Eating disorders can wreak havoc on intimate relationships. Surely, you’ve heard the saying, “if you can’t love yourself, you can’t properly love someone else”. While this saying may not be completely accurate, there is some truth to it. Certainly, you can love someone and remain in a healthy relationship while getting the help you need. But, for many, the effects of eating disorders end up hurting relationships. And, is the reason that many relationships end prematurely.
Relationships require a lot of energy, time, and work. Those living with an eating disorder may already be extremely tired. And, spend a lot of time focusing on eating habits, weight, and body image. Thus, many relationships may end as a result of the effects of eating disorders. If you’re wondering how to overcome an eating disorder and you are in a relationship, it’s possible to salvage your relationships. But, there are many things to consider in order to do so.
How Eating Disorders can Negatively Affect Relationships
Eating disorders are mental health issues that, when left untreated, can actually affect a person’s personality. Someone who once was bubbly and enthusiastic can end up retreating and avoiding the ones she loves. After a while, intimate relationships suffer as a result of this change. And, the partner who isn’t struggling with an eating disorder may have to become the other’s caregiver. This can bring about an unhealthy imbalance in a relationship.
Furthermore, living with an eating disorder can actually reduce a person’s sex drive. Thus, affecting sexual intimacy with a partner. A reduction in sex drive can happen as a result of missing key ingredients of a healthy diet that help to maintain a healthy libido. Furthermore, many women struggling with eating disorders also struggle with weight and body image. So, they may not feel confident enough to engage in sexual activity with their partner. As a result, the other partner may feel that their significant other doesn’t care for them or is no longer sexually attracted to him/her.
Managing a Healthy Intimate Relationship in Recovery
Your relationship either started before your recovery journey or you have met someone along the way toward recovery. In either case, knowing how to maintain a healthy relationship is important for those in recovery. Fortunately, there are some specific things you can work on that will encourage both a healthy recovery and relationship including:
This is one of the most important things for any relationship. But, it’s especially important for people in recovery from eating disorders. Basically, when you’re in a relationship, the issues one partner falls in the other partner’s lap. So, it’s important to address these issues as a team. And, one of the best ways of doing so is to approach all issues with open communication.
While the person in recovery needs to communicate how they’re feeling, the other partner should be able to open up too. This is because relationships need to be balanced in order for both partners to feel that their needs are being met. So, if you’re the one in recovery, make it an effort to sit down with your partner. And, ask them how he/she is feeling, how their day was, and if there’s anything they need to get off their chest.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Every healthy relationship will have a set of healthy boundaries. But, boundaries may be even more crucial to those in recovery. So, if you’re serious about protecting your recovery, set boundaries in your relationship. This can include letting your partner know about your triggers so they know what not to do or say. And, how your partner can make adjustments in order to support your journey fully.
Consider Letting Go
Unfortunately, many relationships do not last due to the effects eating disorders can have on them. And, sometimes, this is the best thing to happen for those in recovery. Think about it; when you have a relationship in which either or both individuals aren’t happy, it’s tough to work on yourself. This includes sticking with treatment and recovery initiatives. So, if you feel that your relationship is in any way hindering your recovery success, you need to choose yourself. And, consider letting the relationship end; even if it’s until you’re back on your feet.
How to Overcome an Eating Disorder While in a Relationship
Are you struggling with an eating disorder? Wondering how to overcome an eating disorder? Is your relationship becoming negatively affected by your eating disorder? If so, there is help for you at Willow Place for Women.
Here, we provide women living with eating disorders with the support, resources, and community needed to establish a healthy lifestyle in recovery. To learn more about our programs, simply reach out to us today!