Dating is always kind of messy and confusing. Dating while you’re trying to recover from an eating disorder is a whole other pile of anxieties.
Sure, I’ve had boyfriends before, that’s not a new thing. And since Ed’s been an issue since age twelve, that’s not new either. But being honest about things sure is. In the past, it’d always be part of my past – I used to have an eating disorder, I’m over it now, I’m just a picky eater, etc etc. I denied having a problem all those years, so hiding it from teenage boys wasn’t too hard either. Now that Ed’s been called out, and I’m fighting him, it’s not such an easy thing to hide. Recovery is a daily struggle for me, and it’s something I really need to be honest, with myself and others, about.
And that’s where all the new anxieties come in. On top of all the other things to worry about, now there’s the worry of whether my “issues” are too much for someone else to deal with, or if I’ll be written off as a crazy girl.
Not to complain; the guy I’m currently dating is wonderful. He treats me better than anyone I’ve dated before, I’m really starting to like him, and I feel pretty comfortable around him. He knows the basics of my ED situation, and I’m sure if I told him more he’d be supportive and understanding.
How understanding can I really expect someone to be? Even for starters, how can I explain that I call my eating disorder Ed in order to distinguish myself from it? To me, or anyone else recovering, or someone who knows this stuff, it makes sense. But to someone on the outside, doesn’t that seem a little crazy?
And the silly things Ed makes me upset over, how do I explain that? I still have days where food worries override all legitimate life issues. I still have foods that make my heart rate speed up with anxiety. There are still a lot of things that, depending on the day, could set me (Ed) off and cause a little freakout. Should I let him know when I’m struggling and having a bad day, or hide my problems and only show him the happy, normal part of me? I’m left with the option of trying to explain, and potentially looking like a crazy person, or making excuses and avoiding the issue.
I don’t want to be avoid-y and run away from this when it gets tricky; that’d be letting Ed win. But opening up to someone and letting myself be that vulnerable is terrifying. I’m really afraid I’ll scare away a really lovely boy by letting him into my crazy mind, but I’m also afraid that if I close myself off he’ll get frustrated and still run off.
When I’m honest with myself, I know that being open and honest about this is the best choice. If it’s too much for someone, it’s just not meant to be. Recovery is a much bigger priority in my life than any boy right now.
So, I guess, here’s to honesty, vulnerability, and – hopefully – happy times.