Did you know the divorce rate of chronic illness is 75%? Quite a bit higher than the national average. That is because having a chronic illness and being in a relationship with someone with a chronic illness causes a strain and stress. We have to find ways to cope with this as a couple. And it isn’t always easy.
Things we want you to know if your partner has an illness:
- We think about how better things could be if we were healthy and when we are really down, how better of you would be without us: We just feel like we both could have had a better life if we were not ill. And since that is impossible there are days we wonder if you would be better off without us because we feel worthless.
- We feel like a burden: There are times we feel like a burden when we cannot be as productive as we want around the house or when we cannot pull our weight financially.
- Sometimes we will develop comorbid mental health issues: If our chronic illnesses aren’t mental illness we can still develop comorbid mental illness from dealing with the chronic illness. We are at high risk and it is something you have to be prepared for.
- Our lives will be at a different pace: We have to establish a new pace. Slower, more moderate and we will not be able to do all the things we could before. Even holidays will have to be more paced and careful to accommodate symptoms. Sometimes events and plans will be canceled due to worsening health.
- We feel guilty: We will feel guilty about not being able to do all the things we could before. We will feel guilty that we are failing you as your partner.
- We mourn: We will mourn our former selves and all the things we are giving up and all the compromises we have to then make.
- We want you to help us: We want you to help us have a life still so we do not become isolated and sad about all this. We want to be able to have some semblance of a life we recognize and we want you to help us achieve that.
- We want your understanding: We know you cannot understand everything we are going through. We know you cannot fix it. We just want your understanding that it is difficult and we are doing the best that we can.
And whoever our partner is in our relationship we do have to understand the strain and stress on them. Part of that is a simple acknowledgment of all that they do for us. Our partners need to hear sometimes all the extra things they do that, at times, make them take on more responsibilities around the house in addition to working.