Dating a former anorexic
And it might not have occurred to you that telling me I’m perfect as I am when I’m feeling less-than-perfect might not be as constructive as you thought it was.
There’s nothing wrong about wanting to share your excitement about doing something that makes you feel great with your partner, like starting a gluten-free diet or training for an obstacle race.But if you really want this relationship to work, we’re going to need to talk about my eating disorder recovery.Here’s the thing: Recovering from an eating disorder is hard enough when you have your own inner voice constantly making jabs at your appearance or the media/marketing machine screaming about your imperfections across every screen and airwave, let alone when you open up and share your body with another human being.Leave the advice to the professionals and, as an intimate partner, just be a shoulder to cry on. (And if it doesn’t pass, then please remind your partner to call a therapist or qualified professional for help.)Changing your language and your lifestyle in order to be someone’s partner is an inconvenience – true.But if you’re a heavy drinker, and you to date a recovered alcoholic, you learn to stop suggesting dates at the wine bar.Weight and food are, like the weather, easy targets for starting cocktail party conversations – because everyone has to eat.
Moreover, we build entire tribes and identities based on our diets and workouts.
There is worse than hearing “You’re beautiful exactly as you are” in the moment when you’re hating yourself exactly as you are.
If the thing that your partner loathes is beautiful to you, their inner dialogues may state, then it’s clear that you are not meant to be partners and that you have terrible judgment.
As a recovered anorexic, and one who is often triggered by sex and relationships, I’ve avoided dating because my fear of being triggeredmakes me feel guilty for potentially inconveniencing my potential partners.
But I realize that it does take two to tango – and I also understand that dating someone who has had an eating disorder and not wanting to cause harm can also be terribly stressful for the other partner in the relationship.
Treat your recovered or recovering partner the same: Honor the illness for what it is, offer what support you can , and give them time to feel the feelings.