He Said…She Said

My girlfriend of just a few months has a problem. I think she’s anorexic or bulimic or something. Let’s just say she has body issues. I can’t stay in this relationship because I don’t really respect her for what she’s doing, but I want to help her at the same time. I don’t think breaking up with her will solve anything, but that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to tell my friends, and when I talk to my girlfriend about it she denies having any problems. Is there a good way to settle this?

Mark says

This is a situation for someone more qualified than a smart-ass columnist. Both anorexia and bulimia are very serious conditions, and one shouldn’t sit on their hands about either of them. There is, of course, a very distinct difference between the two and each requires a special type of care. In the past, I have tried to tell people to mind their own business, but this is a case where I would say you should inform a parent or professional who could help.

You should first talk to her about it and see what’s really going on. It may still be reversible yet. This is a tricky situation that conversation can help to solve. It’s going to take an extra step by you, though. Good luck.

Mindy Says

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on serious issues and I will not pretend to be one.

The best thing you can do for your girlfriend is get help. This isn’t something you or her could tackle alone. Of the people I’ve known with eating disorders, they didn’t recognize the problem either. A lot of times it starts out as something small and snowballs into the eating disorder so they don’t distinguish it as something harmful.

If you want to break up with her because things aren’t going well in the relationship then it would happen regardless of an eating disorder. You can still be a friend to her and help her through what will be a big challenge.




Eating disorders are chronic, life-threatening illnesses that when left untreated ultimately lead to death. Caring for and supporting a loved one with an eating disorder is an exhaustive process that can result in an enormous emotional toll. Often the most difficult task when trying to support someone with an eating disorder is helping them to “see” their behaviors as unhealthy. When confronted, someone with an eating disorder can retort with minimization, rationalization and denial.

I would strongly suggest that you listen to your voice of reason which appears to be telling you to break off the relationship. Though your sincere desire to provide support for your girlfriend and your endeavor to seek some assistance in this effort is certainly admirable, staying in the relationship out of fear that leaving her might somehow make her condition worsen is not healthy for either one of you.

Should you decide to sever the relationship, be honest and forthright with your girlfriend. If possible, you may also consider sharing your specific concerns with your girlfriend’s parents.

Finally, I would recommend that you seek some additional professional guidance on this matter for your well-being as you struggle with this very difficult decision.