What are some of the key issues in a marriage with MS??

I would really appreciate some advice as my marriage has broken down

My wife was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS approximately 4 years ago now. Initially, she was diagnosed with optical neuritis and has lost a signficant amount of vision in her one eye. This as you can imagine was a massive shock to us all but my wife who has been a perfect wife and amazing mother, has never once felt sorry for herself and to be honest has kept a lot of her worries and some of the buzzing and pains she gets to herself, I am sure to stop us worrying. She just gets on with her life managing her MS sympthoms in the best way she can.

When she was diagnosed, she didn’t feel sorry for herself but there was a noticeable change in her attitude to life, quite understandably so. However, some of the changes in her personality since diagnosis I feel have been contributory to our marriage finally breaking down about a month ago. Please note - there are many other underlying issues in our relationship that we have had to contend on top of my wifes MS and these are more likely to have been the main cause but I won’t go into them. The reason I am posting this note is because I want to try and find some answers. I DO NOT want to use my wifes MS as an excuse or justification for our issues

As I mentioned above, I did see a change in her personality.

Firstly an obsession with running and trying to keep fit. In fact, she would get very frustrated if she couldn’t go out running and this put a strain on our relationship as I would get jealous because I wasn’t involved with the running club.She had such a zest for life, that MS would not beat her and I personally I thought she was overdoing it. If she could go out running 7 days a week she would. She wants to throw herself out of an aeroplane and do as much as she can which I totally understand but I felt was not included in these plans

Secondly, I noticed a slight selfishness in her attitude towards the whole family. Running started to take priority over things that she would normally have done.

Thirdly, my wife has always wanted a happy family life but she suddenly started to show signs of independence, often telling me that she would be alright on her own and I am sure she was secretly pining for this life of being able to run as and when she wanted to without worrying about me and the children. I began to feel clingy, needful trying to reassure myself that she was happy and I think she begrudgingly started to spend more time with me doing the activities together as a partnership

Fourthly, my wifes labido has always been very low, ever since I first met her 27 years ago. Over the past 4 years I feel that she has only been intimate with me for me and not her. This has been quite obvious but I have always put it down to a low sex drive. Prior to diagnosis, we always had a good sex life but only because I initiated it but she was responsive and it could be passionate at times. Since MS, it has become more mundane and recently she told me that she hasn’t enjoyed it for quite a while and only does it to keep me happy

Another noticeable trait is a harder exterior to get through to. Previously before her MS was diagnosed she had an emotional side which I see rarely nowadays. In fact she has hardened and become colder as a person. Again I not sure if this is because she needs to be stronger due to the MS?

So really what I want to know are these common traits in a person diagnosed with MS and has anyone else experienced similar? Do these ring a bell? The sudden independent way of thinkg, increased selfishness, lack of sexual interest and claiming to have fallen out of love because of it, colder and harder, obsessive behaviour to beat the condition etc.

We are currently living apart and as I previously mentioned there are other underlying issues to the split of which I have admitted to causing and these have plagued us throughout our 21 years of marriage. But I suppose I saying that I have taken the blame for them but would like to know if I can be vindicated a little knowing some of the issues above are common MS issues

Thanks for listening

Unfortunately, as a family we had a number of other issues to contend with at the time of her diagnosis, including financial worries, redundancy, the loss of her father a few years before, the responsibility of looking after her mother, a son who has a heart condition, a husband suffering from depression… the list goes on. Rather than support my wife when she was diagnosed, I am so ashamed to admit that I was not there for her as I should have been and this led to me pushing my wife into a relationship with another man who could provide the comfort she needed and she left me about 2 years ago. However, after a brief time away she came back to me as she told me she loved me so understandably I took her back as I could not blame her for this as it was my depression and mood that pushed her away

Anyway, our relationship improved but many of the underlying issues I described above continued and in fact got worse. These are underlying issues outside of both our control

Also sorry to add but i read somwhere that AVONEX can have some side effects such as moodiness, depression, lack of labido etc.Does anyone else have any experience of this?

WOW! There`s a helluva lot going on there. Maybe we are not well up enough to give you the answers you are looking for.

But we are all human and most of us will know what some of the problems you speak of, feel like.

I`ll have a stab at giving you my take on the whole issue.

Firstly…your wife`s reaction to her diagnosis;

anybody, however strong a character they seem, can be knocked sideways, getting such serious news. It can turn several ways; denial and simply not acknowledging there is a problem to deal with. This can go on for years and make us behave in different ways than we would, had we got the right support and help to cope with the diagnosis.

Another way it could go, is that we become depressed, withdrawn, shunning anyone who is close to us, causing a huge rift.

Then there`s another possible way it could go;

the affected person may read everything and anything they can find about the condition. They could read the worst possible outcome and believe they will end up very ill, with no independence, be unable to do anything at all for themselves and be frightened enough to have suicidal thoughts.

So which way has your wife gone? It is possible that she is trying to alienate you in an effort to give you a way out of the marriage, then she wont feel she has dragged you down and ruined your life.

The extreme running she now does, could be her way of handling MS. She may believe in doing so, she can evade any disability or reduction in her health. But if MS decides it will mar a person`s stamina and ability, then it will do so. it is a tough cookie to deal with.

Now, on another point. You did decide to tell us of other problems you two have had…re the affair and depression.

Both these things will have dented your togetherness and as much as you think they are behind you, they may in fact, have done more damage than you realise.

Well, I have rambled on at length I know, but I am only someone trying to help you.

Let`s see if anyone else can be more helpful, eh?

luv Pollx

“So really what I want to know are these common traits in a person diagnosed with MS and has anyone else experienced similar? Do these ring a bell? The sudden independent way of thinking, increased selfishness, lack of sexual interest”

Yes is the short answer.

The long one… I’m no expert at personality traits but after 32 years together I could probably write a book about our failings. All I will say is MS has a profound effect on the mind as well as the body, but as for common traits I think that’s a huge study.

I understand all to well what you are saying my husband has lost central vision in both eyes and we find things very hard,he is also undergoing tests for ms with lesions found on his brain we have 2 small children and have been together for 20 years married 13.It is very hard coping with his mood swings and all the money worries and struggling to pay our morgage along with all other health problems .Ms puts an enormous strain on any relationship and it is even harder for our children to understand whats happerning to daddy.I am sorry to hear of your split xx julie

I really need to share this. It is more a stream of thoughts than a logic ridden statement.

I have been married to my wife with MS for 38 years. I think she had MS most of this time but has been diagnosed for 30 years. We separated five years ago. I still pop around to see her. She is in a care home at the moment as she broke both her legs faling out of her wheel chair going to see her dad.

Our marriage ended for a number of reasons. My wife became very introverted, even more intollerant, self focussed and I found it difficult to be loved and supported by her. She had no empathy for me and eventually somebody came along who did care for me. The relationship didn’t last long but was sufficient to finish my marriage.

I have great difficulty making a new life for myself. I have huge feelings of guilt about any other relationships I have. She is always the elephant in the room when I engage in any relationship. I can’t divorce because she appears to be living a life of one desertion after another. I don’t want her to be hurt more. My own physical and mental health has taken a good many hits in the past and my financial health is very low indeed. On top of this, I am just getting older!

I just wish she could have:

Allowed me to get on with the caring thing so that we could have had time for ‘us’.

Been honest about her feelings and shared them with me.

Been a little less agressive towards me and a little more gracious.

Taken some of my needs into account.

Respected me.

Allowed us to plan for the future.

And I wish that I:

Could have been more directive.

Been stronger for her.

Got help, support and councilling

Got respite support.

Said NO to a lot more people.

I think I will always be a carer and any attempt at a separate life will never fully happen. However, I do live apart from my wife now and this has been my salvation.



I is been 5 years how it was going?