Are you really going to stay in bed all day today? Who is going to do the dishes/housework/look after the kids? Are we ever going to be able to have sex again?
“I just feel like everything has become about you” … “Are we going to be able to go out today?” … “Stop overreacting to everything!”
You may have heard these questions or statements from your partner or husband at some point, with having Endometriosis. It really hurts when we hear these things and we really start to resent having Endometriosis even more. I want to give you some tips on how to cope better and define a few key things we all need to keep in mind when you have Endometriosis and are working on a loving and caring relationship.
1. Be honest with what you are feeling
I know how hard it is to share weaknesses with someone. It is vulnerable. It is uncomfortable and there is the risk that the person will just kick us down even further. The thing is, when we reveal true vulnerability in an authentic and rational way, most men will understand and give us more support. I think it is about being honest with where you are at and really connecting with the emotion that is underlying how you are feeling.
In most cases we want to be there for our loved ones and yet we feel so unwell, tired or just exhausted that the idea of doing anything is just too much. If we come from a place of sharing this desire of wanting to spend time with them and wanting to do things to help out but just feel so unwell and unable, most men would understand. It takes away the emotional strain of feeling guilty around not being able to do things, which will help you recover and feel better faster too!
The key tip with this is not to get into those emotional spirals. We want to be vulnerable and honest but not hysterical and overly emotional. It can be hard to know the difference sometimes, so if you feel yourself being extreme in your responses, you know you have gone into the emotional spiral, i.e. You ALWAYS say that! You are NEVER there for me! I feel unwell ALL THE TIME! These are extreme statements and are not accurate. Slow down, check-in with yourself and really connect with what is really going on. In most cases, we are driven by a desire for love, connection and wanting to help.
2. Be true to your needs and what you seek from your partner
I have heard some shocking things about men and what they have said to women who have Endometriosis, and it truly shows the character of a man. Recognize that there are many different men in the world and that there are plenty of decent men, who will be there for you and support you, no matter what you are going through with your Endometriosis. You deserve a man who is going to be there for you.
It is also important to be clear on what you expect from him. Do you expect him to take over all the house duties when you are not feeling well? Is he okay for things to be left undone for a few days instead? Are there errands you particularly struggle with that you could ask him to do?
Being true to what you need is really important. If you really just need to rest for a day, be open and honest about that and ask for his support. Explain how you feel, from a clear, non-emotional place and share the vulnerability in asking for this time and he will generally understand.
A great way to get your man to truly understand what you are going through is to take him with you to doctors’ appointments and to appreciate the severity of the condition. Here is a video I did which explains what it feels like to have Endometriosis.
3. Tell him what you need and think of what he needs
Men are fixers. They like to fix things and want to help. The trouble with having Endometriosis is that there is often very little they can do to support us. They can offer to make us a cup of tea or rub our feet, but most of the time we just want space to relax, sleep or rest. They find this really difficult and many men will feel frustrated by this.
What you can do is give him an indication of things he can do to help. Be clear on what those things are.
Here are some ideas:
- Explain that lifting heavy things is painful, so asking him to lift heavy things for you is helpful;
- Ask for specific things he can do around the house to help out. In most cases this is vacuuming or mopping the floor; or
- Buy you supplements which you have heard can help.
The key thing is to keep him in the loop and get his involvement. He will be far more understanding, when he has been with you to the doctor’s office, or understands why you are choosing a particular supplement or diet, when he gets the knowledge you are gathering.
It is easy to get self-focused when we have Endometriosis. It dominates so much of our thoughts and everything that we do. The thing is to stop and think about your partner too and think about what he might need. This could be something simple like a hug or a cuddle or just considering something he enjoys eating and ordering it for him.
4. Make your life easier
There are so many ways we can make our lives easier these days, and there is no need to struggle through it all. Take some of the pressure off both of you and your partner around most of the common things you have to do.
Here are some ideas:
- Order your grocery shopping online and get it delivered;
- Get someone to come and clean the house once a week. It is often cheaper than we think;
- Get an au pair to come and stay for a few weeks to help around the house; or
- Look at anything you are currently doing in your life that you could somehow get someone else to help you with.
The key thing is not to be scared to ask for help from those around you. You will be amazed at how loving people can be and how much easier life becomes.
Most people are happy to help and love to feel needed, so please don’t feel guilty for asking, and always ask from a place of love and vulnerability.
5. Count your blessings
Endometriosis really does test relationships in a big way. Painful sex, the potential of infertility and those freakin’ hormones all don’t help.
We often get down on ourselves and feel guilty about what we can’t do for our man rather than focusing on what we can do. Everyone just wants to feel loved and important and we can all do that, even when we aren’t feeling up to going out or doing too much.
Stop wishing for things to be different and take action towards getting better. We all have it within our reach to change our situation. Ask for help, get a strategy and take the steps to get better and your life will get better.
You are blessed with so many amazing opportunities to get there:
- Be grateful for the man you have in your life and him being there. Share that with him often;
- You have the internet and can read amazing insights about Endometriosis that you could never have found out about through your doctor. Get empowered about what you can do;
- You can join support networks online or in person that are there to help you through this; and
- Your body wants to heal and get better. You have it within you to provide for it and give it a better chance.
I know within my own journey, it was easy to fall into a space of self-pity. I often felt like I got heaps more attention from everyone around me, when I expressed how terrible I felt. I honestly quite liked the attention. The trouble was that I stayed in that place for too long because of it.
I don’t wish that for you. I want you to move forward. For Endometriosis to not be a factor in your life anymore. For your relationships to not suffer because of Endometriosis and for this article to not even be something you have to read… LOL!
I leave you with this incredibly strong video, which is all about connecting with others, yourself and truly loving yourself.
You can get the support you need to get there.
Share your thoughts, your experiences and let’s support each other in our lives and relationships.