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Cher
Cher, Relationship Enthusiast
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 18509
Experience:  Extensive experience as Educator/Teacher, M.A., Counselor, Spouse, Parent, Psychic Advisor
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My girlfriend suffered from an eating disorder several years

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My girlfriend suffered from an eating disorder several years back. After I had been with her for a few years she dropped to 90 lbs (she is 5 ft 5) I stuck it out with her and after a year or so she finally began to gain weight back. She currently continues to exercise daily, but maintains a healthy weight. Her eating habits have always been weird though. She typically does not eat much of a lunch, and she eats no pork, beef, or turkey or fish... only chicken and obviously veggies. My parents keep telling me she will relapse and to not get married to this girl. She is 26 years of age I am 27. Like i said, she is now a normal weight and has been that way for years now. She says it wouldnt happen again. However, they think the daily hour to hour and a half walk on treadmill is indicative of an underlying problem. What do you think, are they being overly concerned, or no? They think I should leave her, but I am confused. If i met her now, i wouldnt know of that past, she looks healthy now
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
HiCustomer and thanks for your question.

I think your parents are concerned that if your girlfriend should relapse and develop an eating disorder again, that this would not only be dangerous to her health, but also very costly, re: doctor/hospital bills, and they're afraid that you would be emotionally and financially devastated if you were married and this should happen.

If you've been with her for a while, you love her and want to continue to be with her, the decision is of course up to you. Hopefully, she will remain where she's at now, and continue to be healthy. Also, keep in mind, that very often, after a woman has experienced an eating disorder, it may adversely affect her ability to have children, so making sure your girlfriend visits her medical doctor regularly, to ensure her continued good health, and if she has never had any counseling/therapy re: her past eating disorder, this might be a good idea, also. In addition, seeing a couples counselor together, before getting married, would be in both your best interests, also.

A woman who has had a previous eating disorder and promises it will never happen again, can't really make that promise, but if she has ongoing support from you, her family, friends, and a professional therapist and support group, she'd be less likely to revert to her previous ways.

Your parents are only trying to protect you from what might be future problems, but none of us has a crystal ball, and can't predict the future. If you love her and want her to be your wife, that decision is yours alone, after taking into consideration all the 'pros and cons' of your relationship, and her medical past.

I wish you much good luck!

Cher
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
so do you think that the hour a day to hour and a half a day exercising is excessive. I mean she gets up earrly to work out before work. SHe is only 26 and in great shape. Some people said its too much, I dont know. They think relapse really likely. And yes a concern for her health and my finances of course. I see their point, but I do love her and am attracted to her.

How likely is it that she cannot have kids? I dont care, i dont want any anyways, just curious. Does she necessarily need help or might she not? Also what are odds of a relapse after 4 yrs of being a good weihgt
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your reply.

If she's in great shape, and feels good knowing that she exercises to maintain that good shape, I don't think 1-1½ hours is excessive. However, this is a question for her and you to ask her doctor. A good nutritionist/physician can advise her and you, re: what is an appropriate caloric intake and exercise regimen for a woman her age, height, weight and physical condition. She can also be given a healthy diet that includes what she likes to eat. Three nutritious meals a day are healthiest, but some people prefer to eat more, smaller portions throughout the day. The fact you mentioned she doesn't eat many things, and barely eats lunch, is not really healthy, but if she's getting her required amount of vitamins, minerals, etc., from the food she does eat, that's good.

While the exercising may seem 'compulsive', as long as it's not damaging to her physically, it may be better for her to fulfill this compulsion in *that* way (exercising), than to possibly begin behavior leading to developing an eating disorder, again.

After 4 years of maintaining a good (healthy) weight and having no physical problems, I think the odds are in her favor; but, you have to keep this in mind--an eating disorder is based upon an emotional/psychological cause, so if this isn't addressed by a professional, there's always a chance it could re-emerge. I think it's always best to seek help before the undesirable behavior can/may return, so seeing a counselor/therapist would be good for her. If you feel she will feel upset, hurt or angry if you suggest this, approach it from a different angle, and tell her you heard it's a good idea to go to couples counseling before getting married, to make sure all 'issues' are out in the open and on the table, in order to prevent future problems.

You still call her your girlfriend (as opposed to 'fiancée'), and haven't said if you proposed or not, yet, or if it's just understood that you'll eventually get married, but I feel that if you put it to her in that way, re: seeing a counselor, find out in advance, if this counselor has experience with treating women with eating disorders, so you can accomplish two things at once: pre-marriage counseling, and finding out what her chances are, of reverting to her old behavior. You can also ask the counselor if s/he thinks the exercising is excessive, because you're concerned.

A physical examination and lab work would determine if she's healthy and would most likely conceive with no problem, but, you bring up another important aspect of your relationship/possible marriage: Have you discussed having kids? If you say you don't want any, are you just saying that in the event she can't have kids, or because you truly don't want to have kids? Maybe she DOES want kids, and this important aspect of your relationship needs to be discussed and explored further, so you both know where each person stands on the subject, and decide that you want the same things. You don't want to be married and then first argue about having or not having kids.

If you truly love her and want to be married to her, this is your decision, but keep in mind that your parents only want what's best for you and for you to be happy. It's their 'job' (comes built in with parenting) to point out these possible problems, before you make the most important commitment of your life. Do them the courtesy of listening to them, take what they say under advisement, and then make up your own mind.

Cher
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Cher,

Thank you for your ongoing help here... I definitely intend to close this question out with you soon so you can get paid, and in fact if you can continue to help me I may want to further talk to you.

To answer your question, I do not want kids, never have, and not just because I dont think she would be able to, she very well could be fertile. We have had open conversations on my choice not to have children, but her past eating issues do kind of weigh in I guess too. I would be worried with her getting pregnant that hormone wise she could encounter issues and gaining weight could be a stressor on her as well. I do worry about her body image now, she is a healthy girl, but she does not seem to find herself attractive. I guess that is why I worry she could relapse.

My parents say her limited diet.. chicken and veggies is a control issue. She claims she just never really acquired a taste for beef, turkey, fish, pork, hot dogs, etc. They think it is more about control though and makes her a tough guest to have at dinner. Are more people like this than they realize? Is it necessarily about control? Is it disordered eating?
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi again, and you're most welcome. It's my pleasure to be of help and you can always request me for further questions by beginning your question with 'For Cher'.

I do think that people with eating disorders have control issues, but with themselves. They feel 'in control' when they decide what goes into their body, and when. As long as she's eating chicken and veggies, she's eating, so that's the most important thing.

If your parents think her limited choice in food is a 'control' issue regarding them (and/or you), I don't agree with this theory. If you know she only eats chicken and veggies, that's what she eats all the time, so she's not giving your parents a hard time or trying to 'control' the menu.

Your parents can serve dinner for everyone and either accommodate her, by asking in advance exactly what she'll eat (the way it's prepared, etc.), or she can bring her own, and heat it up at your parent's house. She's on a 'special' diet and that's what she eats. Really, no big deal. Many people don't eat meat these days, and I don't consider them 'difficult' dinner guests, as long as you know in advance.

This is true re: if she should become pregnant; she probably couldn't stand to to see herself gain weight, so maybe it's better than you don't want children, but has she ever told you she doesn't want children, either?

Most women who have experienced eating disorders do have poor body image and often question how attractive they are. Remind her that YOU find her attractive, or you wouldn't be with her, and try to boost her ego with heartfelt compliments.

You're a very understanding gem of a man, and she's lucky to have you!

I'm signing off for the night, now, so if you reply soon, I'll get back to you when I sign on again, on Sunday in the afternoon.

Cher

Cher, Relationship Enthusiast
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 18509
Experience: Extensive experience as Educator/Teacher, M.A., Counselor, Spouse, Parent, Psychic Advisor
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