Relationships & ED Recovery
This post is not to scare anyone away from becoming involved with someone who suffers from an eating disorder - because, you should never turn away from a potential partner - no matter what disability, disorder, or illness they are battling with. My goal is to help provide an incentive on how you can make the relationship between you and your partner, and EVEN your relationship with family, remain healthy. I believe that the strongest relationships, and true love, are results of the ones where individuals can work together to help better the other.
To have another voice, another side of you, control how you feel, how you act and how you love is tough. A side that mindlessly does not respond and show affection to those who matter the most. Having an eating disorder while in a relationship is simply limiting. Through my own personal experience, I can say it really sucks - though, words cannot go as far to describe the pain, the emotion, the fights and the fears it brings amongst individuals in relationships, or even within families.
As an eating disorder gets worse, the person fighting will slowly begin to push everyone in their lives aside, until it is just them alone with the disorder. If someone was to intertwine between you and your disorder, you become even more driven to continue your actions further and you experience a negative emotion towards the other trying to help. You can relate this to a relationship… if someone were to come between you and your partner, you would obviously do whatever it takes to protect what you have.
Like any relationship, you are supposed to make sure you can put the other first. Although things like school, making money, etc. are priorities, you still have committed yourself to another individual. Since you are at such a low body weight, your energy is much lower than your partners. This leaves you with only 10% of your energy being directed towards them, while the other percent of energy goes towards your thoughts, eating habits and emotions towards this sick obsession.
Find ways to cope with your disorder with your partner. Whether that be getting outside, going to take part in small activities in town, or seeing a movie. This will not only help you through your disorder, but, also allow you to connect with the other on a more personal and emotional level. While doing so it takes your mind away from the disorder - this is something I think is key to help with recovery. Another key thing I would stress in a relationship is to consider what you expect from another and what you need. Without clarity you are unable to hold onto the connection.
In a long term relationship, the one struggling can become quite a burden to help, especially if it has been going on for a while. But, taking control of the disorder early is going to help cope with it. Some coping mechanisms you could try include going for meals with another; having your partner there to challenge, distract and support you whilst you eat a fear food can be very beneficial. Especially when part of the reason to get better is for your relationship to thrive - which will only make your connection so much stronger than others’ in the end. When you enter into a situation like this, you are in it together or you are not - which all depends on the willingness of the companion, not struggling, to be able to handle it.
SPECIFICALLY, IN REGARDS TO FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS…
Simply being open and honest about how you feel with them is only going to help ease the frustration and tension felt between all of you. Tell them how you are feeling, how you have been doing. Spend time with them like you used to growing up. Hug them, show love, and tell them how much you appreciate their efforts to help you and encourage them to be strong with you.
Most importantly, remind them when you feel upset by their words. Let them know that, although they care, sometimes it can be extreme. A family is not going to understand to any full potential what you are going through, therefore their word choice may not always be the best. Let. Them. Know.
Improving your relationship with family and/or your partner is a great motivator to help with recovery. Is there someone close to you that is upset, someone who wants the best for you… someone whose trying so hard to help you find true happiness with yourself?