Would I rather have a solicitous partner who is extremely concerned, amazingly supportive and understanding of my pain to the point where they do everything for me and discourage me from doing anything myself (sounds pretty great to be honest!) or a negative partner who is unhelpful, not supportive and gets frustrated by my pain but in doing so, forces me to fend for myself?
Having a partner who is understanding of chronic pain and supportive while encouraging you to get up and do things is obviously ideal. I’ve never had experience of a solicitous boyfriend which is perhaps why I’ve gotten used to looking out for myself, ensuring I stay physically active, am always hyper-aware of anything going on in my body and in charge of all my medical appointments, decisions, pain management, diet etc. I’ve had boyfriends at different stages of my ‘journey’ with Endo. Some have been understanding, patient and supportive and others have been the total opposite.
Having an unsupportive or disinterested partner is heartbreaking and has forced me to re-jig the criteria for my future partner. But boyfriend or no boyfriend, my most supportive partner by far has been my Mum. Of course she has maternal instinct and motherly love which boyfriends do not. However, she has been the perfect combination of doting and encouraging of me to get off my butt and be active. She’s supportive but never babies me. My recovery and how well I feel now I owe largely to her.
I am 100% in charge of my diet, exercise routine, medical appointments etc. But without her showing me the importance of keeping busy and being the captain of my own ship and showing me that I can do it myself, I may still be lying on the couch wallowing in my own pain and misery. She has been my partner form day one and continues to be. I’ve learned not to rely on a boyfriend when it comes to my health and I can fully rely on myself. Finding a partner who can take care of me when I’m sick would be nice but I know that I can do it without one cause I’ve learned the hard way. Going through egg freezing as s single 23 years old has showed me I can start my own family by myself I want to! Before I went through that process, I was devastated not be doing it with a partner in the traditional sense. It was tough, but I got through it and felt stronger for it.
In saying that, I have relied heavily on my Mum at times for emotional support. Very heavily. She’s been my angel and she will never truly understand what she’s done for me or how badly I needed her. I guess there are different types of partners and your support system does not necessarily have to be your partner in the traditional sense. Whatever your situation, I know for a fact that you are the only person you can always count on. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article.