5 Ways To Not Let Migraines Destroy Your Intimate Relationships
Regardless if you are the sufferer or the significant other, being in a relationship with someone who experiences migraines and headaches is not easy. It’s downright difficult and complicated. It takes work, but, you know, just like a garden – when it gets sunshine, water, and you give it the required care and attention – you will be able to reap a wonderful harvest.
Chronic illness can bring a whole new dynamic to the relationship – that if not handled accordingly, can destroy couples and families. There can be extreme stress, relationship conflicts, misunderstandings, communication breakdowns, shifts in roles, increased responsibilities, and new boundaries that must be honored.
From my own personal experience, migraines and headaches challenged my self-esteem and caused me to develop cognitive distortions. I was filled with tremendous anxiety, depression, resentment, and helplessness.
I believe that each one of these emotions and health conditions is common, but they do not have to be permanent. They are a part of the growing process. Now if left unchecked they can spiral out of control, but we are here today to NOT let a migraine destroy your most intimate relationships.
So what I know to be true is this: Breaking free from migraines and headaches force you to dig deep, I MEAN WAY DEEP. Sharing with your partner takes vulnerability, which can develop into a special and meaningful relationship. You are truly working together to restore your health and wellbeing.
Yes, it is a process, but if you are both in it together – your relationship will be able to withstand tough times. You will gain a newfound appreciation for one another. It can be as if you two are being reinvented in the process.
But to be successful, you must start with number 1:
#1 Share your symptoms, triggers, boundaries, and thoughts
Your partner is not a mind reader. Chances are he or she does not know what you are experiencing. If light is a trigger, express it. If certain foods are a trigger, express it. If you need time to decompress, meditate, or need your dedicated chair time – then express your boundaries.
Be candid, share where you are. Go about it in a way that creates that working relationship – not one sided, which can make your partner feel overwhelmed and as if he or she is forced to make constant changes. This is how you can create an “egg shell” relationship. If you have to brain dump, do it on paper. It is up to you to determine how much to share – after all you should know your significant other best.
#2 Practice EQ – Emotional Intelligence
I believe that this is absolutely critical for you and your partner. Pain knows no logic, reasoning, or concern. If you are in serious pain you may fly off the handle if your significant other triggers a headache or does something to make it worse.
Without a doubt, this was one of my downfalls for quite some time. It took tremendous practice, patience, and a slow tongue.
With that being said, there is a good way and a bad way to communicate. The good way to go about it would be something like this…
I am trying to understand my triggers, and I think that this might be one, can you…help me, turn down the volume, buy a new laundry detergent, change the cologne or perfume…or whatever else applies to that situation…
Or another one would be…
In the past I used to get down on myself for whenever I got a migraine and could not be present – I always felt like a burden or like I was letting you down. I appreciate you and if this should happen, know that it is nothing against you. Please support me in standing up for my health and wellbeing. I thank you in advance.
Key point – You should never talk down to your partner or chastise them for not understanding. This goes both ways.
#3 Invest in resources
There are many different resources that can help you from people who have been there or trained professionals equipped with the right knowledge.
Whether it is counseling, courses, books, retreats, vacations, self-care – there are countless resources available to help you grow in the areas your relationship most requires.
The two that have helped me in my relationship was the 5 Love Languages and The Love Dare.
The first, 5 Love Languages is a book written by Gary Chapman that highlights 5 different ways you show and receive love. This can be through acts of service, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts and words of affirmation. 100% this book was a game-changer! I highly recommend it. It shifted the way that we communicate. We are now conscious of each other. It has taken our relationship from here to here.
The second, The Love Dare, is based on the movie Fireproof starring Kirk Cameron. Cameron was in a failing marriage and the Love Dare was a resource given to him by his Dad that provides 40 days of selfless acts for your partner. I remember Day 1: Love is Patient. Today’s Dare was to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your significant other. Another was on day 18: Love seeks to Understand: Today’s dare is to prepare a special dinner at home, just for the two of you and try to talk about the areas that are rarely discussed. Get to know your significant other better.
I am telling you, give these a try if you haven’t. They are wonderful resources. And as you are growing, working on communication, and improving the dynamic – that brings me to number 4.
#4 Know your roles and responsibilities
Who is going to do what chores and what will happen if a migraine or headache steps in?
In some cases, it may seem as if the relationship is one-sided depending on how severe your pain is.
Once you are aware of your symptoms and triggers you can plan accordingly. If you are allergic to dust, just like I was, dusting or vacuuming might not be the best response as it may trigger a headache. If smells are a trigger, then you would want to have the responsibility where you are controlling the scents.
Either way, this will be for you and your partner to discuss and experiment with. But speaking of experimenting, we go into number 5
#5 Get creative with your relationship
Date nights are essential! However, if you were like me, they can be a dreaded experience. So if you are unable to go out, then bring the party home. There are hundreds of different ideas on Pinterest and blogs that can get you creative and help your relationship experience some much-needed fun.
Remember, you must be aware of your significant other’s symptoms and triggers. There is nothing worse than planning something and causing a migraine or a headache. It will take the air right out of the balloon and leave it deflated.
This is another good activity for you to work with your partner.
These are not the end-all-be-all solutions for every relationship. Some partners are better designed to be there and support you, whereas some are not. Additionally, this process may be the deciding factor that will determine whether or not your relationship will work. But either way, you have to put yourself first!
I am looking forward to the comments and hearing about any other ideas that may have helped you in the past.