Handling Ups and Downs in Marriage and other relationships

Posted by sandij (Sandi James) @sandij, Tue, May 7 2:31pm

Relationships are challenging even during the best of times. When you or your spouse is experiencing a medical problem, be it physical or mental condition, it adds a whole new dimension to the relationship. What have you found to be problematic in your marriage since your diagnosis, and what are some, if any, solutions that you have found to improve things?

Thank Your asking, there is no change. I'm starting to give up. Wonder how he feels because I'm not the same person I used to be.

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@kimspr3

Thank Your asking, there is no change. I'm starting to give up. Wonder how he feels because I'm not the same person I used to be.

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@kimspr3 – I'm sorry to hear that there is no change in your husband noticing your limping, pain and difficulties from the adhesive arachnoiditis. I can imagine this causes emotional pain for you and is heartbreaking to not feel like your husband understands or is empathic with your pain, or is reaching out with thoughtfulness.

Sounds as though you have made some good decisions in self-care by having your psychiatrist talk with him about this and also talking to the social worker from the visiting nurse about maintaining your dignity.

Hoping that @merpreb @windwalker @artscaping and others will have some input for you, especially as you are starting to give up that things will turn around with him.

You talked about wondering how your husband feels, as you are not the same person you used to be. Wondering if you are considering having a serious conversation with him soon to ask him more about how he feels?

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@lisalucier-My wife & I have been married 43 years and we've known from the beginning that we were in many ways polar opposites. I've for the most part have viewed that as part of our strength. About 18 years ago while on vacation with our children my wife began suffering from what we learned a year later was Crohn's. There have been many ups & downs throughout those years, but once she was given Remicade, things really settled down. As we've aged there have been new dimensions to her illness that have me concerned and it seems she has been for the most part in denial of much of this.
We somewhat haved reversed roles that are a typical of a couple in that I tend to be the one that that has all the feelings and wants to talk things out and my wife feels I'm over reacting and there is no real problem. We always went to each others Dr. appts., but now she would rather me not come.
I see things happening to her and she does not to the point that she denies it. My kids on visits have seen the same things and have also tried to say something, but those conversations do not go anywhere. When I had my heart attack in May of 14 she was wonderful & caring and although very serious having a single stent placed in my LAD was enough and I fully recovered and regained much of my strength & vigor. I'm 5 years (67) older than my wife and she has slowed down quite a bit. Our sex life has suffered quite a bit and I have suggested that we see a Dr. together and even consider some counseling but she is not really interested in persueing that at all. I know we both love each other dearly, but our relationship has stalled.
I'm committed to our relationship and I believe my wife is as well. Life goes on and I'm hoping for a breathrough. I trust God and continue caring & loving this beautiful person that He brought into my life hoping things will change. Never give up and remain thankful. Jim@thankful

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@thankful

@lisalucier-My wife & I have been married 43 years and we've known from the beginning that we were in many ways polar opposites. I've for the most part have viewed that as part of our strength. About 18 years ago while on vacation with our children my wife began suffering from what we learned a year later was Crohn's. There have been many ups & downs throughout those years, but once she was given Remicade, things really settled down. As we've aged there have been new dimensions to her illness that have me concerned and it seems she has been for the most part in denial of much of this.
We somewhat haved reversed roles that are a typical of a couple in that I tend to be the one that that has all the feelings and wants to talk things out and my wife feels I'm over reacting and there is no real problem. We always went to each others Dr. appts., but now she would rather me not come.
I see things happening to her and she does not to the point that she denies it. My kids on visits have seen the same things and have also tried to say something, but those conversations do not go anywhere. When I had my heart attack in May of 14 she was wonderful & caring and although very serious having a single stent placed in my LAD was enough and I fully recovered and regained much of my strength & vigor. I'm 5 years (67) older than my wife and she has slowed down quite a bit. Our sex life has suffered quite a bit and I have suggested that we see a Dr. together and even consider some counseling but she is not really interested in persueing that at all. I know we both love each other dearly, but our relationship has stalled.
I'm committed to our relationship and I believe my wife is as well. Life goes on and I'm hoping for a breathrough. I trust God and continue caring & loving this beautiful person that He brought into my life hoping things will change. Never give up and remain thankful. Jim@thankful

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@thankful Your frankness is insightful. I appreciate your thoughtful response. We never know how a partner may react to a medical condition, what their commitment may be to making things "right". Counseling can often prove very helpful. I would encourage this for couples, but if there is any resistance or denial of need for it, please go yourself. You deserve to explore all avenues to keep the relationship steady.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@thankful Your frankness is insightful. I appreciate your thoughtful response. We never know how a partner may react to a medical condition, what their commitment may be to making things "right". Counseling can often prove very helpful. I would encourage this for couples, but if there is any resistance or denial of need for it, please go yourself. You deserve to explore all avenues to keep the relationship steady.
Ginger

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@gingerw– Thank you for your kind & supportive words! Jim@thankful

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@lisalucier

@kimspr3 – I'm sorry to hear that there is no change in your husband noticing your limping, pain and difficulties from the adhesive arachnoiditis. I can imagine this causes emotional pain for you and is heartbreaking to not feel like your husband understands or is empathic with your pain, or is reaching out with thoughtfulness.

Sounds as though you have made some good decisions in self-care by having your psychiatrist talk with him about this and also talking to the social worker from the visiting nurse about maintaining your dignity.

Hoping that @merpreb @windwalker @artscaping and others will have some input for you, especially as you are starting to give up that things will turn around with him.

You talked about wondering how your husband feels, as you are not the same person you used to be. Wondering if you are considering having a serious conversation with him soon to ask him more about how he feels?

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@kimspr3, Good evening. I am feeling so much empathy for your relationship situation. I have been in this situation with 4 different relationships over the last 44 or so years. Every time, I tell myself I am not going down that rabbit hole again. And yet, I hold out hope for finding a partner who understands what being a buddy means. Be that as it may, I think men are what I call "fix it" folks.

They want to jump in and fix it so that they can get on with their landscape project or a fishing trip. So what happens when the new normal for you is chronic pain and a limited ability to be of assistance in taking out the trash or weeding the flower beds. Is this time for a marathon chat about your feelings and your medical issues? You give it try and start speaking only to hear, "I get it. I get it." And then you see him checking his phone.

What is the message here? In essence, he appears to be giving you nothing that could be considered warm and fuzzy. And yet, the real answer is that he is the one who feels inadequate because he can't help you. What activities do you enjoy together? When is the last time you went to a movie? They have those wonderful lounge chairs now.

My partner and I are committed buddies. I go to his medical and treatment visits. He goes to mine. That's really new for me because I am the one that feels uncomfortable talking about medical issues with my medical provider and my buddy. Do you go together to medical appointments? It's a great way to have a memory backup.

We are learning…we take small steps. Please let me know if you are able to have a chat and clarify some dangling issues. In the meantime may you be free of suffering and have a restful sleep. Chris

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@thankful

@lisalucier-My wife & I have been married 43 years and we've known from the beginning that we were in many ways polar opposites. I've for the most part have viewed that as part of our strength. About 18 years ago while on vacation with our children my wife began suffering from what we learned a year later was Crohn's. There have been many ups & downs throughout those years, but once she was given Remicade, things really settled down. As we've aged there have been new dimensions to her illness that have me concerned and it seems she has been for the most part in denial of much of this.
We somewhat haved reversed roles that are a typical of a couple in that I tend to be the one that that has all the feelings and wants to talk things out and my wife feels I'm over reacting and there is no real problem. We always went to each others Dr. appts., but now she would rather me not come.
I see things happening to her and she does not to the point that she denies it. My kids on visits have seen the same things and have also tried to say something, but those conversations do not go anywhere. When I had my heart attack in May of 14 she was wonderful & caring and although very serious having a single stent placed in my LAD was enough and I fully recovered and regained much of my strength & vigor. I'm 5 years (67) older than my wife and she has slowed down quite a bit. Our sex life has suffered quite a bit and I have suggested that we see a Dr. together and even consider some counseling but she is not really interested in persueing that at all. I know we both love each other dearly, but our relationship has stalled.
I'm committed to our relationship and I believe my wife is as well. Life goes on and I'm hoping for a breathrough. I trust God and continue caring & loving this beautiful person that He brought into my life hoping things will change. Never give up and remain thankful. Jim@thankful

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Hello @thankful,

I think that @gingerw 's suggestion about going to counseling alone is a good one. Even if your wife is not ready to take this step, you might be able to gain some insight as to how you can communicate your feelings to her. It might be that having a sounding- board for your feelings will be good for you at this time. Wishing you well!

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@artscaping

@kimspr3, Good evening. I am feeling so much empathy for your relationship situation. I have been in this situation with 4 different relationships over the last 44 or so years. Every time, I tell myself I am not going down that rabbit hole again. And yet, I hold out hope for finding a partner who understands what being a buddy means. Be that as it may, I think men are what I call "fix it" folks.

They want to jump in and fix it so that they can get on with their landscape project or a fishing trip. So what happens when the new normal for you is chronic pain and a limited ability to be of assistance in taking out the trash or weeding the flower beds. Is this time for a marathon chat about your feelings and your medical issues? You give it try and start speaking only to hear, "I get it. I get it." And then you see him checking his phone.

What is the message here? In essence, he appears to be giving you nothing that could be considered warm and fuzzy. And yet, the real answer is that he is the one who feels inadequate because he can't help you. What activities do you enjoy together? When is the last time you went to a movie? They have those wonderful lounge chairs now.

My partner and I are committed buddies. I go to his medical and treatment visits. He goes to mine. That's really new for me because I am the one that feels uncomfortable talking about medical issues with my medical provider and my buddy. Do you go together to medical appointments? It's a great way to have a memory backup.

We are learning…we take small steps. Please let me know if you are able to have a chat and clarify some dangling issues. In the meantime may you be free of suffering and have a restful sleep. Chris

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Hello Chris, you express yourself so well. Since I have PTSD I was never allowed to do that because they told me what I was thinking. I my eyes I was wallpaper. My mother used to like to dress me up because even strangers would say to her, you have a beautiful daughter. My own daughter used to tell me, "when are you going to look like a mother" I always dressed tailored, proper for age even now. I never knew what she meant? She also used to say, "when are you going to get lines on your face" in my life a complement turns Neg. We don't speak anymore. My Psychologist told me as of now she is Toxic. you see, I was always told all my life how pretty I was, nice figure. By men and women. I loved the attention, I needed it badly. I never look at my reflection because I have never like what I saw. No matter all the attention I had from the outside I never could see what people saw to this day. I'm older, people say I'm pretty but the attention is almost gone. I still look for it but the thing that made me feel good about myself is almost gone. When I do leave the home I hate!!! looking in the mirror! I can't leave my "husband" I have no one else. Last night he told me his son is coming up again! Do I mind? I said yes, he, well he is my son and he is staying over night! I screamed, went to his face he said, YOU ARE NUTS!! LOOK AT YOU! made me worse! All I will say. I married 3 abusive men. My father took care of one of them by giving that person a warning to stay away. My dad is gone now. My bank messed up my account I had proof to show, husband said, You must have forgotten to do something!! Of course he would say that. If he didn't do what he did with my inheritance I could have had the help I need and left him. I have to say I am sincerely happy for you. I will never get over Neurosurgeons who never educated me on the serious effects of of spine surgery and procedures! Had no control of that too. They are such a powerful group. Passive Aggressive one never knows who will be walking through that front door. You helped me to open up a bit. Leary but I did it. Thank You

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@lisalucier

@kimspr3 – I'm sorry to hear that there is no change in your husband noticing your limping, pain and difficulties from the adhesive arachnoiditis. I can imagine this causes emotional pain for you and is heartbreaking to not feel like your husband understands or is empathic with your pain, or is reaching out with thoughtfulness.

Sounds as though you have made some good decisions in self-care by having your psychiatrist talk with him about this and also talking to the social worker from the visiting nurse about maintaining your dignity.

Hoping that @merpreb @windwalker @artscaping and others will have some input for you, especially as you are starting to give up that things will turn around with him.

You talked about wondering how your husband feels, as you are not the same person you used to be. Wondering if you are considering having a serious conversation with him soon to ask him more about how he feels?

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Hi Lisa, Giving up I meant, giving up in so may ways. Taking care of myself, I can not eat. My P.M. Dr. knows and Psychologist knows. My husband can only change for a day, 20 min. He wants me to ask him if I need help. I will NOT he likes to be asked! Rarely on his own. I must keep my pride and dignaty around him. He is not a communicator, never was. At time he will look at me with a blank stare if I try. I'm not as shy as I once was. I can't break the habit of saying to him "may I". "can I" I need to be more conscience of that! I wish I could hug all of you and give you the warmth and concern back to let you know I am here for you also.

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@kimspr3

Hi Lisa, Giving up I meant, giving up in so may ways. Taking care of myself, I can not eat. My P.M. Dr. knows and Psychologist knows. My husband can only change for a day, 20 min. He wants me to ask him if I need help. I will NOT he likes to be asked! Rarely on his own. I must keep my pride and dignaty around him. He is not a communicator, never was. At time he will look at me with a blank stare if I try. I'm not as shy as I once was. I can't break the habit of saying to him "may I". "can I" I need to be more conscience of that! I wish I could hug all of you and give you the warmth and concern back to let you know I am here for you also.

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Hi, @kimspr3 – how are things going with your husband? Are you feeling more able to eat in the last couple of days?

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Thank You for asking Lisa, I text him information on Empathy, Passive Aggressive, It's all about "Me" and being a Narcissist. He did read it said it's him so he told me if he starts I should say, "STOP" Things were ok for a few days than something happened to my cell phone meaning al of a sudden there were so many apps. I asked him to please take them off {I'm bad at that} he wouldn't do it!!! Told him "STOP' Nothing. An hour later phone back to normal, he, "all I wanted to do was help you" Same old Mantra. I called a hot line for help and A.A.. Phychcologist told me he will never change and I need him. I beg him, let me be me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My childhood will NEVER LEAVE ME! Thank You so much again Lisa

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This topic could not be more relevant to my situation. I have been married for 44 years and have always been the stronger one. I have always done all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, finances, yard work and maintaining the vehicles. I have also done all the minor home repairs or arranged for someone to do the bigger things. I reared our two boys pretty much on my own. The boys are now 41 and 37 so we have been empty nesters for a long time.

He is 72 and still works full time because I encourage him to do so. He has congestive heart failure and has a defibrillator. He is nearly 300 lbs and refuses to do any kind of exercise. He says his knees hurt too much. He has had a TKR on the right knee and refuses to do the left one. He didn't follow through with the PT after the right knee surgery. He suffers from depression but won't talk to his doctors about it. He had no desire to do anything and spends his time at home either on his computer or watching tv. On the weekends he won't shower unless I tell him he has to. We have a membership to the local aquatics and fitness center but he won't go. He is a 'former' smoker who says he quit years ago after a massive heart attack in 1997. I to this day still catch him smoking.

I am 64 today. I had to quit working five years ago and apply for disability because I was no longer able to do my job. A meningioma and resulting surgery in 2009 caused a cognitive impairment. That in addition to fibromyalgia made it impossible for me to retain information to perform the tasks. I was a sales rep for a company that developed and sold software for pharmacies. I was good at what I did and in addition to bringing in new accounts I was also responsible for all of the independent clients across the US and the Virgin Islands. I could no longer remember how to get to places that I visited frequently. I couldn't remember what I was doing and why. The stress of trying to maintain made the fibromyalgia worse. I also suffer from severe depression and anxiety and other physical problems.

We are more like roommates that spouses. There is no physical relationship and hasn't been for a few years. It became very painful for me and his BPH left him with a diminished ability to perform. It became one sided in that I provided him with pleasure but I got nothing in return. Lots of promises but no follow through.

He has always had a problem understanding the fibromyalgia and no matter how much I tried to explain it to him he didn't really seem interested. I would provide him with materials to read that never got read. He never asked how any of my doctor visits went or about tests results. Now I am being tested for possible heart issues and he showed a little interest at first but not any more.

I still do all the things I have always done. As long as his needs are met everything is fine. If I ask him to help he either waits until I get fed up and do it myself or he deliberately makes a mess for me to clean up. If I call him on it he accuses me of turning everything back to him and everything is all his fault. He says I am always picking on him and his response to any discussion is to leave. There is never any civil discussion of the issue. He immediately goes on the defensive and gets angry.

He will be retiring in September of next year. I don't know how I will function with him underfoot 24/7.

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@cindyt63

This topic could not be more relevant to my situation. I have been married for 44 years and have always been the stronger one. I have always done all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, finances, yard work and maintaining the vehicles. I have also done all the minor home repairs or arranged for someone to do the bigger things. I reared our two boys pretty much on my own. The boys are now 41 and 37 so we have been empty nesters for a long time.

He is 72 and still works full time because I encourage him to do so. He has congestive heart failure and has a defibrillator. He is nearly 300 lbs and refuses to do any kind of exercise. He says his knees hurt too much. He has had a TKR on the right knee and refuses to do the left one. He didn't follow through with the PT after the right knee surgery. He suffers from depression but won't talk to his doctors about it. He had no desire to do anything and spends his time at home either on his computer or watching tv. On the weekends he won't shower unless I tell him he has to. We have a membership to the local aquatics and fitness center but he won't go. He is a 'former' smoker who says he quit years ago after a massive heart attack in 1997. I to this day still catch him smoking.

I am 64 today. I had to quit working five years ago and apply for disability because I was no longer able to do my job. A meningioma and resulting surgery in 2009 caused a cognitive impairment. That in addition to fibromyalgia made it impossible for me to retain information to perform the tasks. I was a sales rep for a company that developed and sold software for pharmacies. I was good at what I did and in addition to bringing in new accounts I was also responsible for all of the independent clients across the US and the Virgin Islands. I could no longer remember how to get to places that I visited frequently. I couldn't remember what I was doing and why. The stress of trying to maintain made the fibromyalgia worse. I also suffer from severe depression and anxiety and other physical problems.

We are more like roommates that spouses. There is no physical relationship and hasn't been for a few years. It became very painful for me and his BPH left him with a diminished ability to perform. It became one sided in that I provided him with pleasure but I got nothing in return. Lots of promises but no follow through.

He has always had a problem understanding the fibromyalgia and no matter how much I tried to explain it to him he didn't really seem interested. I would provide him with materials to read that never got read. He never asked how any of my doctor visits went or about tests results. Now I am being tested for possible heart issues and he showed a little interest at first but not any more.

I still do all the things I have always done. As long as his needs are met everything is fine. If I ask him to help he either waits until I get fed up and do it myself or he deliberately makes a mess for me to clean up. If I call him on it he accuses me of turning everything back to him and everything is all his fault. He says I am always picking on him and his response to any discussion is to leave. There is never any civil discussion of the issue. He immediately goes on the defensive and gets angry.

He will be retiring in September of next year. I don't know how I will function with him underfoot 24/7.

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@cindyt63 It is a tough predicament to be in. Have you considered counseling? I not joint, go alone. It sounds like you may need to establish some coping skills to deal with the issues you laid out. Will you let us know what you decide?
Ginger

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@gingerw

@cindyt63 It is a tough predicament to be in. Have you considered counseling? I not joint, go alone. It sounds like you may need to establish some coping skills to deal with the issues you laid out. Will you let us know what you decide?
Ginger

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Ginger, I failed to mention that I have been in counseling for over a year now. My therapist has been a tremendous help in dealing with the depression and anxiety. He is also helping me learn to cope with my relationship. My therapist tells me after every visit to remember to do something for me and that if my hubby doesn't want to participate to go without him. I have told my hubby that once he retires I want to do things and not sit at home 24/7 and that if he doesn't want to go I will go without him. He laughs.

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@cindyt63

Ginger, I failed to mention that I have been in counseling for over a year now. My therapist has been a tremendous help in dealing with the depression and anxiety. He is also helping me learn to cope with my relationship. My therapist tells me after every visit to remember to do something for me and that if my hubby doesn't want to participate to go without him. I have told my hubby that once he retires I want to do things and not sit at home 24/7 and that if he doesn't want to go I will go without him. He laughs.

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@cindyt63 Good for you. Start now to develop some interests. No time like the present!
Ginger

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