Telling the boyfriend

My new counsellor has brought something quite important up that I have been mulling over for the last few weeks. Having spent the last 5 hours binging and purging I’m coming to the realisation that if I ever am to really recover I need to take action on it.

She thinks I need to tell my boyfriend about my purging. She thinks I need to remove the secrecy in order to remove some of ED’s power. And I guess to reduce my opportunities to purge at home.

The boyfriend knows about my ED in theory. We first got together when I was in an anorexic phase and he was very tolerant of my behaviours and food avoidance. When I started regaining weight I did talk to him about having to fight binge/purging, but we never really spoke about it and haven’t ever since. I guess he still knows I’m somewhat funny about food, but we’re now living together and I have no idea if he knows about how regular the purging is.

I feel sick having to talk to him about it. I could just about handle telling him about restriction but binging and purging is a whole other issue. I’ve no idea how I’d even bring it up. I know he would just be worried about me and would never say if he was grossed out by it, but I basically have been keeping a giant disgusting lie from him for well over a year now – how do we deal with that?

If any of you have experience of telling boyfriends, husbands, girlfriends, wives or parents siblings roommates etc. – anyone you lived with – I could really do with some advice about how to broach the issue, and how to survive once it is out there?

I love my boyfriend, I really really do. And while I hate ED, to date that has been my longest most passionate relationship.  How am I going to introduce them to each other?


13 thoughts on “Telling the boyfriend

  1. Presumably he knows that you are seeing a counsellor? If so, broach the subject in the same way as you did here. If he is an important relationship he can’t be last to know, after your counsellor and everyone who reads your blog? I’m not suggesting that you always have to share everything with him, but how would you feel if it was the other way around? You need to give him an opportunity to love and support you. Maybe he already knows/ suspects about the purging? You may be surprised. You may be shocked, he might not take it well and he may need time to think about it ( which you will need to give him). But if you don’t tell him things will stay the same and it sounds like you are ready to move on, further away from your ED. good luck xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you thank you thank you. These are sensible and helpful words. I’m not sure what he knows about the counsellor, he knew about my first nurse but we never really discuss it now. He’s not really a talker, and outside of my blog neither am I! Lots of food for thought in your comment- thank you.


  2. In my experience I have had two very different reactions.
    My ex husband was very supportive when I opened up about b/p. However as the days went on he because a real dick about it and said it was for attention and so on and so forth.
    My current boyfriend has been incredible supportive, and has even told me to call him when I’m feeling urges. If I’ve had an episode I have told him before and he was amazing night and went on to send texts throughout the day to see if I was feeling ok.
    I think just be open and honest. And if he knows about your past he will be loving and supportive.
    And it’s been great having my boyfriend know about my condition because I feel less alone. Like I have someone on my team.
    Tell him, get him on your team because a problem shared is a problem halved. Good luck 🐥

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh boy. Telling the boyfriend! When I was at my worst – staying at work for an extra four hours so I wouldn’t have to throw up at home – my then boyfriend accused me of having an affair as I was always late, shifty when I got home, often with fresh lipstick on (to distract from my puffy face) and not able to look him in the eye. So I ended up having to tell him to put his mind at ease but it was a shameful, guilty way of telling him. And then I felt so disgusting confessing like that I didn’t want him to touch me or ask me about it or even know anything else about it. So I denied how bad it was and he never felt comfortable asking me any details or even discussing it. My secret was out but laden with bad feelings. I recommend telling your boyfriend because you want to share it, not because you have to. Make sure you are OK about him knowing – if he’s a good person he might surprise with you with how compassionate he is. We think it’s disgusting but to others it’s more just weird and curious. With every other boyfriend I told, because I wanted to, they were far more compassionate than I would have ever thought. But do it for you, not him. That’s my advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such good advice. I don’t really want to share it but I also can’t see how I, or we as a couple, can really move forward without me being honest. He does know purging was part of my ED, but I think since I’ve been a healthy weight since we moved in together he might not know it’s still going on. I think he will be compassionate about it, he’s a good man and I have been there for him previously, he just hates ‘deep and meaningful chats’. I think maybe I should talk to my counsellor first, and get some advice on where we’d take it if I did tell him. ED really doesn’t want me to share it- so that probably means I should!


  4. It’s hard to call. Only you know your boyfriend. When I told my Mom when I was 22, she simply said ‘I know.’ She had an eating disorder too, so she’d read it in my behaviour a long time ago.

    Unfortunately, if can sometimes backfire. Bertie ended up colluding with my eating disorder throughout our marriage and the things I put on him were my disorder taking charge. I thought about this when I read your post and all the hideous things I made him do so I could have the relationship with my eating disorder and he complied. He became an enabler and I guess it’s really important that you talk about all the possible outcomes with your new psychotherapist.

    The worst thing is if you make it known and he really doesn’t get it which may lead you to feel more isolated and then even more wrapped up in hiding it. Or the best is he gets it as much as a non-sufferer can and that added support removes the last remnants of power. I guess he could always attend a therapy session with you for clarification. But again, only you will know and only you can make the decision. Good luck xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right that I need to speak with my psychotherapist about what I’m hoping to get out of talking with my boyfriend, and what I am expecting from him, and as importantly what he can expect from me. I’m willing to take the risk that he doesn’t get it- I’d prefer that to be out there visible to both of us- it’s the only way we’ll stand a chance of making it. If he can’t handle it then I’ll have to handle that, I’m not alone in this- I have friends and my counsellor if it does break us. I’m not sure if I’m being naive or I just know how we both have dealt with things previously but I can’t see that happening. I’m just not sure what I do see happening so def need to talk to my counsellor. Thanks for the insight and advice, it’s much appreciated.


  5. I do think that shining a light on our dark places and bringing forth our secrets, diminishes their power over us. But sharing your story isn’t always received as well as we would hope. My ex was the first person I told. We were not married at the time but close to. He basically didn’t even acknowledge that I had said anything. He didn’t ask questions, he never followed up on how I was doing. It was a bad experience for me. He essentially communicated that it wasn’t a big deal. I was more worried about coming out to my mom a year ago. And she was amazing. She learned and read everything she could and constantly checked in with me. Honestly, coming forward is what really set on the path to recovery. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for commenting. I think that’s how my boyfriend might react- just never talk about it but not because of no concern but because he wouldn’t know how or what to say. I really need to think through what I am expecting from him if I were to tell him- no point just putting it out there and then not knowing what to do with it. I can’t imagine him reading etc. and I’m not sure if I’d need him to. Will talk to counsellor about it! You’re mum sounds amazing.Thanks again for commenting X


  6. I remember telling my mum, and I still regret I did. I was 18 at the time, and my bulimia was at its worst. I felt like I had to get it out, yet I had no money for a counsellor, so I chose to tell my mum. She just started crying when I did, and then made me go to a private clinic, only for a couple of weeks though (she freaked out and thought I ruined my health, so she wanted to have practically my every organ checked). And after that she made me go to a counsellor with her. True, it helped us resolve some of our issues, but didn’t help my eating disorder at all.

    My husband reacted much better. I told him my eating disorder history when we were dating, and he listened very carefully, asked questions, looked concerned, but he never brought it up again because he thought I was fine. Then I told him about my current binges, and he was very supportive too, asked if he could help in any way, told me that I could talk to him any time I needed to. I even mentioned on a few occasions how I really felt like purging, and once again he listened and supported me and told me to talk to him if I do purge… But I could never bring myself to admit it to him. I know he’d understand but purging seems so ugly, so dark… I just don’t want to stain our relationship with him knowing it. But I think if I purged as often as I did in my teens, I would tell him and ask for his help. Now it happens once every 2-3 month, so I feel like I have it under control…

    I think the best way to talk to your boyfriend would be to reveal everything gradually. First mention that you still struggle with eating, then maybe tell him that you see your counsellor for that, and that you want to be honest with him, don’t want to hide anything. Then tell him about your binges. If he is supportive about all this, then I’m sure he’s going to be understanding about your purging as well. And if he does, you will feel even closer to him, you’ll trust and love him more, and he’ll do too (at least that’s what happened for me).

    Wow, that’s a long comment:) I hope it was helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I noticed that once I moved in with my now husband and told him the extent of my bulimia I was much less likely to purge because I didn’t want him to hear. And if I wasn’t purging I couldn’t truly binge. Are the still slips? Absolutely. But it’s external motivation sometimes when I might not be able to resist in my own. *hugs*


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