Dealing with an eating disorder is hard, but what do you do when you are married? We all need support in recovery, telling your husband about your Eating Disorder is the right thing to do.
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.
Please find below a very encouraging email from Ali Kerr on ‘telling my husband about my eating disorder’. So many sufferers have emailed us telling us about their difficulty in telling their husbands about their eating disorder. It’s hard and you don’t know what the reaction will be? It’s easy for people who don’t have ED to look objectively at a person’s life and point out all of the logical reasons why one should get over it. But ED isn’t logical. ED doesn’t care to reason. But telling someone about your ED also helps others to understand you more deeply.
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Thank you Ali
It is so easy to give in to the temptation to hide your binge eating.
It seems shameful.
You feel weak.
Your eating disorder keeps telling you that things aren’t really that bad.
It isn’t a serious problem.
You’ll learn to control it.
You can manage it all by yourself.
This was what I was telling myself during all the years of my disordered eating.
And when I finally pulled my head out of the sand a whole decade later, I had to admit that I wasn’t going to conquer this without help.
It wasn’t because I was weak.
It was simply because the monster inside me had grown to be stronger than me.
Ignoring the monster is not a solution.
Reaching out for help is.
One of my first steps towards recovery was telling my husband about my eating disorder.
I was worried.
I was scared.
And I was so relieved when he listened to me opening up and still loved me just the same afterwards.
We made a commitment to fight my eating disorder together and we never gave up on the idea.
He stayed by my side throughout the battle and never let go of my hand.
Both of us grew so much closer over the years of struggle and our relationship only strengthened.
Now think about your situation.
Is there anyone you can reach out to?
Is there anyone who can offer you support?
Is there a spouse, a parent, a friend, a sibling, a co-worker, a therapist who you are keeping at arm’s length for fear of them failing to understand what you are going through?
Recovery is so much easier when you have someone to help you, guide you and keep you on track – every step of the way.
Most people are not aware, but I spend most of my time coaching people to help them overcome their food issues. Coaching is really helpful for those people looking for some extra support, guidance and accountability.
We have a whole team of coaches with us. The amazing thing about our coaches is that every one of them has successfully recovered from an eating disorder, so you will be sharing your journey with someone who understands fully what you’re going through.
They have followed the same path.
They were ill, they were hurting and they managed to emerge on the other side nonetheless.
Walking this road is not easy.
It is, however, much less scary when you have a trustworthy companion strolling beside you.
- Consider the worst case scenario. How will he react? What is the worst thing he will do? Will he leave you? Will he divorce you? In most situations, probably not, but really sit and think about what the worst thing can be.
- After thinking about this, consider bringing your husband with you into your therapist (if you have one) or if not, check out ED referral and see if you can find an eating disorder therapist to bring your partner to. It might be easier if you have a professional there. If you are not interesting in discussing it with a therapist, no problem at all. You can do this alone.
- Set aside a day and time to tell him. Make sure that it’s not over a meal and make sure that it’s not at night. Your husband will likely have many questions and will spend a long time asking you.
- Make sure that he knows that it’s not his fault and make sure that he knows that you are looking for help.
- Make sure that he knows that you don’t expect him to be the one to cure you.
- Sit down with him or take a walk with him and gently explain that you’ve been dealing with this for a long time and you’re ready to reach out for support. You can say something like, “When I was 17 years old I started to make myself vomit after I ate. This habit sort of spun out of control. I have spent the past 12 years dealing with this horrible secret and trying to stop on my own. I haven’t told you because I’m so embarrassed and so ashamed, but I don’t want to have secrets from you, and I don’t want to live like this anymore. I want treatment and I want to stop. And all I need from you is love and support. I know that I can beat this now that it’s out in the open and I’m asking for help.”
- Tell him that your eating issues have nothing to do with him.
- Tell him that you don’t need him to “fix” you.
- Tell him not to tell you what to eat or what not to eat, that’s your responsibility, and it’s not good for your relationship.
- Tell him what he can do to support you. Maybe that’s talking about feelings more often or helping you find a therapist or treatment program or driving you to treatment.
- Ask him not to talk about diets, calories, burning calories, losing weight, or what your body looks like.
- If there are some foods that you don’t want him to have in the house, ask him to support you in that way
- Request that if he catches you in a binge, it’s not his responsibility to make you stop doing it, nor should he take food away from you, nor should he shame you. Instead, maybe he can say something like, “hey, is everything okay? do you want to talk? I’m here for you.”
- Ask him not to be your food police.
- Give him space to talk about his feelings and what it’s like for him to learn this about you.
- Give him the opportunity to ask you questions. If you feel uncomfortable with certain questions, let him know that you’re not ready to answer them yet or that you don’t know the answer right now, but as you work through recovery, you will let him know what emerges for you.
- Ask him to READ THIS and to READ THIS
If you are struggling to take action in your recovery, if you need help, why not get in touch with Heal ED?
They specialise in providing one to one direct support for anyone suffering with eating issues.
What do you have to lose?
Get in contact with Ali today: firstname.lastname@example.org