The #1 Thing You Need to Think About Before Dating In Recovery

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I started dating in recovery. And it was 10x harder than I expected.

How much could you possible weigh?

OMG your shoulder blades are so bony!

I love small girls.

Do you eat anything other than salads?

A year ago, these comments were fueling my eating disorder. They were driving me to maintain my slimming figure, because it was getting attention. The comments reaffirmed the belief that losing weight and being smaller than I was at the time was more attractive.

Throughout recovery, I asked those in my inner circle to refrain from commenting on my body.

My body was changing and I wasn’t yet equipped with the skills to accept the new me. Everyone was very understanding. But how does that work with dating in recovery?

I’ve recently begun dating a new guy.

Something I haven’t done at all this past year (because ED told me I wasn’t worthy). And within the first two days of hanging out, he made every single one of these comments. Deep down I knew he meant them as “compliments,” and had no idea what these statements were actually doing to my brain.

I didn’t speak up. Not because I wanted ED to resurface. But because I was faced with a decision: do I want to tell this boy about my recent struggle with orthorexia?

My four main fears about telling him are:

1. He most likely won’t be familiar with eating disorders, so he won’t know how to respond

2. He might view me as “sick” and not want to continue talking to me.

3. ED thrives in secrecy, so keeping this hidden in any serious relationship is risky.

4. Awareness is vital in recovery, including for your support group.

I haven’t made a decision yet. And I don’t know how long it will take. But what I do know is awareness is step one to recovery. Dating in recovery isn’t always easy.

If we’re going to further our relationships, I’ll probably need to open up. But the question is, do I want to?

This one thing is something you really need to consider before dating in recovery.

Dating is not impossible in recovery

During treatment, I learned that you can be at different stages with different parts of your recovery. For me, body image and confidence is a new battle.

Every day I must remind myself of all my little victories and continue moving forward with my recovery. I know that I need to continue putting myself first and being open about my journey. I know some people will get scared away, but others will stay.

And finding those people who are willing to join your support circle is one of the best feelings ever.

So the question is, are you willing to risk letting someone in?

(Last Updated: September 14, 2022)

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