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Eating disorders and dating: Do you tell or keep it secret?

Colleen E. Crane MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker based in Bozeman, Montana. Colleen is currently in private practice and specializes in working with adolescent girls and women.

Dating when you have an ED

Dealing with an eating disorder can be anxiety-inducing enough, but what do you do when you are in a relationship? Revealing your eating disorder on the first date is a big no-no, but sharing it with Mr. Right is the right thing to do.
Upset woman

Here’s how sharing with your partner can help put you on the path to healing.

Eating disorder or not, we all have problems

Telling someone that you have an eating disorder does not mean the relationship is doomed. Often, discussing your problems with the person you love allows your partner to also open up about his own personal issues. Sharing intimate details allows people to get closer.

Telling someone means that you recognize the problem

When you tell loved ones that you are suffering from an eating disorder it can help them understand a deeper part of you. If your partner is interested in a serious and committed relationship, he probably wants to know the good, the bad and the in-between. The first step to solving a problem is recognizing and addressing it as a problem!

Your partner can help you in your healing

Sharing with your partner that you have an eating disorder means that your partner can help you avoid triggers and support you in your healing process. If your partner really is Mr. Right, then being there to support you is probably on the top of his list. There are many mental health professionals who specialize in eating disorders who can help explain to your partner what you may be going through if you run into a roadblock.

If he dumps you, he's not what you want anyway

If you share with your partner that you have an eating disorder and he is not receptive to you, then he probably isn't the right guy for you. Eating disorders never completely go away, and are a lifelong struggle. If you want to get better, you need a partner who is going to support you, no matter what.

important

Whether you have been struggling with an eating disorder for years or just a couple of months, it is important to get help from a professional. Eating disorders not only affect your physical health, but also your mental health. Reaching out to a professional can help you manage your anxieties when it comes to eating. A professional can also provide a safe space for you and your partner to discuss issues and address them with someone who knows what you are going through. Don't try to do it on your own!

More on eating disorders

Orthorexia: When healthy eating is hazardous to your health
Fat-Haters Club: Eating disorders and teens
Anorexia and bulimia: Illnesses or lifestyle choices?

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