The effects of living with a health condition can put our relationships under strain, but those of us with strong relationships are 50% more likely to survive life-threatening illness than people with weaker ones.
There is a reason we all go to the hospital to visit our families or friends when they are admitted in the hospital, it is not just to give them fruits and to hold their hands, but we can see on their faces that all this is making a difference to their recovery.
It is a proven fact that good relationships does contribute to good health, and knowing that you have love ones in your corner when you are not doing so well does speed up the recovery.
The wedding vows says for better or worse in sickness and in health, a wife stormed out of one of our popular hospitals and shouted out for us to hear, “I never bargained for this”, the minute she said it she glanced in our direction. I am really not sure of what contributed to that outburst, but too often when we are in need of support we do shy away from asking for help because we do not want to be a burden, so to those who have family and friends who are not doing so well, reach out and for those of us who are struggling with long life health issues, do not be afraid in asking for help.
If you’re coping with the effects of a long term health condition on your relationships, don’t be afraid to ask for support. Here are five top tips from Relate for keeping your relationships rich:
Don’t bottle it up: It can be tempting to skirt around the issue with friends and family in case people get upset, but open communication is really important.
Expect change: Realize that the dynamics of your relationships may change, particularly if a partner or family member is taking on the role of ‘carer’. Don’t make assumptions about how this will make you both feel.
Make time and space for intimacy: In a couple relationship, try to separate yourself from the patient/carer role now and again to allow time for intimacy with your partner. Perhaps create a special room in the house where these roles no longer exist and you can spend quality time together.
Remember everyone is different: Health conditions affect people in different ways and what works for somebody may not be the same for everyone.
Consider counselling: It’s tempting to keep a ‘stiff upper lip’, but talking to somebody impartial about how you feel and putting mechanisms in place can help you cope with the changes in your relationship.