Dating issues and possible eating disorder

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I live alone and I love it. I never become lonely; I have the perfect life. Except, I met a great guy and he has expressed interest in me. Usually when guys do that I just say, “I have a boyfriend, sorry” this guy works with me and it’s difficult to lie. However, he won’t stop expressing interest in me. I sometimes think I should date him but I never had a boyfriend in my life. I moved out when I was 18 and although I have a loving family I find fulfillment in isolating myself. It sometimes crosses my mind about giving him a chance but I am apprehensive because I think he would want to spend so much time together or being intimate constantly. I think that if I step out on a limb that things can never go back to the way I have them. What should I do?

One last question I notice that I eat a lot less when I am by myself. I know it sounds odd but it is almost like I forget to eat. I am not sure if that is possible. I have a hard time maintaining a healthy weight, but I am not bulimic or have anorexic. However, the short moments I visit my mother after she begs and pleads that she would like to see me. I find myself eating a lot more because I eat when I see them eat. Can you please shed some light on this issue?

A: “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” — Auntie Mame

Your eating habits seem to be a metaphor for how you are living your life. You are overriding hunger for food and hunger for love in much the same way. By depriving yourself so consistently, you’ve persuaded yourself that you actually like it that way. Meanwhile, your stomach and your heart are shriveling.

For reasons you probably understand, you have developed a kind of “all or none” approach to life. It’s as if you think the only alternative to isolation is to be completely taken over; the only alternative to forgetting to eat is to eat too much. Really. You can calibrate how much time you spend with a friend or lover. You can eat well without eating everything in the kitchen that isn’t nailed down. Love, like food, can be savored in moderation.

I do suggest that you talk to a therapist for a few sessions — not because I think you are mentally ill but because I think you need someone to help you reconsider the choices you are making. Sometimes therapists are very useful as sounding boards. We can give you new ways to think about the conclusions you’ve drawn from your experiences and free you up to think again. Your request for some “light on the issue” may mean that at least part of you is asking for that kind of dialogue. Then, of course, it’s up to you to decide how you want to live.

In my opinion, 25 is much too young to give up adventurous eating or adventurous loving.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Dating issues and possible eating disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/11/01/dating-issues-and-possible-eating-disorder-2/