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How do you deal with lack of support issues with spouse?

Ann333AAnn333 Posts: 14
edited 04/02/2014 - 2:34 PM in Matters of the Heart
Overall, my husband of 10 years is a wonderful man. He is an amazing father. He tries to help in ways that he can (put in a railing after my leg went out and I fell down the stairs), and I know it is hard for him to watch me in pain. I also know that I'm stubborn, and don't ask for help as much as I should. But maybe it's the way I was raised; to be empathetic and anticipate his needs and take care of them before he asks. I know I can't fault him for that. But I'm starting to get resentful when he goes off to mixed martial arts class 3Xs a week for 2 hours a pop during put down time without realizing that some times I am crying trying to help our daughter get dressed after bath.

Can I ask the hard question? Has anyone here gotten divorced/broken up due to chronic pain issues having effects on their marriage/relationship?

I'm looking at going into 3 disc fusion, and I'm just wondering if he's going to be able to care for me, and I start questioning whether or not I'm with the right person who jokes that I complain too much about my pain (I'm really careful not to do so as much as possible in front of my 7 yr old daughter. She knows and is helpful, but I don't want to stress her out. She's currently trying to help me find a new stress word instead of a swear word.)

I know no one knows this unless they've experienced it; but how do you communicate and live with someone who doesn't understand the pain that makes you cry...for days on end? How do you stay in love with someone who has unrealistic expectations for you without sounding complainy all the time?

Thanks for listening. Any thoughts/insights/vents welcome.
DDD, L3-S1 almost gone. Waiting to hear about 3 disc fusion. Sciatica and arthritis. Life is like a box of chocolates...


  • Boy, us Spiney's really test the vows "in sickness & in health" don't we? I have a great husband, who has seen me through tons of medical issues (besides the back stuff) after 17 years of marriage. We have 2 kids, 10 & 12, plus he has a 23 yr old daughter from a previous marriage, & she has a 2 1/2 yr old son, & they live with us.

    Since my back & hip went bananas 2 years ago, he has had to do way more than his share of child rearing, cleaning, & picking up dinner (he doesn't cook, & I rarely feel up to it.

    With that said, there are times when he gets frustrated & angry, & I don't blame him, so I try to let it go, but it makes me feel even guiltier. Usually what gets to him is when he comes home & finds that the kids have gotten into some mischief, & I know nothing about it because I have been laying down. His famous line is "you can't parent from the bedroom", & when he says that, we're off & running.

    As far as him anticipating your needs, forget it. You've got to communicate what you need/want. This has nothing to do with your health, it's a man woman thing that's as old as time. Men & women just think differently, men most definetley are not mind readers, you have to tell them straight up what you want.

    Part of living with chronic pain is changing the way you do things to accommodate your situation. For example, I do not go grocery shopping alone anymore. I always take someone with me to bend down & get stuff from low shelves, unload the cart, load & unload the bags & put at least the perishables away, because by the time we get home, I'm done & have to lay down.

    You suddenly find yourself with needs you never had, & your not used to that, & it's making you mad. Understandable & perfectly normal. But just as I changed the way I grocery shop, you have to change from always being the caretaker to now needing to be cared for, & that means asking for what you need. This is a hard pill for women to swallow, because it goes against our grain. Men who can't work due to chronic pain have a really hard time accepting that they can't financially provide for their families. That goes against their grain.

    The fact that your husband does something physical is actually a good thing. He's got feelings about your situation & how it's changed your family life, but either he doesn't want to talk to you about his feelings for fear of hurting your feelings, or like a lot of guys, he just doesn't talk a lot about his feelings. So he's getting his aggressions out doing martial arts, & you need to figure out a way to make it work for both of you. Here's my suggestions on that.

    1. Is there anyway he could change the time he goes so that he could be there for bath time, and/or maybe trade one of the nights to a weekend day?
    2. Is there any way you can change the bath time to before he leaves?
    3. If he goes straight from work, she could get her pj's & towel laid out in the morning, & he could do a "quality control check" to make sure she's got everything ready to go, & that would save you having to bend down to get her pj's out or whatever.
    4. All my kids went from baths to shower at about age 7. So if she hadn't already, you might want to consider it. Less supervision is needed, because it's unlikely she could drown in the shower like could happen in the bathtub. This will save your back, because sitting on a toilet seat is uncomfortable. All you would have to do is maybe help her with washing & rinsing her hair. Also, if she is bathing or showering in a bathroom other than the master bath, consider allowing her to use your bathroom. That way, you can lay down while she is showering, but you will be able to keep a better eye on her.
    5. Finally, if all else fails, & your really not feeling well, skip the bath. It doesn't mean your a bad mom, & it's not the end of the world "a little dirt never hurt" :)

    One last thought is that if you don't already have a pain psychologist, conddider getting one. Not only can they help you deal with your feelings, but they can meet with the both of you & open up the lines of communication.

    Please know you are not alone in your situation. I'm sure you will get a lot of responses; I doubt there is a single couple out there dealing with chronic pain that hasn't had strain put on there marriage. No matter what happens, we are here to support you.

    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • For all your comments. He tries to do a lot of your suggestions, "when he can" or "if I need him to". Makes me a lot less likely to ask when I know he doesn't want to. I guess what's hard is the dynamic. You're right; I've been caregiver so long, I'm still cooking three times a week and then lying down while they have dinner. I can't fathom that after 13 years together, he still doesn't know what I like to eat.

    I have been thinking about going to a pain therapist, and now I will definitely seek one. We've gone to therapy before, and I want to lay things out so that we don't end up resenting each other after this is over. I jokingly asked if I should go to my parents to recover, which he considered. And funny enough, I'm the one who crawls out of bed to fix her hair or 'parent' when he is tired and on the couch. Ugh.
    Will keep my chin up!
    DDD, L3-S1 almost gone. Waiting to hear about 3 disc fusion. Sciatica and arthritis. Life is like a box of chocolates...
  • For moving my thread. I see there is a thread on relationship issues. I looked, but didn't dig deep enough. Thanks for all that you and the other moderators do!
    DDD, L3-S1 almost gone. Waiting to hear about 3 disc fusion. Sciatica and arthritis. Life is like a box of chocolates...
  • My hubby still can't remember my favorite candy bar is a Milkyway, not 3 Muskeeters. Try not to take it personally.

    Going to your parents house might be a good idea. You could focus 100% of your energy on recovering, instead of worrying about cooking, cleaning, etc. I'm sure your daughter would be thrilled to be spoiled by Grandma & Grandpa, & you wouldn't have to worry about the "care taking" part of things. You can spend time snuggling & reading to her or watching TV together. It could be the best thing for you.
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
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