Loving FM Relationships: In Sickness and in Sickness

Loving FM Relationships: In Sickness and in Sickness

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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4 comments

  1. Denise Bault says:

    I left my husband about 4 years after developing fibromyalgia. He later told me that he, “just stopped caring about me once I started getting sick.” It showed. That’s why I left him. He was passive-aggressive and the stress of living with him, doing everything in the household plus running my own business was just too much. I dropped 210 pounds of stress -him – and haven’t looked back. It was the best thing I could have done. However, at my age I have a better chance of hitting the lottery or getting hit by lightening than getting married to a decent man. Those are just the plain statistics and that doesn’t include being sick. Just sayin’…

    • Lori Galpeer says:

      Glad that you were able to leave a bad situation. I, too, did with my ex-husband and find myself extremely fortunate that I met my husband 6 years later. Don’t ever close the door to the possibility of finding that special someone.

  2. Julie Shenk says:

    I’ve gone through similar experiences. I didn’t think we would make it in our marriage. We married in 1979. He had his own abandonment issues as orphaned extremely young and didn’t know he had dyslexia & was labeled lazy by close people. Then I did not know who I brought to the marriage as my suitcases were not unpacked at the cross. Yes, we were both Christians before marriage and thank God for that. Around the same time, my health tanked due to autoimmune problems and a whiplash that broke the camel’s back, (Fibromyalgia developed exactly 6 months later and severe OA reared its ugly head, too). More health issues have followed. I, too, have PTSD physically and emotionally. I had repressed sexual abuse at the hands of a close relative. I’ve lived my life backward but God’s tender hand has been upon me. I am now so much freer emotionally than ever. But physically, I am diminishing barring a miracle. Still, my compassionate husband stands by me and provides. We have learned what our new dance and balance will be. It’s taken years for him to understand it all and to be a lifter and encourager for his wife.

    • Lori Galpeer says:

      I am glad that you both were able to work matters out so that you could be a close marriage. At times I wondered about my own in regards to other common issues that were not related to my illness. My husband withdrew at first too, and over time providing articles about the illness and sharing how it was affecting me he came around. With all that you have to deal with (and I truly can relate with pstd issues as mine were of similar nature), I am glad you have a strong support system in your spouse!

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