Do you ever look at your healthy partner and feel/fear that they don’t deserve this life? A life with someone who is chronically ill? You aren’t alone. I’ve had that thought many times.
A recent study shows that spouses with Fibromyalgia are more likely to consider divorce than their non-Fibro partners.
The study suggests there is a strong link between fibromyalgia, feelings of depression and fatigue. Proulx found that people with fibromyalgia were almost three times more depressed than their spouses and reported more anger and problems in the marriage, indicating that they were more likely to consider divorce than their spouses. The healthy spouses reported that it was difficult to watch their spouses experience pain.
This is definitely something I can understand from looking at my own marriage. I think that whether we are sick or healthy we often put feelings on our partner that they don’t have. We have certain ways that we think they are likely to feel but rather than think of what we think they would be feeling, we should try to put ourselves in their shoes and think how we would feel.
If he was the sick one, would I want to leave him? No, I don’t think I would. I swore to stand by him in sickness and health, why should I not trust him to live up to his end of the bargain?
I think that often we feel our partners don’t deserve what they got stuck with. We don’t deserve our pain either but we don’t choose it. They choose to deal with it every day that they choose to love us. It’s not the pain that they love, it is us and they have chosen to take the bad with the good.
I remind myself of this on a regular basis, he CHOSE this, he CHOOSES this because he CHOOSES me. So why make things more difficult and assume he doesn’t want me just because he wishes we didn’t have to deal with this.Your partner may not have chosen your illness, but they have chosen you. That's what matters. Click To Tweet
Many marriages don’t survive chronic disease but I believe that mine will*. I believe that if your marriage can’t survive the tough times it’s because there are bigger issues in your marriage. We are constantly working on our marriage, even through the tough times.
I’ve had to learn to communicate with my husband about my illness and he’s had to learn the best ways to ask me questions about it to get the answers. I don’t want to be a whiner, and I don’t like talking about my pain but I’ve had to learn that he NEEDS to know how I feel in order to understand it.
As the article says, you can’t see pain. As one person in our support group said, we don’t wear pain meters on our head – sometimes I wish I did. So when my husband asks me how I feel, I have to tell him – in detail – how I really feel. This allows him to know what to expect out of me and what he can do to help me.
If I allow him to just assume that I’m ok and don’t tell him differently I can’t expect him to be any help to me or have any sympathy for my pain or give me (in any way) what I need. For him to give me what I need I have to tell him what I need. This is something we work on daily.
*Edit (2019) – My marriage didn’t survive. There were bigger issues, and it was more than just chronic illness that caused my marriage to fail. But, chronic illness also played a role because it magnified some of those bigger issues.