What effects do chronic illnesses have on relationships?
Knowing what effects do chronic illnesses have on relationships can help people manage their condition and maintain healthier relationships. Chronic illness can put a strain on any relationship, but the effect it has will vary depending on the couple’s individual situation.
Some factors that can influence the effect of chronic illness on a relationship include:
- The type of chronic illness.
- The severity of the illness.
- The couple’s relationship before the diagnosis.
- How well the couple is able to communicate and support each other.
- The resources that are available to the couple.
- The couple’s social support network.
Let’s discuss them one by one…
The type of chronic illness.
What effects chronic illnesses have on relationships depends on the type of chronic illness. My wife suffers from two chronic conditions and even though both have some similarities they are completely different.
My wife has deep infiltrating endometriosis and fibromyalgia disorder. Here’s how they impact our relationship…
Endometriosis is a chronic illness that can result in pelvic pain, extremely heavy periods, and even infertility. It is an insidious condition that stole the opportunity for us to have kids. We will never experience parenthood or become grandparents. It is so sad and took us a long time to accept it.
Endometriosis often goes undiagnosed for years because the symptoms can be chalked up to other things like stress or a busy lifestyle.
It is often diagnosed during childbearing years and can have a profound effect on a woman’s ability to have children. It can also result in pain during intercourse, which can be very difficult for a couple’s sex life. This happened to me and my wife.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that can cause widespread pain, fatigue, and brain fog. It is often comorbid with other conditions like depression and anxiety.
Fibromyalgia can have a major impact on a person’s ability to work, socialize, and take care of themselves. It can also cause a lot of pain, which can be difficult to manage. This can put a strain on any relationship.
The severity of this illness mixed with endometriosis put a big strain on our marriage and almost cost us divorce. The severity of the chronic illness will also have an effect on the relationship. I discuss it in the next paragraph…
First though, 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!
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Chronic Illness for Partners
The severity of the illness.
What effects chronic illnesses have on relationships depends on the severity of the illness. If one partner is dealing with a more severe case, they may need more help and support. This can be difficult to manage if the other partner is also dealing with their own health issues.
The severity of the illness can also affect the relationship between the couple and their families. Families may be more likely to offer support if the illness is severe, but they may also be more likely to judge the couple if they feel the illness is not being managed well.
The severity of chronic conditions can also have an impact on sex and intimacy. Intimacy may be more difficult to maintain if one or both partners are dealing with pain, fatigue, or other symptoms. Couples may need to find new ways to be intimate, such as massage or other forms of touch.
The survival of relationships depends on the couple’s relationship before the diagnosis of the partner’s illness. I expand on this in the following paragraph.
The couple’s relationship before the diagnosis.
What effects chronic illnesses have on relationships depends on the couple’s relationship before the diagnosis.
My wife was first diagnosed with endometriosis. Endometriosis is her primary condition, however, one year following her diagnosis, she was additionally diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
The couple’s relationship before the diagnosis matters because it can either make the relationship stronger or it can put a strain on the relationship. If the couple had a strong relationship before the diagnosis, then they are more likely to be able to weather the storm together.
Chronic illnesses can put a strain on any relationship, but if the couple is strong to begin with they have a better chance of making it through.
If, however, the couple’s relationship was not that strong before, chronic illnesses can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak. In this case, chronic illnesses can act as a catalyst for the couple to end their relationship.
Of course, this is not always the case, but it is something to be aware of.
How well the couple is able to communicate and support each other.
What effects chronic illnesses have on relationships depends on how well the couple is able to communicate and support each other. Communication is key in any relationship, but it is especially important when one or both partners are dealing with a chronic illness.
Couples who are able to openly communicate their feelings, needs, and concerns are more likely to maintain a strong and supportive relationship. On the other hand, couples who are unable to communicate effectively may find their relationship strained by the challenges of chronic illness.
In the beginning, I had problems communicating. I could barely spell “endometriosis” and “fibromyalgia” let alone understand them. Understanding your partner’s illness is key to good communication.
The resources that are available to the couple.
What effects chronic illnesses have on relationships depends on the resources that are available to the couple, and there are many.
It is important to be aware that there is a ton of resources that are available for those who suffer from chronic conditions, but it’s pretty rare to find information for their partners.
Why is that important?
The partner is the unsung hero in all of this, and often their role is overlooked.
Without the support of a partner, it would be much harder to manage a chronic illness. There are many ways that a partner can support their loved one with a chronic illness, and it is important to be aware of them.
This is why I decided to start this blog, to provide information and support to those who are in a relationship with someone with a chronic illness.
But no matter how great your relationship is, both of you can still feel alone. The reason being is that people who don’t suffer from chronic conditions, don’t understand why the affected couple doesn’t socialize as much as they used to. It often breaks social relationships and friendships.
This is why the couple’s social support network is vital! The next paragraph explains it a little bit more…
The couple’s social support network.
What effects chronic illnesses have on relationships depends on the couple’s social support network.
Social support network includes family, friends, co-workers, and professionals. If the couple has a strong social support network, they are more likely to weather the storm of chronic illness. The social support network can provide practical help, such as childcare and meals, as well as emotional support.
If the couple does not have a strong social support network, they may find it more difficult to cope with chronic illness. The lack of social support can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
The couple may also have difficulty dealing with the practical aspects of chronic illness, such as managing medical appointments and medications.
How to understand one another?
If one partner has a chronic illness, it can be difficult for the healthy partner to understand what they are going through. It is important to be patient and try to see things from your partner’s perspective.
It can be helpful to talk to other people who have similar experiences, either through support groups, online forums, or blogs like this one.
There are some things you can do to help manage the effect of chronic illness on your relationship:
- Be honest with each other about how the illness is affecting you and your relationship
- Set aside time to talk about your feelings and concerns
- Make sure you are still spending time together as a couple, even if you can’t do all the things you used to do
- Be patient with each other and understand that there may be good days and bad days
- Ask for help from friends or family if you need it
- Seek counseling if you are having difficulty coping
Chronic illness can have a profound effect on relationships. The stress of dealing with a chronic illness can put a strain on even the strongest of relationships. Couples who are dealing with a chronic illness often find themselves arguing more, feeling more resentful, and having less time for each other.
The physical and emotional toll that chronic illness takes can also make it difficult to maintain close relationships with friends and family members. People who deal with a chronic illness may feel isolated and alone, which can further compound the stress of the situation.
It is important to understand that chronic illness can have a major impact on even the strongest of relationships. If you are in a relationship with someone who is dealing with a chronic illness, it is important to be supportive and understanding.
There may be times when you need to take on more of the household duties or childcare responsibilities. It is also important to make time for each other, even if it is just for a few minutes each day.
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Chronic Illness for Partners
Wrapping things up…
If you are dealing with a chronic illness, there are many resources available to help you cope. Support groups can provide valuable information and support. There are also online resources that can offer guidance and support.
The most important thing is to reach out for help when you need it. Chronic illness can be difficult to deal with, but you don’t have to go through it alone. There are people who care about you and want to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Thank you for reading! I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.
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…