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Pretending to be well sets up an almost intolerable internal conflict, because the more an ill person fakes it the more ill they become. There are a number of ways that an ill person can give enough information to friends without necessarily risking a conversation that involves a lot of advice or tactless comments. His account is humorous, but it is also honest enough to strike a chord with anyone who has tried to maintain a romantic relationship while ill.

‘It was like being buried alive’: battle to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome

Maintaining a romantic relationship is difficult even when people are healthy. But, when a person falls ill with a chronic disease, the strain may prove impossible to handle. Cheney once said that if the relationship was good to begin with, it would survive the illness. But, if not, the pressure would be more than the relationship could bear — especially if the person who falls ill is the one who is supposed to carry most of the weight.

It is sad, but sometimes romantic relationships have to go the way of fair weather friends.

But if you are committed to an honest relationship with your partner or spouse, there are ways to strengthen your bond, even when both partners are ill. One of the hardest things to bear when you are ill is the effect your illness has on your children, especially if they are young.

Children depend on their parents, not just for love and support, but for their survival. Young children may feel more than abandoned when their mother or father is ill — they may feel as if their very existence is at stake. They will be frightened and confused, and those feelings will manifest themselves in ways that may be hard for you, as a parent, to handle. As a parent, your responsibilities do not stop when you are ill. And so, even though you are ill, you must continue to support them, and show that you are still their mother or father. There is nothing worse than watching your children suffer, and if they are very ill, your heart will break on a daily basis.

The heartbreak becomes even more terrible if you are ill yourself, and truly understand the kind of pain they are suffering. While some people consider this to be proof of genetic involvement, it could just as easily be exposure to the same pathogen. When a child contracts a serious illness, responsible parents feel as if they have somehow let their children down.

Mothers will frequently go back to their pregnancies. Was it something they took, or ate, or were exposed to that set their child up for this illness? Was it something in their genetic code that they passed on? How did they fail to protect their child? While all of these questions are natural, they are fruitless.

During the Lyndonville, NY outbreak that occurred between and , people were affected. Thirty-six of those were children.

ME/CFS: Managing Chronic Fatigue and Being in a Relationship | The Mighty

Their parents had done nothing wrong, in fact, in most cases, one of the parents was also affected. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. When we fall ill, we naturally expect doctors to help us. We expect them to be knowledgeable, caring, and considerate. When your doctor proves to be none of those things, and either dismisses you with a shrug, or implies that your symptoms are fabricated, it can be devastating.

When we have it, that is. He barely wants to do it once a week, and I have a very high sex drive and need for intimacy. It's important to my feelings of security and value in a relationship, as well as just being good for my mental health. In addition, I am a very active person.

I love being outside, I love the burn of a good workout. We're planning a trip to Puerto Rico together, and I'm increasingly worried because I don't want to pass up the chance to swim, hike, and go caving. I can't just sit around for more than a day at a time, I go nuts. I'm having a really hard time coping and understanding what is going on. I have a history of abuse in a relationship, in which sex and quality time were weaponized against me, so every time he turns me down I have a hard time believing it's genuine.

I can't help but take it personally. He works full time, and has designated one full day off every week to literally doing nothing in bed. Which leaves us with one day to do things together, and that's if all goes well. I'm at a total loss. I love him, but I can't imagine spending my life this way. I'm still young and athletic. If there is hope for improvement and any counsel out there, I'd love to know about it.

The Ten Basic Rules to Dating with Chronic Illness

I don't believe that making myself miserable in a situation like that would be good for either of us, but I'd hate to just bail when it gets severe. Anybody out there who is making it work? I'll be completely honest, and you may not like it: You are an active person who wants to go traveling, hiking and climbing, and wants sex regularly. Your boyfriend is already extending all of his energy from his overtaxed and ill body to spend time with you, work full time and take care of his basic needs with nothing left over.

If you insist on him keeping up with your lifestyle, you're going to make him sicker. What will you do then?

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Will you abandon him sooner or later? You need to accept him and things as they are and be able to explore your hobbies on your own or with friends, or end things. I don't believe that making myself miserable in a situation like that. It's really good that you know yourself, but it's also concerning when you described your bf potential worsening of his health, you made it about yourself.

Want to add to the discussion?

A relationship is about both parties and I didn't see anything where you talked about communication with him and how he feels about things either emotionally or physically. It's not a criticism, it's just that I don't think you have the personality or relationship approach that's suited toward a partner with any kind health issue.

It's good that you're thinking about this now and I think you already have your answer in that last sentence. If you check out my comments below in response to others, you'll find more info about our communication. Yes, this is something i have discussed with him, a lot, and from the very beginning because I believe in transparency. I have uttered to him those very words of that last sentence, and he understands where I'm coming from, and agrees that it wouldn't be healthy for either of us. We both know that, for the sake of both our lifelong friendship and our mental health, we can't be a permanent item if this disease progresses to a certain point.

He doesn't think it would be right to hold me back and deprive me, and I don't think it would be right to make him feel guilty and sub-par. Because he would, even if I never said a thing. And yes, you're right, I shouldn't be with a very ill person.

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Not because I don't have the personality for it. I used to rehab rescue horses professionally, and ran an equine-assisted therapy program for war vets. I shouldn't be with a very ill person because I myself have a long history of mental illness, and while I'm largely in control of it now, keeping it that way leaves me with very little emotional bandwidth for dealing with other people's dramas.

My boyfriend has always been very emotionally strong, and that's changing now as this illness eats at him. We seek emotional support from others as much as we can, and I'm there for him to the best of my ability, but it does take a toll on my own mental health as described in my original post. Obvious solution is to break up. Several times, in fact. Never in anger or spite, but grudging admittance of the inevitable and a reluctance to be a detriment to one another.

But we're bad at staying that way So it's hard to just go back to being friends and stay that way, especially when our feelings for one another are still present and mutual.


The one plus to breaking up is that when we get back together it's always via unplanned, desperate, mind-blowing sex lol. I agree with you, partnering with a sick person is not a good fit for someone with mental health issues and a lot of self-care concerns. On top of the lack of a fully engaged partner, there is the lack of uncertainty to face. In order to proceed as a team, both of you would have to be up to the task of living with the unknown as far as the course of his health goes.

You're the first person to say that. I know I should still prepare for the worst. Yes, we've discussed my concerns. I talk about it in one of my comments below. The problem is keeping him on board with our solution Even non-sexual activities, I try to do them with other people or alone, and he gets upset. He feels like he's being left out.