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Need Advice

Hi all,

I’ve come here as I just really need some advice as I’m struggling at the moment. 3 years ago I met this amazing girl and we started a relationship. Things were great. A few months in, she had tests done on an issue with her leg. I can’t say I thought much of it at the time…why would you? We were in our early 30s. While these tests were going on, our relationship continued to progress and we got engaged. That was a year ago. In recent months things have started to change. Her symptoms are getting worse and she finally got the diagnosis of MS. Now I find myself really confused, torn and generally struggling to cope with it all. I’m starting to hate myself for feeling this way too. Like anyone else, I had my dreams of my future life and have worked hard to get to where I am today and towards achieving those dreams. I wanted to get married, have kids, buy a nice 4 or 5 bedroom house with a big garden for the kids and dog to play in, travel the world…do the Machcu Picchu trek, explore the rainforest etc. My job is very demanding of my time with long hours that are not flexible. It’s common for me to be working 13/14 hour days. Since the diagnosis I find myself feeling like all that is slipping away. With the way her symptoms have got worse over the past 3 years, then I fear that she will lose her mobility sooner rather than later. She has also demonstrating quite frequent mood swings where I seem to get caught in the crossfire more often than not. Because of all these things going on in my head, our level of intimacy has dropped to almost non-existent which has led to me being accused of being interested in someone else. I’m just so scared right now that if we continue in our relationship then things will get worse and we will end up hating each other. She wants me to be strong and support her and I try. I really do. But I’m crumbling inside. I feel like a complete asshole for not being sure that I can do this. You’re meant to support the person you love through anything but I don’t know if I can. I watched my mum care for my grandmother in her later years as she suffered with dementia and saw the toll it took on her. I also watched my uncle care for my aunt as she deteriorated through a progressive illness. When I look at him now, I fear ending up like him. They didn’t have children together due to the nature of my aunt’s illness and my uncle regrets it so much. He had to give up his job due to the stress of caring for my aunt and is so bitter about it all. I’m so scared that if I stay in this relationship then I’ll end up like him too. I don’t want that. Whenever I think that I can’t stay in the relationship because I don’t know that I’m strong enough to be a carer and watch the person I love deteriorate and lose her ability to do the things she loves, then I just feel like the most horrible person in the world. I just don’t know what to do and I feel like I’m drowning. I don’t feel like I can talk to my family or friends about it as I think they’d look at me like I’m complete scum for even thinking about ending the relationship over an illness. I know I need to make a decision but I just feel like whatever I decide, it will be wrong. I know nobody can tell me what to do, that it is my decision alone, but I just need something.

What a very honest post Alex. I don’t have anything useful to say that you don’t already know, just that I am so sorry for you, for both of you, in the dilemma you have and the decision you have to make. I hated the thought that my husband would have to look after me in failing health but as it turned out I had to look after him. You never know what life has to throw at you. As they say, this life is not a rehearsal.

Wishing you all the best, with whatever you decide to do.

Val

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Hi,

You have been very honest about how you feel. It really depends on whether you could live with yourself if you end your relationship and find someone else to do all the things you would like to do, it is still possible having MS. On the other hand if you really love her the question would not arise. Basically do you love her enough to care for her if she does get worse. The thing with MS is the person does loose interest in sex, has mood swings, looses mobility ( but not always). Inside they are the same person and they still love you. It’s just this horrid disease. I hope for both your sakes you think long and hard before coming to your decision. I have MS and have been happily married for 30 years and it hasn’t stopped us from doing what we want to do albeit slower. I hope you will make the right decision for you.

Janet

x

You might be surprised. People (dare I say it, particularly older people who mislaid their rose-tinted spectacles long ago) can be surprisingly clear-eyed and pragmatic about life’s tough realities. Please do think hard about whether there isn’t a trusted friend of relative who might be able to give you some support.

It seems that the voice in your head is telling you that your feelings are unacceptable and inconsistent with the feelings of the kind of man you like to think yourself to be. That kind of wrenching internal conflict is a painful insult to one’s self-image, to be sure, but it comes to most of us sooner or later, I’m afraid, in one form or another. I am not meaning to be unsympathetic when I say that you need to grit your teeth and bear that chastening discomfort and accept it as one of life’s nastier growing-pains. Once you have dealt with that, it might clear your head a bit for addressing the big decisions.

Take heart - your internal critic is giving you a kicking, but don’t assume that those who love you will be as harsh and judgemental as the voice in your head is being. For instance, if you were 30+ years older, how might you respond to your adult son, coming to you with advice in similar circumstances? See what I mean?

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Hi Alex, I will PM you

Hi Alex ; my partner was diagnosed when I was 30… Spent all if my 30’s fire fighting really…he was really ill & I was really affected by it…he was desperately ill & hospitalised for 18 mths at the beginning…

im 41 now : it’s only in these last few months I’ve been able to say “but I’m not ill” … I want children > he doesn’t.& maybe can’t now anyway ( MS treatment was chemo based ). I want children - he doesn’t. . We re at a crossroads

& my regret is not having the confidence to be balanced & have the " but I’m not ill & I want my life to be this way … I can compromise on this & this but not on that …".

What do you want from your life … What does she want …

What can you give to her to help her with what she wants …

What’s left ?

the harsh truth… Is you’re not ill… She is.

Something you both have to come to terms with if there’s a future for you both maybe …

Nobody or yourself should think any less on whatever decision you make alex. At the end of the day you are talking about two lives(yours and hers) and that of possible future children you dream of. Nobody can make that decision for you only can say… Its your life and you are also important. All the best love you sound a lovely person anyway no matter what you decide it does not make you a bad person its just a very very difficult huge life changing decision. Take care x

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Alex, listen to girlrhian … you should’nt stay with someone out of pity or some misguided sense of loyalty or duty

i had been with my partner for 2 years before my MS really kicked in and sat me on my backside, and 8 weeks ago i bought my first wheelchair as my mobility is pretty much non existent and it was only then that we discussed the future (properly) … i asked her to go and stay with her Mum for a week and really think long and hard about whether or not

a) she wanted to be with someone in a wheelchair with a progressive disease

b) whether she could handle what life was about to throw at us

Thankfully she came back smileybut its still early days and i would totally respect her decision if she feels its not what she wants or she finds it to difficult to cope with

i hope everything works out for you … whatever your decision is

Jemma