Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

My wife and I have been married for over 28 years. During the last three, she has been physically disabled. I love her dearly, but our relationship has changed. I feel, I am more of a security blanket and less a partner. I have become more like a butler and less like  a help mate. She has always suffered emotionally from depression and anxiety, but now she has also been diagnosed as bipolar. The emotional roller coaster is exhausting. I am very non confrontational and I am a very patient person. I feel that I am strong, but this is harder than I ever thought it would be. Her pain is so great that my pains never really matter. Her suffering is so great that my problems are minor. Yet, I still desire compassion and caring. I miss the hugs and the encouragement. What am I saying? I miss the physical contact all together. Not necessarily just the sexual contact, (although that would be great), but I miss her head on my shoulder as we watch TV, a big long hug, or spooning in bed at night. All these are a thing of the past. I feel guilty for wanting it back. I am healthy. I am strong, but here I am crying out to people  that I don't know, hoping that someone will understand my pain.

This is not easy for me to write. I am a very private person and I pride myself on being there for her. But tonight, I am going to allow myself a little weakness. Tonight, I am going to look for a little compassion because later I will go to bed and wake up in the morning and I will be there for her: stronger for sharing my  weakness with you.
strayarrow strayarrow
46-50, M
4 Responses Dec 17, 2010

I completely understand! My husband is waiting for a lung transplant. I like you feel more like a maid then a wife. But hang in there.

Well in response to both of these letters.....Through thick and thin, life unexpected events will take it toll on a person feeling like taking on the entire burden. From my experience I am now a bitter and disappointed in how life is so very very unfair. Why? who knows! It takes a strong willed, compassionate patient person to do what you are doing for your mates. Illnesses bring out the worst in people and unfortuneately you are in the firing range only to be the target because you are there and no matter what, it is not you they are angry at or upset at. It's their situation and hopelessness they feel. Being a caregiver is one of the hardest things to be for a family member or loved one. Do take breaks away to re-energize or care for your own well being and do not let them make you feel guilty. Gotta wonder if it was turned around, would they desert you? Probably not.........but they need the reminder or wake-up call...........You are like knights in shining armour to many reading this. Who signs up for unhappy lives?....You only live once and everyone needs to make the best of what is handed to them....Take care of yourselves, because who will take care of you if and when the tables turn? You are not alone, and there are stories worst and some betteroff than your situation..............try to stay level headed and seek other people to help you out...........You don't know who will help till you ask for their time............volunteers, relief caregivers, family and friends............seek out local organizations in your community and great place to start for support groups....your local hospital.............You both are in my thoughts, hope things get better and all you can do is stay positive and take one day at a time

my heart goes out to you my friend. i have been with my wife for 7 years. (4 as husband and wife). she was sick when we first met but she was managing it and she was very self sufficient and independant. the year we got married, her health worsened. an old disease thought rid of years before returned (meniere's disease) and that, along with a number of other auto-immune related issues ( sjogren's syndrome, bipolar, OCD, CREST, oscillopsia, celiac, chronic pancreatitis) has transformed our marriage into something completely unrecognizable. i feel as though i'm the caregiver and she the patient. i do almost everything she asks. (some requests are impossible) we argue a lot. when angry she says the most horrible and hurtful things and in my anger i follow suit. (she would say its the other way around) my eventual apologies usually end in more arguments that only end when i stop talking and i give up completely.<br />
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i used to be the most easy going, patient and social person whom people gravitated towards. since, i've become a recluse, rarely ever go out, never call friends nor have much desire to make new ones and often to my wife, am very angry and incredibly impatient. she tells me to go out and see my friends and family. but then gets angry that she was left alone and i didnt put her first. we have just started to see a counselor and i have been trying to get control of my anger myself as appointments slowly creep up. i am having trouble affording everything as she cannot work and bills mount up when it comes to all of the specialty items she needs to feel like a person. i dont know how to show her how much i love her...and sometimes i am even unsure about that. i cannot just leave. that is cowardly and selfish and would leave her with absolutely no help whatsoever.she feels trapped by her diseases. i feel trapped by the situation. i remember when we used to be happy. now we are so angry at each other and blame the other for our misery. she says its up to me to make our marriage better by showing her that i love her and need her. i find myself so mentally numb that i can't express that. and when i do she doesnt believe me and another horrible discussion ensues. <br />
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sorry. im just venting and i dont know what else to do. i still have another week before my first appointment with the counselor. im thinking it should be a session with both of us instead of just me...<br />
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i'm trying to read other people's stories so i do not feel so alone...

I just found EP today when I was looking for an outlet or support site for people who had chronically ill partners. Even though he was careful of his diet, my 55 year old husband has suffered for seven years the ravages of diabetes on his body with heart failure, strokes, loss of balance ... so many problems. I can't think of anything to say to make things better for you, but I understand how it feels, the isolation, and what it does to a relationship. I think unless people are living this they can't understand what it does to your spirit. Bless you. I hope things get better and you can have back some of the things you have lost.