Why My Chronic Illness Can Sometimes Feel Heartbreaking For Me and My Partner

Let’s face it, relationships can be hard. They can bring out the best parts of us, and also the more difficult. Having a relationship when you are chronically ill can, at times, feel heartbreaking for both parties.

I am engaged and have seen firsthand how it has affected my relationship. Sometimes I feel like my illness has taken my personality away. Before I started displaying symptoms, I was social, energetic, bubbly, and happy. Now, I am tired all the time. I struggle with finding energy to do basic things such as shower and put on clothes some days. I have a hard time getting out to do things, especially if they are activities that involve a lot of movement. Traveling is stressful and can bring on more pain. All of this has impacted my relationship.

Over the years, I have noticed that people often don’t know what to say when someone they love is in pain. This is especially true when the person you love is constantly in pain, and there is nothing that can fix it. My partner has become used to seeing me in pain. At times he has created distance in order to protect himself.

In our intimate life, sex can be difficult and a challenge most days. Most days I am not in the mood or in severe pain, so sex is out of the question. On days that we have sex, I don’t always enjoy it. I feel guilty many nights and he feels rejected. Cleaning is not done many days and the house is a wreck. I go to bed early, wake up at 3 a.m., and stay up. I often have to schedule my day around when I can get to my heating pad or heated blanket.

All of this has affected my fiancé tremendously. Just as most people can’t imagine what it’s like to have a chronic illness, I also understand it can be difficult at times to be the partner of someone who is struggling with a chronic illness. He has had to put his needs aside at times in order to help me. He has given me injections, watched me cry from pain, gone to the emergency room with me multiple times, been with me through surgery, scopes and tests. He has had fear about where my disease will take me in five, 10, or 20 years. I often don’t think about what he goes through and how my disease has impacted him.

I have realized that loving someone when there is no cure for their illness is not easy, but it is not impossible.

Having a loving and understanding partner is something I don’t take for granted.

I am so grateful for his love throughout all of this.

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