Dealing with an MS diagnosis in a relationship

Hi all,

My boyfriend of a few months has recently been diagnosed with RRMS. We kind of saw the diagnosis coming for a few weeks and it was therefore not as much of a shock when it happened. He seemed to handle it fairly well- I mean we both had our moments and ups and downs but all in all he’s been very strong. We have recently seen the nurse and discussed starting his treatment (medication) and ever since then he has been very down about everything and I can tell he is not doing well. I am struggling to find the right words to say or the right way to handle his emotions (we don’t live together so I can’t give him physical affection). I feel like he has been very off with me- not wanting to talk to me, just being different and withdrawn- and I am struggling to cope with this as it makes me feel as though he is taking his frustrations out on me.

Any advice on how to deal with this or what to say to try and make him feel better? I am really concerned about his mental health and I just want to do my best to be there for him.


Hi, so sorry to hear of your fellas diagnosis. Its always a blow to be told this.

When some people get the diagnosis, they need time to first understand it`s now real (when it was just a possibility), then to accept and move forward. This can take years for some.

It could be just that with your chap…he`s trying to muddle his way through the quagmire.

It can be likened to a bereavement…part of you is lost…out of your control.

Another possibility as to why hes acting this way, is that as your relationship is quite new..he may be wondering how you really feel...MS and other chronic conditions , strip us of our sense of security. He may not wish to burden you with a disabled boyfriend. He may not think youll be there for the long term and how he`ll cope if things get difficult symptom wise.

As supportive and lovely as you are, do try to give him a bit of space, whilst letting him know you are there for him.

The MS Society does some free literature re the condition… they do info about relationships. Have a look at their lists.


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Thank you so much for your reply. I definitely think I need to give him the space he needs to process everything. I am still concerned that his mental health will deteriorate but I guess I could keep as much of an eye on that as possible, from a healthy distance.

Thank you again. I really appreciate your advice. And I will definitely have a look at that literature.


Sorry to hear your boyfriend has an MS diagnosis.Its going to take some time to process it though.It took me 2 year to come to terms with mine.All you can do is be there for him and let him come to terms with it the best way he can.He will be feeling all sorts of emotions all at once i should imagine.Also being in a new relationship will add stress for him too and this covid situation at the moment too makes it worse too as its bad enough when we we lived in the normal world to deal with things like an MS diagnosis.Just be there for him best way you know how and give him space to get his head round it all.


Hi ,

I can like all other readers relate to what you are going through.

When I got my diagnosis some 3 years ago, my husband went into denial (no the Dr is just coming up with the fancy condition- how can he be so sure, we’ll get a second opinion etc)

I personally saw the diagnosis coming like you said, but when it finally came I was quite upset. Seeing my husband’s reaction made me feel I got no one to confide in.
my daughter was 2 at the time so I had her health visitor to support me emotionally (God bless her , she arranged weekly visits to check on me).
Its been a while now, and the Dr’s recently told me the DMT I’m on is probably not working for me, so we have to switch. I wanted to read the options together with my husband but he once again tries to avoid the subject. I’d like to clarify that he’s a very caring , sensitive guy who shows immense empathy for his loved ones.

i guess some people can’t bear to face harsh news/ situations related to one’s they love.

i know this is slightly different than your situation (you want to help- he’s blocking you out) but my gut says the thought behind it is similar?

It’ll take some time but he’ll let you in.


He is probably feeling scared, angry, lonely and a whole heap of things. I found the book MS for Dummies helpful and spent a lot of time reading the support information from MS Society and MS Trust, watching TED talks, watching a certain MS Dr’s videos etc. I found the knowledge comforting. In terms of my relationship, I had been married 8 years and with my partner for 10 years and I raised the idea that he might want to leave to be free to live his life and that he hadn’t signed up for all this. I imagine if our relationship was newer I would’ve been thinking this even more so. If you are wanting to stay with him it would be good to reassure him. If you care about him, reassure him. Do the things that you do to make him smile and see the joy in the small things right now. Focus on what you can do. Send him messages, photos etc with no questions but just to show that you are there. I made myself a photo book of good times from the last year and flicked through it to cheer me up (I used a company that does free photo books but you pay postage).