At first, I had trouble dating a girl who was recovering from an eating disorder. I couldn’t get by the fact that I may not ever be able to treat her to a nice dinner because she simply could not go out. I hated sitting by and watching her as she ignored the compliments I gave her and constantly commented on how she wished to look like “that girl”, or “her over there”. And it used to bother me that there were so many things she just couldn’t eat.
Then I realized that eating out wasn’t important in a relationship like ours. What was important was our meals together at home, and how I knew exactly what to make her every night. How we sat together at the beginning of each week and spent at most an hour at a time planning the meals we would share. How appreciative she looked when I refused to sit in silence at the table to keep her from focusing on the calories that entered her body.
I almost enjoyed that I knew exactly what she couldn’t eat, and I soon got past the fact that we might not ever be able to order pizza from domino’s on a Friday night while we watched Harry Potter in the living room. All I cared about eventually was helping her, and that was what a relationship should be like.
I loved her so much that I could stand the nights where she stood in front of the mirror and cried, and it would tear my heart to pieces when she would ask me why I could ever love someone that looked like her. I would hold her, I wouldn’t tell her she was beautiful more than once or twice, and that was all. I trusted her and she I enough that we could sit together every night and she could tell me whether or not she had thrown up her lunch, even if I already knew because I was so scared that I watched her after every meal. Even if I knew, though, I never stopped her, because they were her battles, and I knew that no matter how much it hurt, me fighting them for her wouldn’t help.
Soon enough though, I saw that she became more confident. Her trips to the restroom following meals became fewer until I could relax, knowing that there was a good chance she was safe. There were less times when she looked at the mirror and pinched fat that was actually only skin. Finally, she asked me to take her out for dinner. Finally, we ordered domino’s on a Friday night and watched Harry Potter.
And that, that’s what love is.