Why men struggle to support chronically ill women?
It’s no secret that chronic illness can take a toll on a relationship. But what’s less talked about is the fact that men often struggle to support their female partner when she is suffering from a chronic condition. So why men struggle to support chronically ill women?
There are a number of reasons why this may be the case.
- For one, men are often socialized to believe that they need to be the “strong” one in the relationship and may feel like they are failing if they can’t fix their partner’s chronic illness.
- Additionally, chronic illness can be unpredictable and men may feel like they can’t keep up with the constant changes.
- Finally, chronic illness can be exhausting for both partners, and men may feel like they are shouldering too much of the burden.
If you are in a relationship with a woman who suffers from a chronic illness, it’s important to talk about your struggles and to ask for help when you need it. Remember, you are not alone and there is no shame in admitting that you need support.
It’s actually a very manly thing to admit that you need help and to ask for it. So don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family, or even a therapist for support.
In the next paragraph, you will find the answer why men struggle to support chronically ill women.
Why men struggle to support chronically ill women?
Men feel like they need to be strong and like they are failing if they can’t fix their partner’s health. Men can’t keep up with the changes and feel like they are shouldering their partner’s burden. They don’t know how to help, feeling powerless, helpless, and useless.
To give you more ideas, I listed below 29 reasons why men struggle to support chronically ill women:
- They feel like they need to be the strong ones.
- They feel like they are failing if they can’t fix their partner’s chronic illness.
- They feel like they can’t keep up with the constant changes.
- They feel like they are shouldering too much of the burden.
- They feel powerless, helpless, and useless.
- They don’t know how to help their partner cope with chronic pain.
- They don’t know how to help their partner manage their medications.
- They don’t know how to help their partner deal with financial stressors related to chronic illness.
- They don’t know how to help their partner deal with insurance companies or the healthcare system in general.
- They get overwhelmed by all of the doctor’s appointments and medical tests their partner has to go through.
- They feel like they can’t do anything right.
- They get frustrated when their partner can’t do things that they used to be able to do.
- They worry about their partner’s health constantly.
- They have a hard time watching their partner suffer.
- They feel helpless when they see their partner in pain.
- They get angry when their partner’s chronic illness interferes with plans.
- They feel guilty when they are having fun while their partner is suffering.
- They find themselves avoiding their partner because they don’t want to deal with the chronic illness.
- They resent their partner for needing so much help and support.
- They worry that their partner will never get better.
- They worry that they will never be able to have a “normal” life again.
- They feel like they are always walking on eggshells around their partner.
- They get frustrated when their partner can’t keep up with them sexually.
- They feel like they are missing out on important aspects of their partner’s life.
- They worry that their partner will end up resenting them for all the help they’ve been giving.
- They find themselves constantly having to adjust their plans and expectations.
- They feel like they are losing their independence in the relationship.
- They get overwhelmed by all of the decisions that need to be made regarding their partner’s care.
- They feel like they are sacrificing their own needs and wants for their partner’s sake.
How can male partners help their chronically ill women?
Bring a man who cares for his chronically ill wife I think the best way to support a woman with chronic illness is by being there for her. Showing her that you care and want to help in any way possible. As I always said:
“The best gift you can ever give to a chronically ill partner is your unconditional love and support.”
While it is certainly not easy to deal with chronic illness, know that you are not alone. There are many people who care about you and want to help you through this difficult time. So please, don’t hesitate to reach out for support when you need it.
Even though I didn’t know things at the beginning, I certainly don’t know everything today, and I never will. But I’m willing to learn.
My wife has two chronic conditions. To begin with, I could barely spell the word “endometriosis”, let alone understand it. The same applies to her fibromyalgia. Both chronic conditions impact my wife’s life in many ways, but these illnesses also impact my life.
So what do I do? How did my marriage survive and blossom today, if there is a high endometriosis divorce rate of 75%?
I’m simply willing to educate myself, to listen, to be patient, and understanding, I have compassion and love for my wife. But I’m an optimist, I’m not you, I’m not like other men. Every person is unique and has their own individual needs and expectations.
So, how can male partners help their chronically ill women?
Here are 25 tips:
- Be patient and understand that chronic illness is a lifelong battle.
- Listen to your partner when she wants to talk about her chronic illness.
- Be understanding when she doesn’t want to talk about her chronic illness.
- Help her with tasks that are difficult for her to do because of her chronic illness.
- Offer to go with her to doctor’s appointments and medical tests.
- Do your own research about her chronic illness so you can better understand what she is going through.
- Find out what works for her and helps her cope with her chronic illness (e.g., diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, etc.).
- Be there for her when she is feeling down or frustrated about her chronic illness.
- Encourage her to stay positive and hope for the best.
- Help her set realistic goals and expectations.
- Don’t try to fix her or her chronic illness, just be there for her.
- Be understanding if she is not able to do things that you want to do together because of her chronic illness.
- Don’t take it personally if she cancels plans at the last minute because of a flare-up or unexpected symptom.
- Help her advocate for herself with family, friends, and medical professionals.
- Respect her decisions about how she wants to deal with her chronic illness.
- Support her in whatever treatment decisions she makes (e.g., surgery, medication, etc.).
- Offer to help out around the house more so she can rest when she is feeling fatigued.
- Make sure she is eating healthy and staying hydrated.
- Help her stay organized and on top of her medical appointments, medications, and treatments.
- Give her a break from caring for the family and household duties when she needs it.
- Offer to watch the kids so she can have some time to herself.
- Take on more responsibilities at work so she can reduce her hours or take a leave of absence if needed.
- Help her find support groups or counseling if she is struggling to cope with her chronic illness.
- Encourage her to express her feelings in whatever way works for her (e.g., journaling, art, etc.).
- Tell her that you love her unconditionally and will support her through thick and thin.
If you want to learn how to cope with your partner’s chronic illness, how to support her struggles, and manage a relationship with a chronic condition, I give away a FREE Chapter of my eBook: “Supporting a Chronically Ill Partner”.
This chapter alone has all the comprehensive information about acknowledging the struggles, including:
- A word to your partner.
- A word to you.
- Stepping on eggshells.
- Understanding her needs.
- How to acknowledge having a chronically ill partner?
- Acknowledging can be hard.
- 15 tips on how to do it!
Get the 1st Chapter FREE!
Chronic Illness for Partners
I wanted this blog post to be straight to the point. I hope I achieved that and answered your question. To summarise why men struggle to support chronically ill women, here’s a quick wrap-up:
- Because they don’t understand what chronic illness is and how it impacts their lives.
- Because they are not willing to educate themselves about chronic illness.
- Because they don’t know how to be supportive without trying to fix their partner or their chronic illness.
If you are a man struggling to support your chronically ill woman, I hope this blog post has helped you in some way. Remember, every person is unique and has their own individual needs and expectations. Be patient, be understanding, do your own research, and most importantly, just be there for her.
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…