Artwork: Tess Emily Rodriguez
She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
I have been with my boyfriend for over two years. At the start of our relationship, I was dealing with anorexia and bulimia. Since then, I have recovered and currently weigh 15-20kg more than what I weighed at the start of the relationship.
I thought he didn’t mind, but a couple of months ago, I joked around saying, “oh, you love my tummy now.”
In response, he said, “I’m not gonna lie and say I love it.”
That really took me back because I know I am bigger, but I am healthier now. I’ve recently slowly started getting back into exercise (took me a while because I was addicted during my eating disorder). He is constantly saying “oooh you’re gonna be skinny” or questioning what days I’ll be training etc.
Because of all this, the last couple of months, I’m uncomfortable having sex, and my sex drive is little to none.
I have doubts about our relationship.
I’m scared to bring it up with him because I don’t want to make him feel bad, but I don’t know what to do? I just need some clarity because I haven't told anyone about this. :(
Thank you in advance.
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I can understand why you haven’t told anyone about this.
You haven’t told anyone because you know, in your heart, that his comments are toxic, and anyone who loves you would see that, too.
This is a common phenomenon. I’ve done it. Most of us have done it. We minimize or omit the parts of our relationships that reveal what’s unhealthy, toxic, or even abusive.
No one should be commenting on your body. No one. And yes, he’s been conditioned in the same ways we all have—skinny is better, sexier, healthier. That’s a lie.
Your body is sexy and healthy and beautiful TODAY.
You have doubts about your relationship? I have doubts about it too. It’s extra concerning to me that he is keeping tabs on your exercise schedule. That’s another huge red flag. It’s controlling and not the behavior of a supportive partner. It’s the opposite of supportive.
It does not surprise me that you don’t feel comfortable having sex with him. And truthfully, he doesn’t deserve getting pleasure from your body.
Please don’t worry about making him feel bad by speaking to him about this. In the best-case scenario, he is unaware of how his words affect you. If we give him the benefit of the doubt, tell him why it bothers you, and further, why we don’t comment on other people’s bodies in general.
If he cares for you, he will listen, he will learn, he will change his behavior. But if he does not, dump him.
You don’t deserve this.
Lastly, relationships, in general, can be huge triggers, let alone when there is a dialogue that directly reinforces the thinking patterns that get us into trouble. This is a time to make extra space for taking care of your mental health.
I want to make sure that you are getting the support you need for your ED.
If you can speak with a therapist about it, I encourage you to do so. Support groups like the 12-step programs EDA (Eating Disorders Anonymous) and ABA (Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous) have many online meetings that you can access today. And I think it’s essential to open up to the people you love and trust in your life. I know for me, when I am in a slippery place mentally, the act of telling someone that alleviates so much of the feeling that I am drowning in it. You are not alone, and you don’t have to go through this alone.
The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I’m not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I’ve gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendships, depression, parenting, sex, consent, what I’m watching, what I’m reading, Anyolite, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, your anonymity is golden.
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