What can you do to support your caregiving partner?
What can you do to support your caregiving partner? How endometriosis affects men…
Last updated: 25/3/2021
There are many ways to support your caregiving partner, but when you have endometriosis, it is far more challenging than if you had any other disorder.
Because, unlike other conditions, endometriosis often stands in the way of men feeling, well, manly…
Most men report that endometriosis affects their sex and intimacy, even planning for having children, not to mention working lives and their income.
Additionally, they are required to take additional tasks and roles at home, which impacts their emotions.
Our struggles aren’t often recognized, we lack support and feel marginalized.
The focus is often placed on women who suffer from endometriosis. Fairly so, but no one talks about us – their male partners.
So what can you do to support your caregiving partner?
Here’s the short answer:
As your man takes on the role of caregiver, he will need your emotional support at the very least.
By taking time to educate yourself on what he’s going through will be a powerful gesture of solidarity.
Also, listen to your partner without judgment as he voices his concerns and frustrations about this new and stressful situation he found himself in.
The best thing you can do for your caregiving spouse is to give him time for himself each day.
That means an hour or so, of no interrupted time for doing something he loves doing. It could be meeting a mate for a beer, going to the gym, playing football, doing DIY, any manly stuff.
Because we need “me time”, time to clear our thoughts, to relax, and realize we are a lot more than spousal caregivers.
Table of Contents:
Why this article matter?
The level of support varies from couple to couple. My wife suffers from multimorbidity, which means, two or more long-term health conditions.
M has endometriosis and fibromyalgia, not to mention the daily chronic stress that she has to manage.
Communities behind chronic illnesses talk about the challenges of those who suffer, however, society barely recognizes them.
It must be incredibly hard for you to manage all the battles with doctors, employers, and people who don’t understand your daily struggles. You must feel lost and alone…
Unless you have a loving partner by your side, someone who cares enough to care.
It may be a boyfriend, fiance, or a husband.
This is the focus of the article. It came to light thanks to my fellow blogger – EndoLadyUK, who asked a very important question…
“What we can do to support our caregiving partners and lessen the burden ever so slightly?”
My lovely wife knows how fortunate she is to have a loving caregiving husband. Although I may not see it this way, her illnesses can be as hard on me as they are on her.
Despite the challenges, I chose to stick around and I rarely complain about the extra burdens I have to take on.
I say “rarely” because I’m human. I have limits.
My heart goes out to those of you who don’t have someone to help you manage your illness, and who can take care of you.
This article covers several ways in which you can ease your caregiver’s burden.
Allow him "me time"!
Caregiver self-care is important, I call it “me time”…
You have to make sure that your partner is taking care of his own mental and physical health.
There’s a tendency for caregivers, especially men, to ignore any symptoms that they develop even though they aren’t as severe as yours, so don’t forget to ask how he or she is doing!
He might deny his feelings and hide them from you (I did it countless times) in order to lessen your burden whilst ignoring his own.
Speak honestly with your caregiving partner explaining your reasons for the question, explain the importance of asking for help.
If he got ill, he wouldn’t be able to help you. But don’t tell him that! This is for your eyes only. Besides, he knows it, and if he heard it from you, it would look rather selfish…
Try to avoid giving him non-caregiving responsibilities. Here’s an example:
My wife feels tired, I do get that, but sometimes she asks me to do some little things like putting a kettle on when she can do it herself or asks me to open the window when she is able to.
It sounds meaningless, right? It is if you aren’t a caregiver!
Caregiving husbands do a lot as it is. We became caregivers, not from a choice. We sacrificed a little bit of ourselves.
Yes, one might think – this is what marriage is all about, but when you are a caregiving husband, in addition to extra responsibilities we weren’t used to doing, simple and meaningless tasks, often become really overwhelming.
So if there are non-caregiving tasks, such as those I pointed out, unless you aren’t able to, try to do it yourself without asking us for it.
When you both feel like things become too much, a good piece of advice would be thinking about the people in your life, who might be available to help with tasks that neither of you can handle.
Little by little, it takes away a lot of our shoulders.
Adding it all up, we will be able to have more free time to focus on something we love doing. And this is where our “me time” comes in handy…
So the best thing here to support your caregiving partner is giving him time to do what he’s passionate about.
For me is blogging, weightlifting, Latin-ballroom dancing. For your man, it might be having a beer with his mates, DIY, playing football, cards, or else… You know him best!
I know that with endometriosis plans never work, so allow him free time whenever you’re having a good day.
Besides, spending time apart will bring you both closer together. It’s nice to miss each other, it’s a beautiful thing when you reconnect.
Sex and intimacy...
Aside from encouraging your man to do things without you, there are things you definitely cannot do without him. Let’s talk sex!
I understand the fact that it isn’t as easy as it seems…
We all love sex, who doesn’t?! For couples with endometriosis, however, this brutal disorder often makes intercourse unbearable for the woman, the pain of feeling thorn apart is indescribable!
It doesn’t mean though, that sex with endometriosis cannot be pleasurable…
For many men, not having sex is a deal-breaker, and not being able to have kids and be a father is another matter.
Both reasons result in a higher than usual divorce rate.
Luckily for my M, who asked me on three occasions to divorce her for the sake of my happiness, I refused.
She felt like I could have a better life without her, and the guilt and feeling like a burden drove her to suicidal attempts. I struggled at times but despite these challenges, I stood by her!
There isn’t enough awareness of spousal caregiver’s stress and the burden that comes with taking care of their chronically ill loved ones.
Many times we fell flat on our faces and had to rethink our wrongdoings, in order to deal with countless limitations caused by endometriosis.
One of them, naturally, was the lack of sex. And I am not ashamed of saying that – it wasn’t to our fault, but endometriosis.
And to answer your upcoming curious question “how often we do hanky-panky”, our life isn’t sexless, we just don’t do it as often as we used to.
But that makes it more special! Because you make much more effort trying to please your partner, not knowing when you are going to have sex again.
Could be few days, few weeks, maybe even months. Some couples go even years without sex… If you truly love each other, you will overcome this.
How? Here’s how!
You can help your partner realize that sex isn’t always about penetration. Sex is about exploring what feels best for your partner. What makes him shout your name out loud!
Yeah, let’s get the kinky out! But first, a pause for a nice picture, may this inspire you to get in the mood…
How to make it better for him?
When it comes to sex, some positions put less pressure on areas of your pelvis that contain endometrial tissue. You should experiment with your man and discover what positions are best for you.
However, many people find that certain positions are better than others.
When you are on the top, you can easily control the depth and speed of your penetration. That allows you to determine a comfortable pace.
A good piece of advice is also using positions that involve shallow penetration. Some of these include:
- raising your hips
- a modified doggy
It’s important to remember that the missionary position is often very painful for women with endometriosis.
Sometimes any form of penetrative sex is painful, and you may often prefer to engage in other types of sexual activity.
Since the subject of this post asks what can you do to support your caregiving partner and we’re talking about hanky-panky, I have two things you can do for him today…
Unless you live the life of the women from “Handmaid’s Tale”, you know that sex isn’t only about penetration.
So what to do? The answer is simple – spice it up without making much effort.
The first tip is simple, yet extremely effective. the second one is considered taboo although can send your man to heaven!
Remember, he’s a male. Men adore oral sex. There are so many benefits giving him such pleasure, let’s name a few…
It doesn’t hurt you as it does during penetration, especially if you have (like my M) stage IV deep infiltrating endometriosis.
Dyspareunia frequently occurs with endometriosis because penetration and other movements associated with intercourse stretch and pull the endometrial growths, particularly if it has grown behind your vagina or lower uterus.
There’s no multitasking. You don’t have to any kind of maneuvering that would hurt you when changing positions. You’re doing one thing whilst being still.
The whole attention is all on him (do you hear a choir of angels singing), he can simply enjoy it. There are no words in the world that can describe how we love receiving oral sex.
Trust me when I say this – we love to receive unplanned, unexpected, surprised blowjobs!
Sometimes we wish you’d just do it for us, without us finding ways how to ask you because we worry that we want it when it isn’t convenient for you at the time.
I know that I speak of his pleasure only, but we are talking about lessening his burden and trying to support your caregiving partner. Blowjobs work magic!
As it happens, the male P-spot is situated 1 to 2 inches inside his bum. It is the equivalent of your G-spot.
As it also happens, prostate massage can produce the most powerful, much longer-lasting, multiple (without the refractory period) orgasms. He’s capable of orgasming as long as he’s being stimulated.
Furthermore, when you’re done, you’re man will experience an after-glow effect. His prostate will become so sensitive, it will produce pleasure waves for minutes and hours to come.
If until this point you did not get squeamish and you got a bit intrigued, to fully understand how to give him prostate pleasure, I dedicate a whole next paragraph to it…
The male P-spot!
There are still many taboos around male anal play. Men wrongly think that doing so makes them gay.
You cannot make a straight man into a gay one. This couldn’t be more absurd!
Anal play has nothing to do with sexual preference. It just happens that the male equivalent of the female G-spot is situated in the butt. Yep, I said it!
Unless he uses someone else’s penis, it doesn’t make him gay. Moving on…
Why do men like it?
The anus is an erogenous area, it has countless nerve endings.
The prostate has more these pleasure nerves than your man’s manhood. Furthermore, his penis doesn’t give him orgasms, his prostate does.
Any male orgasm originates in the prostate (I’d argue that it originates in the brain, but let’s keep it simple for the sake of your guy), here’s how…
Whenever your man begins to feel his orgasm approaching, the tingling sensations begin in his prostate, not the penis. The penis is the last part these sensations get to.
When properly stimulated, it can be extremely pleasant, and lead your man to incredibly intense orgasms. Why say no to that?
His P-spot (prostate) is a walnut-size gland located about one to two inches inside the rectum, towards the belly.
You will insert your finger whilst he’s laying on his back and with your palm facing upwards, bend your index finger in a “come here” motion.
You will find it there. Keep light pressure on it, it will become harder when stimulated. Keep moving as if you were saying “come here” in a seductive way to your man.
Besides the biological functions, his prostate and the anus have lots of nerve endings, which makes them highly pleasurable.
P-spot orgasm is a full-body orgasm, not just localized in his genital area but spreading all over the body, and accompanies a deep sense of physical and emotional release.
Unlike penile orgasm, which can be achieved with a “minimum” effort, prostate orgasms require more stimulation. I mean, you will have to make an effort.
A man will only orgasm if he’s fully aroused, and most importantly, avoiding penile stimulation is the best way to achieve a P-spot orgasm.
In order to help him achieve this kind of orgasm, you will have to be really dedicated, as it takes much longer than with penile stimulation.
Also, have in mind, that most likely he won’t orgasm from prostate stimulation alone the first time.
It may happen, but it can take at least an hour of persistent stimulation. Unlike the penis, the prostate needs time to warm up.
Talk things out.
Apart from fulfilling his sexual needs, how else can you support your caregiving partner? By directly asking him about his needs.
Sometimes he might feel lost. His role can be really overwhelming having to do many tasks. Speak honestly with your man about what he can do for you that really matters.
Leave the little, less important tasks. He doesn’t have to do it all.
Write him a checklist of the most important tasks that need to be done, and let him stick with this list.
He can always tick what he has done, which creates a clearer picture.
Your partner will be less puzzled and feel more confident in his role if he doesn’t have to guess your needs. And remember, he’s allowed to forget a thing or two…
If you don’t discuss what it’s reasonable for your caregiver to do for you, given his or her non-caregiving responsibilities, your caregiver is likely to think that he has to do everything.
This can lead to caregiver burnout, depression, and eventually, compromise his health.
This is why it’s essential for you and your caregiving partner to try and make an honest assessment of what he can reasonably do.
When it’s done, think about what you are still able to do for yourself. After that, talk with him about the people in your life who might be able to help with tasks that neither of you can do.
And remember, in the worst-case scenario, you can always hire help.
Find ways to preserve the relationship you had before endometriosis appeared in your life.
Think about what made your relationship work before. There are still things you can do together.
My wife is Sicilian, and so for us, things that help preserve our marriage are traveling and dancing. We love to travel, especially to my wife’s beloved Italy, where we can visit her family based in Liguria.
It’s a beautiful, romantic country. We love to discover new places, we walk in the mountains as much as we can and do little trips to famous Italian lakes.
Sharing a passion is a fantastic way to preserve your relationship. We love dancing!
We dance together now 14 years, we used to perform, had a dance crew and run plenty of workshops in England and Europe. It was fun until M began to feel the first symptoms of endometriosis.
After her diagnosis, she almost fell apart. She thought, she’d never dance again…
But as it turns out, she realized that a bit of movement actually helps her with her symptoms. Naturally, she needed to pace herself and don’t push it too far, but she was able to dance, and that matters!
My wife used to work full-time as a dance teacher, choreographer, and performer. Endometriosis caused her to lose the job she much loved. Not being able to teach anymore, we decided to go into Latin-ballroom dancing.
We fell in love with it so much, we do it as regularly as we can. We also love to see dance shows in the theatre, such as contemporary, Latin, ballet.
We have a lot in common and that helps us stick together in a happy marriage.
So if you ask how to support your caregiving partner, it is by sharing a passion with him. It allows you both to escape the reality of this brutal condition.
Perhaps it can be something as simple as enjoying a good laugh together. We love going out to cafes, to the woods, etc…
Although you may no longer be able to go to your favorite places because you are not able to do it from the bed if you’re bedbound but if you liked to talk about certain subjects, or watch Netflix together, please do!
Sharing time together allows you and your caregiving spouse to escape reality for a while. It helps you both gain some energy and helps preserve your relationship.
You may have to be creative and think outside the box because being chronically ill seems to require a lot of out-of-the-box thinking but I noticed within my wife, that it also requires a lot of careful planning.
When it comes to preserving your relationship, it will be “planning time” well spent.
Encouragament and reward.
Encourage your caregiving partner to do things without you. Maybe I briefly mentioned this already, but it’s vital for his well-being.
Spousal caregivers are often reluctant to do enjoyable things for themselves because of the worry over their chronically ill loved ones.
For me, it used to be the same – “all or nothing” kind of mindset. I was always giving my all, every time neglecting to take care of my own needs. But my wife noticed that and encouraged me to get back in the gym.
This was precious to me. She took away the difficult decision I didn’t have to make. I used to commit 100% of my time to fall short on my own self-care.
Not only was I expecting too much of myself, but it could also lead me to caregiver burnout.
Luckily for me, M noticed that and helped me out in time. I urge you to do the same for him – encourage your man to do more of what makes him happy, alone!
I hope you’ll take the time to convince him, and explain how important it is for him to take time for himself.
This will allow you to let your caregiver know how much he is valued!
My wife takes away some chores from me. When I come from work, she always welcomes me with a hot dinner. She cooks for me despite the fact she hates cooking!
I love it and adore cooking for my wife, but time spent at work doesn’t allow me. She sacrifices her time to do it for me, showing appreciation for what I do for her. This is the best reward a man can get.
She also often says “thank you.” She expresses her gratitude for having a loving husband who takes good care of her, and who despite hardship, has never given up on her.
Making sure your caregiver knows how much he is valued is a gift you can give in return.
Additionally, you can always remind your man that things may change for the better.
My wife improved a bit since the early years of her illness. Yes, she has been additionally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but yes – she can dance again, and she can travel, My wife is also able to go to a café in the afternoon or out for a walk.
Her illnesses taught her to notice the little things other people normally never do – a singing bird, a squirrel, blooming flowers, the smell of coffee (yes, she has half a shot a day, but it’s still there with her).
These small changes have made life easier and more pleasant for me as her husband. You don’t know what the future may bring.
Sometimes the best way to support your caregiving partner is to remind him that your condition may improve.
This will give him hope and encouragement. It can always get better. It’s possible we are living proof of that!
Who am I?
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 for those who support their partners… [read more]
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