Over the years, I’ve gotten dozens of emails from all sorts of people regarding dating and juggling eating disorder recovery.
I’ve gotten emails from women suffering from eating disorders venting about how its affected their relationships. I’ve even gotten emails from boyfriends and husbands on how to handle what their girlfriend (or even boyfriend) are going through and how to gethelp for eating disorders.
I think this calls for a post on how to date someone who’s had an eating disorder. I say “had” because I’ve never gone on dates when I was truly in my eating disorder. I think its extremely hard to find room to have a good relationship when you are that sick and not trying to recover.
So here’s what you should know:
1) Don’t Push Food
Just be normal.
Suggest grabbing a bite if its dinner time, but don’t constantly try to push the person to eat.
As someone who pursued my own recovery, I was just trying to strive for a normal approach to food. When I got out of rehab, a lot of my friends had eating disorders too and I just wanted to be with normal people that have a normal attitude towards food.
So just be normal, don’t be a Jewish mother (even though I don’t have the mother part).
2) Don’t Respond To Questions About Weight
This isn’t just for women who’ve had eating disorders.
I never do this, but I’m gonna hit caps lock or what I’m about to type:
DO NOT RESPOND TO A GIRL WHEN SHE ASKS YOU IF SHE LOOKS FAT
I don’t make the rules. But if you want to get laid that night or sometime in the near future, you’ll do the right thing.
3) Not Everything is “Because We Had An Eating Disorder”
If we get a little sad, irritated, or not in the mood to finish a pizza it’s not always cause we used to have a problem.
We are normal people underneath it and we get irritated by normal things that don’t have to do with food and weight. Stuff like traffic, gum on our shoe, Miley Cyrus, etc. And luckily, I’m at a weight that I can afford not to finish a pizza and not fall through the shower drain.
4) Have Fun
Seriously, if you really want to be supportive and just an all around awesome boyfriend/girlfriend, just have fun.
Fun distracts you from all the shit in your life. Whether it be a former eating disorder or anything really. And if you think of it, things that make us happy are things that distract us from the shit in our lives. I do believe if you really like someone, even doing simple things can be fun. Stuff like jumping in puddles, building pillow forts, making out in pillow forts…all wonderful distractions.
Do you think someone with an eating disorder or some other mental illness can have strong relationships? What would you add to the list?