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Advice on Dating a Person with Bulimia

written by: Suzanne Florin • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 4/27/2011

Dating a bulimic can be challenging and you may feel helpless and clueless about the best ways to deal with your partner. But do not despair - you might just be what your lover needs to surpass this great challenge in his or her life.

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    Dating a bulimic person can be made easier with these top tips:

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    Understand the Disorder

    399961313 01afc66fa5 Do not remain an “outsider" to your partner's condition; seek ways to understand what a bulimic goes through - psychologically, emotionally and physically. Carry out research into the causes and effects of this eating disorder and understand that it is a mental health problem, one which can be overcome. Talk to a psychologist or nutritionist or simply read online articles or books about bulimia.

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    Dating a Bulimic: Choose Your Words Well

    Avoid asking questions like, "Why are you doing this to yourself?" or "Why are you doing this to me and to your family?" These types of questions do nothing to help a bulimic and just adds to their sense of guilt. Do not give them any reasons to lower their self-esteem by making them feel worse about themselves than they already do.

    Bulimics do not intend to harm or make life difficult for their loved ones; they are going through an immense personal battle. Be empathetic and do not turn the tables against your bulimic lover.

    You may feel like you want to take control of the situation but do not make impositions of your boyfriend or girlfriend. They will rebel and you will lose their trust. It is better to be open, comforting and reassuring; You can say things like, ‘If you need to discuss anything with me, I am always here for you’. Give an assurance of your love and care, so that the person will remain open to you.

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    Be Optimistic, Yet Realistic about your Partner's Condition

    You want your significant other to be happy, healthy and thriving; sadly, though, he or she is far from being all of these things. But you should stay hopeful and caring; express how sincere you are about your desire to help them overcome the disorder, and do so without being preachy or bossy about what you want to happen. Gently encourage your lover to seek professional help, and be willing to be with him or her every step of the way.

    However, be realistic that as an “outsider", you can only do so much to be of help to a bulimic. Relapses may occur even after treatment, but stay optimistic and strong. It is at this times when success may seem so elusive that your partner will really need you to be a rock. Do not think that you can solve their problems as ultimately it is up to the individual with bulimia to decide when to face the issues that have led to their eating disorder.

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    Dating a Bulimic: Conclusion

    By being empathetic, optimistic and knowledgeable about the facets of bulimia, you can help your partner reconstruct him or herself, and eventually recover from this eating disorder.

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    Resources

    What You Can Do - The Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders, http://www.something-fishy.org/helping/whatyoucando.php

    Bulimia Nervosa Center, http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/bulimia-nervosa/default.htm

    Perri, Michael G ,"Review of Bulimia: A Guide to Recovery"

    Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cneefs/399961313/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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