“There is more difference within the sexes than between them.” Ivy Compton-Burnett
The objective will be to focus on relationships or Eating Disorder Inventory III scales for this chapter such as fear of intimacy, body dissatisfaction, binging episodes, and drive for thinness. Both men and women have a strong need for an intimate relationship and longevity through partnership. When people have intimacy in their relationships they feel less alone and more secure and confident. Knowing you have a strong support system to turn to in times of need provides important feelings of security, optimism, and hope, all of which are great antidotes to stress.
However, one of the most profound relationships an individual can develop is the relationship with oneself. Most individuals begin a relationship without examining their own values, ethics, and ideas. If an individual brings too many emotional needs or baggage to the relationship it could be overwhelming for the other person. Consequently, the emotional dependency could result in emotional distance in the relationship.
More specifically, many patients who develop a formal eating disorder often socially isolate from others and they are dissatisfied with their interpersonal relationships. In addition, building intimacy is very challenging and may create emotional distancing. Furthermore, one may often avoid important events such as high school reunions due to their shame and embarrassment about their body image. Similarly, one may avoid becoming sexually active with their partner due to body shame. This chapter encourages readers to adopt personal autonomy and to build positive self-esteem prior to the commencement of any type of a relationship.
Initially, if one partner fosters positive self-esteem it attracts another partner who also has positive self-esteem. However, if one partner has low self-esteem they may also attract a partner who has low self-esteem. Once the relationship has developed and one partner begins to build their self-esteem, it often threatens the other partner and results in conflict. Moreover, self-esteem and body image are strongly correlated for women. For example, the higher one’s self-esteem, the more accepting one is of their body image. Therefore, if one day your jeans are too tight or your weight goes up on the scales, it does not affect your self-esteem as much if you have positive self-esteem.