After that rousing discussion we had the other day about how important it can be to tell the person you’re dating about your food issues, I got to thinking. So many of the comments on that post were positive—it seems lots of readers have had great success and helpful, healthy experiences with their loved ones.
My husband, John, knows all about my bingeing history and is a source of quiet, stable, and healthy support. But there was a time when I didn’t have that in my life. In fact, when I was 20 years old and still in college, I was with someone who actually encouraged my binge eating.
I was still in college, and he was several (as in 13) years older than I was. We dated only briefly before getting married—I know, I know, what was I thinking?!—and that first year of marriage, I put on a whopping 50 pounds. As I grew bigger, he seemed to feel happier. Less worried about me spending time on campus. Less jealous of guy friends or time I spent away from home. I think my size made him feel more secure.
In fact, he became a bit of a “binge buddy.” On Sunday nights he would go pick up smorgasbords worth of fish-and-chips or Mexican food, and we’d spread it all out on the living room floor and eat. It took a major toll on my body. I remember the look on my mom’s face when she saw me after us not visiting for a few months. We were at a pool party, and I was in a one-piece bathing suit, with bright purple stretch marks snaking their way down the front of both of my hips and thighs. She was shocked at the sight and pulled me aside to ask me what was wrong—if I was OK.
I didn’t know what to tell her. I thought I was happy; but I was totally clouded by food and in denial about what was happening in my life and that relationship.
Eventually, I began to tune in more closely to what was going on with me on the inside, and started going to counseling. The bingeing didn’t stop, but it did slow a bit, and as I began to let go of some weight, he got more insecure. I slowly realized that relationship was not right for me and left two years after the wedding. I don’t regret a day of it—that experience is part of what has made me who I am today, and I learned some super important lessons about myself and recovery. Still, it was a sad time of life, and looking back makes me (briefly) melancholy.
Have you ever been in a relationship that was unhealthy for your recovery? A binge-eating enabler or someone who made you feel badly about yourself and your body? Get it off your chest, ladies—and then revel in the fact that you’re no longer in that situation. It feels good! xo…Sunny
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