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Last month, I had the privilege of marrying my best friend. This is something that never would have even crossed my mind as a possibility when I was suffering from an eating disorder. When I was sick, friendships were difficult, and romantic relationships were nearly impossible for a multitude of reasons.
I am blessed to have found an amazing man who deeply cares for me, and whom I care deeply about. Many things brought us together, but one thing is for sure.
I wouldn’t have met my husband and I wouldn’t have been able to fall in love with him if my eating disorder still had a hold on me.
Intimacy is often very difficult when you suffer from an eating disorder. Eating disorders often occur during adolescence, right around the time when most of us start to get interested in romantic relationships.
For me, this was around the end of middle school and the beginning of high school. For myself, and I’m sure many others, having an eating disorder during this crucial time in my life led to a delay in my maturing, especially in the area of my romantic desires.
When I was sick, the eating disorder took over my life, and all thoughts centered around food and exercise. This left no room for thoughts of who I was attracted to.
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Because of this, I ended up having these coming of age moments later in life, once I was in college. It wasn’t until then that I realized I was gay.
For quite a few years, I didn’t feel any attraction towards anyone, and the thought never really crossed my mind. At times I have wondered if the eating disorder was a subconscious way of suppressing my homosexuality that I myself wasn’t even consciously aware of. I have also thought at times that perhaps the eating disorder messed with my hormones, delaying my realization of my own romantic desires.
It could even be as simple as diminished self-esteem and a focus on food that left little room for other thoughts.
I don’t know which of these, if any, are true and I more than likely never will. But, I know in one way or another, my eating disorder played some role in delaying my self-realization.
I also know that through recovery, I was able to discover myself and fall in love. It took me quite a while even after I head reached a healthy weight to get to this point, and I am certain that I never would have gotten here if I hadn’t taken recovery seriously.
I always like to have a practical take away from these articles; something you can put into practice and benefit from. From this article the takeaway I want to leave you with is less of a practical tip and more of a piece of encouragement.
I want you to know working toward recovery has more positives than we can even foresee, and it takes going through the process to realize these positives.
Romantic relationships are one significant part of your life, while seemingly unrelated, will increase in quality dramatically through recovery. Take this to heart, and know recovery is about more than just restoring your body, but also about restoring your mind, spirit, and soul.
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