As a spouse and care giver of a disabled person, life can get hard some times. Life is by no means as hard as it is to be disabled, but it can be hard none the less. There are days that are every bit what you dreamed life with your partner would be like, and on the flip side of the coin, there are days that you can never see coming. Hopefully, this post will give you some insight as to how you can cope and possibly still enjoy a healthy, equal relationship with your disabled partner.
Always Remember That Your Partner is Still Your Partner
I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve fallen into this trap of my own making. Before my spouse became ill and then disabled, decision making was almost always 50/50. Since then, I find myself often making decisions about our daily lives on my own. This is a bad thing to do, and I’ll tell you why. Your partner may be sick, but he or she is quite capable of making their own choices– not only for themselves, but for your family. Sole decision making for the both of you not only robs your spouse of freedom of choice: It can also come across as demeaning and lead to frustration and animosity between both of you. Never assume, and never leap to conclusions. Always keep the line of communication open.
Don’t Try To Do Everything All The Time
Trying to shoulder the daily load is a hell of a burden for one person to carry. When she or he is able and willing to do the dishes, the laundry, etc, let them. You can’t do everything alone, and your partner wants to feel productive and necessary. I know the first instinct is to want to jump up and do it for them, but don’t. Offer help, offer encouragement, but don’t assume that when your partner goes off to do something or mentions something that needs to be done that they want you to do it for them. When your partner wants or needs your help, you’ll know it: They will ask you for it.
Treat Your Partner As If They Were Never Sick
The first two points kind of lead to this point. Sick or not, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask your partner for the same things that you enjoyed with each other before the disability hit. After all, they enjoyed these activities as much as you do. You may have to make some adjustments as to how, when, and where, but trust in your partner’s ability to say no when they don’t feel up to it.
Know Your Partner’s Disability
It’s important to become fairly knowledgeable about your partner’s illness. Spend some time talking to their doctors. Research it on the internet. Talk to your own partner about it, especially if they’re not likely to offer the information spontaneously. You need to know and understand what your partner is dealing with. You need to know what they can or can’t do. You need to have an idea of what the worst possible outcome may be with his or her disability. Knowing what your loved one is dealing with will help you understand where your partner is coming from when they try to communicate a need, or want, or if they just want a sympathetic shoulder to lean on.
Find Someone To Talk To
Your partner needs a sympathetic ear, so why wouldn’t you? Try talking to a friend who is willing to listen, or seek out a counselor or support group. You need an outlet to get things off your chest every now and then. When you do find that outlet, DO NOT feel guilty for speaking out. You and your partner have enough to deal with; guilt for having human feelings and emotions does not need to be included in that mix of issues. I’m betting you’re partner is every bit as understanding to what you’re feeling as you are to them.
This is all I have for you for now. However, I will be back with more posts that will hopefully help you maintain a healthy, happy relationship with your partner, as well as maintaining as healthy and happy as you can be considering the circumstances. Remember: life isn’t over because your spouse is disabled, it’s just different. There will be good days and bad. Just do your best to live life with your partner with patience, kindness, dignity and respect. Always keep communicating. In other words, keep doing all of the things that make your relationship a good one. You and your partner will be happier for it 🙂