Maintaining a healthy relationship when you have chronic pain
When we fall ill, our instincts shift us into survival mode – making us more selfish (whether we like it or not). When you have a healthy partner who is keen to go out and do things, the situation can lead to resentment on both parts and increased tension within the relationship.
If you are living with a chronic illness or disability, take a look at the following advice to help keep your relationship strong and thriving:
Remember you are not the only one in pain
It can be easy to get caught up in your own pain when you’re dealing with it daily, and you may forget that your partner is feeling pain too. While their pain may be different from yours, it is no less real. Ignoring their hurt and frustrations will only make things worse, so try to avoid getting lost in your own struggles and remember they have theirs too.
Designate technology-free time
Escaping the realities of your illness/disability can lead you to spend a great deal of time being absorbed in technology. While things may seem less complicated in the virtual world – you may be leaving your partner behind. Spend some time together without technology to reconnect in real life.
Keep intimacy alive
Understandably, for some physical intimacy may not be plausible, but this doesn’t mean you can’t spend time being mentally intimate. Bond by reading together in bed, meditating together or simply by spending some quiet time together reflecting on life.
Spend time alone
Give yourself some space for inner reflection from time to time. Avoid using this time as an excuse to read gossip magazines or watch TV, instead try to spend time in nature or meditate. This time will help you find inner peace, reducing stress and anxiety for a healthier state of mind.
If you find yourself venting to your partner on a regular basis, you may find it useful to talk to a professional such as a counsellor. Here you will be offered the space and time to voice your worries (whether they are to do with your illness or not) to someone without judgement.