Saturday, April 4, 2015

Dating when you have an eating disorder

I was going to post an article about things to say/do if dating someone with an eating disorder, but I think that many of my followers have eating disorders, or are recovering from one, so I thought it may be more useful to write a post about how to make dating more comfortable when you have an eating disorder.

Being more social, and trying to have different types of relationships, and figuring out what I like is a really big part of my recovery with regards to my BPD, depression and anxiety. The borderline definitely makes relationships difficult, especially romantic ones, as I tend to blurt out my life story, or block them out completely, I decided to go on some dates, and try to find a middle ground and see how I feel about it.

I never really dated before, close friendships of mine have turned into relationships, but I never really went out on dates, where we got to know one another. But I'm going on a date next week, and I'm really excited! So many dates tend to revolve around food, and it can be really hard to go on a date when you don't know if the relationship is going anywhere.

I, personally, don't mind eating in front of people if it is super safe food, and our conversation isn't about food. Prepare some conversation ideas in advance, so you aren't stuck talking about the food. If you're on a lunch or dinner date, talking about the food is always a good go to conversation if things get awkward, so make sure to come prepared with questions to ask, or funny stories about your childhood to avoid awkward silences that lead to discussions about the food sitting in front of you.

Coffee dates are always nice, as there is no pressure to eat. Just chatting and drinking a coffee is completely normal. Coffee shops often have lots of sweets that I find very triggering, but if I plan to just have a tea, coffee or latte if I'm in the mood for something with a bit of substance I can stay quite calm and enjoy myself.

If your date wants to take you out to dinner, offer to cook for him or her. The date I'm going on in a couple weeks, is already planned, so I am much more calm about it. I am going to his place to teach him how to make spaghetti squash and spaghetti zucchini. This is great, as I end up cooking my own meal so I know I can be safe with it. And measuring everything won't seem strange as I am teaching him how to cook!

Movies are always good! Whether you go at home or out, there isn't much pressure to eat. Although popcorn is usually offered, both you and your date will be watching the movie (or kissing ;)) and thus you don't have to worry about being watched as you eat or don't eat the snack.

I tend to be opposed to lying, but in some situations it is okay. When you're going out on your first few dates, you aren't usually committed to marrying them. Saying that you have dietary restrictions due to a health condition isn't a lie, and claiming to have an allergy is only a small white lie. If you do end up opening to this person about your eating disorder they will understand why you felt the need to claim an allergy earlier on in your relationship.

Some days I have very bad body image, which can make me feel very self conscious when going out. Try an activity like a hike when it's cooler out, or laser tag, where your body isn't on display. Going to a karaoke night, or something else that occurs in a busy, darker environment can also help you not feel like your body is being starred at.

Going out for a drink can also help reduce your anxiety (as long as alcohol isn't a problem for you, and you are of age of course!). I find I am a lot more comfortable to eat, and not drunk after having one drink, so a glass of wine with dinner, or a cooler with an appetizer can be a good way to relax.


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