Being a caregiver and in a relationship with the person you are caring for is difficult. You may not always know how to handle the changes in the relationship. It is hard to be understanding all the time. It helps to try to see life from your partner’s perspective. It is also important to pay attention to your own physical and emotional health. The balance of relationship is often somewhat distressing when illness strikes, but it does not have to be.

It often feels like that there is no solution when dealing with the adversity of being a caregiver in a relationship. You may feel overwhelmed and resentful from the responsibilities you have taken on. Communication will help deal with the feelings of distance that lead to the lack of intimacy. There may be problematic issues dealing with career development, money, children, and time. You may have concerns about hurting the partner or worsening the condition, but consider the consequences of not dealing with the issues at hand. Find ways to openly talk about the challenges. Do not be consumed about talking about the illness, but find the right level of communication. State your needs so that there are no mixed messages. Address the issues before they get out of hand.

It is normal to feel sad and to have anxiety because of a chronic illness. Do your best to ease these stressful emotions. The best way to handle anxiety is to pinpoint the root and to find approaches and resources to address it. Learn more about the condition and how to handle it to feel more in control. Work on building coping skills through counseling or cognitive-behavioral therapy. Watch for depression to avoid clinical depression. Acknowledge the change in the relationship and what you both are experiencing. This will be experienced as a grieving process that you can get through together with each other’s support.

by Nicole B., Community Educator