Do I have to Tell my Future Husband About My Eating Disorder?

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Eating Disorder can be a Third Wheel in your Marriage

Islam encourages us to marry. Eating Disorders render you from performing many of the marital duties. This is partially due to the effects of malnutrition. When people are not adequately nourished, they think about food constantly, sometimes even dreaming about it. They also struggle with addiction problems, stress, depression and anxiety.

Eating Disorders often acts as a substitute for relationships. Some sufferers substitute a relationship with food for the relationship with their Spouse. They lack the desire to engage in intimate relationship and some have a real fear of intimacy. This is primarily a side effect of malnourishment and low levels of endocrine in body. They also become depressed, isolated, and tired. They avoid engaging with their spouse because they are physically and mentally depleted, and feel the greater need to engage in eating disorder behaviors.

Dear Readers,

A reader asked me do I have to tell my future husband about my Eating Disorder? I cannot give extensive answer on such sensitive matter. Many of us have an arranged marriage and some of us chose our own partners. You will have to sit and speak about this matter to your future partner, it is good to have a neutral person to help such as a trustworthy and knowledgeable family member, councillor, practitioner or an Imam who has experience in such matters.

Allah has created men and women as company for one another, and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquility according to the commandments of Allah and the directions of His Messenger. The Quran says:

“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect.” [Noble Quran 30:21]

We all know the difficulty of living with the Eating Disorder and how it creates tensions within the family.

If Eating Disorder is your Past, then disclosing such information is your choice. Perhaps you can gently tell your future husband about your Eating Disorder past and how it affected your life.

If you have an Eating Disorder- If you are entering a marriage with an Eating Disorder, then you have to tell him.  Eating Disorders vary in severity from person to person. He needs to know what he is getting himself into. I am sorry, but there is no other way around this. Misleading someone is very wrong.

Please try to exercise honesty in this very delicate matter. Eating Disorders don’t disappear over-night and are extremely disruptive to relationships.

Islam orders you to be honest to yourself and everyone else. We have to tell the truth even if it is against our own interest. Eating Disorders are consuming and real life threatening illnesses. They consume the individual in obsessive, unconstructive thinking and behaviors and they consume the individual’s relationships. It’s sad and heartbreaking to reveal your illness, but it’s something that needs to be done. Marriage is sacred and profound. Nothing is loved more in the eye of Allah then a marriage.

People with Eating Disorders often have a more intense relationship with food than with people around them. Your future spouse is marrying you for kinship, love and support. Therefore, it is better to enter the marriage with an absolute honesty. Inshallah with honesty and understanding, dealing with this issue can bring you closer together, and even strengthen your future relationship.

A Muslim seeking to please God and follow the path of righteousness should be aware of the dangers of deceit and dishonesty.  However, equally he should know that God is all Merciful and all Loving, willing to forgive even the gravest sins for those who strive for His sake.  Honesty is very important in the life of a believer. Aisha Stacey

Eating Disorder can be a Third Wheel in your Marriage

Islam encourages us to marry. Eating Disorders render you from performing many of the marital duties. This is partially due to the effects of malnutrition. When people are not adequately nourished, they think about food constantly, sometimes even dreaming about it. They also struggle with addiction problems, stress, depression and anxiety.

Eating Disorders often acts as a substitute for relationships. Some sufferers substitute a relationship with food for the relationship with their Spouse. They lack the desire to engage in intimate relationship and some have a real fear of intimacy. This is primarily a side effect of malnourishment and low levels of endocrine in body. They also become depressed, isolated, and tired. They avoid engaging with their spouse because they are physically and mentally depleted, and feel the greater need to engage in eating disorder behaviors.

Eating Disorder relationship style- There is more to ED then Food….

Anorexia-“Those who struggle with anorexia often deprive themselves of closeness and connection with others as a way to feel emotionally safe, believing that if they don’t get too close, they won’t get hurt.”*

Bulimia- “Those who binge may be “hungry” for love but turn to food instead, unconsciously fearing they will never get enough or be interpersonally satisfied.”*

Binge Eating- “Those who binge and purge may show bulimic behaviors in the relationship, allowing a lot of closeness (equivalent to bingeing) and then creating distance (equivalent to purging), but never letting themselves have too much closeness, love, and trust”*

* Source: http://personaldevelopmentcafe.com

Low Weight, Bingeing/Purging

If your BMI is under 17.5 or your menstruation cycle is absent and you are bingeing/purging daily, then please think carefully before entering a marriage with such illness. There is a link between Eating Disorders and Infertility. Fertility problems are a common side effect of Eating Disorders. Anorexia, Bulimia and binge eating lead to unhealthy weight, malnourishment and low levels of body fat- all this has an impact on woman’s endocrine system and thus disrupts ovulation causing at times irregular menstrual cycle, reducing the quality of eggs and at times leading to ovarian failure. All of this can affect your chances of having a baby, and can increase the risk of miscarriage once you do become pregnant. Bottom line, all forms of Eating Disorders can have an impact on relationship and future pregnancies.

What comes after Eating Disorder is Happiness- There is hope…..As many as 75 to 80 percent of women will go on to conceive after being successfully treated for an eating disorder.

Invest in your Future, Your Health and Your Happiness by Getting Help!

Do you know understand why seeking treatment for your Eating Disorder is so pivotal? The longer you live with an Eating Disorder, the more it consumes your life and the more it paralyses you.

I pray to Allah, and I pray deeply that those visitors who visit this blog, will find a courage within themselves to fight this illness and to go on to live a life filled with love, respect and happiness.

 

 Prayer for Recovery- Dear Allah, I want to leave the demon of  Eating Disorder behind,  help me recognize those who really love me, and cling to your rope for dear life, for my life help me to know that I can have a different life, a happy life spent in your submission and not in the submission of the demon of Eating Disorder, an Eating Disorder free life s what I ask for .

 

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About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

7 Comments

  1. Are there any statistics of how many of these marriages with a wife who has an eating disorder (not so severe one) that lead in divorce or separation before marriage (aka when you tell your husband candidate about your illness, he refuses to go on with the relationship. How usual is it?)
    Just curious….

    • Hello. Thank you for your message. I don’t have stats on this. I am sorry but I know one case Muslim where wedding was canceld because of ED. Bride was severely underweight and refused to gain weight. It was her fiancé who pulled out. In another case marriage ended up in separation because of ED. This was eight months later. There are cases where people have entered marriage with ED and they disclosed it to their partner. But after marriage some feel ED is a third but whereas for some their ED just disappeared. I am reading a book Eating Disorders and marital relationships by Jan Norré.

      • Hello and Assalaamu alaykum.. ^^;
        Thank you for your reply. Okay, yeah there may not be statistics on this.. But experiences are important… So in your experience, is it more often that it ends to a separation/divorce vs. the ED gets more or less “defeated” in marriage? I personally think marriage and close support from a spouse would be a very effective way to defeat the (well my) ED, but then I guess it would require tons of commintment from the partner, perhaps more than most would be ready to do… :/ So this is very tricky..
        Oh that is interesting, I need to search for that.. Thank you for mentioning it. (Do you happen to know if there excists an online version?)

        • Hi you can purchase it online on android. I’ve seen few cases of divorce and I have seen cases where girls simply entered the marriage and Alhamdulilah with love and support managed to defeat their ED. Your absolutely right about support. We all are different and things work differently for each person. Please pray for guidance. Allah will guide you. Marriage is a blessing and a gift of Allah. You really have to hate your ED and love your spouse. With this thinking you’ll be very successful Inshallah. I know two cases where in beginning ED was very important but with time love became stronger and ED was in remission

          • Hi! Oh wow fast reply 😀 Okay, thanks I’ll look for it..
            Oh yeah, I pray a lot and I do hate my ED, but I know it’s hardwired in my brain so a part of me can’t or is too affraid to let it go… So in that I think I would definitelly need support.. Just not sure if there is anyone ready to give that…. :/ well, everything is possible for Allah, so I guess I shouldn’t give up hope…. It just is scary, because I think many don’t understand ED is an illness, it’s not our choice.. So it’s very scary to even bring this subject up to people that are close to you – they might just laugh or think you’re crazy…..
            But in sha Allah everything will be fine….

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