My husband and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary in April. This year’s is eerily similar to our two-week honeymoon in that we both have colds and, just as back then, we are not letting inflamed sinuses, sore throats and laryngitis interfere with our special day.
Unlike then, we are not spending two weeks in Florida or visiting Disney World, but we have made adjustments. My fibromyalgia has dictated what we do each year. What usually was an evening out, was altered to a rain check outing that, for the past three years, has been reduced to a special dinner at home.
My husband is more able to take matters in his stride, whereas I still consider the idea of having to delay a rare evening out as a disappointment. It is his overall demeanor that has played a major part in our marriage in terms of handling challenges. As mentioned in an earlier column, I was diagnosed with FM early in our relationship, and while he was in denial and concerned that he might see yet another loved one’s personality diminish to the ravages of the illness, he never considered leaving me. This is not to say that anyone who leaves a relationship is a bad person; there are a lot of factors that lead a person to either pull away or physically leave.
I wish I could understand why some fall out of love, or lack the ability to sustain relationships during hard times. I can use only my own experience to make the comparison between my current marriage and the marriage to my college sweetheart. Had we remained married, he would have directed his frustrations toward me over the fact his married life would not be going according to his plan.
As an example, he wanted to do all he could to help me work through my childhood trauma, so that I could have an adulthood free of any emotional baggage. As the years went on, he grew increasingly distant and angry if a flashback or stress affected his work or plans in any way. This was more than wanting respite; it was deep-seated anger that his wife had PTSD. Once my advocate, now my enemy. He kept this mentality of me having “ruined his life,” even after we divorced.
Differences in this marriage are based on our being older when we met, and the circumstances both of us were enduring at the time (neck and back injuries).
Our lack of pretense about ourselves, plus wanting to settle down, were important factors that contributed to some of the foundation of our relationship. I am not saying that we have not struggled or even distanced ourselves from one another. But, love, determination, communication and support has kept us together. As with many events in life, it can either bring a couple (or family) closer together, or tear them apart.
My heart goes out to those who have encountered a breakup of a significant relationship due to fibromyalgia. Strongly believe that a better one can be found. After all, if it weren’t for the struggles and pain I encountered in my first marriage, I would not have found the right love for me.
Do not think you are undeserving of happy relationships just because one person took issue. Illness is not an excuse for being mistreated or unloved, and everyone deserves to have love in their life.
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