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My gf has a really low opinion of herself.

Her natural mother left her and her slightly older sister when she was 18 months old, her father remarried and she didnít get on that well with her stepmother when she was younger, much better as she got older.

In later life she was treated in a fairly poor way in several relationships, none abusive but she now (and always has) feels that men repeatedly cheated on her and dumped her. She thinks that this is because she is obviously worthless, or why would they do it?

Several years ago, she developed an eating disorder. It started when she saw a picture of herself at a party, and realised that at 180 lbs she was a bit chubby, so she decided to do something about it. She went to Weightwatchers, and they told her for her height (5 6) she should be precisely 131 lbs, (as they USED to do).

She stuck to her diet, attained her target weight in 16 weeks, she never put on she always lost, and then they virtually said "well done bye bye". Charming.

By this time, she had decided that she wanted to be skinny, because she felt, and still does, that skinny is what men want.

Obviously, once she got to what WW considered to be her ideal weight, losing weight must have become more difficult, and she developed an eating disorder.

She thinks she was Bulimic, because she used to make herself sick 4 times a day, and she started to take up to 50 laxatives a day. I disagree with her diagnosis, I think she was more Anorexic because in between the puking and the laxatives, she hardly ate really. She even did devious things, like put a few cornflakes and a bit of milk in a bowl in the mornings, to make her friends think she'd had some breakfast, and always said she'd had a lovely lunch when in fact she'd eaten nothing. At weekends she'd have a big sunday lunch, then go for her bath and throw it up while the water was running. I also disagree with her diagnosis, because I tend to think that eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, just like the women (and men) that have them. I see a need for the medical profession to diagnose one or the other, and societyís need to compartmentalise, but I believe that the majority of women and men that are affected by eating disorders are probably somewhere in the middle of Anorexia and Bulimia. From reading a quite a few stories here, Iíd say a lot of you agree with that.

Anyway, my gf managed to somehow get herself down to 101 lbs, I have seen the pictures of her then and I think she looked awful frankly, I think I'd be too scared to touch her for fear of snapping her. She finally started to come to her senses one day when she went into the chemist for her laxatives and they told her "sorry we cant serve you anymore".

To cut a very long story a little shorter, she started to put on weight, nearly having a nervous breakdown when she hit 112 lbs.

She is currently around 140 lbs, and has just done 7 weeks back at WW (losing 9 lbs). Nowadays you set your own target at WW, as long as itís a healthy one, she wants to be 126 lbs and they say this is ok.

When I first met her, she was unhappy about just about everything. She was amazed to meet a man who treated her so nicely, and I was amazed that such an attractive and intelligent woman could see herself in such a poor light. As soon as she told me about the Bulimia, I started to understand a bit more. She was still making herself sick, but now only once a week or so, ok sometimes once a week, sometimes 3 or 4 times a week and then not at all for a couple of weeks.

A couple of months back she moved area to live with me, since then sheís never made herself sick once, and I really believe she will never do it again, maybe a one off would always be a possibility, but I even doubt that.

Ok, sorry for going on a bit but I wanted you to know some of the circumstances that have brought us to this time in our lives.

Basically, she thinks she has an ugly face, a fat body, she finds it hard to believe that she is intelligent, even though she is a Medical Secretary, and she knows how to work a Video Recorder!!

The truth from my point of view is that she is a very attractive verging on beautiful woman. Ok maybe because I am so in love with her, I think that she is truly beautiful, but I know she is at least very attractive because just about everyone else says so. From her point of view she is sure that everyone who says this is just being polite, she looks in the mirror and thinks she is disgusting, she is forever feeling her extra lbs round the middle and saying "look how fat I am Iím not making all this up".

I tell her all the time that there are lots of different types of men, but MOST men prefer a woman with a little bit to get hold of. Her response is to point out Brittney Spears in the paper and say "no thats what men want". I tell her Iím pretty fit for my age but I wouldnít want to race against Linford Christie, and she should set herself more realistic targets.

I know that she will look fantastic at 126 lbs, she does already. I also know that the best I can hope for is that she will get to 126 lbs and be satisfied, I know sheíll never be truly happy with the way she looks, ever. Then again who is?

Our personal life is great, it couldnít really be better. We are so much in love its hardly true. If I could wave a magic wand and make her happy with herself as she is now, I would, but I cant, so Ill wait until she loses the weight she wants to and hope and pray this makes her happy with herself.

I know she's already come a very long way, when she was 101 lbs she still thought she looked fat, at least now she looks at pictures of herself then, and realises she was way too thin.

I compliment her all the time, in her heart she knows how sexy I think she is, she just canít for the life of her imagine why. She also sometimes still tells me she cringes now and then when I touch her, because she is so fat, although this part is getting better as the days go by. Ok it might me 3 days forward then 2 back but itís going in the right direction.

I donít suppose Iím a great one for giving advice, I try to tell her how lovely she is, and how she should try to understand that she is the only one in the world that sees what she sees when she looks in the mirror, but I suspect she will have a low opinion of herself for a very long time.

I also know that in time, I will make her as happy as it possible for her to be, and I know that it will be way up on the happiness scale.

Ok I donít know why Iíve told you all this, I donít really know if I want advice or Iím trying to share this with you in the hope that some of you will benefit in some way.

There is one thing Iíd really like an opinion on though, I wonder if even though sheís totally stopped the physical symptoms of an eating disorder, does the fact that she looks in the mirror and sees a distorted image of herself mean that in fact she still has an eating disorder, or does she just have a problem with her self image?

Thereís another thing too. I know she loves me with all her heart, and she trusts me with her life, so I just wonder WHY she wonít (or can't morelike!) believe me when I tell her she is extremely attractive with a good figure and a LOVELY bum? She just thinks Iím being nice because I love her.

Iíve even asked her to stand against something as wide as her, and then asked her to look at where she was standing, and then Iíve asked her to squeeze through a gap, and then asked her to look at the gap, and sheís had to admit that if you look at it that way she canít possibly have a big soon as sheís away from that wall or that gap once again sheís hugely conscious of the size of her bum and legs, despite probably being right in the middle of her healthy weight range.

Ok sorry for rambling, this particular site has really opened my eyes. You all seem so brave even when some of you sound desperate. I donít know how to give advice, because the only advice I could give would be the simple "listen to other people and believe them" ......and Iím not daft enough for one second to think that people with eating orders are capable of taking that advice.

Speaking as someone who has never had an eating disorder, I find it extremely hard to understand that my gf is incapable of believing me when I tell her she looks great. However, you donít always have to understand something to accept it and believe it.

Like I said earlier, I donít really know what I am looking for here, but Iíd appreciate your input, and Iím sorry for rambling.

I really do wish anyone here, or elsewhere for that matter, all the very best.

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