An exploratory investigation of the experiences of partners living with people who have bulimia nervosa
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Objective: This study aimed to explore partners' experiences of living as a couple with someone with bulimia nervosa. Method: Transcripts of eight exploratory interviews with partners were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: Five superordinate themes emerged: (1) Living with the secrecy and deception; (2) Struggling to understand and find reasons; (3) Discovering your powerlessness; (4) ‘It's like growing to live with it’; (5) Experiencing strengths and strains in the relationship. Discussion: Living with someone with bulimia presents many challenges for partners. They struggle to understand what is happening, can find the secrecy difficult to live with, and are often left feeling powerless. However, partners also look to find ways of accepting and living with the bulimia. It is suggested that partners could be offered opportunities to access support, and that their perspectives could be a useful resource for therapeutic interventions. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.