The Relationship Rollercoaster

13Jul09

My husband and I have been married for eight years. And it seems that in that time we’ve both grown  and learned a few things about how to work out arguments and manage our relationship. But no matter how long we are together, there are still some things that are a struggle.

One thing, of course, is my RA.

This weekend we had many discussions about his attitude about my RA. It started after he made an off-hand comment that bothered me. I suggested that we go to the local bakery to grab some coffee and breakfast once I was up and moving for the day. A few minutes later, he was ready to go. I told him that I was still sore and I wasn’t ready to go yet. His response was “of course you’re not.” I told him that statements like that make me feel like I’m not doing enough to manage my arthritis, like I have control over what my body is doing at the moment. He said he was sorry and validated my feelings. Later, he talked about wanting to get another puppy. We have a wonderful miniature schnauzer that is 4 years old. She is completely house broken and well trained. At this point, because we live in a third floor apartment, my husband does most of the dog walking duties. I, on occasion, fill in when he is busy. But, since I agreed to live in this apartment, which was necessary because we moved to a big city so that he could attend graduate school, he agreed to take on more of that job.  He also takes care of the laundry for the same reason, but I digress. I told him that getting a puppy is not feasible because of the fact that it would be very hard for me to help house break it because of the stairs and also because we are not planning to stay in this apartment after our lease is up next June. Having two dogs would make finding a new place all the more difficult. To that he said “I know, we can’t because of your arthritis.” Again, it was just as much his tone as his words that left me feeling upset and frustrated. Again, he heard my concerns and apologized. He agreed that he knew I couldn’t control it, but still he continues to make these kind of comments. He often agrees to take on more work in the house hold that he knows is difficult for me, but sometimes seems to resent it.

I find it so entirely frustrating because I make sacrifices or changes in what I want based on what he wants or needs all the time. Isn’t that just part and parcel of a relationship? But because my limitations have the label of RA and often have a daily impact on our lives, it is more of an issue. He has admitted that he sometimes feels angry that I am sick. He does not say he is angry at me, but it is hard not to take it that way.  

So what do you do if your partner seems like he can’t get past it? I don’t know if that is really the case for him. He has grown more understanding over time and less reactionary to my limitations. And he now is very apologetic when he makes comments like this. But, the attitude toward my illness is obviously still there. And as I’ve said before, eventhough I get frustrated by these reactions, I also completely understand his feelings. At times I am very angry at how limiting RA can be. So how can I blame him if he is frustrated? How can I expect him to fully accept my disease when I struggle with that myself?

It can create such a huge emotional mess to deal with a chronic illness, for yourself and your family. People are often very focused on the day to day physical pain of RA, which is understandable. But the emotional pain can really take its toll as well.

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2 Responses to “The Relationship Rollercoaster”

  1. 1 Kelly

    Enjoying your posts. I feel validated here. 😀
    Thanks, Kelly

  2. 2 incandescentflower

    I’m glad to hear that. It always helps me to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thanks for listening!


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