Patients with eating disorders experience many conflicting and competing emotions. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS
In a world where everyone is still trying to fight discrimination, it is heart-warming to know that you do not mind being with someone who has anorexia nervosa. If it is in a different scenario, the person with an eating disorder – or any disease, for that matter – may find the love quest impossible to conquer. However, you can now say that everything is indeed fair when it comes to relationships and war.
Despite the general openness, you cannot be too careless with many stuff, especially regarding word choices. The last thing you want is to trigger the condition or hurt your special someone’s feelings. Here are further things to remember if you wish to start a relationship with an anorexic.
1. Know The Symptoms Of The Eating Disorder
Feel free to think of yourself as a soldier who needs to go on a battle against the disease to save your partner.For you to win, you should know off the bat the symptoms of anorexia and the ways to keep them from distracting the love of your life.
2. Be Mindful Of Their Relationship With Food
On a good day, dare to ask the significant other regarding their thoughts on food. Does she hate it? Are there varieties she prefers not to eat? This way, you will be able to invite her to the right restaurants and offer the acceptable foods.
3. Avoid Weight Talks
Speaking of weight is a big no-no when you are with an anorexic. Quite often, weight issues cause a person to develop an eating disorder. Even if you mean to talk about yourself only, the little chitchat might still affect the individual’s train of thoughts.
For those in the eating disorder community, it is an exciting time as progress is being observed. — Greta Gleissner LCSW
4. Think A Hundred Times Before Commenting On Anyone’s Appearance Negatively
Similarly, you should be wise enough to realize that you cannot voice out your observations on how chubby that lady is across the street or how skinny your colleague is getting. Although you are not using those people to imply that your partner is the one who’s fat or stick-thin, it may sound like that in an anorexic’s mind. Hence, choose your words carefully or save your comments for much later.
5. Stop Giving Suggestions On How To Get Rid Of Anorexia
Another thing that may make your relationship more stress-free than ever is by stopping yourself from offering unsolicited advice on how to eliminate the illness. There’s no doubt that you are doing it out of love, but it might come out as if you feel exhausted towards your significant other or you think you know the eating disorder better than the person who has it.
6. Support Rather Than Shame Them
It should not be necessary when you have a loving relationship, yet it still won’t hurt to remind yourself that your better half needs 100% support from you. Not even a hint of shaming should come from you because 1) you may not get what caused it and 2) your partner hates the disease more than you do.
Patients with eating disorders contend with a difficult emotional landscape marked by isolation and loneliness as well as shame, guilt and embarrassment, not to mention a profound hopelessness about the possibilities of emotional connection. — Tom Wooldridge, PsyD, ABPP, CEDS
If you are starting a relationship with someone who suffers from anorexia nervosa, you ought to understand that the path you will take is no different than being with depression or anxiety patient. It will not always be smooth-sailing, but it will not be rocky all the time as well. You merely need to know what to say and not to tell in front of your loved one to prevent future conflicts.