Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Chances are if you’ve ever experienced heartbreak, you’d have a different reaction. Relationships are hard enough without a chronic back pain diagnosis. Maybe you and your significant other started up before your chronic back pain journey began. Maybe things are different now. Different doesn’t always have to be bad, however, more times than not, it doesn’t feel good — at first.
The truth is, like it or not, we all need human interaction. In his new book, Social, scientist Matthew Lieberman, explains that in the social realm of life, the idea of bonding with others around us, should be considered a basic life necessity like food and water.
“Across many studies of mammals, from the smallest rodents all the way to us humans, the data suggests that we are profoundly shaped by our social environment and that we suffer greatly when our social bonds are threatened or severed,” Lieberman shares.
He reveals that we may not like being wired in this way, “But the facts are the facts,” he adds.
So if relationships are apart of the human experience, the same can be said for back pain, right? But, how do we unite the two when they are opposites? First, just because we are supposed to have relationships doesn’t always mean they are all good or healthy for us.
Second, if you live in chronic back pain, maybe you’re relationship has some other painful components such as your partner not understanding your pain.
With these five simple steps, you and your mate can work together, bridging the gap between confusion and communication.
Start with your doctor. Chances are your doctor knows your specific case and may have a plan already in place for situations like this. This may also give you guidance on how to share your feelings when the time comes.
Share. Try talking about your feelings to your significant other. Be brutally honest. Successful relationships are those where the people in their lives of those living with chronic back pain have read up on the condition, as well as truly listening to what’s being said by their mate. This makes them not only knowledgeable, but maybe a little more empathetic to your situation and chronic back pain.
Bring back the romance. After you verbally communicate your feelings, do an activity together; go for a walk, have a picnic in the park, or enjoy a dinner date for two. Go back to the beginning and relive the courting phase; bring that romance back.
Invite your partner to attend a doctor’s appointment. Ironically, if your friends or family don’t hear the information directly from a medical professional, they may not fully believe you or understand the scope of your chronic back pain. Bringing them along to your appointments will allow them to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. It may even help them to accept and begin to really understand what’s wrong with you and how you feel on a daily basis.
Join a Support Group. Even if your loved ones begin to understand your chronic back pain a little more, they may never completely relate to what you are going through. That’s why finding a local or virtual support group where people with your condition gather is so important. It can be helpful to speak with like-minded people who feel your pain, every day. On the contrary, there may be support groups for chronic back pain partners (or caregivers). This may bridge the gap even further if they see there are other significant others going through the exact same thing.
Never give up on yourself or discount your partner’s confusion because your current status isn’t ideal. Great relationships aren’t great because they have no problems. They are great because both people care enough about the other person to find a way to make it work.
If you are feeling misunderstood in your relationship because of a chronic back pain diagnosis, consider these five tips. After all, if the feelings are mutual, the effort will be equal.