4) My love life

Now don’t get your hopes up. This isn’t going to be a post revealing the ins and outs of every relationship, fling or sexual encounter I’ve ever had but rather a post explaining how having an eating disorder has completely altered my perception of dating – yeah, not so saucy right? Sorry.

I’ve always been a flirt (a skilled one at that if I do say so myself) and ever since the age of 14 I’ve been involved with boys. Nothing illegal. Promise.

I never imagined the day would come however when the idea of a date filled me not with bubbling anticipation but rather unpleasant, conflicting emotions. That’s what an eating disorder does to you. It strips you of your identity, confidence and lust for life and love.

I recently got contacted by a boy I used to know, returning from being abroad and wanting to ‘catch up.’ A few months ago I would have jumped at this opportunity (bearing in mind he’s drop-dead-bloody-gorgeous and I did always harbour a soft spot for him) but then it dawned on me…he hasn’t seen me in over a year…and I’ve changed, right? For the worse.

Living with anorexia on a daily basis brings obvious challenges, however one thing I have found to be surprising is the need to constantly remind myself that I do not look as I should. Luckily I don’t suffer from body dysmorphia but, having said that, living with a body with protruding bones for months on end has become my ‘normal.’ You would think that feeling that ever-present ache of limbs against hard surfaces would remind you that your body isn’t exactly looking particularly sexy right now, but nevertheless, I was shocked and saddened to have to consider this from a (potential) date’s point of view.

Yet alongside my acknowledgement that perhaps I really should turn down this tempting invitation (I am technically ill after all,) arose the question that if I do refuse, am I not denying myself an evening of excitement and buzz? Something I haven’t experienced in far too long I assure you.

You can probably tell that I am still conflicted over what to do writing this post, and despite my best efforts, any sense of clarity has not yet surfaced. I don’t know anyone personally suffering with an eating disorder, let alone a sufferer who is willing to talk all things dating, and so I find I honestly feel quite isolated in where to turn. A few months ago my most trusted girl friends would have been right there next to me as we discussed what to wear (combining practicality with style), what makeup would suit me best and our current preferred conversation starter. As I stand now however, I’m not sure they would relate so much to the anxious anorexic who yearns for a date but is all too aware of the fact that her bum has disappeared and will no longer fill out her favourite and most trusted pair of jeans…

Meanwhile, my friends are off clubbing around Europe…no doubt surrounded by handsome suitors at every turn, living their love lives (as free adolescents with zero responsibilities) to the full.

All this leaves me with a question: Does having anorexia really mean that not only can I not go interrailing, but I have to turn down a date too? Surely not…or maybe I need to come to terms with the reality of my situation.

*Sighs* That’s enough rambling for now.

Yours sincerely, the (very conflicted) flightless bird, looking for answers.

 

7 comments

  1. When reading through this I completely understand how you feel having an ED had stopped me from going on so many dates out of fear of what they will think when they found out, I think if you go on the date the guy should like you for who you are not what illnesses come along with you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree with you here! I’m aware I have a completely different body image in my head to what may actually be real, so it stops me from going out and finding a partner which is so annoying! One of my (more lowkey) goals this year is to put myself out there, because whatever my body actually looks like, they should like me for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!!!!! I relate to this so much! I think that sometimes we just have to go for it because otherwise we’re stuck inside ourselves, not making the most of opportunities. Obviously being ill means that we can’t do everything we would hope to…but I think a date is a good start (to enjoy getting out and flirting if nothing else haha)
      Let me know how reaching your goal goes, I wish you luck! 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anyway, getting dressed is, on most days, torture and body image is even worse. I change over and over trying to find an outfit that I don’t look fat in. I do this even though I know that no one even pays attention to what I’m wearing! Eventually I just give up.

    Dating? I have no idea. I simply have given up relationships altogether and prefer to remain relationship-less (?) the rest of my life. However, I’m finally old enough for people to stop saying, “you never know.” In the past when they did, I would reply, “yes, I do.” So dating, again, hmmm.

    It seems to me that going out on dates would help you keep in mind a reason to recover, yes? I know that my thoughts and feelings are very different when I’m sick versus when I’m well. I remember, years ago, I ended up in a relationship (because I was too week to say no) while I was doing a difficult treatment for my liver. I warned her that my feelings may change when I was done (due to heavy medications I was on), and when I was done, they did, completely. She was devastated and I ended up terribly guilty. I doubt anorexia would be that extreme though.

    When I started to recover, my emotions were all over the place. that happens. They seem more heightened, at least for me, because I’d been repressing them for a long time. Who knows, maybe you might meet someone who will accept that and be supportive through your process. I have a good friend who is married and her husband has been immensely helpful for her. Another person had a boyfriend who was also very understanding, even when she had panic attacks at restaurants. She actually got engaged and is still in iOP.

    Having said all that, if you’ve given due contemplation then why not? Body image issues take longer to handle despite being weight restored. You can’t stop your life completely. Obviously while you’re in hospital things will be temporarily on hold, but eventually you’ll be out with friends. You could use that as a goal and also as one of your challenges when you’re still in treatment. That way you can process the difficulties so that when you’re finally out on your own, you’ll be able to do it, and do it without falling apart.

    Like

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