Fibromyalgia and Marriage

Fibromyalgia and Marriage

Marriage is hard under the best of circumstances. Throw a chronic illness like fibromyalgia into the mix, and well, let’s just say that things get interesting.

It’s hard not to take on the roles of patient and caregiver. Though certainly roles that have become a piece of your relationship, don’t let it become the defining piece. You both need to continue to be lovers, friends, and companions.

It’s so important to be honest in your relationship. Talk about your frustrations with your limitations, your pain, your desire to be who you used to be, and the person you’re hoping to become. Your spouse needs to talk about their frustrations with your neediness at times, your inability to engage in previously enjoyed activities, and their physical and emotional needs.

Keep in mind that when there is stress in your marriage, it will affect your health, causing more pain and flare-ups of symptoms. Do your best to resolve your issues sooner rather than later. Communication is so important. If it’s hard for you to say, write it down instead. Whatever works for you. Seek counseling if you need it.

Pain and fatigue can become consuming, making your world much smaller than you ever imagined. Help your spouse understand by sharing word pictures that describe your symptoms and let them know that you are equally disappointed that you can no longer do some of those mutually enjoyed activities. Tell them to never stop asking, because when you feel well enough, you will absolutely say YES.

For some, I know the stress of chronic illness tears at the fabric of marriage, rendering it unfixable and utterly, irreparably broken. It takes a spouse who is willing to be less selfish and more serving to keep marriage not only intact, but growing richer as well. Remember your vows you spoke to each other, including for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

When you vowed for better or worse, you could not have anticipated having fibromyalgia and all the limitations it puts on your life. But this is the hand you have been dealt, play it to the best of your ability….together.

Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this blog article are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Fibromyalgia.


  1. Rita says:

    Thank you for this excellent article. I am 68 and married for almost 44 years to a wonderful man. I was diagnosed years ago but all the associated debilitating symptoms have increased in recent years. My husband has taken on more and more responsibilities at home since his retirement. Believe me, I am most grateful. Unfortunately along with the gratitude comes a lot of guilt and fear of my dependency on him. It actually affects my self-esteem but I think Fibromyalgia does that to some of us. I used to be on the go constantly and up for any travel, etc. I did everything for him and our 2 children and worked outside the home as well. We have always had a strong marriage and we do have a pleasant time together. We laugh at life a lot but inside I want to cry out that I hate being like this every single day. I am actually embarrassed and rather ashamed that he does so much . I honestly don’t know how I would manage at this point without him and that is not a good feeling. My heart goes out to all Fibro sufferers most especially those that have no support.

  2. Linda says:

    This article has brought me to tears, highlighting the grief I feel that my marriage did not survive the worsening of my health problems.
    I am 57 and have suffered from some fibromyalgia, CFS and IBS symptoms since my teens but which were not fully diagnosed until I was in my 30’s. I began taking anti-depressants at age 38 after a severe neck injury at work and 2 undiagnosed bouts of post-natal depression. My husband’s response to my increasingly debilitating pain and fatigue was to drink more heavily and verbally abuse me, blaming me for the loss of my libido, loss of friends and the misunderstandings that resulted from his memory problems rather than mine. In 2002, after 2 unsuccessful attempts to get him to participate in counselling and his continued refusal to admit that he had a problem with alcohol, I felt I had no choice but to insist we separate for the sake of our children. I struggled to work part-time [as a Physiotherapist] and care for my 2 young daughters until continued financial and legal battles with my ex aggravated my symptoms so much I had to go on a Disability Support Pension. All my battles are still ongoing.
    When I consider how different my life may have been if I had had a caring and supportive spouse I just weep. I had hoped to be one of the people who learned to manage such health challenges but am finding it too difficult without a caring partner.
    I also resent the fact that many FMS & CFS sufferers feel guilty and ashamed of our needs. We did not choose to have these symptoms or watch our abilities diminish. I wish all those who think we use our health issues to avoid hard work and enjoy being taken care of could ‘walk a mile in our shoes’.
    To Rita and Ann I would say “cherish your partners’ but don’t let your relationships be undermined by guilt, shame or excessive gratitude. They must believe you are worthy of their love if they are still there.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Linda, first let me say that my heart hurts for you and the breakdown of your marriage. I cannot imagine having to do this alone and raise children while ill. I’m sure the added stress does not help with your symptoms. I completely agree with all that you’ve said. Know that I’m here for you. ????????

  3. Rhonda Willinger says:

    My husband thinks that exercising fixes all. He says staying in bed makes it worse. My room has become my safe haven. I can not even go to Walmart with regret because of the pain. He is a loving spouse that wants to heal me. He says he understand but he doesnt. Resently we went to Las Vegas but had to rent a scooter to get around. He thought that I would come home and get motivated to lose weight and exercise. I ache 24 hours a day. I’m afraid that this is becoming between us. He wants to fix me and thinks he has the answers. Any suggestions?

    • Robin Dix says:

      Rhonda, part of it is that he doesn’t understand and part of it is he wants to fix it, but he can’t. Men by nature are fixers and I’m sure he’s frustrated that he can’t fix this. I’m sure he hurts for you and is suggesting things that might work with a normal person, but unfortunately not for us. Tell him how you feel. Communication is everything. ????

  4. Patrick Clark says:

    My name is Patrick and I am on the other end. My wife has fibromyalgia and yes it is very stressful. We have five daughters. It is life changing, Not only to My wife but the whole family. I believe I am most affected from it, then my daughters through because of the difference of relationship. Fibro kills every part of the marriage, when you can’t come and go because a person wears down quickly and doesn’t have the energy, Always in pain, even just to touch flares the pain, to see one fall in to a depression and self guilt and their mood change is pure hell to say the least. It is like waking up one day and she is gone and here is another person in her body. I love my wife very much and I am human so yes I struggle at times. I find myself falling into the pity party of poor me what about my needs. I see the difference from before she got sick and after and I know it sucks for her. June 20th was our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and each year gets harder. Divorce is not an option because this is not something she has chose or is doing to me on purpose. To any husband who reads this try to understand which you will not be able to, So just be loving and very patient. If you really love your wife you will support her even through it can be gut wrenching at times. These verses get me through the hard times and reminds me of what true love is. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is Patient and Kind, Love does not Envy or Boast, It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, It is not irritable or resentful, It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, But rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, Believes all things, Hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

  5. Tony says:

    My girlfriend and I have been together for about a year and a half. Before i met her i had never known someone with fibro, and I’ve been struggling to understand this disorder. I wish I could transfer that pain to myself somehow. I am so glad i found this website, and specifically this article. If anyone has any advice on more i could do for her, i’d really appreciate any advice.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Tony, your girlfriend is very lucky to have you. The most important thing is to listen to her and help her through each day. Ask her what she needs from you, we are all so different in the severity of our symptoms.

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