It is the month of Valentine’s Day (which happens to also be when my hubby’s birthday is!). So, this month we are focusing on topics which can support you in your relationships and having Endometriosis. If you missed any articles in the relationships series, visit the other articles here.
When we first begin a relationship, it feels right to be honest and upfront about ourselves and anything that we feel might impact a relationship from going forward. The trouble is, we also don’t want to damage any potential of a relationship becoming more by revealing too much too soon either. Although I don’t believe Endometriosis should be a “make or break” factor within a relationship, I also know that it can be taxing on a relationship and that support and understanding are certainly things we would need from our man.
So, how do we know when is a good time to share that we have Endometriosis and the potential implications of it in the relationship?
Step 1: Decide if he is right for you first…
I have come up with some fundamental questions, which might help you decide if the man you are with is really someone you see a longer term future with (taking Endometriosis into consideration):
- How does he cope with illness or someone who is not well? There are many men who have been through a personal health journey or know someone close who has suffered due to ill health and will often have a better understanding of what it feels like or at least be able to relate to you better. Others have no idea. This can be a factor to see how well he would cope with you not feeling well.
- Is he generally a caring person? You can easily test this with questions around how he would react to a sick animal or people who are less fortunate than him. Does he dismiss them and make jokes or does he feel bad for them? Men do sometimes find it hard to reveal a softer side, so this might take a few different scenarios or questions to really get to know him a little more.
- How does he treat you? Is he generally considerate of your needs? Does he ask you what you would like for dinner? Where you would like to go? Does he put you first? Men who are able to put your happiness first are really the type of men we deserve and who will be there for us, no matter what we go through.
Does he tick all the boxes?
I have personally always found that I first needed to determine if I perceive the person accurately and whether I truly believed that more can develop from it. I put the decision of whether I wanted the relationship to continue based more on whether I felt the man I was with was strong enough to be there for me and had the qualities I was looking for.
I love that song by Sheryl Crow, Are you strong enough to be my man?
Step 2: Determine a good time to share
Sharing about Endometriosis can be challenging. There are many different factors to consider and how you perceive yourself and your health may also play a part in how you share things. The key thing to remember is that Endometriosis doesn’t define you as a person. It will not make you less lovable or less of a woman. Please know that you are a beautiful woman and that Endometriosis is something you can easily manage. You are not Endometriosis.
Share that one: [clickToTweet tweet=”Endometriosis doesn’t define me! I am lovable regardless! #endoempowered” quote=”Endometriosis doesn’t define me! I am lovable regardless! #endoempowered”]
I found that it was always a good time to share after some level of intimacy had begun in a relationship. I normally didn’t reveal Endometriosis after the first night of being intimate but usually after the second or third. The first time is usually a fairly intense time of a relationship, as there are many layers of sharing for both of you, so I found it a little too much to share on the first night.
Remember that he might have his own stuff about being intimate that you are not going to necessarily be aware of.
So, I have found that the best time is usually after the second or third night of being intimate. This gives you both enough time to feel physically comfortable together and to really connect.
Step 3: How to tell him
I have found that the best time to share is just after sex. It is a time when you have already established intimacy in the most beautiful way and you have connected with each other’s bodies.
The key thing is not to make it too big a deal but to present it in a way that allows him to understand and still support you without retracting into yourself.
This is what I would say:
“I really love how our relationship is going and feel a true connection with you. I wanted to know if you felt me close up while we were having sex at all?”
Allow him to answer. I know this is a really intimate question but the reason I recommend it is so that he can connect with your body on a personal level. In the future he will be more aware of your body and be able to tell if he is hurting you in any way and retract, go slower or penetrate less deeply.
“I have a condition called Endometriosis. It does sometimes cause me pain during sex and at certain times of the month. (Taylor this to your experience.) Have you heard of it?”
Allow him to answer. In many cases men have not heard of Endometriosis. If he hasn’t heard of it, explain it like this:
“It is a condition which affects 1 in 7 women, where cysts disperse from inside the uterus to the abdominal cavity. These cysts grow and form adhesions on the outside of the other organs in the abdominal area. They can stick together and this creates restriction and pain. It is generally more severe during periods but I can also get pain at other times of the month.”
I obviously don’t know how the conversation will go, depending on what your man is like, but there are some key things I recommend you do at this stage of the relationship:
- Don’t cry or allow any feelings of self-pity to come up. Share what has happened to you but try not to let any emotion come up with this. Men will often struggle to cope with women who are overly emotional, especially when they don’t really know you. I know that Endometriosis does bring with it many of these feelings and I get that you have them from time to time, but try to control them, especially for that first sharing experience about it. You want to share it, but also show him that you are okay with everything and that you have a handle on it.
- Share your approach of managing it and how it is helping you. Your man needs to know how you are dealing with it and the choices you are making to feel better. You need to get his support on this early on! You want to really stress how this approach is working for you and why you are following it. If you want to share about the past and how this didn’t help you, even better 🙂
Some key points to remember:
- You are picking your man, not the other way around! You can decide if he is right for you and if he is the kind of man you want to be with. There are plenty of men in the world to choose from and if he is not right, honor yourself and let him go. You need to find someone who truly supports you and connects with everything that you are about. If he doesn’t embrace you in everything you are, then he is not the right man for you.
- Nobody is perfect! I know many women describe themselves as “broken” because they have Endometriosis. You are not broken, your body is always working towards healing and balance. We all have stuff. In some cases it is about a journey to find balance within our bodies, and for others it is something else. Nobody has it all and has everything all worked out. It is the journey of life. He will have his own stuff and his own journeys to travel. Know that he won’t ever be perfect either and that you can decide what level of stuff you are okay to deal with.
Building strong relationships takes time and sharing. It is about giving and accepting a person just the way they are. Give him time to reveal his personality and character but also be fully aware if those traits are not what you need.
You deserve to be loved for all that you are. Please know that.