Eating Disorder Tips for Spouses

Eating disorders can take a toll on any relationship. Often problems begin when you take full responsibility for your partner’s disorder. You may feel like you failed to do your job that you could have provided more support or noticed health problems sooner. It’s important to remember that sufferers frequently go to great lengths to conceal their disorder.

At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we understand how taxing eating disorders can be on relationships. That’s why we take a family-centric approach to recovery that focuses on openness and support. But before you and your spouse can begin recovery, both of you must know when to seek help and how to reinforce the positive practices we encourage at our center.

Recognizing an Eating Disorder in Your Spouse

While the following three behaviors don’t necessarily mean your spouse has an eating disorder, they are warning signs that indicate he or she likely has an unhealthy relationship with food. If you observe the following trends, you should reach out to an eating disorder specialist immediately.

  • Consistently makes excuses to avoid social events involving food
  • Develops strict exercise regimen with no increase in food intake
  • Prepares elaborate meals for their partner without eating anything.

Symptoms of Anorexia Could Include:

  • Development of new rituals like eating food in a specific order
  • Dramatic change in weight
  • Increasingly stubborn and rigid about schedule
  • Menstruation stops (for women).

Symptoms of Bulimia Could Include:

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Hoarding food
  • Large amounts of food seem to disappear
  • Sign of consistent vomiting including stains on teeth and change in breath.


How to show your support

Every case is different, but the following dos and don’ts provide a general sense of how you can help your spouse recover:


  • Ask a specialist for help before reaching out to your spouse.
  • Emphasize how much you love your spouse and that you are there for him or her
  • Focus on non-physical attributes when complimenting your spouse or discussing others
  • Listen openly and without judgment.


  • Blame yourself. It’s not your fault.
  • Force food on your loved one.
  • Make negative or positive comments regarding their appearance
  • Rush the healing process. It’ll take time.


For more tips and information about eating disorders and how to approach them, contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today.


At Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, we provide a unique and effective treatment approach that combines psychological and emotional support with nutritional guidance. Our medical professionals know that every patient is fighting their own intensely personal battle. With that in mind, our Eating Disorder programs are tailored to the needs of each individual and their family. We operate a small, comfortable residential treatment center where you or your loved one can take the time necessary to truly heal.

Why Choose Fairwinds Treatment Center

Fairwinds Treatment Center is one of the top eating disorder treatment centers in the world. Our specialists, Dr. Khal El-Yousef and Dr. Pauline Powers, understand the complexities of these ailments and the underlying psychological conditions that cause them, and implement clinically backed methods to help adult men and women and adolescent boys and girls uncover and overcome the root causes of their disorders, even while assisting in their physical recovery.

Dr. Pauline Powers is nationally and internationally recognized as a leading researcher, educator and trainer in the continually evolving field of eating disorder treatment, and has 40 years of experience fighting this fight. She currently sits on the Scientific Board of Directors of the National Eating Disorders Screening Program and the Editorial Board of the Eating Disorders Review and has also served as the founding President of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), President of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and founding member of the Eating Disorders Research Society.

If you or your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, there is no time to waste. Contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today by phone or via our online form to start the journey toward treatment and recovery.

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The History of Fairwinds Treatment Center

Fairwinds Treatment Center was founded by Dr. Khal El-Yousef in 1989, and we offer a treatment model that combines the benefits of therapy with a more clinical approach to eating disorders, addiction and the underlying psychological conditions that can spur these self-destructive behaviors. We believe that addressing all of the factors that contribute to an eating disorder is the only way to facilitate a full recovery. As such, we are one of the only dually licensed psychiatric and substance abuse treatment facilities in the nation to earn accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which empowers us to address any chemical dependencies or behavioral issues that may contribute to an eating disorder.