General Question

timeand_distance's avatar

Would you date someone who had an eating disorder?

Asked by timeand_distance (1287points) February 3rd, 2009

If you have, how did it affect your relationship (if it did at all)? If you wouldn’t, why not?

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22 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

If they were being treated and were compliant with the treatment, probably. If they refused treatment or sluffed it off, I think I’d stay away.

cak's avatar

I would be very concerned about where they were in treatment and how prone are they to relapse. Not because I think of them as lepers, I would just worry that a relationship might be too much for them. It would take some serious talks, and true understanding where they were and what their triggers are. (if they had identified them)

I wouldn’t be against the idea, but for their well-being, I would want to make sure they were really on their road to recovery and hadn’t had a relapse in a long time.

marinelife's avatar

That is a long and difficult journey. I would not do it without my eyes being fully open. It is as serious as having a partner with an addiction or a serious physical or mental disorder. There are giant, long-term ramifications and great potential for heartache on the way.

On the other hand, if you truly loved them, you might not care about that.

Magnus's avatar

I like sane chicks.

cak's avatar

@Magnus – men have eating disorders, as well. It’s not just a female thing.

dynamicduo's avatar

No I wouldn’t. I don’t care to spend my romantic time with someone who doesn’t have the same outlook towards food and healthy living as I do.

Elumas's avatar

@cage Because the problem would probably run deeper. I wouldn’t want to get too close.

Zaku's avatar

Yes, multiple cases. Well, it depends on how you define disorder. Weird and/or unbalanced relationships to food and body image are more like the norm in the USA.

It affects a relationship when someone isn’t eating in a balanced healthy way, because nutrition swings affect thinking and moods and communication and presence. I find it difficult when I have a strong connection to a woman when she has good energy, but then she quickly becomes tired and/or irritable and seems to make much less sense. Affects patience, trust, ability to communicate, rapport, respect, etc. On the other hand, it’s an opportunity to make a difference for someone I care about, since I can offer an external perspective on what’s happening to her, that she has a hard time seeing because she’s experiencing it first-person, from inside the experience. I try to relate also my own experiences with food swings on my experience and way of being, as well as what I’ve seen in other people, etc. But it can also be a trap to try to “fix” someone I’m trying to relate to as a peer and a potential partner. Unbalanced appetite also affects relationships because it’s a common shared activity with a partner – if she’s binging or fasting, and I’m not… etc.

jessturtle23's avatar

No, I like my guys with no mental issues.

Jack79's avatar

I had an anorexic girlfriend once. I gave up after a few months, but to be honest our main problem was not the food, it was her overall behaviour (which of course may have something to do with her eating habits). My current gf also doesn’t eat that much, but I wouldn’t really call this a “disorder”. She’s just not into food that much and tends to forget to eat.
The biggest problem I’ve ever had was with a gf who was an alcoholic (and also did some soft drugs). That was something I had a real tough time coping with.

asmonet's avatar

@dynamicduo: There are a wide range of eating disorders. If your SO suffered from Pica, would it matter to you if the occasionally ate dirt in addition to your meals together? Not all eating disorders are binging, purging or a combination.

I would, depending on many factors. If I found out about it after I was in the relationship I wouldn’t think to automatically run for the hills – I’d try to help, but if I was just considering a relationship I might not enter one. If they were recovering, I don’t think it would matter. I’d just be more careful about food and comments around them out of kindness.

dynamicduo's avatar

@asmonet – I hadn’t really considered other eating disorders. So I’ll think about it now. I wouldn’t really have a problem with pica, provided the person had the same healthy attitude towards food and exercise as I did, what’s the harm in eating a bit of X every now and then (but if it gets to be something that preoccupies their time, it’s a problem). One of the reasons I would not date a person with a traditional eating disorder is because I do not want to be subjected to the uncomfortableness surrounding knowing a person is actively purging or binging, let alone the lack of respect it would show for my time, effort, and cost in cooking a delicious meal. I consider a healthy relationship with food to be one of the primary qualities when choosing a partner, and I doubt I would get very far in a relationship with anyone who had an unhealthy relationship with food such as many anorexics and bulimics do.

wundayatta's avatar

This discussion is interesting because it hints at a larger issue—the attitudes towards the mentally ill, in general. I.e., would you date someone who was schizophrenic, depressed, or bipolar? Or would you stay away from them, no matter whether they had it under control or not?

I think that what often happens is that people get involved with someone who is relatively healthy, and then develops a mental illness after many years in the relationship. Spouses have a very hard time of it, and I’m sure a lot of marriages break up because of that.

I guess I’m thinking that you simply can’t predict, with much accuracy, whether a person will be the person you think they are now. A bulimic woman might grow into a very balanced, healthy woman. A stable man may turn out to be bipolar when he hits middle age. As they say in investments, “past performance is not an indicator of future performance.”

People change, some for the better, and others for the worse. The Dad doesn’t want his daughter to marry the neer-do-well young man. The guy has no job, and hangs around his garage tinkering with computer chips. Thirty years later, he’s the richest man in the world.

There are so many rags to riches stories. Probably there are also a lot of riches to rags stories (although not as many). Bulimia to health? Health to bulimia? Who knows? There’s probably data on this somewhere, and here we all are shooting our mouths off about our prejudices, simply because we are ignorant (me, as much as anyone else, although I think I should get credit for recognizing it).

loser's avatar

I dated a bulimic. It was very hard because I was always wondering when she was up to even though she was getting treatment.

asmonet's avatar

@dynamicduo: I’m glad you took a second look at it, I was hoping you might. I agree with you completely. :)

cwilbur's avatar

It really would depend on how his eating disorder affected the relationship. The ones that are about body image—anorexia and bulimia—would probably be a deal-killer, because if he doesn’t think he’s attractive, I’m not sure I could find him attractive.

kayysamm's avatar

Personallly, I have dating someone with a eatign disorder. He was not open with it but he confided in me. I did just about everything I could to help him or show him what he was doing was not the right thing without turning to his family. Our relationship wasn’t affected by it as much as you would think. The only thing that was added to it was that I would worry on whether or not he was okay when he wasn’t handling his problem.

Eventually after a few months of always telling him he either needed to stop or needed to see a doctor for help, he finally gave in. But most people with eating disorders don’t want to give up that control they of so easily.

Mainly, if you are tryign to date someone with a eating disorder just know that you may have a little more stress on your part. And you also may have to become more of a caretaker at some parts rather then a girlfriend/boyfriend. Whether or not you should all deflects on your abilitly to handle it.

cricketonastick's avatar

My sister (to my left) says that that is too much emotional baggage and they need to sort it out for themselves. I on the other hand think that if both of you enter into the relationship fully aware of the situation, completely open with each other, and that you don’t try to “fix” that person, then it could be beneficial. You can’t change a person, only help them change themselves.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I would stay away from anyone with a mental disorder, be it bi-polar, depression, or whatever. Relationships are hard enough without dooming it from the start. However, if your SO develops a disorder later, that is different. You know – better or worse. If I liked someone who had a disorder, I would want them to fix it or at least get it under control before I would want to get serious with them.

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