Me, My Boyfriend And Bulimia: The Threesome Nobody Talks About

Me, My Boyfriend And Bulimia: The Threesome Nobody Talks About

“I will take you as you are. I will meet you where you’re at. There is room for you and all your baggage but some of it doesn’t need to come with you. You can leave it behind.”
My boyfriend of 3 months says this to me in my kitchen after I refuse to eat frozen yogurt with him because I want to be “healthy”. I stand with my arms crossed ready to defend ED tooth and nail.
“You can have a relationship with ED or you can have a relationship with me but not both. I want you, all of you and I’m not prepared to share you with your eating disorder.”
He holds out his arms and pulls me into him. I start sobbing uncontrollably because I know he is right. “I am trying,” I implore. “I just reach a point where I can’t do recovery. I can’t wake up and look like this and be this big and feel this heavy. And then I give up and it starts all over again.”
“How much of your time and energy and life have you lost to this? How much more is it going to rob you of? How much is it going to rob us of?”
“Years. Years and years and years of my life,” I respond too ashamed to look at him. “And I’m tired of it. I can’t do it anymore.”
Recovery or relapse. I am caught in the middle. I live in pseudo recovery for a month which is more akin to orthorexia in reality. I eat healthy and exercise until I am triggered and need to cope, until I look at my reflection and cannot accept it, until ED knocks on the door and I let him waltz in happily to continue our love affair where we left off.

I have never been honest with any partner about how bad my eating disorder is or when I am actively engaged in it, but it has taken a huge toll on my relationships. The lies (blatant or by omission), the shame and disgust and the obvious obsession with food has caused rifts in relationships. It is like being in a threesome all the time. More often than not, ED is the preferred partner. I choose ED every time I am let down, mistreated, neglected or feel hurt.

I left my last relationship because he didn’t love me and fell straight into the arms of ED, my trusted, beloved friend who is always there. Twenty years later, I don’t want this for my life anymore. I want a real relationship that is unhindered by this. I want to bike and hike and do things with my boyfriend. I want to be well enough to have children and to live an active, healthy life with him.

I have unwaveringly believed that I will never be fully recovered because it is not possible. I have held steadfast to the belief that I will live with an eating disorder for the rest of my life and like an alcoholic, will try and deal with it everyday. I am beginning to understand that that is a good excuse for relapsing every few months or for continuing my disordered behaviour under the guise of “healthy” eating which is just another obsession.

This weekend I went grocery shopping with my boyfriend. We tried to pick out granola. I read labels and compared nutritional information. I agonized over the amount of sugar. He picked up the cheapest box and his decision was made. I told him that I would leave the decision up to him and that I would stop being a freak in the store. I tried to relinquish my control issues. Then we tried to pick out granola bars. Cue the same scenario all over again. He picked up ones that he liked. I read the ingredients and lost it. There was icing sugar on these granola bars. He compromised and got me a box of healthier granola bars. I realized that I have never picked out food to eat based on what I feel like or if I want it (unless I am on a binge of course). I have so many food rules that even when I am in recovery, I am really not.

The next day he made me breakfast in bed. Granola, greek yogurt and 3% milk with a helping of blueberries. It was the biggest bowl that I had ever seen. I ate half of it and handed it back.
“Three more spoonfuls,” he said. I complied. I would have happily eaten the whole bowl if I knew I could purge after.

He asked me to choose between him or ED.

He was adamant that there was no middle ground. Recovery is his choice for me because he loves me. Recovery is my choice for myself because I love him.

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28 thoughts on “Me, My Boyfriend And Bulimia: The Threesome Nobody Talks About

  1. It sounds like he does love you, and does support you and want to be with you, just the way you are. A lot of people don’t get to experience even that. I’d say you’re doing pretty well. 🙂 just a matter of perspective.

  2. Anon says:

    Youretopia.com – different approach to recovery. Check it out.

  3. royaltyandrainbows says:

    This just made me realize that, unless I’m binging, I’m very much the same way. When I’m in charge of my own eating (as opposed to when I’m staying with someone, for example) I have long-forgotten rules about what I can and cannot eat, rules I made so long ago I forgot I had them. I pick meals based on health vs. calories/carbs/sugar as opposed to what I want to eat. I think, deep down, I don’t trust myself to simply eat what I like.

    • I really identify with what you said about not trusting yourself to eat what you like. I have been wanting to read more about intuitive eating. It is scary!

      Hope you are well. Lots of love.

      • royaltyandrainbows says:

        I have a book on intuitive eating, but I’ve never read it. It was given to me by a therapist 7 years ago, and I’ve never even opened it. Something about it scares me.

      • Hmmm….I have never read too much about it, but I feel that the time for me has come. I wish you the strength someday soon to face your fears and open that book. I want you to be well in every sense of the word. I want you to be healthy and happy.

  4. Nataly says:

    It sounds like he cares about you immensely. Maybe he can believe in you until you believe in yourself? What would that look like for you? To live in his love, and to learn slowly, how to love yourself? It can happen. I am proof. And you *are* trying…and that is all you need to do. xo.

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts. I think that living in his love might be the way to go for me and having even more reasons to recover are only good things as far as I am concerned. I am glad you are proof of this!

  5. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Your story sounds so familiar to mine, right down to the number of years dealing with this. Thank you for putting this out there.

  6. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Reblogged this on Not a Punk Rocker and commented:
    I just discovered this amazing blog and this was the first post that I read. After I stopped my ugly-cry because this hit me, HARD, I asked for permission to share this with y’all.

    This describes my relationship with bulimia perfectly, though I never had a partner support recovery when they did know. My disorder was either a joke, a way to “dare” me to hurt myself or just ignored.
    Just like I know my eating disorder and body image are not about attracting someone and are about how I view my worth, I also know I do not have to be in a relationship to have an identity. But who wants to be totally alone? Not me, but as long as I keep relapsing in recovery, it won’t make a difference if I find Mr. Right or not. I will have already chosen this monster over them and will continue to lose more years of my life in this self-abusive spiral.

    • I really wish that you could have a life free from this and find a partner who loves you and cares for you. I want you to be able to have a relationship without ED in the picture and get out of the spiral. I know how hard it is because I cannot practice my own advice. I am lying here on the couch post binge and trying to resist the urge to purge. I don’t want you to lose anymore years of your life to this. Somehow we have to find the strength to say “enough”. You are enough; I am enough, just the way we are.

  7. Pen says:

    I didn’t comment the first time around reading this. I apologize for that. It was selfish of me. PunkRocker had the courage despite drawing parallels- so should I.

    I think you have a surprisingly intuitive boyfriend. Being in similar situations in past relationships, it was always hard for me to put into words about the whole “ED thing”. But your boyfriend shows that incredible level of love, bravery, firmness, love, and support that may be just the key to turn that lock that holds on the heavy chains.

    I do hope he is. You deserve to feel like yourself again. To have that third person let you be merely partners.

    Warm thoughts.

    • Thank you for your observations. I feel incredibly lucky to have found someone who loves me despite ED and who is willing to be realistic about it rather than just ignore it.

      Sometimes another reason to recover is a good thing. I believe whatever gets us there in the end is all that matters.

      Thank you for your kind words!

  8. Hey! Just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for a Shine On Award over at my blog.

  9. A lot of people will identify with this but are too afraid to speak out! A great post and you are very lucky to have found someone so accepting 🙂

    http://www.eatprayliveblog.wordpress.com

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