Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Binge-eating husband is a runaway train

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband had a heart attack two years ago and nothing we do gets him to eat better. He can eat two bags of chips, a container of ice cream and lots of bread and butter every day when he comes home from work. It is so hard to watch him doing this. He just won't listen to anyone or try to change things.

-- Trying

Then I suggest you lay off the attempted corrections and just enjoy him while you have him -- and do whatever you can under the circumstances to protect yourself financially for if/when he has another health crisis that either kills him or leaves him disabled.

And keep the bingeables out of the house. Let him scarf carrots, or drive himself out to the store. Not perfect, but it's something.

I realize this collectively might be the least welcome advice ever, but I think you have to think of him as a runaway train. And when you can't stop it, your remaining choices are all about limiting the damage from eventual impact. I'm sorry.

Re: Husband:

Don't just protect yourself financially, but also emotionally and legally. Advance directives (e.g., decisions about life support), passwords to the household accounts, a plan for funeral arrangements: Start arranging those things now, because they're draining enough to handle in normal times, let alone with him on life support in the cardiac care unit.

-- Anonymous

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