Understanding a partners feelings

Afternoon all,

I’m in my mid 20’s and was diagnosed with MS about a month ago - I’m still finding it very difficult emotionally however one thing i’m really struggling with is talking to my partner about it/my feelings. Unfortunately, his mum also has MS and has never really spoken to her about emotions, now I have it too he asked me to stop talking about it and generally doesn’t seem to understand how i’m feeling/what i’m going through - he described it as “opening up an old wound and pouring salt in it”.

I have tried to talk to him about how he’s feeling and he can’t seem to understand why I have been/get especially fed up/quite/emotional at times. I usually get “why are you acting as if the worlds ending?” or “you’re acting as if you have been told your life is over” which (understandably) never goes down well.

Any advice for me to understand how he’s feeling or advice on how I should talk to him about it?

Thank you!

You have my sympathy. Which is clearly more than you’re ever going to get from your partner.

Some people find it very difficult to discuss feelings. Your partner is clearly one of these. If he’s never spoken to his mother about her MS, but considers it ‘an old wound’, then perhaps he feels more than he ever discusses.

The big problem here is that a) his mother had MS first, b) she is his mother, so c) whatever symptom you experience she will have had it before you and worse than you. So it seems to me that there is no way you will be able to break through this barrier.

You have choices here. First, be prepared to confide in your other friends and family. Get your due sympathy and understanding from them (your mother? your best friend?). Second, try to break through his walls which are denying you any of his understanding and sympathy for your diagnosis. Third, find yourself a new partner, one who is capable of expressing his feelings and who cares for yours.

You are going to find your emotional state verges from ‘at least now I know what’s wrong’, through ‘why me? it’s just not fair?’ into ‘OMG what will happen to me in the future?’ and on into ‘what disease modifying drug should I take?’ then back to ‘Aarrrrggghh, why me!?’

If you aren’t to get any help with any of this from your partner (and let’s face it, many people do have to deal with their emotions alone, even if their partner has no prior experience), then you need to find a way to deal with it alone, or with other people. There’s really not much point in trying to make a recalcitrant man face your feelings. He’s made his position very clear.

Just my opinion. Feel free to disagree.



great post sue.

for me a fourth version. MAKE FRIENDS with his mum, and talk to her. she knows how you feel. x


As an “up tight & repressed” bloke I am not great at expressing my feelings. In this respect my MS has helped me to open up. If my wife does not know how I am feeling, how can she tell if I should be ignored or supported. This condition can be very isolating, so it is really important that you can communicate with a partner who can support. Communication is a two way thing so if your partner is shutting one of the channels down (for whatever reason) there is no communication. In my opinion he needs to face up to the reality of your situation and figure out the best way for the two of you to cope. If he can not do this then he is not the best person to be in your team. He needs to work out his priorities.

Good luck


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