outlet this time.

Also, mistakes are going to be frequent and common. But less severe. When I judge him or snap unexpectedly at something he has trusted me with, I immediately have to ground myself and make amends. Same with him. He knows if he gets into his angry loud voice I am going to shut down and stop listening. This doesn't mean he never does it, but as time goes on it becomes easier to be mindful of, longer gaps, easier to apologize and forgive.

I think regardless of mental disorders, all marriages thrive on mutual trust, loyalty, and communication. It took a long time for us to be ok showing our darksides to ourselves. But that is necessary in cultivating the messy and imperfect, yet loving and trusting, relationship we have now.
"You see all my light and you love my dark" Alanis Morissette! Is totally a canvas painting hanging on our wall!

To be honest

I ALWAYS let my husband know what is going on, whether I've purged, or wanting to restrict, or wanting to skip a meal, or feeling horrible about myself. We are always open and honest, even when it feels hard. If I know what I want to tell him is hard, I'll text him because I am not always able to speak words. I COMPLETELY trust him. He's the only one who has been there for me through it all. It's not always easy, but I love him with all my heart and can't imagine not including him on all aspects of my life.

That's incredible! Wonderful

That's incredible! Wonderful support systems are always an excellent resource. I'm so happy you have someone like him in your life!

Involving Hubs

A lot. Even though he can't understand it all, he does help me. He reminds me of facts, he reminds me to eat, he tells me whatever I want to eat is ok. He also reminds me that I still need to recover even though I started my eating disorder at a "healthy" weight, and that I am still beautiful when I feel huge and ungainly.

One interesting thing I did notice, though, was during part of my recovery, when I was realizing that I had power over my body, not society, not magazines, not anyone else, I didn't want him to be around me. I didn't mind his company, but I also wanted to be alone a lot. I wasn't a fan of being touched unless I was touching him, and I felt angry sometimes. His patience and acceptance of all of the stages of ED recovery have helped me accept them myself.

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Hi StardustCaught, your post has been slightly edited to comply with our community guidelines: As you continue using the forums for support, please avoid mentioning specific foods as this may be triggering to other users. Thanks for helping us keep this a safe space for everyone!