Broken. Anxious. Unworthy. Hopeless. Scared. Flawed. Depressed. Unloved. If you’ve ever struggled with bulimia or anorexia, you might know those feelings intimately. An eating disorder is a monster that can have catastrophic effects on someone’s life and emotional well-being. According to the NEDA, It is estimated that as many as 10 million women and 1 million men are fighting this deadly disorder.
However, many people successfully overcome anorexia and bulimia. While this journey takes lots of dedication, support, treatment and trials, it is not an impossible task. Many successful, notable women and men have conquered an eating disorder. Some need lifelong treatment, but lead stable, happy lives.
If you’ve struggled with an eating disorder, and aren’t sure how to tell your boyfriend about it, you’re not alone. In fact, some commonly searched terms on Yahoo and Google are “when should I tell my boyfriend about my eating disorder” and “telling boyfriend about eating disorder.”
The best advice for someone in this situation is to consult with a therapist and/or trained counselor. It is ideal to find someone who specializes in eating disorders. She or he can help you decide what is best, based on your situation alone. It can vary from case to case on how to properly tell someone about your history. In addition, a counselor could give you some support and encouragement.
If you cannot afford a counselor, try to find some counseling centers that provide low-cost or free counseling. Read “How to Find Free Counseling” for advice.
You also may obtain referrals for counselors who specialize in eating disorders through the NEDA. Their live helpline, 1-800-931-2237, is available Monday through Friday. Click here to learn more. Even though you might not need a therapist for the eating disorder now, he or she has advised women in your situation.
It is your decision as to when to tell your boyfriend about your past. A counselor can help you choose what is appropriate for you and your relationship. However, if you are unable to get counseling, as a general rule you should wait until the relationship is somewhat serious. This might mean waiting a three months, six months or even more than a year. Or, it could mean you should tell him after three weeks of dating.
Most relationship experts advise against telling someone within the first few dates. Overcoming an eating disorder is definitely not something to be ashamed of. However, you do need privacy and you are not obligated to discuss immediately.
Remember, the first few dates of a relationship are a time to get to know someone. You can share much more details besides your health history. Leave the first few dates to talking about small talk, hobbies, school, work, and family.
However, if you want to disclose your eating disorder history early on, there is nothing wrong with that. Choose what you feel most comfortable with. However, be sure to have the support of a close friend, counselor or family member.
It is natural to be scared that your boyfriend will feel differently about you. However, most men are understanding and will see this as a strength that you got the help you needed and sought treatment. If your boyfriend feels differently, then he is definitely not the man for you.
For more relationship advice, please read “20 Signs You’re Dating Mr. Wrong.”