10 Things You Should Know About Dating A Girl With An Eating Disorder

Navigating the dating waters while in recovery for an eating disorder can be hard. As girls, we want to date and have relationships, but sometimes it’s difficult because of our baggage. When I first began dating the man that would become my husband I was elated, but afraid. The first few months were wonderful as we engaged each other in different settings. But then came the hard part—commitment. If we were going to stay together there were things he needed to learn about me.
Vlad Teodor
Vlad Teodor

1. We’re afraid for you to know how deep insecurities penetrate our minds.

We don’t want you to know how obsessive we are about food, weight and exercise or you might get scared away. We’re afraid you might be turned off by the way our minds work. Take the time to try and understand why we do what we do—even if it makes no sense.

2. We want to be loved deeply.

Because of our insecurities we have a desire to be loved. We don’t always love ourselves so we desire to be loved by someone else. You could be the one to help us begin to see ourselves as beautiful.

3. We need to hear why you enjoy being with us.

Are we pretty? Funny? Perfectly wonderful? What sets us apart from other girls? We want to hear you say these things because our self-esteem may be low.

4. We’re afraid to be ourselves.

Just like we are afraid for you to know how deep our insecurities are, we are also afraid for you to know the real us. We know that starving, binging, and purging are wrong, but we need you to understand our hurts so you can encourage us.

5. We might have a few crazy fits.

As much as we try to hold in our feelings and the negative inner thoughts sometimes they get the best of us. We may refuse to go to dinner or do something that seems “normal” to you. We are struggling to discover who we are inside.

6. Eating Disorders are addictions.

The more you understand about the way our mind works the better equipped you will be to help us. ED’s are a compulsion like an addiction. Just like an alcoholic struggles to stop drinking we struggle to stop self-destructive patterns. Sometimes (or often) we need extra help. Maybe from a counselor or treatment facility.

7. Don’t talk about weight or diets.

If you see someone on the street who could lose a few pounds don’t point it out. When we hear you say things about other people we automatically assume you’re thinking the same about us.

8. Start by bringing us to places that don’t involve food.

Sometimes eating in public or in front of a new person is scary so please get to know us when food is not present first. Then ask us if we would be comfortable going to a restaurant or café.

9. Sometimes we need space.

Eating disorders have taught us to isolate ourselves. Sometimes jumping into a relationship for the long haul can be hard because we still need some alone time. Be patient with us and we will let you know what we need.

10. We want to be loved for who we are.

It’s awesome that you think we’re sexy, but we’d really like to know we are loved on a deeper level. While eating disorders may seem to be all about appearance it’s really about the inside parts of us that hurt. Please encourage us and look for beauty that’s not skin deep.

My husband could tell you story after story of how hard it is to be with a girl who’s “mostly” recovered from an eating disorder. Dating was hard for us. I felt like a crazy person as we tried to get to know one another. We were able to work it out. I hope you can too. Loving a girl with an eating disorder can be hard, but work at it and maybe you could be the one that helps her blossom into a confident woman. TC mark

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