Friday, February 11, 2011

Romantic Relationships & Migraines

The topic for February's Migraine and Headache Blog Carnival is:  Romantic Relationships and Migraines - How are they affected? Does anything about living with a chronic condition bring you closer? Is it possible to build a new one?

I've been thinking about how to structure my thoughts on this topic, and I've decided to split it up into two parts. Part one will be about how romantic relationships may be affected by chronic illness. Part two (which I'll post tomorrow) will be about some things about living with a chronic condition that can bring you closer.

A search for the word "romance" in the online dictionary reveals that there are many different definitions of the word. It's no wonder people have so many different ideas about what romance really is! I like one of the first definitions, which defines romance as the "ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people... a state of connectedness between people." Other definitions focus more on the passionate, sexual aspects of a relationship. Not to diminish the importance of these in a marriage; but when one partner has an illness that interferes with those aspects, it's important to find other ways to be intimate with one another as well. Thus, the first part of the definition - connectedness and involvement between one another - become even more important.

My migraines often keep me from wanting to venture outside the walls of the apartment. While most people can't fathom being "stuck" inside for so many days at a time, I don't mind it. I like my apartment, and I have my husband there with me. I only wish that I felt better and could enjoy myself more.

My husband and I have learned to adapt to being in the apartment together all the time (especially since he's still been without a job for a while). We have things that we do on our own, but there are things we do together. We've found that playing games (card games, Yahtzee, etc...) is a great bonding activity. It gives us an opportunity to spend time together and to have fun. We like making s'mores together (with our indoor s'mores maker). We love to laugh together.

I have really learned that it is the "little things" that are so special in life. My husband does most of the chores around the apartment and takes care of me. He finds little ways of surprising me and making me smile each day. Sometimes I look at him, and I just can't help but thank God that I have someone so loving and caring to take such good care of me. I've been able to help more around the apartment, since I got my neurostimulator implanted and have had a chance to recover some. We enjoy cooking a meal together every day or every few days. I try to always remember to cherish the "little moments."

Physical touch is a bit trickier of a subject than finding time to spend with one another. I also deal with Fibromyalgia symptoms, such as chronic widespread pain and sensitivity. This can sometimes make even holding hands or cuddling with each other uncomfortable, sometimes unbearable. But, we always make sure to hug and kiss each other every morning and every night, even if it has to be extra gentle. Always start and end your day with some sign of affection for one another.

Tomorrow, I will continue my discussion...
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