Relationships are hard! Add in the challenges of chronic pain and some days they seem just about impossible.
Lately we have been in such a funk. I’ve been in pain and stressed out about the job situation. Rationing my remaining pain pills like they were precious gold to be hoarded and the increase in my pain had a severe effect on our relationship.
When you hurt it’s all consuming, all you can think about. You tend to snap at people and just all around be a witch. When you can barely find the energy to shower, it feels impossible to find the energy to give to a relationship.
The catalyst for me was when my man looked me in the eye and told me that he felt alone, that I didn’t talk to him. Of course in my wisdom I tried to educate him that while he was talking all I could hear was my body screaming “pain, pain, PAIN!” Armed with the above pain scale I explained that my pain is constantly a 5-6 with flares up to an 8.
You know something – it doesn’t matter. One of the most important people in my life felt like he didn’t matter to me. I was allowing the pain to control my life and ruin our relationship. Something had to change.
What changed was my priorities. Those of us with chronic pain only have so many “spoons” in a day and we have to be very purposeful in how we use them. I’ve made it a point to allot a few spoons a day towards him. Simple things, like doing a load of laundry, or making dinner. I make sure the bed is made and the house is neat so he has a clean comfortable place to come home to. Yes I made a list in my bullet journal to help me remember!
Another huge (for me) change I’ve made is not allowing myself excuses. For a long time I would say I’d do something and then for whatever reason (pain, exhaustion) I would come up with a reason why it didn’t get done. He couldn’t count on me. Not anymore! Now I prioritize my day and write down the most important things I need to get done. Amazingly I’m getting them done.
The best part about this is that as I’m showing him more love, he’s starting to trust that I’m there for him. He’s starting to feel loved again and he’s showing me love in so many ways that I was missing.
Here are a few ideas to get you started
- Read Love Languages and figure out what his is. Concentrate on that.
- Prioritize your relationship.
- Write it down
- Plan your day so that you have energy when he gets home.
- Realize that you can only do your best and treat yourself with Grace. If you are showing a true effort he will see it and on the days you just can’t – he will happily pick up the slack.
- Realize it’s usually small things that make people feel loved.
I’d love to hear from you, what are your suggestions for a successful relationship with a chronic illness?
– Julie the Nurse