How can men cope with their partner’s chronic illness?
It can be hard to answer how can men cope with their partner’s chronic illness if they aren’t one. But rest assured, if you are a woman who suffers from a chronic condition, I have all the answers.
Being a man who cares for someone with two long-term illnesses I have learned what to do to help my partner.
I’m a husband of 10 years to a wonderful woman who suffers from endometriosis and fibromyalgia. Her endometriosis is deeply infiltrating, and being her primary condition, I used to focus on writing about it a lot. However, her secondary condition is fibromyalgia disorder which she was diagnosed with only 1 year after endometriosis.
To add to it, my wife developed Obsessive-Compulsive, general anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
This mixture of complexity made me realize that I couldn’t just focus on endometriosis because it would be like having one leg. I needed to take care of the whole person, and the whole person needed to include all of her illness.
This is why I want to write this post and open up the conversation about how men can cope with their partner’s chronic illness.
Before we go any further, I just want to say that I’m not a mental health professional. But I have lived with my wife’s mental health for a decade now, and I’ve read voraciously on the topic to try and understand it as best as I can.
I have a decade of personal experience in supporting someone with multimorbidity, so I wanted to share my learnings with you.
It’s not easy, but…
While it is not easy for anyone to deal with a chronic illness, it can be especially difficult for men. This is because they may feel like they are expected to be the strong ones in the relationship and be able to fix everything.
When they are faced with something that they cannot fix, it can be very frustrating. There are a few things that men can do to help them cope with their partner’s chronic illness.
- First, it is important to talk about what is going on. This can be difficult, but it is essential in order to maintain a healthy relationship.
- Second, try to be understanding and patient. This illness is not easy for your partner to deal with either and they need your support.
- Finally, make sure to take care of yourself. This is a difficult time for both of you and it is important that you do not neglect your own health.
If you are struggling to cope with your partner’s chronic illness, it is important to seek help. There are many resources available to both partners in a relationship dealing with chronic illness. With the right support, you can get through this together.
If you want to learn how to cope with your partner’s chronic illness, how to support her struggles, and manage a relationship with a chronic condition, I give away a FREE Chapter of my eBook: “Supporting a Chronically Ill Partner”.
This chapter alone has all the comprehensive information about acknowledging the struggles, including:
- A word to your partner.
- A word to you.
- Stepping on eggshells.
- Understanding her needs.
- How to acknowledge having a chronically ill partner?
- Acknowledging can be hard.
- 15 tips on how to do it!
Get the 1st Chapter FREE!
Chronic Illness for Partners
Tips on how can men cope with their partner’s chronic illness.
To make it easy for you, I am going to get straight to the point by giving you my 9 tips on how can men cope with their partner’s chronic illness.
- Communicate with your partner
- Educate yourself on the illness
- Offer practical help and support
- Be patient and understanding
- Take care of yourself
- Seek professional help
- Join a support group
- Find ways to relax and de-stress
- Have realistic expectations
I would like to expand on each of these points briefly so that you have a better understanding of how can men cope with their partner’s chronic illness.
Find my more in-depth tips below…
How can men cope with their partner’s chronic illness?
Communication is key: This cannot be overstated enough. In order to maintain a healthy relationship, it is essential that both partners communicate openly about what is going on. This will help to ensure that both partners are on the same page and can support each other through difficult times.
Educate yourself on the illness: In order to be able to support your partner, it is important that you educate yourself on the illness. This will help you to better understand what they are going through and how you can best help them.
Offer practical help and support: There are many ways in which you can offer practical help and support to your partner. This may include helping with household tasks, providing transportation to appointments, or simply being there for them when they need someone to talk to.
Be patient and understanding: It is important to remember that your partner is dealing with a lot. They may not be able to do things that they used to be able to do or they may be feeling down. It is important to be patient and understanding with them during this time.
Take care of yourself: It is also important that you take care of yourself. This is a difficult time for both of you and it is important that you do not neglect your own health. Make sure to eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of rest.
Seek professional help: If you are struggling to cope with your partner’s chronic illness, it is important to seek professional help. There are many resources available to both partners in a relationship dealing with chronic illness. With the right support, you can get through this together.
Join a support group: Joining a support group can be a great way to meet other people who are in similar situations. This can be a great way to get support and advice from others who understand what you are going through.
Find ways to relax and de-stress: It is important to find ways to relax and de-stress. This can be anything from reading, listening to music, or spending time outdoors. Taking some time for yourself will help you to recharge and be better able to support your partner.
Have realistic expectations: Finally, it is important to have realistic expectations. Your partner may not be able to do everything that they used to be able to do. It is important to be patient and understanding with them as they cope with their illness.
How does chronic illness affect relationships?
To explain how does chronic illness affect relationships, I will focus on marriages since that is what I am most familiar with. I have seen first-hand how a chronic illness can affect a marriage, but before I talk about my own experiences, I would like to point out that every couple is different. What works for one couple may not work for another and vice versa.
One of the biggest challenges that a couple faces when one partner has a chronic illness is communication. But there are many more issues that can arise, including intimacy, planning for the future, work, finances, and social life.
In some cases, it can bring couples closer together as they support each other through difficult times. However, in other cases, it can put a strain on the relationship.
Below, I list a number of ways chronic illness can affect relationships, and I follow it with my own experiences…
How chronic illness can affect relationships?
Communication: When one partner has a chronic illness, it is essential that both partners communicate openly and honestly with each other. This can be a challenge, as one partner may feel like they are always the one needing to communicate their needs.
Intimacy: Chronic illness can have a big impact on intimacy. One partner may feel too tired or unwell to be intimate, which can lead to feelings of rejection or loneliness.
Planning for the future: Chronic illness can make it difficult to plan for the future. One partner may feel like they need to put their own needs on hold in order to care for their sick partner.
Work: Chronic illness can make it difficult for one or both partners to work. One partner may have to take time off work to care for their sick partner, which can lead to financial stress.
Finances: The cost of chronic illness can be a big financial strain on couples. One partner may have to give up work in order to care for their sick partner, which can reduce the family income. In addition, the cost of treatments and medications can add up.
Social life: Chronic illness can make it difficult to socialize. One partner may not feel up to going out, which can lead to the other partner feeling isolated.
I have seen firsthand how chronic illness can affect a marriage. My wife has a chronic illness, and I have had to make many adjustments in my own life in order to support her. The biggest challenge has been her mental health.
She’s a trooper! She copes great with pain, fatigue, brain-fog, and other symptoms, however, the impact it has on her emotionally and mentally can be challenging to deal with.
Not only did my wife develop general anxiety and panic attacks, she also developed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. OCD was meant to give her some sense of control over her situation but it seems like OCD only took control over her life.
Lastly, depression. My wife’s depression was the outcome of endometriosis and fibromyalgia. Not being able to have kids, be a mother, experience parenthood, and overall loss of her old, full-of-energy life as a dancer, all made her feel suicidal.
Her suicidal thoughts led her to have suicidal attempts. Luckily, her bravery and strength along with my undeniable support allowed her to find the light in the darkest moments of her life.
But it is not only my wife who suffers, I have experienced a lot of fear and worried about her wellbeing. Her chronic conditions made me feel loss and grief too, also frustrations, anger, hopelessness, helplessness, and sometimes even resentment.
It can be difficult to always be the one needing to communicate your needs, but it is essential in order for the relationship to work.
We have also struggled with intimacy. Her chronic illness has made her too tired or unwell to be intimate, which has led to feelings of rejection and loneliness. Endometriosis can prevent you from getting intimate.
We have also had to make some changes in our social life. We used to go out a lot to dance, teach, choreograph and perform, but now we stay home more often. This can be difficult, as we sometimes feel isolated from our dance friends.
A word of motivation!
Despite the challenges, I would not trade my wife for anything in the world. I love her and I will support her through anything.
To motivate you a little, I want to share with you my own quote that helped me a lot when things were tough:
“The best gift you can ever give to a chronically ill partner is your unconditional love and support!”
If you are in a relationship with someone who has a chronic illness, I hope this article has given you some insight into how it can affect the relationship.
Remember that every couple is different and what works for one may not work for another. The most important thing is to communicate openly and honestly with each other.
Get the 1st Chapter FREE!
Chronic Illness for Partners
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…