Eating disorders by nature are secretive, isolating diseases. Contrary to the common misconceptions that are believed about eating disorders, many individuals who struggle with these psychiatric illnesses may look perfectly normal on the outside, not giving any reason for someone to possibly know of the chaos they might be struggling with.
In fact, many people who might have an eating disorder, such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder might be “high functioning”, even with these illnesses, giving the appearance that their lives are somehow holding together.
Learning How to Share and Ask For Help
Part of the difficulty in learning how to share openly about a struggle with an eating disorder may perhaps be due in part to the stigmas and stereotypes that surround these mental illnesses. Having an eating disorder is by no means anything glamorous, nor is it a disease of “vanity” or choice. On the surface, eating disorders also appear to be strictly related to food, but in reality, there are so many more complex factors involved – not something that can necessarily be shared in a nutshell on a first date.
Learning how to date while in recovery can be especially tricky at times, particularly when a person is still feeling vulnerable and healing in many different aspects. You may not necessarily feel ready to share your innermost struggles with someone you are casually dating, which is completely appropriate. Your support system should come from core people who are closest to you and know you well.
Understanding Your Own Needs
If you are venturing on dating while in recovery from an eating disorder, be sure to talk this through with your support system. In many unexpected ways, dating can be triggering, for many reasons. This doesn’t mean you cannot date; it simply means that there is an appropriate time and place to reintegrate into this life.
You cannot care for another person unless you have made self-care a priority and are able to follow through with the things you need to give to yourself in order to stay well. Know what you are hoping for in a potential date and be unwilling to compromise for anything less – because you deserve it!
Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!
What are some important aspects to keep in mind while dating in recovery?
About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.
As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 18, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com