National Eating Disorders Association

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Worried my husband is anorexic

We have been married 17 years. When we first got married we were both healthy weights. Through life's up and downs we gained weight over the years, me more than him.
However he seems to have gone over board. His youngest sister struggles for decades with being anorexic. So I tried to talk to his older sister who seemed to shrug me off....she said her brother "looks great"
Part of my dilemma is when I try to talk to someone about this I always get the feeling they think I am being jealous because I am so overweight and he is so skinny!
We are not great at communicating and every time I ask him why he doesn't eat, he has an excuse " I ate at the office, or before you came home"
Maybe part of me is jealous but we have small kids so it's hard to go work out... What do I do to help him?

Hi there!!

Hi! Thank you for joining these forums and for trusting us with your situation! I hope I can be of some support!

I think you have identified a lot of needs that are only addressable through good communication. As your husband's wife I know that you certainly want him healthy again!! Have you considered seeing a group therapist that specializes in ED's? I don't think I can offer much of direct remedies to your situation, but I know a therapist will be there for you to support and offer constructive advice! If you are not sure where to find a therapist the NEDA Helpline is here to help! All's you have to do is call 1-800-931-2237 and a representative will help you find resources in your area!

Denial is definitely a large part of ED's. There's a dual denial of the person not wanting to acknowledge the ED and the ED not wanting to acknowledge other's concerns. I know how frustrating it can be for loved ones to try and convince a person to seek treatment. It truly is an emotional drain and that's why I think it is important for you to remember to take care of yourself and have a strong support network!! Is there any person that you have been able to receive support from regarding your husband's condition? Another great resource is the NEDA Navigator program! Navigators are trained volunteers who have experience with eating disorders and are here to provide you private, one-on-one support for as long as you need it! A Navigator is a great resource to receive advice and support for you and your husband. To learn more about this program here is a link:

I hope you are doing well! Please let me know if you have any questions!

I 100% agree with Michael in

I 100% agree with Michael in that good communication can be key, especially when you are trying to be supportive of your husband's health. It can definitely be a difficult conversation to have when a loved one is struggling - of course we want the best thing for the people close to us and we want to help them in any way possible, but we also don't want them to resent us or get offended or take it the wrong way.

Like Michael suggested, I think that the NEDA Helpline or Navigators program, or seeking help from a therapist who can help you find the best ways to talk about your concerns with your husband (or even talk to you both about them together) are all good next steps to take. An ED can be exhausting in so many ways for so many people, and you do not have to go it alone! Seeking out a counselor or therapist may provide an environment where you can deal with some of the underlying issues behind denial or overworrying about what the other person might think. Your emotional health is important too, since relationships are two-way streets, and having a mediator there may help the both of you.

Something I've personally found to help in open communication in some tough situations is using "I" statements, such as "I feel concerned when you..." or "I am worried about..." It can be a good way to express how you honestly feel with specific examples, without the impression that you're attacking the other person with more forceful statements such as "you SHOULD do so and so." It sounds like it's been hard to talk when some of your questions are brushed off, but genuinely but firmly stating that you are concerned for your husband's health may help him to start to see where you are coming from.

In the meantime, here are some other links that might help:
Resources for family & friends:
Support groups:
Stories of hope: Stories of hope:

All the best!