My Partner With PPMS just left me. I'm Devastated.

I am totally heartbroken, lost and confused by my partner with MS who ended the relationship a week before our anniversary of being together a year. Can anyone explain what may be going on in his head? He was diagnosed with PPMS a couple of years ago a short time before I met him. He is turning 37 very soon, and again, just prior to meeting me, was forced to take early retirement from a job he adored and never stopped talking about while we were together. He told me about the PPMS on our first date, as we just clicked right from the start, and after doing some research on PPMS, and falling hard for him, I assured him that I would never walk away from someone because of ill health, and I would be there through thick and thin.

He was in denial I believe our whole relationship, telling me (and beleiving it himself) that he was a bit of a mystery in that the specialist told him he would never suffer mobility issues or end up wheelchair bound. I feel sure that no healthcare professional would ever guarantee this to someone with MS, but he insisted. Until recently, his symptoms were not affecting him too badly, some memory issues, restless leg syndrome, lack of ability to smell, and twitches. What I noticed from early on, was that he was inconsistant in his treatment of me. One moment I was the love of his life, the next he was a little distant and moody. I was his first g/f in a decade and I noticed some social awkwardness, and self absorption, and started to wonder if he had mild aspergers or something similar. He assured me there was no depression, and could not understand my feelings of his behaviour with me being inconsistant. He was also a bit of a sponge financally, leaving me to pay for nearly all of our shopping when he stayed with me, and any social time out we had was paid for by me on every occassion except where it was clearly out of order for me to do so, such as my birthday, but I figured that even though he had been given a healthy pension from work, he was likely scared about his financial future so I made allowances. Even with his flaws, I adored him as he is the loveliest and most gentle man I ever met.

We had a few rough patches, as he had no idea how to be in a relationship, but with patience and understanding from me, we got over our hurdles and for a few months, we were an idilic couple. He had stopped being weird and distant and appeared absolutely committed and besotted. He became very loving and affectionate and we were happy. Nauseatingly so!! It did not last. He suddenly started withdrawing from me, all the affection was being initiated by me, he was moody and made the odd random nasty comment out of nowhere, which was not at all like him. We went on holiday and it was awful. I felt so alone watching all the other couples being loving and laughing, but I could barely get a converstaion out of him. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that he wasn’t “feeling” the holiday, but assured me that there was no problem with us, and that he had been like this on a previous holiday. He asked that I stay patient. Often when I would ask what was wrong over the year we were together, he would say that he could not explain it as he did not know himself.

I should mention that at one point my OCD started to get difficult as I was stressed, and I did start seeking re-assurance for my silly worries, but he assured me that he would never leave me because of it as he loved me and wanted only me.

When we came back from holiday, out of the blue he ended it. He gave the reason as my OCD and said that he was now having mobility issues and blames the stress my OCD put him under. I told him that was unfair as he has a degenerative condition - symptoms would occur anyway at some point. He now says that it is not the OCD, but rather his inability to cope with simple things, and his failing health. He says that he loves me, I’m as perfect as it gets, and I make him happy, but his health will not allow him to be with me. I told him that makes no sense as I am willing to stand by whatever the MS brings, and plenty of folk with MS have relationships that work. He apears to be very confused, and not know himself why he can’t get back with me, even though my OCD is under control now. I asked him should I close the door and try to move on, he said no - he may change his mind as he misses me so dearly. In the next breath he says that he suspects any relationship with anyone would cause him too much stress as he “can’t cope” so he cannot be with me.

I am so devasted without him. I feel like I lost my future and my best friend.

Anyone advise me what has happened to him? Thanks.

Seems to me none of his problems are due to MS. Why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t make you happy and blames you for the failing of your relationship? He’s got a cheek wanting you to hang about waiting for him to change his mind. Dump him and find someone who deserves you

Hi Chloe, oh what a sad and confused situation for you! I think he is definitely having problems with dealing with his diagnosis of PPMS… and saying that he was told he wouldn’t have mobility problems was denial. His emotions seem to be all over the place… which isn’t that unusual. Getting this diagnosis is not easy to cope with. I can’t see how you can continue the relationship until he sorts himself out a bit. The fact that your OCD became an issue shows how stressed YOU were. You know, when we love someone it’s very easy not to put our own needs first and to only care about the needs of the one that we love. But if you will take the advice of a 60 year old who has been there and done that (and got the T-shirt!) it is really the wrong way to be in a relationship. YOUR needs are also important. You cannot build a good, solid relationship unless you look after your own needs & see yourself as important in the relationship. However hard it is… and I know just how hard it is… I think you should step back. Get on with your own life. You could keep some contact with him to see how he’s doing… but until (and unless) he gets some help and starts to deal with his MS, I can only see further heartache for you. Don’t ever lose yourself for the sake of love. It is simply not worth it. It’s romantic insanity. Get out there and live your life… and if… IF… he wants to make a go of it, he’ll have to get himself sorted out… BUT you cannot do that. You need to look after yourself. Pat xx

Welcome Chloe. Sorry, I’m with the others, he doesn’t deserve you honey, find someone who treats you right. I’ve also been in dreadful relationships and know that people don’t change dramatically, things will never be what you deserve with someone who treats you like that.

Cath xx

Hi Chloe and welcome, I do agree with Cath and Pat, MS is SO hard to deal with for the person who has it and for their partners too,but Pat is right…you are important too! I love Pats suggestion of keeping in touch to see how things go. I would imagine if he is going to change then the shock of you dumping him might well make him realise that he does need to change. However,as Cath says, leopards rarely do change their spots but emotions really are all over the place until one manages to come to terms with dx. Regarding the comment that he will never have mobility problems… My first reaction was one of suspicion! It is my understanding that nobody knows what the future holds when they have MS. Forgive me if I am wrong about that…maybe some new information has come to light that I don’t know of! Good luck with whichever direction you choose to go with but remember relationships are hard even when there are no health issues but if its not right during the first and most romantic times it is not likely to be good ten years down the line. Best wishes, Nina x

Just to say, Nina’s comment ‘but if it’s not right during the first and most romantic times it is not likely to be good ten years down the line’ is spot on!!! You should think about that Chloe. Lots of women fall into the trap that they can ‘change’ a man… save him. Make him into a better person. Don’t fall into that trap. It simply doesn’t work as millions… billions…zillions… of women who have tried it could tell you. Pat xx

Thanks for your post. It has helped. The thing is though, on the one hand I know that if it were anyone else treating me like this I would just say “he clearly doesn’t care” and move on, but when I first started researching MS there seemed to be lots of evidence that it can change your personality and create these kinds of issues. So I find myself (as I have been from the beginning) making allowances for his behaviour, and wondering if this is not an idicator that he is using me, but rather that he is confused and scared?

Thanks so much for your posts. It has helped. I’m sorry, I cannot figure out how to reply individually to your posts so I will do it here. The thing is though, on the one hand I know that if it were anyone else treating me like this I would just say “he clearly doesn’t care” and move on, but when I first started researching MS there seemed to be lots of evidence that it can change your personality and create these kinds of issues. So I find myself (as I have been from the beginning) making allowances for his behaviour, and wondering if this is not an idicator that he is using me, but rather that he is confused and scared? I wonder if it is delayed reaction to his dx and is now acting out because of it.

There are 3 people in our relationship, as his father is far too involved and I think he is at the root of this. His father loved me until the OCD got bad and I had to stop driving and take time off work. Looking back I now realise he quizzed me in great detail about those things, and I feel that he decided that I was not good enough for his son because if I cannot drive and have flare ups of OCD, how can I take care of his son if/when he gets worse. What he doesn’t realise is the allowances I have made over this year. What his son has put me through with his Jekyll & Hyde behaviour, blowing hot & cold with me, going from loving me intensely and wanting me for the rest of our lives, to barely having any conversation with me when we are together and removing his love and affection. His father only gets one side of the story, and forgets that I love his son with all my heart and would be there no matter what. Is that not what counts? I know that OCD is annoying to deal with, but even at it’s worst I never stopped showing him my love and appreciation, and I always worked at getting it under control. As I pointed out to him when he ended it (blaming the OCD) no one he meets will be so baggage free that they can solely be there for him, but won’t require support FROM him. I think that’s what he needs you see, as he indicated that he cannot handle the “Stress” of being in a relationship - not just with me, but with anyone. (Seeing why he was single for ten years!!)

When he said that he may want to get back together, he also said “but it will be a long slow recovery for me” I stated the obvious - that from the moment he got his dx he must have known that this was degenerative, so why does his deterioration preclude him from being with me? He said that his symptoms were almost non-existant till he got together with me and now look at him. He actually said that!! I was horrified. I gave this man me un-ending patience and understanding and this is what I get in return. This is how I know he is not himself right now. The real him is a lovely and kind man who would never dream of saying something like that to me, the MS makes him nasty and mean. He told me so many times when we were together that I made him so happy and changed his life in the best way. He now says that he is too unwell to be with me just now, but he is driving, walking, having his usual 3 meals a week with his family (he really doesn’t like to miss those, even his friends have told him his family are too involved) so if he is so unwell, how come the only part of his life he not getting on with - is us?

Anon, Anon, Pat, Cath & Nina, thank you for letting me vent. I know I must sound like a mug, but when it was good it was incredible, and I thought he was the one I would spend my life with -come what may. What he is doing to me is selfish, but could it be the MS and it’s effects, or has he just been using me all along?

Chloe none of us know your ex so we can’t comment on his personality but we’re able to maintain friendships and family relationships. We’re talking to you as adults who’ve had similar relationships in the past. I’m an expert in picking useless or abusive partners and they’ve treated me like you’ve described your ex. Believe me, he won’t change and become Mr Right. MS might make us stressed at times but we haven’t become nasty individuals.

It’s up to you what you choose to do but have a serious look at the pros and cons of your relationship with him. What did you get out of it and would you be happy living like that for the rest of your days?

Take care

Cath xx

You are right Cath. He has treated me apallingly and without justification. I cannot continue to excuse his lacking in our relationship on the basis of MS, when so many of you guys are coping with it too whilst still treating your loved ones properly. I guess he is just as you said in earlier post - a loser who doesn’t deserve me and never did. How are you doing today Cath ? xx

Chloe, I so agree with Cath. All of the people who have answered you have progessive MS. Yes it’s very challenging to live with but we all try hard not to take it out on our loved ones. Don’t set yourself up to be a saint. It’s not worth it. My greatest regret from my younger life is that I kept searching for love & in doing so I spent many years with partners who were not worth it. How I wish I could go back in time and put that energy into a career, friends, creating a happy life for myself… and being very careful choosing a partner. Think very carefully about this. It is NOT your responsibility to help this man. Pat xx

Pat I echo you there. I’ve never been as content as I am now and that’s even with ms. Yes we have our challenges and frustrations but after the disastrous relationships I’ve had with both verbal and physical abuse I feel so settled on my own. I have friends who like me for being me despite my dis-abilities and I have family who I’m close to and a home and hobbies to keep me occupied. I recognise attitudes or signals from people that let me know whether I want to spend time with them or not, and it’s up to me whether I follow my intuition or not. I also wish I’d had the strength and knowledge years ago to live my life to sit me and not go through the trauma of divorce and break ups.

All we can do now is pass our experience on but it’s up the the individual whether they listen or not. I’m just fortunate that my daughter has seen the signs of unhealthy relationships and that a woman can be happy and manage very well on her own if she has to, and has made her mind up that she won’t tolerate what we’ve survived. Everything happens for a reason.

Cath xx

Hi ChloeL, i can only echo what others have said " Steer Clear" 1st year together already doubts and dissatisfaction get out while you’ve still got you, Cath & Pat thanks for a glimpse into your relationship struggles to,makes me feel more o.k, I actually enjoy being on my own now, never thought I would say I like Me,Myself & I, I am currently in the throws of trying to finish a long term relationship because it has more downs than up’s for both of us, I’m so much calmer without him around. Life is far too short and I’m convinced the more he stresses me the more lessions develope!! (joking) says he wants to take care of me for the rest of his life, no please don’t I say, it is killing me, my pocket, my kids, my car, etc etc. I know I sound horrible, but he is all talk and very selfish. all of this has been said to him for the past 2yrs Pauline


I’m no relationship expert at all, but often it helps just to take a step back, do nothing, and just see what happens. In the meantime, find something else to focus on.


Hi Cloe, I am not a relationship expert either but can only go on the experience of my eldest daughter who was in a destructive relationship for eight years. He wasn’t violent or anything just irresponsible. We could all see he wasn’t right for her but she couldn’t until things were getting out of hand. Two years later there is still on going problems and a little girl who loves her daddy but can’t understand why he continually lets her down. I agree with CP take a step back. If it is meant to be it will work out. Mags xx

Chloe, just like Clucker and Mags I am clueless at relationships, and wouldn’t presume to offer any guidance. I’ve been following this thread since you first wrote, and just wanted to add my voice in support of you. I really hope that the situation becomes clearer for you and you can move on to a happier place.

Kev x

Guys, thank you all. I really appreciate all your kind words. I have kind of come to a realisation that for him to walk away so suddenly, and easily, with no emotion or proper explanation, and brush me aside like our year meant nothing - well, that isn’t something that someone who truly cared for you could do. It makes me feel that I was so disposable to him, and all his words were just that - words. If he came back now, he would need a damn good explanation to make this right. Thanks for helping me to see that I have been making excuses for him that were never deserved. I have a long way to go to get over him, but maybe it was a lucky escape from a selfish, ungrateful & complacent “man”, incapable of real love.

How are you all doing?

Chloe xx

Chloe it is hard, I’ve had break ups and even the rotten ones leave you feeling upset but you have the right attitude, you deserve someone who will treat you right. Take care.

Cath xx

Yep… I agree with Cath… it feels like your heart will break & then a year later you look back & wonder what all the fuss was about. 10 years later you look back & wonder if you were mad! 20 years later someone mentions their name & you can’t think who they are talking about…lol… Best of luck Chloe. Pat xx

Nothing gets you over the last one like the next one.