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5 Things to Remember If Your Significant Other Has a Chronic Illness

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As a person with multiple chronic illnesses, I’ve experienced the harsh reality of how it affects the relationship dynamics with your significant others. One thing to remember is people with a chronic illness have lost a part of themselves that they will never get back. They also did not ask for this nor did they have a choice or say in the matter. So here five things to remember if you’re in a relationship with someone with a chronic illness:

1. Be understanding.

At times this will be the most difficult thing to do. Try to keep in mind that a person with a chronic illness may be confused and be processing all types of emotions in attempts to understand their illness as well as accepting it.

2. Be patient.

Again, as hard as this may be, you need to be patient with how your significant other copes with the diagnosis of the chronic illness. Conduct your own research about their chronic illness. Become informed. This helps ease their mind and reassures them that you truly care.

3. Understand fatigue.

With almost all chronic illnesses, one of the major symptoms is fatigue. This fatigue is different. A person can sleep for more than 18 hours and still wake up feeling awful like they hadn’t slept in days. Don’t make them feel bad for not being able to attend events and don’t push them to overexert themselves to a point where they won’t be able to function for days after. Understand that you are going to have to live your life and do things without them at times. And that’s OK.

4. Do not guilt the other into doing things that may make the chronic illness flare up.

People with chronic illness already feel a sense of loss due to their lack of ability to do things they once were able to do. They may already feel guilty for not being able to do things, such as go to game, hang out with their friends like they did in the past or do some daily activities they were once able to without a conscious thought. If they tell you they don’t feel well, please understand they aren’t lying and what they feel is real.

5. Don’t forget they have a chronic illness.

Most chronic illnesses are invisible. You can’t see the pain or fatigue. People with chronic illness have invisible symptoms such as tingling and/or burning sensations, generalized weakness and body pain. Try to be cognizant of their symptoms because they are real and very painful.

It can be challenging for those who are in relationships with people with chronic illness, and it can be very difficult for all parties involved. Chronic illness is real. Chronic illness is painful. Chronic illness is mentally and physical draining. Please try and understand what I am suggesting because it’ll help everyone involved cope and be supportive of each other.

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Image

Originally published: November 4, 2016
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