If your spouse has been diagnosed with a chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, it may feel like a strange thing to ask how you are coping. However, as your partner is busily navigating his/her own coping mechanisms, you may well be left struggling with your own challenges and frustrations.
We recently posted an article that detailed some of the relationship pressures described by those suffering from fibromyalgia. These may include:
- Feelings of marital instability
- Marital anger
- Feelings of withdrawal or hostility
- Mood swings leading to ill feelings
- Reduced libido
To be on the receiving end of these negative emotions can be an unpleasant experience. Particularly if you feel that you have been taking on more than your fair share of the household chores/finances as a direct result of your partner’s symptoms.
From time to time, you may find yourself experiencing one or more of the following:
- Impatience and subsequent guilt
- Confusion when it comes to understanding the symptoms and unpredictability of fibromyalgia
- Mistrustfulness – how can you be sure that your partner is not just exaggerating his/her symptoms?
Whilst it is important to remember that such feelings are perfectly normal, it is equally important that you find a way to move beyond them, for the good of the relationship.
With this in mind, there are some positive steps that you can take to both ease and improve the situation with your partner. We’ve put together six tips that we hope you find helpful:
Try to find fun activities that you and your partner can enjoy as a couple. Spending quality time together will help you to bond and see beyond the negative aspects of the illness. You might find a few ideas on this facebook discussion for starters.
There will be good days and bad days, highs and lows. Being prepared for this can help you to manage your frustration if plans fall apart at the last minute due to your partner’s ill health. Accept that your partner is not at all to blame if an unexpected flare prevents plans from going ahead. Also, realize that he/she is probably as upset, if not more, by the situation as you, and would very much benefit from your reassurance.
Find out as much as you can about your partner’s illness by speaking to your GP together, as well as researching relevant material on the many internet resources available. Such websites also share valuable insights into how you may best manage your own difficulties in coping with your partner’s illness. We have listed a few below to get you started:
The more that you understand the nature of fibromyalgia and the effect that it can have, the more likely you are to find patience on the days when the going gets really tough.
Ask your partner how she/he is feeling and if there is anything that you can do to help to improve the situation. If you find yourself feeling frustrated or overwhelmed at times, try to calmly explain that you are struggling with things too, rather than becoming snappy or impatient.
Don’t forget the romance in your relationship! Think of cute gestures that might cheer your partner up on a bad day. For example, you could surprise her with flowers, cook a candlelit dinner or try and plan a romantic trip out for a future “good” day.
If you find yourself feeling at the end of your tether from time to time, don’t give up. Focus on the positive things in your relationship and the wonderful memories that you have together, not forgetting that you can create many more wonderful memories in the future.
Importantly, don’t let fibromyalgia define your relationship. With a little help and a positive attitude, your partnership can become stronger than ever with every new challenge faced together.
Fibro Women Blogs
Chronic Woman Blogs
Chronic Illness Blogs
Official Fibromyalgia Blogs