Mars Venus Q&A: “My Illness Tore Us Apart”

By John Gray

fighting-coupleDear John,
I am in the process of recovering from an eating disorder known as bulimia.  I have been hospitalized four times in the last four years.  The last time, I almost died.  Every time I fell apart, I promised my boyfriend that I would get better and each time I let him down.

Along with the eating disorder, there is also an amount of deception and lying.  He feels he can’t trust me, and I really don’t blame him.

The good news is that I am currently in recovery and I am doing well on my own. The bad news is that my husband now wants a divorce, because he is tired of dealing with this issue.  He says that he still cares for me and that we can be friends.  I have mentioned a trial separation, but he refuses that choice.

We are presently talking and e-mailing each other, but he won’t tell me if there might be another chance for us.  Can you give me some sound advice on how I may recapture my husband’s affection?

—Libby S., in St. Louis, MO

Dear Libby,

Your medical condition, and your reaction to it, gave your boyfriend  a feeling of hopelessness because it was something he could not correct.

He blamed himself, and may have put his job in jeopardy because he took his feelings and emotions into his workplace. Now he wants to get himself back into balance, and he feels he cannot do this as long as he feels responsible for your pain and your situation. You both should know this: he cannot fix you.

Only you can do that, should you have the desire.  It sounds as if you do.  If so, back off of him. You both need some distance to get back on track. It may take a year or so, but you need to take the time to work through your condition and reestablish your life goals.

Keep in contact with him, and let him know honestly how you are doing. If you can leave your fears, hurt and pain in the past and move on to being the person you were meant to be—and he is meant to be with you—that reconnection will happen.

VenusOnFireBookJohn Gray is the author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” His newest book is called “Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice. If you have a question, write John at his online magazine at, or by e-mail at: All questions are kept anonymous, and will be paraphrased.


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