Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that can have serious
consequences for individuals and their relationships. While the physical
effects of eating disorders are well-known, the emotional toll they take
on those who suffer from them and their loved ones is often overlooked.
One of the potential consequences of an eating disorder is divorce. Eating
disorders can cause a significant strain on a marriage, leading to breakdowns
in communication, emotional distance, and feelings of frustration, helplessness,
As a psychologically trained divorce attorney and mediator, I have helped
many spouses divorce a partner dealing with mental illness. A compassionate
and civil approach is always best.
My unique and highly successful psychologically based mediation process
provides the sensitive, comprehensive support necessary to address both
the legal and psychological aspects of divorcing a mentally ill spouse.
Let’s explore some of the different types of eating disorders, how
they affect marriages, and what couples can do to cope with these very
There are several different types of eating disorders, each with its unique
set of symptoms and causes. The most common types of eating disorders are:
People with anorexia have an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted
body image. They may refuse to eat, eat very little, or exercise excessively
to lose weight.
Bulimia is characterized by episodes of binge eating, followed by purging
through vomiting, fasting, or excessive exercise.
Binge Eating Disorder
This eating disorder is characterized by frequent episodes of uncontrollable
eating, often resulting in feelings of shame, guilt, and distress.
Orthorexia is an obsession with eating "clean" or "healthy"
foods, which can lead to malnutrition and other health problems.
Unfortunately, eating disorders can have a significant impact on marriages,
leading to a breakdown in communication, emotional distance, and feelings
of frustration, helplessness, and anger.
Here are some of the ways I’ve seen eating disorders affect marriages
for some of the couples I have worked with:
People with eating disorders may become withdrawn or defensive, making
it difficult for their partners to communicate with them. They may also
lie about what they are eating or engage in secretive behavior, which
can erode trust and lead to further communication breakdowns.
Eating disorders can cause people to become emotionally distant from their
partners. They may feel ashamed or guilty about their behaviors and withdraw
from their partners to avoid judgment or criticism.
Partners of people with eating disorders may become frustrated by their
loved one's behavior. They may feel helpless and unable to help their
partner, which can lead to feelings of resentment and anger.
As frustration builds, partners may become angry with their loved one's
behavior. They may feel as though they are being ignored or that their
partner is not taking their concerns seriously.
As a medical professional, divorce attorney and mediator, my approach to
addressing and divorcing a spouse with an eating disorder includes some
of the following suggestions to help a spouse cope as they explore what
to do next for themselves and their family.
Seek Professional Help
Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that require professional
help. Couples should seek the help of a mental health professional who
specializes in eating disorders.
Partners should work to build trust by being honest and transparent with
one another. This can include being open about what they are eating, sharing
their feelings, and listening without judgment.
Couples should set boundaries around food and eating. This can include
setting meal times and not allowing distractions during meals.
Partners of people with eating disorders should practice self-care to prevent
burnout. This can include taking breaks, engaging in activities they enjoy,
and seeking support from friends and family.
While divorcing using my unique multifaceted divorce mediation program,
helping the ill spouse is a priority, as is providing medical experts
in the field of eating disorders as an integral part of our comprehensive
legal and psychological process.
If you are considering divorcing a spouse with an eating disorder, be compassionate
and considerate. Dragging them through the court system will not provide
them with the medical support needed to help them as you go through the
If you are in a marriage with a spouse suffering from an eating disorder
and want to explore your divorce options, call me.
I can help you and your family approach divorce with compassion.
My combination of legal and psychological strategies is unique and effective
when it comes to divorce. The understanding and proper guidance for divorcing
a spouse with mental illness, a complicated aspect, is important for a
psychologically safe and legally successful outcome.
For more than 35 years as a divorce attorney, medical professional, and
mediator, I have successfully guided many spouses in finding the right
path to divorce.
I have the unique ability to provide a compassionate and legally productive
process to see you through your divorce.
FREE 1-hour consultations are very
informative and still conveniently conducted virtually.
I look forward to helping you and your family.
If you think you are married to a spouse suffering from an eating disorder,
Lois Brenner can provide valuable legal and psychological divorce guidance.
Call New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner now to schedule your FREE