National Eating Disorders Association

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Jonny92
Very confused

My girlfriend has recently been getting treatment for an eating disorder,

I'm finding everything extremely difficult. I love her more than anything and want to help her but I found myself getting angry, stressed, worried and guilty all the time. This week we have fought a lot. She lives in another city and we have not been face to face since we fought.

My problem is she is very withdrawn, very uninterested in everyday life and about our future. Topics such as having children, moving in together and starting a life, which was such a massive part of our relationship is just not there. I've seen a councilor which just made me more confused.

I'm trying to understand where she is coming from and doing my best so fix it if im very doing anything wrong but I don't get the same response over my problems. I am doing a extremely intensive law post-graduate and I'm very anxious and need reassurance (IE if I text her "I miss you' and she responds back "it's only been a few days," that can throw me for the whole day). I feel like i'm asking for very little but don't get what I need. But maybe she does give me her best under the circumstances, I just don't know.

The B-EAT guidance says " Be careful not to swap roles with the person who is ill. Don’t allow them to start acting as your carer, supporting your own distress and confusion. It’s normal to have these feelings but you should not allow the individual with an eating disorder to be overburdened with your feelings as it is likely they will already be contending with guilt and other difficult emotions."

I know how selfish I sound, but I havn't slept in nearly a week from worry... I'm seeing her tonight for a chat but I'm scared and don't know what to say.

mel2016
Welcome to the forum!

Hi Jonny92,

I am sorry to hear about your girlfriend! It's good that she is getting treatment though, that will hopefully enable her to show more interest in things as she recovers. It's probably hard for her to focus on other things right now since EDs are so consuming, which can of course be incredibly frustrating for the people that love her. I understand where you are coming from, it's hard not knowing how invested the other person is in a relationship. I do not think you are being selfish because you have needs too and you are also going through a lot of stress -- the post-grad and supporting your girlfriend. Try not to be so hard on yourself, your feelings are definitely valid! It's such a balance between being honest with her and voicing your concerns while not burdening her too much either. You may want to look at this site for more information on how to support her: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-family-friends-network. It sounds like you are already taking advantage of such resources though so you can deal with this situation as best as you can, just keep trying!

Keep us updated! We are here if you need to vent :)
-Mel

Rodgers12
It's not you

I was really desperate thinking our relationship didn't have any future. In fact she told me that often. This is a self destructive illness and you are part of her. It was a relieve, for me at least, that all that behaviour had an explanation.

What you feel and what she's doing is really common (when an ED is involved), as I read from many testimonies, and from my own experience.

I've learnt that you can't demand atention or reassurance (and boy we need it!) Everything is a responsibility and a burden to her. Even though you know you are on her side, and she should think about you as support, not a burden. But she can't. She doesn't even support herself most of the time.

This isn't fair, you are not asking too much. But she's not OK, she is sick. She probably misses you, but she can't say it, she can't admit she needs you. It's true you can't expect her to raise your spirits. My girlfriend often tells me that she shouldn't be in any relationship, she can barely take care about herself. If she doesn't break up with me is because she really loves me, even if she can't show it very often. Because right now she hates having someone close to her. If I choose to stay with her even when she tells me she can't manage a relationship, it's on me, I choose to be her friend, and I try not to put all my happiness on her mood, I keep some distance when I get burned, I bite my tongue and count to one hundred before I answer her angry. It's the most difficult thing, you have to try not to take personally the most personal thing in your life.

I try to not be affected by her hurtful or insensitive comments, because I've learnt from experience that she really doesn't mean them. I just ignore and try to forget them. I assume I interpret them wrong.

For example, if she says "it's only been a couple of days", don't take it as she doesn't miss you, but as she's trying to cheer you up, she's asking you not to be sad. You know, what she's really saying is "I'm not worth it, I don't deserve to be missed, because my value is nothing".

I know it's a lot to swallow, but the better you understand it, the less you'll fight, and you'll feel better too.

I hope it get's better.