National Eating Disorders Association

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Wife is relapsing with her ED

Hi everyone. My wife has struggled with having an eating disorder since her mid teens (now 27). We have been together for over two and a half years and married for a year. When we started dating she told me that she had struggled with have an anorexia for awhile which seems to come in waves. She does wonderful for awhile and then relapses. This is the first time since we've been together that she has relapsed. I found out because I noticed that she no longer ate the same foods together with me that she used too. Her diet has drastically changed, she began to count calories, she started to weigh herself frequently and also worked out continuously. I brought my concerns to her attention but was met with her denying having any kind of problem. After a couple weeks I began to notice that she had really lost a lot of weight as she continued to do all the previous actions she was doing that I mentioned earlier. This time I sat down to have another talk about it. After telling her that it is breaking my heart to see what she is doing to herself she finally come out and said that she is relapsing. She mentioned that she had been purging every now and then after she ate because it made her feel better about herself. She also mentioned that having the eating disorder made her feel in control of her life. As for me being a former Marine I thought it was something that I could fix no problem, but soon came to realize that it was definitely something I couldn't just "fix". So I began to read articles on the subject and realized that everything I was doing that I thought would help her was the exact opposite. I continued to read more about it until my eyes fell out of my head. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what triggered her relapse and how I can help to get her better. I love my wife more than life itself and would do anything in the world to keep her healthy. I've changed my attitude of frustration to more understanding and getting her the help she needs. I've also come to understand that the root of the problem is something other than the food which is secondary to the issue. As the part of a supportive role I am still looking for more advice on what I should do to help her. I show her and tell her how much I love her every time I see her, I tell her that I am always here to listen to her no matter what and for any reason, I try to explain to her how her eating disorder makes me feel, and I encourage every step forward that she takes. I still feel like I need to do so much more but I don't know what else to do. I got her an appointment with an Eating Disorder Counselor which she agreed to go to. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks everyone

Great job!!

Welcome to the forums!! I hope that I can be of some help and support for you and your wife!!

I think that you are an amazing husband!! The effort that you have put forth has been a clear example of how much you care for your wife!! Acting as a support for her looks more like being a listening ear rather than being a professional coordinating her care.

I think that it is a great idea that your wife has agreed to see an ED therapist. This is definitely a great way to start building a support network of professionals! If your wife agrees it might also be helpful for you to attend a session with the therapist. She might have some useful suggestions for you as you support her.

I think a great resource that you might find useful would be the NEDA Navigators program! Have you heard of it? It is a program that connects you with a volunteer who has recovered and can provide you with their experiences and give advice too!! Plus this whole service is free and private! Here is a link to learn more!!

I hope this helps!! Please let me know if you have any questions!! Stay strong!!


Your situation sounds very similar to mine. My husband has suffered from an eating disorder for 15 years. He has times where his struggles aren't so prevalent or at the forefront of our relationship, but it's always there. I think the hardest thing for me was learning that I couldn't love the disease away. Like you, I thought I could fix it. I read so many articles, books, went to counseling appointments with him and even got him to go I to out patient treatment which I attended family sessions with him. Things got better and then they slowly just got worse again. It left me feeling helpless and like a failure. I'm finally figuring out that it's not my battle. I can't fight it for him even though there's nothing more in the world I want to do. I think the only thing we can do as partners is do what we're doing.. Try to get them into treatment and love them unconditionally. Another thing I'm learning is that I also need support. I don't feel comfortable talking to many people about it. I'm ashamed to admit that it's embarrassing for me. I've never even said that before and I feel terrible admitting it. Being a partner if someone with and ED adds a lot of stress to our lives.. I'm sure you, like me, wouldn't think twice about marrying them all over again but sometimes I just wish our lives were more norm.. Simple. I rather fight over stupid couple quarrels than ask my husband if he ate properly. If you have a counselor or close friend that you feel like you can open to about this, I suggest you take advantage of that. Bottling in the hurt won't help and will only lead to more stress and sadness. Best of luck to you and your wife.

I understand

I am going through the same thing. My wife, who had gone through an intensive out patient program, is now relapsing. It seems she has on occasion has episodes and kept it quite. I am dealing with her hiding, not sharing and deceiving. I just found this site and sent her the link to relapses page of this website. She responded "Luckily, I'm not experiencing all those things at once". It just seems like denial to me. I love her greatly and would do anything for her but it truly seems like no matter whether I give love, or tough love, or no love, or am stern or am kind - nothing at all works. Congrats on getting her an appointment. My wife was starting to do better but now it seems to be starting over. It will just take getting her back to normal again. I hope.