6 Ways You Can Support Your Partner With a Chronic Illness
Chronic illness is hard on us, but we often overlook the impact it has on those close to us. Loved ones usually mean well but don’t know how to cope with it, or know what to say.
1. Listen to them
All relationships require you to listen, but when your partner is chronically ill this is especially important. Even if you don’t know what to say, just being able to let it out and having someone to comfort them can make the world of difference.
Find out more about their illness, the effects of it and any medication they take. Don’t be afraid to ask them about it, they will be happy you are showing an interest. Chronic illness isn’t the only thing about them but it is a huge part if their life. Having knowledge of what they’re going through may help you become stronger as a team.
Respect when they’re too sick to do what you’ve planned. They haven’t cancelled to hurt your feelings, and they probably feel really bad about it. They may feel like they’re letting you down or are a failure, so reassure them. If possible, you could plan something you can do from their bed, such as a TV date.
Understand as much as you can – chronically ill people often have a very hard time being believed, so try your hardest to understand and never doubt them. You won’t be able to understand fully as you’re not going through it, but try to put yourself in their shoes. Treat them how you’d want to be treated if it were you.
The bad days are challenging, but reassure them that you are there for them, and that even though things are hard, you’re not going anywhere. Remember their illness may have shaped them, but it does not define them. Your partner being ill isn’t the reason you fall in love with them and it isn’t the only thing about them. Sometimes all you can do is hold them, put a film on and make them their favorite comfort food. The little things can make a big difference.
Although you need to be there for them, sometimes they still need their independence. Be prepared to take a step back when necessary. Have a balance between taking care of them and helping them have independence. Remember, whatever the case is, you’re not there because you have to be. You’re there because you love them and want to be.
You and your partner are a team. Show them how much you love them as often as you can. Communication both ways is one of the most important things in any relationship.
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