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Bulimia Forever? Bulimia-Affair Connection?

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betrayed1965 posted 7/16/2013 18:22 PM

Six years ago, I discovered that my wife had a 8-month physical affair with a local man. She also had inappropriate online relationships with various men across the country and world. About the same time, I discovered through sorting through her typical username on health boards, that she was suffering from bulimia. She never once mentioned this to me, and I had no idea or suspicions. We had been married for 11 years at this point. This was a total surprise to me. We were in marriage counseling at the time (yes, she was carrying on an affair and having marriage counseling at the same time - that's a good one). Anyhow, the counselor, once he was apprised of her condition said that eating disorders are at the heart of all interpersonal relationships and that must be addressed first before we began any meaningful therapy.

When she heard this, she quit soon after. We went to two more marriage counselors; both of them told her the same thing. Treat the bulimia first, then deal with relationships - in that order. She quit them too. She then went, on her own accord - without my prompting, to two ED specialists. She started therapy and then quit within 3 weeks with both of them.

We have a terrible relationship and we have not had sex in five years. I don't know if she is still carrying on with somebody else; it's certainly possible, but not probable. I know that she is still binging and purging, and she admits to it. When I said that she needs to get this under control, she said the following: Bulimia cannot be cured. I will be bulimic the rest of my life; that's just the way it is. I am on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications that are supposed to reduce to my impulse to binge and purge. I am under a doctor's care, I am taking medicine, it's working to some degree, I'm not ignoring it, and I am dealing with it - so leave me alone. "I am high functioning; I do a fantastic job at work, and I still have the energy to take care of the kids and the house." I said, "if you are still binging and purging, doesn't that mean that either the medicine isn't working or that you need to supplement the medication with some sort of behavioral or talk therapy? Her answer: No. I take medicine. Just because I continue with my behaviors doesn't mean that the medicine isn't working. If I have a problem, I talk about it with my doctor - not you.

I called to make another appointment with a new therapist. When I gave her some background information, she basically said that she doesn't want to meet with my wife. She said, "I am going to tell her that she needs to deal with her ED, and she will bolt and I will never see either of you again." She only wants to meet with me, probably to help me transition from this dysfunctional marriage to a divorce.

To me, my wife's resistance to therapy is a complete cop-out and she unwilling to face her personal demons. Is it true that once you are bulimic, that's it - there's no going back.

She has been suffering with this for 27 years.

[This message edited by betrayed1965 at 6:31 PM, July 16th (Tuesday)]

stilllovinghim posted 7/16/2013 20:11 PM

I don't have a good enough answer for you, I fear. Do know you have been heard and hopefully someone will come along with better experience/advice.

I believe the advice given by the therapists including the most recent one is dead-on, as is your feeling of what this most recent therapist said. (Sorry can't cut and paste text but I think you know what I mean).

I really don't want to sound all doom and gloom but your W is telling you the truth. She doesn't want help and she won't change till she is ready. Also on a side note, meds can't work properly if *you* puke them up, just saying.

(((Betrayed1965))) big hugs.

[This message edited by stilllovinghim at 8:12 PM, July 16th (Tuesday)]

PhoenixRisen posted 7/16/2013 20:20 PM

Recovery is possible (only about 20% of those with EDs dont ever recover...and I think that leans more towards anorexics).
But remission occurs frequently during times of stress, but recovery is possible.
best of luck

20WrongsVs1 posted 7/16/2013 20:27 PM


My best friend was bulimic for years. We were roommates in college and I had no idea (until later) that she frequently purged, right in the next room. They get very good at hiding it. And this is after one of her best friends died from it as a teen. It took several years, but yes, my friend got over it. There may be no "cure" but one can be in lifelong recovery. It's so awfully hard on the body, though, I'm surprised she doesn't have life-threatening medical problems after 27 years.

Do your children know? Is that the type of behavior you want your W modeling for them? You must love her very much, but surely you realize by now that she will only get well when/if she wants to.

CheaterMagnet posted 7/16/2013 20:39 PM

My sister is bulimic. Like alcoholism or any other addiction, a bulimic is never "cured" they are just in recovery.

My sisters bulimia started in high school. She successfully hid it from all of us (I even shared a room with her) for years. Sometime in college she got into some therapy (again with none of us knowing). Then she relapsed after graduation. Then get got into recovery again. We thought that she was doing well. She was always super skinny, but we all thought it was because she and her husband were super active and super into riding their tandem bike. And she ate SUPER healthy. In front of people. This went on for 20 years. However, 2 years ago I got a call that my sister was in the hospital on life support not expected to survive. Turns out she had been drinking hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting and her stomach had literally died. They had to remove her stomach. Because of her emaciated body (she weighed about 70 lbs) she didn't tolerate the major surgery well and couldn't breath on her own. She was on life support for a couple of weeks. I flew home to say my goodbyes. While she was in the hospital my mom found a secret drawer in her sewing room filled with cans of frosting and huge bags of Reese's Pieces and giant cookies. She'd found the stash.

Thankfully, fighter that she is she pulled through. She was in ICU for almost 6 months and had home nursing for months after that. She also got more therapy for her bulimia and is back in recovery.

Two years later her life seems to be back to normal. She is back to work full time and she and her husband are back riding as much as ever. She is still super skinny, but that is probably because she has no stomach. The doctor told me that she would never eat normally again. That she would always need a feeding tube. That didn't turn out to be true. She got rid of the feeding tube a year ago.

She says that this was her wake up call and she is sure she will never purge again. Do I believe her? No. Not unless she keeps working her recovery. The next time WILL kill her though.

So, your wife is right to an extent, but she is using semantics to justify her failure to get help. It could so easily kill her.

Please keep in mind that the whole time my sister was doing this, she was working a high power full time job, helping her husband run their business, working out and biking daily as well as participating in numerous hobbies. She was a master at hiding her illness.

(((((HUGS)))))) to you and your W. I hope she gets the help she needs. And I hope YOU can find peace.

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