View Full Version : Need advice! should I disclose my ed to my boyfriend?

04-11-2012, 01:18 AM
Hi fishies,

I need your opinions on whether or not I should tell my boyfriend about my recent struggles with ed.

A bit of background info:
Things haven't exactly been the greatest for me on the ed front lately. After over a year and a half of recovery and no behaviours I have "relapsed" -- or at least am having some significant struggles. I'm no where near my rock bottom, but I've lost quite a bit of weight and am having a really hard time with thoughts. Basically, in the last little while the ed has completely taken over my internal life and I am constantly thinking about it.

This all caught me quite off guard because I really thought I had moved past the ed and was in a strong place with no or very little risk of relapse. In hindsight, however, I left some stones unturned during my recovery process which are now biting me in the ass, namely: my perfectionism and need to appear perfect to those around me. Basically I am extremely unwilling to shatter people's illusions that I am anything other than extremely well adjusted, I rely way too much on what other people think of me for my self worth and I keep anything I perceive as a weakness to myself. I happen to have a very strong intuition but I often disregard my intuition if it is in any way going to cause me social discomfort. I go to great lengths to avoid unpleasant emotions and unpleasant social interactions. Ultimately, this is all a huge part of what is currently making me sick.

About the boyfriend:
My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half or so. I guess things are starting to get serious. He knows of my ed past but not of my present. I have been lying about the reasons for my weight loss. On one hand I don't want to tell him because I don't want to be judged or thought differently of. I am also afraid of him breaking up with me or judging me. He previously told me about a girl he met in college with an ed who he chose not to date and that really scares me.

On the other hand, I have become acutely aware that denying how I feel or denying any weaknesses feeds into my perfectionism and is making me and will continue to make me sick until I really start tackling it. So I feel like for the sake of my recovery I may need to tell him. I know that I am capable of pulling myself out of this relapse regardless of whether or not I tell him, that's not the issue. The issue is more that if I don't tell him I fear that I won't be challenging my perfectionism and my inability and unwillingness to challenge this over the last year of my life is a huge part of what has gotten me into my current state. Until I am really willing to take this on I worry I will never really be able to recover or get to a recoverED or recovered state. I also feel SO ALONE right now and I feel like maybe I am doing our relationship a disservice by all the lying and hiding.

What do you guys think? Any advice on how to go about doing it?

On another note, if anyone wants to help me with a related issue: should I tell my parents? On one hand I really feel like this will help me break through some of my perfectionism issues and my need to caretake people. On the other hand, my poor parents. They went through hell with my ed and I hate to worry them when I know at the end of the day I am going to be strong enough to pull out of this.

04-11-2012, 01:31 AM
I would disclose to your bf because i believe relationships need to be built on honesty and trust. I think you could explain your circumstances in a non threatening way to him. Like explain an Ed as a coping mechanism and right now your coping skills are being stretched to the limit and hence the reemergence of some ED behaviours. I'm not sure i would use words like relapse etc because i think that might be a powerful word to your Ed and a scary one to him

Your parents...i'd leave a while before you told them and would tell them when or if things were still going downhill after the month of your phd is up. I think it might be enabling if you tell too many people too quickly and if this is something you can pull out of then there is no harm done in them not knowing your current struggles. I think those that have been thru an extended length of time dealing with someone elses ED will probably react the most and it may not be helpful to go thru that even if they end up supportive after the initial comments.

But as always you know these people in RT better than anyone here and your decision to disclose or not disclose might be based on factors we can't predict

04-11-2012, 01:51 AM
Thanks so much for your solid advice!

"Like explain an Ed as a coping mechanism and right now your coping skills are being stretched to the limit and hence the reemergence of some ED behaviours. I'm not sure i would use words like relapse etc because i think that might be a powerful word to your Ed and a scary one to him"
Good idea and I will definitely NOT be using words like "relapse". Haha, I'm seriously so non confrontational and so naturally inclined to avoid this kind of conversation that if I tell him I would definitely be underplaying it. Also, at the end of the day, as big of a deal as this has been in my head the last bit, as you have aptly pointed out to me so many times, it's not black and white and nor is it sick or well. I am definitely currently existing in the grey right now. I just feel like giving him a little glimpse of where I am, showing him a little sliver of the grey, might be really helpful for me to challenge myself and also is probably in the best interests of our relationship. I don't want a relationship where I have to hide myself and, as my T says, if this goes the long haul we're in it for better or worse and it's important to know whether he can handle being with me when I am not all sunshine and roses.

If I muster up the guts to tell him it will either be tomorrow night or maybe the weekend as I may wait to talk to my T first, but then again I kind of want to save therapy for other stuff...

Good idea on waiting to tell my parents and telling them only if things get worse. I think you're right that telling them at this point may be more trouble than it's worth for so many reasons. I'm a bit concerned they will find out anyways though as I haven't seen them in a bit and they may notice when I see them next week, but we shall see. I suppose I can always chalk it up to stress which is pretty much the truth anyways.

04-11-2012, 01:56 AM
Ah... and maybe I should not even be referring to this as a relapse to myself? Unsure.

04-11-2012, 04:18 AM
Yep this might only be a slip, the next month will proabably determine which it is!

04-11-2012, 10:55 AM
Totally off topic but now I am wondering what makes something a "relapse" versus a "slip"? A thread for later, perhaps when I again try and contemplate the difference between recovery and recovered, which my opinion has changed on btw with the recent turn of events :winky

04-12-2012, 01:49 AM
Told my bf!

04-12-2012, 02:57 AM
good job

what reaction did you get?

04-12-2012, 10:10 AM

I took your advice and didn't use the term relapse, I think my exact words were "I'm kind of having problems with ed stuff as a means of coping with stress." He was surprised. He said he had thought the weight loss was from stress and that he knew I wasn't eating properly when working but that he didn't think it was ed'd. He didn't freak out at all and wasn't off put. He kind of minimized it a bit actually. He was like "babe, you're past that stuff." And I was like "no, actually, I'm not, as the past few weeks have demonstrated to me. I'm past the body image stuff and all that but I have some underlying issues to work through" (or something like that but less technical). I told him I felt like he was minimizing it a bit and then he was basically like "ok, I can recognize this is an issue for you but I don't want you to focus on it or on how hard it has been I want you to move forward and focus on living your life and being healthy." Fair enough. He also said that he thinks I'll feel a lot better when I go on sick leave. Basically, I opened the door to honesty. I feel like I if I need to I could ask him for more support and he would help me but I made it pretty clear to him that the purpose of telling him wasn't so I could get support from him around it but rather because I felt it was a disservice to our relationship to lie and hide something. I'm pretty proud of myself as it was hard to make myself do that.