22. August 2013 by swissfitchick
Yup. That’s a tricky one. I get asked a lot, how my Eating Disorder is/was approached in my and Sandro’s relationship, how we handle it, if it has an influence etc. I talked to Sandro if he is okay with me writing about it, because it is very personal. We both thought that telling this story maybe helps someone out there – so I wrote it all down.
When we started dating, I told Sandro the whole story. At that time, I wasn’t relapsing so often, my ED wasn’t going strong and actually I felt pretty good, but I just knew it wasn’t over yet. I wanted him to know everything so he knew what might expect him🙂 I made the mistake in my previous relationship that I did not talk about it enough and it was one of the main reasons why it ended. I never wanted to put my relationship in danger anymore because of a stupid Eating Disorder.
Sandro had no clue about Eating Disorders, so he wasn’t prepared. Amazingly enough he reacted most of the time very sensitive, understanding and patient. I was pretty stable in the first year of our relationship, but when things started to change (my move to Zurich, new job etc.) the bulimia came back in full force. At that point, both of us had no idea how to handle these rough moments when I was in a relapse and in my dark thoughts, fears and despair. In the beginning, all was wrong. He tried to help me, I didn’t let him. He wanted to hug me, I pushed him away. He wanted to talk, I got mad and walked away. Nothing worked. I had to recover from the relapse and then managed to talk to him in a normal way.
We talked a lot. SO MUCH. Hours and hours – what is going on in my head when it happens? What do I need? How is it affecting Sandro? What can he do? How does he feel? How can we get through this together without hurting each other? So many questions. We failed, over and over, had disagreements, fought, hurt each other, didn’t talk. But we never dout about that we belong together and that we can do this. In the moments out of my vicious cycles we swore, that we are stronger than this disease. We swore, that the bulimia won’t separate us. There was just no way that stupid bingeing, food, negative thoughts and weight would destroy our love.
We worked really hard and everytime we failed we talked it over. I wrote a lot – writing is my tool to express myself. We started to develop strategies, how we can cope with delicate days, and how we can hold up respect and a relationship – I never wanted him to turn into some kind of therapist for me or a supporter – I wanted him to be my boyfriend and me his girlfriend. Yes, it’s wonderful and a blessing that he supports me, but there is a danger of becoming dependent on your partner and I never wanted that. Thankfully, I always went to my psychologist who took over the therapeutical part.
BUT, we found a good way and great strategies how I can support him by telling him how HE can support me. Believe me, it took me SO LONG to find out how to seek, ask for and accept help. And to appreciate it. After years and years of battling with all the issues by myself, I just had no idea how to do this nor did I feel comfortable with it at all. I felt constricted, embarrassed, angry, helpless and pressured. My Trainer ones said to me when I was complaining about Sandro’s attempts to help me:’ Imagine how that feels. You want to help. And you get pushed away. Wouldn’t that hurt YOU?’ – That woke me up.
Fortunately, Sandro is a very down to earth kind of person. He hardly ever gets irritated and he can look at my struggles in a very rational way – which makes it easier for me to stay grounded. Also, he is hardly ever in a bad mood – yeah, that sounds heavenly, but sometimes, ya know…..sorry Babe, but you know it. Too much good mood can be….well….a little disturbing sometimes :-)
Hm, well maybe not that easy….wahaha. so cheesy.
After all these months of being in recovery now and getting to learn my tools how to handle my struggles, relapes and downs, things got a lot better. I am not crazy overwhelmed anymore when binges happen, nor do they happen that often anymore. This makes our relationship a lot more relaxed and easy. Of course, we discuss, fight or have disagreements here and there, but I guess that’s just the flow of a relationship. Sometimes our strategies don’t work and I’d scream in disappointment, but heck, we are human and we are no professional psychologists. But still – not only did I become kind of a little expert in dealing with my ED, so is Sandro. He exactly knows the triggers, for me or for both of us. He knows my fears and he knows what to do (most of the time) in these situations. Let’s say, living together with an Eating Disorder as the ‘third wheel’ in a relationship is not easy – but it’s possible. The goal is to eliminate that third wheel – soon and forever.