dating with chronic pain
June 26, 2014 5:56 PM Subscribe
I have chronic crippling body pain that can strike at any time. I am doing all the things I can to learn to live with it and ease it when it strikes but I have a hard time being with people sometimes because I get snappy when I feel like they don't understand how much energy it takes. Now I have a new girlfriend and it is going to cause problems. Have you lived with pain and relationships?
posted by kanata to Human Relations (19 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I tried explaining the spoon theory and it helped somewhat but sometimes she just forgets. I want to lead a normal life and not let my pain limit me but when it is really bad it feels like anyone asking me to do things for them or even someone talking to me is them trying to steal the last bit of energy I have. I snap and then feel bad. And then they feel bad and no one is happy.
It especially affects my new girlfriend. She has told me she doesn't have much experience with physical pain so it is hard for her to be as empathetic as she wants to be. She really wants to do something to help and is kind and caring and even though it had been just a bit in terms of time she and I have a closeness and connection that we both admit is rare for us with people and scary good! . She has seen me bent over crying in pain and it is hard for her. I try and protect her from most of it so it isn't a focus of our relationship but it leaks in. I get quiet if it is really bad and then snap and feel like hell.
I don't know how to deal with the anger that arises from it when I say that I am having a bad body pain day and she asks me to help her with something. It makes me feel she doesn't care but at the same time I know she does. The relationship can't be all about me. I want to be supportive of her too but I don't know how when I have no energy and want to just crawl into a ball and cry from the pain.
Am I approaching this wrong by not telling her more about how horrific it is? I don't need her to be my care giver. She asks me a lot if there is anything she can do but I can't really think of anything. I can't expect her to be psychic and know when it is a bad body pain day and I still can do things and when it is a day I can't. I hardly know myself until I start to do stuff and my energy goes. And then I feel like I am disappointing her if I have to say midway through our afternoon that I can't do that super fun thing you were looking forward to because I am so sore. And I feel disappointed too because I want to make her happy and do these fun things with her too.
A rambling way of a lot of questions that basically amount to how do you have a relationship when you have chronic pain and don't want it to rule your life.