Need help getting husband to understand bulimia!

I am 26 yrs old, and have lived with bulimia for 6 yrs. I feb. of this year, i came clean to my husband, of 11 yrs. He got very angry, mostly because i had "lied" to him and kept this a secret. After his initial madness, the way he dealt with my ED, was harrasing me by constantly snapping, "have you been throwing up today". Judging, and fussing, and accusing, are all things that made me put my "wall" right back up, and have pretended since then that things have been better, and that i have not been battling with my ED. But the truth is, nothing has changed, at all. For fear of rejection, accusations, and so many other things, ive kept it a secret for several more months. Ive been talking to my husband again the past couple of days, and told him whats really been going on still. He is angry, again, because ive "lied" to him. I have tried to explain bulimia to him, and the reasons I've felt like it had to be hidden, but he has just been angry, and doesnt seem to understand that this is a sickness, not a "choice" so to speak. He says things like, Its all in your head, just stop doing it and be thankful you have food to eat. I've tried to explain that it is such an emotional problem, that ive tried for 6 years to just "stop", and i cannot. I want to seek counseling, he says its a waste of time. im reaching out for his support, acceptance, love, and he is not giving me that. He says if I lie about it one more time, he's leaving because he cant take being lied to anymore. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am tired of letting this control me, and want to seek help, so that i can recover from this. But without the support and love, its gonna be such a hard road to recovery.

a question, does he have anything that he does that he can't just stop? when i tried to explain it to my sweetheart, i had to show it to her in a way she could understand. her vice is the computer. i was like if i asked you to stop using the computer for one week could you without feeling that pull and desire to use it? she was like this is different. you need food to live...yadda yadda. then i explained to her, tell you mom to stop doing meth for a week. then she got it. she knows it's not the same but she started to draw the lines of where the behaviors are the same and the fight that goes on.
if you are good at writing, write a story of what it is like in your head the fight that goes on every time you eat or want to b/p.
the opening up and trying to show her how you feel and what you feel may help him understand that you want help but it is not easy for you to just stop. also if you have proof i.e. show him web sites where it explains the medical issues behind bulimia that it is a condition that cannot just be stopped or turned off like a switch.


I'm really sorry that your husband is not supportive. It is hard enough to deal with any sort of emotional and/or mental health issue alone, and it just makes it that much worse when you are brave enough to open up and the one you loves doesn't understand.

Unfortunately, mental health is one of those things that is hard to understand unless you are having trouble yourself. Too many people think the same way your husband does and will tell you to "just get over it". He is wrong to treat you like that. You deserve his love, patience and understanding. The only reason you lied was because having an ED is so personal and you were afraid of being judged.

You need to do what is right for you and what will help you get better. The fact that you want to get counseling is great! Don't let your husband's opinions regarding therapy stop you from getting the help you both need and deserve. He will see your improvements over time and will hopefully start to understand that therapy is a good thing. Sometimes you just have to do what's important for you and you only.

Stay strong and be brave. You are a great person and deserve to get help overcoming your ED.


hey jennifer,

i only just saw this post but thought i still want to comment.
it must be a very difficult situation right now. i commend you for finally coming clean with your husband. in a way i can understand him being angry because you kept it form him for so long. but on the other hand i find it appalling that he's holding on tomthis attitude rather than trying to understand. i assume he's probably very shocked and scared for you.
what did he say when you tried to explain bulimia to him? how did he react?
when he was checking on your eating all the time, were you able to calmly tell him that him doing that upsety you a lot and may even trigger more symptoms?
why does he think therapy is useless?

i think scarlette's idea of comparing your situation to a similar one of his is great, if he is willing to listen.

i originally wanted my husband to find out more about EDs but i don't think he ever did so i left websites open that i researched for him to 'stumble over', or leaving leaflets lying around. other than that i hinted e.g. when we went shopping how difficult this and seeing all the foods around me was. it might not have started a conversation but it may have made him think.

i'm really sorry for this hard time and for him putting an ultimatum on you.
but please continue to look for therapy no matter what he says. you have to take care of yourself, only then can you take care of your marriage. i know from personal experience that marriage and bulimia just don't go together!!

let me know how you get on!!


Thank you so much for your post. Over the past couple of weeks, as I have tried to explain my ED to him, he still just cannot seem to grasp that this is a sickness, an addiction, and it cannot simply be “turned off” in my head. That is soooo frustrating. He does make little comments asking if ive thrown up lately…ect. Yesterday was my first time seeing a counselor. I actually enjoyed it, and was very happy with the lady Im seeing. Im supposed to go back next week, and she asked for me to keep a journal until I come back. Apparently it seems that food to me, is a comfort. Things that bother me, or are stressful, frustrating, or whatever, I seem to replace with food. She said I have a very black and white list of what I consider good safe foods, and bad foods. I told her I am afraid to gain weight. She did tell me an interesting fact, that it takes 3500 extra calories in a day, to gain just one pound. anyways, found that interesting. Just trying to retrain my brain i guess.

Last night, my husband came home and ask me how “rehab” went. I told him that we just discussed my ED, and what food is to me. She asked me how I had kept it a secret for so long from him (almost 6 years). I told her im not sure how, but the reason i feel so uncomfortable and secretive about it from him, is because of how he reacts.
I told him that last night, about what she asked me about how I kept it a secret from him, and why. He said “did she agree that you should not have lied”. I said that I should have told sooner, BUT, she understands exactly why I kept it a secret. His comment was that If our situation was reversed and I had been the one lied to about it for so long, that I would have left immediately. I strongly dissagreed. Im not sure what he was getting at. But he just cant get over his anger about me lying to him. Not even enough to understand or help or reach out to me. I feel alone in alot of ways.

Also, I wanted to try so hard to fix something for supper that I would eat, and not feel the need to throw up. I made spaghetti, garlic bread, and I used wheat noodles. He freaked out about the wheat noodles, and almost wouldnt eat it. Now is that being supportive??? Anyways, I feel like Im fighting a loosing battle with him. We’ll see where it goes.

Thanks again:)

I am so sorry! I just recently (about six months ago) told my husband about my eight year battle with bulimia, and he felt terrible, mostly because I had been "alone" in my struggles for so long. It took sooooo much courage, planning, tears, fear, etc. to even begin to tell him! I think it was such an amazing thing that you told him, and I cannot believe that he would not realize how difficult it was for you. You are right; without his support, and with him further stressing you out, it will be extremely difficult for you to get better. My husband has no idea how to help me, but he really tries! He notices me starting to binge, and tells me to slow down, or stop. But by then it's too late. I think what helped me help him was to let him know that sometimes I cannot fight the urge, and the smallest things trigger a binge, and he should not judge or try to interfere. The best thing is to offer support, understanding, help you get a therapist/dietitian/doctor, and just realize that he can't do anything but be there for you. I have found that NOBODY can truly understand an E.D unless they have experienced it themselves, so they can't really begin to help, even if they try. Support and understanding that they CANT understand is very important. If I say I feel fat, or look fat, etc. My husband doesn't tell me Im not, or that I am too skinny anymore... instead I have asked him to just believe that that is what i feel, and he doesn't have to tell me otherwise or that I am just trying to get complements; just to be there for me. I hope your husband can soon realize that his harsh criticisms are only making it worse. For me, those things would only trigger another binge! Another thing that helped was bringing my hubby to one of my therapist appointments, which was amazing. My therapist mentioned so many things that I would have never known how to tell my husband! This whole experience has made us closer, and taken our relationship to a whole different level. I have never opened up to him like I can now. A lot of ppl don't see the severity of eating disorders. My family didn't think it was a big deal, until I had a bone scan and found that I have osteopenia (the stage before osteoperosis) and I am only 21. Maybe some professionals can help you get through to your husband. I hope some of this helps! I tend to blab!!! But maybe some of the things I tried will help you too! Please let me know if I can help you in any way at all!

this definitely isn't a blab :-) it's simply your experience and good advice.

i really hope for both of you that you get through this with your hubbies and families by your sides.

look forward to hearing more :-)


Definately not a blab. It helps to relate to some one whos experiencing the same thing. It is pretty much my only support, and I SOOOOOO need it. Keep blabbing:)