Looking for Advice. Fiance with Chronic Bulimia

W

wthomps429

New member
Joined
Jul 6, 2017
Messages
2
#1
I've been with my fiancé for 5 years now, engaged for less than a year. She told me about her eating disorder very early and said she has had it since her late teens and has dealt with it off and on ever since. It primarily takes the form of Bulimia with an obsession toward exercise as a coping mechanism. There are food triggers that she avoids, but generally tries not to restrict in any way. She has also been medicating with Prozac since she was about 18 and is 46 years old now. I don't believe that does her any good at this point, but she's addicted to it now.

Early when we were dating, she said she pretty much had it under control (occasional purging), but due to changes in her job and lifestyle (kid demands), she can't exercise as much as she used to and it struggling with weight gain. As a result, she's now purging 3-5 times per week and has sort of accepted this as part of her situation. To make matters worse, her 12 year old daughter, who lives with us half time, has now has developed her own eating disorder and is purging occasionally and restricting. She knows that her mom struggled with an ED in the past, but doesn't know she still is and it actively purging. We have her daughter in therapy at an ED clinic, but it's still a constant problem.

All that said, I guess I'm just looking for perspective as to what to expect and options for her. Ironically, her sister is a psychiatrist specializing in eating disorders and they are close, but I know they rarely talk about my fiancé's issues. I ask her if she's discussed her ED with her sister and if her sister knows how often she's purging, but she just gives me a vague response of "yeah, I think she knows", which I don't believe. Her and I had an agreement early on that she needs to be completely open and honest with me about her ED for us to work, and she has been for the most part, but I have to ask her very directly and sometimes repeatedly to get the full truth. I’m concerned that she’s going to become more secretive about this as recently when I asked her if she had purged that night (I can sometimes tell because she clears her throat a lot and coughs), she responded that she had, but doesn’t see what good it does to tell me. It has certainly created a lot of anxiety with her and tension between us at times. She also feels like a hypocrite being so strict with her daughter about her ED when she can't control hers. I've asked her if she thinks therapy would help her, but she just says she's tried all of that in the past.

Is there hope that she'll ever be able to stop this cycle?
Are there people who just "settle in" to a life where purging is the norm?
Are there treatment options for someone who's been dealing with this nearly her whole life?
If she isn't allowed to restrict her diet in any way (as she's told me) and she can't possibly exercise her way out of this (losing/maintaining weight is 20%exercise and 80% diet), then how can she ever achieve a comfortable (for her) body as she ages?
Isn’t it better to keep all of this out in the open? I would think that being secretive about it would be destructive and empower the ED.

I want to help her, but feel like there's nothing I can say or do to make any of this better. I would very much appreciate other perspectives or advice if you have time.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
 
Poopy Doll

Poopy Doll

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
Messages
11,501
Location
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
#2
Welcome to the Forum wthomps429 . I am so sorry your wife and daughter have these issues. You are quite correct that secrecy feeds the illness. Have you told her sister what is going on ?? Perhaps she can be enlisted to help.
 
S

SuZQ154

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
25
#3
You have been exceptionally understanding and seem to be honestly looking for ways to help your fiancee. That is very admirable, kind, and loving. Underneath that, are you fearful of being married to someone who has an ED and angry that she is not pursuing professional help? Have you personally considered seeing a professional counselor for direction. An eating disorder is similar to alcoholism; it generally effects everyone around it and requires intervention. Setting health boundaries for yourself may require professional assistance. Hope this helps. Blessings.
 
W

wthomps429

New member
Joined
Jul 6, 2017
Messages
2
#4
You have been exceptionally understanding and seem to be honestly looking for ways to help your fiancee. That is very admirable, kind, and loving. Underneath that, are you fearful of being married to someone who has an ED and angry that she is not pursuing professional help? Have you personally considered seeing a professional counselor for direction. An eating disorder is similar to alcoholism; it generally effects everyone around it and requires intervention. Setting health boundaries for yourself may require professional assistance. Hope this helps. Blessings.
Thank you so much for your post. I will contact her sister and discuss the issue with her. It ebbs and flows. When she has time to exercise and low stress, she's fine, but as soon as the stress goes up and the schedule gets busy and interferes with her workouts, she resorts to purging as both a way of coping with weight gain and (I think) a way of sort of punishing herself for the lack of control. There's nothing I can do about that. In addition, I had gained some weight over the winter and made some changes to lose that this spring (about 15 pounds - diet adjustment and exercise) and this seems to have bothered her and she says it's a trigger for her. She'd be happier if I gained the weight back, which of course I won't do, as this is a healthier and happier weight for me.

Generally, we get along well and things are okay, but everything food related is complicated and it can be frustrating. I see her eating things that I know are contributing to her weight problems, but can't say anything and don't. If she could just make some adjustments (such as eliminating the nightly snacking right before bed), she'd be better off, but this insistence on no diet restrictions makes it hard to treat and seems to contribute to the problem. Regardless, I'll talk to her sister and see what she has to say. I suspect she has no idea my fiancé is having the problems she's having and maybe she can talk to her and get her some help. My hands are really tied on this.

Thanks again for your help!
 
S

SuZQ154

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
25
#5
You seem to be handling these situations well and are seeking solutions! I read a book recently which said happy marriages that last are ones with seven qualities. Three were "Solve your solvable problems"; "Overcome gridlock"; and "Let your partner influence you"(Praying your fiancee will allow you to do that!) You seem to be going in the right direction! Good luck to you!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
I Eating Disorders Forum 2
R Eating Disorders Forum 3

Similar threads