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How My Partner and I Got Through an Unexpected Relapse in My Eating Disorder Recovery

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Its no secret that eating disorders have the potential to make relationships that much more challenging. Unfortunately, there are even times when they sabotage the relationship completely.

Recovery is something I never thought would be part of my life, being that I have struggled with this illness for 12 years. However, recovery is now an active part of my life and I now have a voice that combats my eating disorder. Finding the motivation to start my recovery was probably the hardest thing out of all of this. I felt like I had no reason to live, no reason to get better, and no reason to stop any of my behaviors. Even though I knew I was hurting myself, I lived in a state of denial.

Then one day, I met an amazing man. He was my best friend for years and was always there for me when I couldn’t be there for myself. He saw all of the good in me that I was unable to see. He loved me when I didn’t love myself or think I deserved love. He became my motivation. He became my reason to get better and get rid of this eating disorder once and for all. Eventually, my motivation grew towards doing it for me. I believe in the beginning, any motivation is a good motivation. I knew this wouldn’t be easy, but his belief in me gave me hope.

Hope is what got me through recovery. I had hope for a future for the first time in my life.

And then I relapsed. And then it felt like all my hope went out the window. My boyfriend and I started fighting because of course he was worried and hurt that I had taken a step backwards. He had lost hope as well. What were we to do?

I knew what I needed to do, even though I was scared. I soon realized my hope was not gone. I knew this relapse was something I could learn from. Why? Because recovery is a journey. I knew that just like everything in life, you can’t learn unless you make mistakes somewhere along the road. I reminded myself I would be OK because I had done this before. I had gotten myself out of that dark place before, so of course I would be able to do it again. I had to bring out my confidence in myself again and remind myself of why I started this journey in the first place.

I believe communication is so important in eating disorder recovery, for any relationship. If I didn’t tell my boyfriend I had relapsed, I would never had seen his reaction, and therefore may have not taken the situation so seriously. If I had never told him, he wouldn’t have been there to support me, continue to push and believe in me.

Relapse is not a bad thing and you should never punish yourself for it, and neither should your partner. Communicating your struggles and asking for help is the best thing you can do during recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Unsplash photo via Adriana Velasquez.

Originally published: June 7, 2017
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