The Effects of AS on Relationships

By Steve Barrymore
Updated 2024-03-28 18:28:56 | Published 2021-03-08 12:03:06
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  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
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    • Discover the world of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) through our dedicated iMedix Blog section. Learn about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments of AS. This area serves as a guide for individuals living with AS and their caregivers, offering information and tips for managing this chronic inflammatory disease.

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I am incredibly grateful to have had a partner who was understanding and supportive during one of the most difficult times of my life. At the time, I was a mother of two young children working full-time in the corporate world, experiencing excruciating and constant pain. Describing this type of intense, nonstop achy pain to someone who hasn't experienced it themselves is challenging.

There were days when I would wake up and cautiously move my body, amazed when my joints didn't ache as badly as the day before. However, the pain was always present. The nights were especially difficult, desperately trying to fall asleep only to wake up a few hours later with the feeling of someone twisting a knife in my low back. Sleep became elusive and frustrating.

I have a great deal of empathy for those who suffer from chronic pain without support. Luckily, I had a supportive husband who had my back from the beginning. However, it wasn't always easy for him. Living with chronic pain in a relationship is an unfamiliar experience, requiring open communication to keep the relationship healthy.

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Daily pain can silently erode respect and love in a relationship if not addressed. Partners may grow tired of constant complaints, while the person in pain may feel frustrated by the lack of understanding and support. Conversations about these feelings are crucial to prevent resentments from building up and damaging the relationship.

Living with chronic pain often feels isolating, like being confined with one's thoughts and body. It's essential to have difficult conversations with one's partner to help them understand the true extent of what you're going through. Bottling up emotions and thoughts only worsens the situation and can take a toll on one's mental and physical well-being.

Communicating empathetically with a partner is a skill that can be developed and practiced. Resources like Marshall B. Rosenberg's book Nonviolent Communication can teach techniques for caring and respectful communication that make everyone involved feel heard and loved. If opening up to a partner feels uncomfortable, talking to a trusted friend or working with a therapist is a good alternative.

Chronic pain also causes extreme psychological stress, which can strain relationships. Pain can play tricks with one's mind, leading to insecurities and doubts about attractiveness. Comparing oneself to others on social media only exacerbates these feelings. Instead of drowning in negative thoughts, it's important to focus on self-care and finding ways to alleviate pain.

If chronic pain is affecting your relationship, it's crucial to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about your feelings and the need to reconnect in a loving and nurturing way. This is not about playing the blame game but about finding understanding and support. Your relationship will benefit from your courage and honesty.

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