The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Carolyn Hax: Tell a girlfriend who likes to ‘test’ you that you’ll pass

(Nick Galifianakis/for The Washington Post)

Adapted from
an online

Dear Carolyn: I have been dating a woman for a few months. For the most part things are going well, but there's one thing increasingly bothering me: She has, on a few different occasions, "tested" me. Example: She texted me that she was sick and asked if I would take time off work to take her to the doctor. I said I would and she texted back, "Okay, you passed! I'm not sick, I was just testing you." I have told her I am extremely uncomfortable with being "tested" like this, but the tests continue. Is this something to break up over?

— Tested

Tested: Yes, immediately.

Re: Tested: When your soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend asks, "But why are you breaking up with me?" the correct response is: "You failed my test."

— Anonymous

Anonymous: As entertaining as that may seem or satisfying as it may feel, it actually perpetuates the problem. Better to be honest: “Because jerking people around to ‘test’ them is acting in bad faith. I want to date someone who is ready to trust people.”

Dear Carolyn: Recently you answered a question from a size 14 bride whose mother told her to lose weight.

Well, I am also a size 14 girl, but I have the opposite problem. I really want to and feel like I need to lose weight. My BMI is in the obese range and I am, like the prior poster, a bulimia sufferer. Except mine's active currently.

So I am trying to eat healthy and cut down on alcohol, which is a binge/purge trigger for me. But instead of encouragement, I get, "You don't need to lose weight, you look great," "Oh, c'mon, let's go out for a drink," "Have some pizza," etc. All the time. Every time I try to decline something.

So I tell people, "I know you think I look great cause you love me, but I really need to lose weight for health reasons." But I still get the same responses.

I don't really want to share my eating disorder history with everyone, and those who know still say the same things, so I don't think it would help. I know you can't control others' behavior and I don't want to avoid literally everyone I know. What can I do here?

— Trying

Trying: You don’t mention having professional help as you deal with “active” bulimia, and that concerns me. If you’re not working with someone qualified to help you, then please do so. Here is information for the National Eating Disorders Association help line:

As for what you can say: Your line that “I really need to lose weight for health reasons,” beyond being ineffective with your friends, is arguably not accurate. What your body needs from you right now is about cause (healthy relationship with food), not effect (weight). So in refusing food you don’t want or advice you don’t need, please just say, “No, thank you.” Repeat without explanation as many times as necessary.

If they keep pressing, then: “The kindest thing you can do is take no for an answer.”

I’m sorry even your well-meaning friends fail to realize that their value judgments — even the positive ones! — around food and body image are just not helpful. And please do call the help line today.

Write to Carolyn Hax at Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at