Published on May 14th, 2020
Living with chronic pain syndrome is more than just dealing with the physical limitations – it can sometimes affect your close relationships too.
If you experience chronic pain, it’s important to maintain strong bonds with your loved ones to boost your overall sense of wellbeing.
Chronic Pain And Your Close Relationships
Firstly, let’s take a look at how chronic pain may affect the different relationships in your life.
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may become more and more dependent on your partner for parenting duties, household chores and emotional support.
It may also lead to financial worries if you become unable to work. Intimacy may also be tricky depending on the type of pain.
Young children can be confused about what it means to have a parent with chronic pain and may find it upsetting to see their mum or dad suffering.
You may feel guilty that you can’t do as much for your child as you would like to or once could.
For example, Carole, who has suffered from chronic pain most of her adult life, found that her chronic pain affected what she was and wasn’t able to do as a single mother.
She found that she needed to stop pushing her daughter in her buggy early on and said, “The other parents would look at me funny, but being a single mum with chronic pain, I didn’t have a choice.”
Friends And Family
Sometimes symptoms are so significant that it simply isn’t possible to go out and spend time with friends or family, leading to a sense of alienation.
It’s quite possible that your loved ones don’t understand how draining your chronic condition can be and may take frequent cancellations from you as rejection.
Additionally, the physical limitations and emotional strain of chronic pain can affect your confidence, sometimes making it difficult to maintain friendships.
How To Maintain A Relationship When Living With Chronic Pain
With the right kinds of communication, chronic pain doesn’t have to get in the way of your relationships. Bottling up your emotions can end up making things worse for you and those around you, so be open about how you feel.
- Don’t wait for your partner to read your mind – tell them how you are feeling often, and don’t forget to share when you are feeling good as well as bad.
- Maintaining a physical relationship may have its challenges, but it’s worth making the effort to try if you feel comfortable doing so. Have an open discussion about what kind of physical contact feels good and plan physical intimacy for times when your pain levels tend to be lower.
- Date night doesn’t have to involve leaving the house if you are not up to it. A few candles at dinner and some relaxing music can go a long way towards boosting endorphins and helping you feel more connected to your partner.
- Encourage your children to keep an open dialogue with you. Reassure them that they can come to you if they are feeling confused or worried.
- Focus on the things you can do with your children instead of what you can’t, whether that’s cooking a meal together, watching them while they play in the park or even just reading a book together.
Friends And Family
- Your friends and family might not truly understand what it is like to have chronic pain but they will appreciate the effort you make to keep plans when you can. Compromising can be better than cancelling, so if you can’t go out for that coffee during a flare-up, invite them round to your home. That way you can stay as comfortable as possible while still keeping connected.
Persistent pain can affect your quality of life, but taking steps to strengthen relationships with your loved ones is sure to alleviate some of the emotional strain. With open and honest communication and some out of the box thinking, life can be enjoyed with your loved ones by your side, supporting you every step of the way.
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