Request: Girlfriend has had ED behavior for 20 years and is very easily triggered over things I consider minor. How to help her get better without making her feel worse?

Something another friend shared with me about talking to someone with an ED.

Here are some of the things I've learned and done to help her get better. Love her. That's all I can really control. There are so many things that are utterly fantastic about her. In comparison to all of her splendor, her ED seems so minor. This has kept me happy and healthy through everything. Don't change how you treat her when she's struggling or relapses. There were a few times she has called me when she's going through a rough time. I never opened up by asking her, "what happened? Are you ok? What caused it?" I don't call her because she needs me. I call her because I really love talking to her. The first time we talked right after relapsing, she started out depressed and downtrodden expecting me to be worked up, concerned, and stressed out. I just skipped over the ED bit. We talked about the things we both enjoy, shared funny stories from the last few days, and after she picked up a bit, then the conversation rolled around to what had happened that day. The second time she called in a similar situation, she had the same depressed and disgusted expression as she had before. I got the feeling that she was expected to be remorseful and upset, so I cheerily asked her, "hey, I know you had a bad day, but can we skip this whole sad-face part? We'll talk about today eventually, but for now I just want to talk with you." Her face lit up immediately. Don't be her ED police. She has doctors, parents, siblings, and a host of others who are ready to stress out and panic whenever something goes wrong. I'm probably the only person in her life who has never actually treated her differently because of her ED. While we were abroad, we would cook dinner, take turns picking out food from street vendors, make love/have sex/fuck like there's no tomorrow, exercise, share our ideas, watch movies, and go on long walks. She has told me numerous times that she values the normalcy of our relationship more than anything else. It's her responsibility to get better. Your job is to be a great boyfriend to the girl you love. There was one night where I took a nap, overslept, and ended up being late to our date by a few hours. She relapsed when I didn't show up. When I asked her if me not showing up led her binging and purging. When she hesitated, and couldn't quite respond, I told her, "I'm not taking responsibility for the relapse. I just want to know if that contributed to the situation." She said yes, it did, but she was afraid of letting me associate my actions with her ED. She never wanted that to come between us. For her sake, I keep myself out of it as much as possible, and I don't become stressed or irritable when she tells me about it.

/r/EatingDisorders Thread