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Social Eating Insecurity

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Growing up my boyfriend was homeless for some parts of his childhood. He also doesnt come from the greatest family, and experienced neglect throughtout his childhood. For the majority of his life he ate in solitude, and still prefers to not eat in public. This has become an issue in our relationship because I know he is uncomfortable when we go out to restaurants or when he eats dinner with my family. He will either eat his food extremley fast, or not touch the food at all and wrap it up and eat in the bathroom when we get home. I feel like this some sort of eating disorder, or social anxiety but it is stemming from never having social eating experience as a child. He feels like people are watching him while he eats, which makes him uncomfortable. I am writing to you because I want to help become more comfortable with eating in public and I am also curious if you, the experts, have had similar experiences with your clients, and what helped them.

Social Eating Insecurity

Answered by on -


I appreciate your concern for your boyfriend. Yes — my experience with this suggests his situation can be helped by therapy. I believe a good Cognitive Behavior Therapist (CBT) should be able to help. The kind of anxiety your boyfriend is experiencing is particularly amenable to this type of treatment. You can use the find help tab at the top of the page to find a therapist in your area.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Social Eating Insecurity

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Social Eating Insecurity. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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