When you have chronic pain life can be ten times harder. You don’t know what you will be like day to day or even hour to hour. It can also be jarring to be with someone who is ill. Patience must be one of the most important lessons I have learned through my journey of dating while in constant pain.
I am lucky to have the boyfriend that I do because not a lot of people can’t handle canceling last minute, having nights in instead of going out at 25 years old, or even going out, but to have to leave after an hour. It’s horrible when you are the one with the illness, but it can be just as hard on the other person. Most times they feel helpless because they don’t want to see you hurting, but there isn’t anything they can do to help.
They must deal with the different emotions of someone who is going through a downward spiral and seeing no end in sight. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all bad, but it is more of a challenge and as we all know even the best relationships can be challenging.
Don’t fear though because I have tips that could potentially make all the difference. This isn’t full proof, but it’s what has worked and what hasn’t for us.
1) Be Patient
We don’t want to be this way, but unfortunately, it’s the cards we were dealt. When I first started dating my boyfriend, I wasn’t at my worst, so he had to go through everything for the first time as I did. He used to try and kiss my forehead, or touch my leg, but I would push him away because my skin was so sensitive that it made me want to jump out of my skin. It was rough for a little while, but we figured out what worked best for us.
2) Be Gentle
Gentleness doesn’t just mean with touch it could also be the way you talk. If you are someone who gets annoyed easily and doesn’t understand why your significant other sits a lot, then you need to take a step back realize they aren’t healthy like you. Going to the mall, walking around a park, or even leaving the house could be easy for you, but someone with health issues might not be able to do simple things like that. If you are upset that they aren’t doing much, then talk to them gently don’t be rude and abrasive because it won’t get you anywhere
3) Be Flexible
We know that in life things happen, but with someone who struggles to live day to day that will probably happen a lot more. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. If you guys had plans to go out with friends, you could always have a backup plan to hang out at someone’s house and bring food in with your friends. There are always options if you are flexible.
One of the most important lessons we learned was to communicate. I needed to learn how to communicate how I was feeling and what I needed from him. Since Central Pain Syndrome is invisible, he doesn’t always get to see what is bothering me. It’s important for you to be able to communicate as well. It needs to be an equal partnership. Sometimes one partner needs a little more than the other and that’s okay as long as it isn’t the same person 100% of the time. You deserve to be able to complain and vent about what is going in your life because you are just as important.
5) Be supportive
Like I have said before life can be scary when your partner doesn’t know what each day is going to bring. One day they could have arm pain and the next could have been knee pain and it can be painful. It’s hard for them to know if the pain is from their chronic pain, or if there is something else going on. It’s important for you to support them in whatever way is best for your relationship. It could be listening to them vent, telling them you guys will get through and maybe even distracting them.
These are only a few of the many tips. Everyone and every couple are different. This is what works for us and maybe they are exactly what you need. If it’s not that’s okay. Feel free to let us know what has worked for you. I love hearing new things.