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Thinking of Divorcing a Spouse With an Eating Disorder?


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, and anger.

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 difficult issues.

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:

Anorexia Nervosa

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 Nervosa

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:

Communication Breakdown

People with eating disorders may become withdrawn or defensive, making it difficult for their partners to communicate with them.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.

Emotional Distance

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.

Build Trust

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.

Set Boundaries

Couples should set boundaries around food and eating. This can include setting meal times and not allowing distractions during meals.

Practice Self-Care

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 divorce process.

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.

Our FREE 1-hour consultations are very informative and still conveniently conducted virtually.

I look forward to helping you and your family.

Warm regards,


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 consultation.