Tips for living with someone who has a chronic illness?
March 10, 2012 7:02 AM Subscribe
Tips for living with someone who has a chronic, serious illness?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I have just moved in with my boyfriend of one year, and one thing I am finding that's different about *living* with him as opposed to just *being* with him is dealing with his chronic illness. He has had a serious issue (kidney problems) which involved major surgery. He is on daily medication for it. He has lived his whole life this way. He is routinely monitored and his health/numbers are very good (and foreseeably will remain so given his current lifestyle habits). There are no "issues" other than the routine stuff he has dealt with his while life.
What I am finding difficult is dealing with the emotional aspects. He has, a few times, used the illness as a sort of get out of jail free card when he has failed to do something he promised---he'll say he can't because he is too tired, the medicine affects his energy levels, he doesn't feel well etc. And if I complain, then I am the bad guy because I am not being sensitive to his medical condition. It's like he has this golden ticket that automatically trumps any needs *I* might have.
I have spoken with him about this and gently reminded him that I do not pull the 'I need you to do this' card very often; when I do, it is for something truly important to me and he has to trust me not to abuse it. And he nods and says of course, absolutely, he understands. But then something will come up, usually something ridiculous (a phone call I ask him to make or something on that level) and all of a sudden, we are fighting again and I am not being sensitive to his problem and he is not doing what I needed him to do.
Fwiw we are both seeing a counselor together---the relationship is good and we are happy, but he is meeting a court order for therapy as part of a divorce settlement so I have been involved---and this is something we are working on. But I would love to get some opinions from other Mefis who may have dealt with this before.