How does your chronic pain impact your marriage or relationship?

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coyotewildwoman's picture
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 02/04/2009 - 12:46pm
How does your chronic pain impact your marriage or relationship?

Hi, I am now single, now, and trying to make better choices about a new partner. Being in chronic pain and knowing this is going to be life for me, unless that miracle new spine they are growing for me at Walmart works ;} out...
that this reality for me. I don't if I should give up on trying to find a supportive partner or look for a very special type of person and hope he shows up for me...

While my marriage had its issues prior to my chronic back pain and round of surgeries etc that started 5 years, I do think my chronic pain had a huge negative impact on my marriage. I was wondering if others have experienced this as well and how they dealt with it.

My husband kind of took it as personal affront and inconvenience to him that I could not function as "the engine that could" as I once did. I don't think he believed me, and he felt taking care of me on any level was not for him. And really resented I could not care for him as I once did.

It lead me to leave, knowing that he could not understand my experience or be there to support me.. and would just continue to more deeply resent me, for the fact that I struggled to put dishes in the dishwasher, asked for help carrying the groceries, and had to leave a party early, etc.

How have other people dealt with this in their primary love relationships- and did it/ does it have an impact? Have you gone through counseling? Just put up with it? Had a supportive partner? Gotten divorced? I don't believe I am alone here in this experience.



kathyy's picture
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/29/2008 - 2:18pm
Yes, I can relate.......

I think anytime a partner makes a drastic change in his or her life, whether intentional or not, marriage is bound to be impacted. My husband tries so hard to understand can anyone understand ongoing, severe, chronic pain without having to experience it??? I am on a drugstore-worth of meds and nearly 3 years post L4-L5 fusion. I have sustained huge amounts of nerve damage and have the ongoing pain to prove it. I have 5 grandchildren to keep up with and my husband and I work 60 hour weeks to keep our business going in an awful economy. Has the pain impacted our relationship???? You bet it has. It kills my hub to see me cry myself to sleep at night because I hurt so badly. And the drugs certainly affect my disposition. No doubt that chronic pain sufferers can become isolated because of what they can't do anymore. It's awful for me and I KNOW there are tons of sweet people here who feel the same way as you and I. Hang in there. It's just a new reality we have to learn to deal with. Kathy

snookie's picture
Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/06/2008 - 8:22pm
I understand, 3 months after

I understand, 3 months after I was hurt he had enough. I am so afraid of that type of rejection, over my CP that I have not dated anyone in almost 3 years. Please know that you that you are not alone

Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 02/12/2011 - 3:37pm
I feel ya

Wendy, Kathy and Snookie-

I can relate to everything here and I'm relatively new to the chronic pain "scene." In fact I can't necessarily qualify as a chronic pain sufferer. But I can say that following L4-S1 fusion last October my husband has done his best to be there for me. The guy even cooked for me after I came home from the hospital.

Having said that, it's bound to get old hearing me bi**h and moan about hurting all day long and often at night. I love him very much and don't think it's fair to drag him down with me, so often I internalize it and it makes me really angry and withdrawn.

To be honest, I tend to distance from my people and have done so for many years due to other life experiences. Pain just magnifies all our bad habits I'm afraid.

Regarding finding that special someone, all I can say is that it's going to take time and patience. I do not know how able you are to get out and meet people. Perhaps you prefer to meet somebody online. The only uneducated advice I could give you is to be very up-front about the challenges you've been facing and explain how this will be a life-long thing. It doesn't have to stunt a relationship.

I believe that if you find the right person that it can actually bring you closer to each other. A person that truly cares for you will not judge you. They will listen and help you talk through your physical and emotional pain. Of course there are times when even they will be hard pressed to empathize versus truly sympathizing with you. We are human after all. But they will always love you.

Be patient and do your best to find a comfortable way to meet new people. Don't let pain put up walls around you. I'm rambling on...I hope this helps a little Smile


Metalneck's picture
Last seen: 1 week 20 hours ago
Title: Member
Joined: 07/23/2008 - 9:26pm
Its not just you ladies ...

My wife of 18 years decided to divorce me after my second round of surgeries. Nothing like having that little tidbit dropped on you 4 weeks after a major surgery. I guess she saw my continued earning potential and the prospect of having to deal with a remaining lifetime of health problems as not being very fun for her ... so she proceeded with her midlife crisis and started looking around for "Mr Right" .... Cause I guess I was now Mr. Damaged goods.

Slowly I am getting in touch with the idea that I now have a second chance at happiness, and a new life that may hold wonders!! Now If I can only convince wonders to hold me!!

So maybe we should start our own single spineys dating club!!

We could be charter members!!

Always warmest regards,


janiski's picture
Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/05/2008 - 3:09pm
dating club

Great idea Dave!! Sign me up.

Coyote I am also single but in a mostly on on & off relationship. I just got told tonight I complain too much. To me its just talking about my life, which unfortunately is full of pain. I was very hurt. When that happens I tend to crawl into my shell to protect myself.

I would like to find someone very supportive who would always be there. I know the relationship I am in now is not that. Guess its better than nothing but on some days I am not even sure of that. Sometimes being in a relationship can be just as lonely as being alone.

Thank goodness for my cats who don't help with anything around the house but are always there when I need a cuddle. They just seem to know.


Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.

L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.

Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/21/2011 - 11:09am
I find myself always having

I find myself always having to apologize to my partner for how snappy and unreasonable I have been that day or week Sad My partner is very patient and understanding but I am getting sick of hearing myself moan and boss people about to do the jobs I cant, that everyone else must be getting sick of me too Sad They dont say anything. My 11 year old son understand that I cant do a lot or attend his school plays in winter, due to the ice,or interact with him well. He dosnt disturb me when I'm sleeping, because I turn nasty when sleeping. My other half says he loves me, but our relationship is no where near as close as what it once was....and I do worry. Our honeymoon period is SO over, and now we are lucky if we can be intimate. I try and give more love, hugs and kisses, but to go any more than that is something I find hard to do. I certainly dont question if my partner would leave me because of this, because my partner has a facial disfigurement and an eye implant as he was attacked as a teenager, and was hit across the side of his face with a car jack, or cross bar. His eye instantly exploded and he had an implant put in (fake eye). But I loved him from the moment I met him, and would continue to do so regardless if he lost his other eye...or if anything else happened to him. I just hope he feels the same, as I fear that my future is not far from having to move home and become wheelchair bound.xxxxHUGS TO ALLxxxx

64pvolvo1800's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 day ago
Title: Member
Joined: 04/13/2011 - 3:25pm

constant open communication ad validation of fears concerns and remedies is a good start.
Support groups for both the CP member and the partner are critical.

Just like in addiction, the entire relationship is sick and needs to get well from both perspectives. The healthy (non CP partner) is just as sick as we are because they learn to accomodate and make up for our shortcomings. Resentments grow as a result.

Having resentments isnt the problem. Having resentments and not openly validating them and discussing the fears generating them IS the beginning of the end.

I am fortunate that my wife of 26 years understands the pain even though she doesnt suffer from it. She also seeks therapy on her own and we are a better family for it.

dilauro's picture
Last seen: 16 hours 42 min ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 06/16/2008 - 9:41pm
Wendy, this is a very important topic

So many times people post about their medical conditions, the pain, their medications, etc.

But there is so much more than the physical aspects.
Long time chronic pain sufferers also know about the emotional impacts this has on their lives.

There are so many threads dealing with this exact subject, but to me, this is not a duplicate thread, but instead something everyone should read.

In my eyes, there are three elements to chronic pain.

1 - The person who is actually suffering
2 - The Spouse or Significant other
3 - The Family and Friends

I think we all know what we have to do in terms of dealing with the pain and discomfort associated with chronic pain. But how do we deal with the ones we love. The bottom line in order to keep relationships going during these times is open and honest communications.

For the Spouse or SO, there are many unknowns.

a - They do not feel or understand the pain you suffer.
b - They are scared, because they see as long as you are in this pain and cant do XYZ, they have to do that much more.
c - What is the future? Are things just going to get worse? Do I (spouse) just have to do more and more.
d - Jealousy. They see the attention you get, they see you not doing this or that and at times they can resent it

I am not saying that all of these apply, but listening to people over the years, I can pretty much guarantee that many do apply.

I am far from understanding the mechanics and inner thoughts regarding relationships, but I do know that without having really Open and Honest communications, so much can fail.

Sometimes it will come down to the two of you sitting across from one another, holding hands and expressing your feelings, your fears, your wants.
And then , listening to what the person you love also wants to say.

It isnt always easy, but I know for me its always worth the efforts.

Wendy, some of my comments were not directed to you directly, but more in general to anyone in these situations.

However, the one comment directed to you, is that I hope things do work out for you and whomever you do settle down with

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences.

backache99's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 11/01/2010 - 4:05pm
i lost the lot

i lost the job i had trained for .my wife left me because ;she did not do ill people;! luckily for me i found kath ..she is kind and understood that i am ill and unlikely to get much better and more to get worse .but even any couple we have are ups and downs ,,,she has always treated me with respect and as an equal .you can't ask for any more

1997 laminectomy
2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014

backache99's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 11/01/2010 - 4:05pm
i lost the lot

sorry duplicate

1997 laminectomy
2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014