Would you stay with someone who has a chronic disease?

United States
March 28, 2008 2:40pm CST
By a chronic disease, I mean one that has the potential to be debilitating. I have MS (multiple sclerosis) and have noticed a marked ability to function over the last six months (specifically the last two). I'm afraid to talk to my boyfriend about it--we've been together nearly 4 1/2 years, but I don't know exactly how he feels (I know I love him no matter what! ). I mean, I can still walk reasonably well, but I'm feeling more and more fatigued than ever and being forced to sleep 12 to 14 hours a DAY ! I'm leaving on a business trip on Wednesday, so I'm wondering if I should wait until I get back to discuss this with him. Suggestions?
9 people like this
24 responses
@Shaun72 (15968)
• Palatka, Florida
29 Mar 08
I would discuss it with him to let him know what is going on with your ms. I know I lost my ex husband well he said she couldn't deal with it. At the same time he knew what was going on a long time before we were really serious.
3 people like this
• United States
29 Mar 08
We've known one another for nearly 10 years (we met at work) but it wasn't until just a couple of months before we began dating that I let him know I had MS (no one at work knew except him) and he wasn't bothered ... but I'm afraid this is such a drastic change for me. My father's afraid for my health, with me going away next week and he's going to be in North Carolina. I guess I'll have to grin and bear it. Thanks for the comment!
2 people like this
@Shaun72 (15968)
• Palatka, Florida
29 Mar 08
You two will proberly be fine then. I got dignosed with ms in 2002. So I have had it for over 6 years now that I know of anyhow.
3 people like this
• United States
29 Mar 08
Thank you Shaun --I've got just over 2 hours to figure out how to best approach this. I'm nervous! Thanks so much!
1 person likes this
• Bahamas
29 Mar 08
Hi scorpiobabes, i'm so sorry to hear about your illness. I think that you should wait until after your trip to talk to him. But you must talk to him. This is something serious and should not be put of any longer than need be. I hope that you dont think that because of your desease he wont stay. I have a cousin that has MS and she's been confined to a wheelchair for the past three years and she has a fiance that loves and cares for her. So just have faith in the one you love and trust that he loves you unconditionally. Wishing the best for you.
3 people like this
• United States
29 Mar 08
Thank you for your kind words. I know I need to talk to him--my problems as of late have come on since I last saw him (about 2 weeks ago), but I've been noticing that I've been having more problems too. I fell this morning (possibly because it was dark and I wasn't fully awake)--thank goodness it was in the bathroom and not down the steps! I just don't know exactly how he feels about me. I'm glad your cousin found someone to love and care for her.
2 people like this
@wnbwnbwnb (427)
• China
28 Mar 08
You should talk to him! 4.5 years is quite a long time,it's not easy for him to give you up,besides, if he decide to leave you after he know the truth,then he doesn't worth your love! Best wishes!
3 people like this
• United States
29 Mar 08
Awwwwwww...thank you! I hope that I'm hard to give up, cuz I know that I've been reduced to tears thinking that we broke up! I will talk to him tomorrow for sure!
2 people like this
@Loverbear (4928)
• United States
28 Mar 08
I would definitely talk to him about the situation. I am sure he isn't blind and can see that there has been changes in your physical abilities. If he truly loves you, he will understand and stay by your side. I suffer from chronic pain from an on the job injury. I also suffer from chronic pancreatic pain. I have days that it is a job just to get out of bed. My boyfriend of 7 years is wonderful and has stayed by my side through surgeries and other events. His hands are always available to help me with what ever jobs I need help with. I have been open and honest with him through everything. As for telling him before you leave for your business trip it is a toss up. If you have a problem and need emergency care while your there would leave your boyfriend upset that you didn't let him know about the problem to begin with. On the other hand, if you tell him before you leave it could leave him worrying about you the entire time you are gone. There really isn't an easy answer to the question. But you do need to let him know. One big thing is NOT to start the discussion about your MS with "We have to talk". Guys always see the worst when you start a conversation that way. I would lean towards telling him before you leave on the trip. He has to have some idea that there is something wrong with you physically and is waiting for some sort of explanation. It won't be easy, but it is better to be honest and let the guy know than to keep the information bottled up inside and have him guessing. Relationships are built on honesty and openness. Hiding something important like having MS could be disastrous to your relationship. I know it's scary, but if he has feelings for you he will understand. (Most guys don't hang around for 4 1/2 years if they don't care deeply for a person. He might have problems with expressing his feelings.) You are in my prayers.
3 people like this
• United States
28 Mar 08
Thank you--I've got the warm fuzzies now! I did tell my boyfriend before we even got together that I had MS--we worked together and had gotten to be good friends and my MS didn't bother me as much (previous responses from men involved fear). I suppose if we saw each other more than once a week he'd notice the changes in me more. I wish I knew his feelings! I'm just unsure of how exactly to broach the subject--it seems that the few times I have mentioned that I want to move to Philly (where he lives, but not live together), he's almost 'warning' me away! Even with all of the bad things, there are more good things for me to look forward to (the least of which is a more affordable home!). I'll remember not to open it with "We need to talk"--I need him to help move flooring upstairs so I can install it!
2 people like this
28 Mar 08
Aww hun im sorry to hear of your MS and your worry at the moment about your relationship. I would certainly be able to stay with a person who i loved illness or not. At the end of the day you are still the person he fell in love with and if he hasnt mentioned anything about it i shouldnt worry as im sure he'll feel just the same as before.
3 people like this
• United States
28 Mar 08
Right now, I don't think he realizes how much this has gotten me down lately (we don't live together). I'm seeing him tomorrow, so hopefully I won't notice to much of a change in his attitude towards me. Thanks for the positive thoughts!
2 people like this
• Canada
28 Mar 08
I would discuss this with him, if I were you. If he truly loves you, he will understand and be willing to help you through this. I know that I would stay with someone who has a cronic disease, as it does not really change who they are.
3 people like this
• United States
28 Mar 08
I don't know if he loves me--I only know I love him. I'm going to wait until after I see my doctor...I know there's medication to help the fatigue issue , but I don't have prescription coverage. Thanks for the advice!
2 people like this
@dfinster (3535)
• United States
28 Mar 08
I would discuss this with him. He does know that all of this is going on right? I have honestly gone through kind of the same thing the last 7 years. I found out that i have chronic pancreatitis and will eventually have to undergo a replacement if it continues to get worse. My hubby is not supportive at all and has me wonder at times if i made the right choice when it came to marrying him and I would hate to see that happen to someone else so talk to him and get all of your feelings out in the open if he's willing to do that.
• United States
28 Mar 08
Thank you for the advice. We don't have children together (mine doesn't even live with me any longer--she chose her dad's); his two are grown (one out of the house and the other due to graduate). I'm just nervous, since I'm going away this week. Perhaps I'll just hold off until after I see the doctor to start the disability process. I wish you well!
2 people like this
@surfette (674)
• United States
29 Mar 08
It takes a very special person to be able to commit to any relationship, let alone one where there is a serious illness involved. Since you have been together for 4-1/2 years, you should be able to openly discuss your illness and what the future may bring. It may be difficult to start the conversation, but if you put it off, it may be even more so. Give him the benefit of the doubt, let him ask questions and even get him involved in doctor visits if he has questions that you may not be able to answer. I'm sure he loves you, but the fear of the unknown could draw you closer or push him away. Just talk to him and you will feel better about it. You may or may not get the answer you want, but it's better than just not knowing his feelings. I wish the best for you and hope you get the answer you deserve. God Bless.
• United States
30 Mar 08
I'm not feeling the love from him unfortunately...I think it's more of a lust thing . We'll see what happens when I get back and we can spend more time together! Thanks for the support!
@heathcliff (1415)
• United States
29 Mar 08
I'm going through the same thing, but my wife and I have been together longer so maybe it changes the dynamic a little. I kept her informed every step of the way so far. I hate worrying her, but I know she'd be more upset if I didn't keep her up-to-date. I don't tell her EVERY single pain or disorientation because I hate feeling like I'm complaining all the time, but I let her know exactly what direction my condition is heading. I can't imagine doing it any other way. Someone who can't support you through a situation you cannot control is not a person to stay with. It is difficult that you are going to be apart for a while soon. It might be best to wait until you get back, just so the two of you can share some time talking about it. Good Luck!
2 people like this
• United States
30 Mar 08
Thanks for your kind thoughts. I think we'll have to wait until after I get back to discuss this more fully.
@twils2 (1812)
• United States
28 Mar 08
Hello Scorpiobabes, I wouldnt leave someone that I love just because they had some kind of a chronic disease. I would do my best to be supportive of them. I think you should discuss it with him as soon as you can. That may give him more time to think about it. He's been with you for 4 1/2 years, chances are he's going to stay there. All my best, Terry
2 people like this
• United States
28 Mar 08
Thanks Terry, I'm hoping this is forever! I am so scared, because I've had this dang disease for over 9 1/2 years (13 1/2 if the stroke gets reclassified) and it's never really bothered until the last 4 to 6 months! I'm nervous, since I really don't know what's on his mind and he's already lost his first wife. Oh, heck, I'm going to go drink more Pepsi for now! (gotta stay awake!)
1 person likes this
@howard96h (11659)
• New York, New York
29 Mar 08
Hi scorpiobabes, my name is Howard. I hope everything turn out well with you and your lover/partner. I have a close friend who also has MS and when she applied for SS Disability they turned her down like many other people applying. She got herself a disability attorney and that is how she was awarded the disability and she now has Medicare coverage with it. If you decide to apply please consider an attorney that specializes only in disability cases. Excellent and well know attorneys "Binder and Binder" are one of the top lawyer firms that only handle these type of cases and you don't pay anything unless they win for you and if/when you do win they take their fee (which is not much) from your first large reto-active check. Do contact them even though you live out of NY because they do handle cases in other States. In my opinion they are the best. My friend is dong so much better now that she is getting the medical help that she needs. Also here is a link for The Montel Williams MS Foundation that helps people with MS that do not have insurance http://www.montelms.org/Help Good luck and let me know how things turn out.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 08
Howard, thanks for the support and the links. I'll be in contact with Binder and Binder as soon as I get back from my trip. I'm just hoping that my doctor can be supportive of this decision...for me, it's admitting defeat. I'll get over it.
@howard96h (11659)
• New York, New York
29 Mar 08
Don't look at it as defeat, it's more like extended medical care that your not able to afford yourself - unless a person is very wealthy we can not afford the high costs of medical and Rx care. Binder and Binder will work with your doctors too, they handle everything so you don't have to. Enjoy your trip my friend.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 08
If he truly loves you then you have nothing to worry about. I know if it was me and my better half was ill, I would stay with her no matter what. But I would like to know as soon as possible if there was any changes in their condition. I would tell him the night before you go on your business trip. This way he can have time to think about it by himself if he needs it. But I'm betting that he would more than likely want to go with you on the trip. 4 & 1/2 years is a lot of time together. In some states, it's long enough for a common law marriage to occur. I believe that he loves you a lot. I think you have nothing to fear by telling him. He will stand by you while you go through this. Hope you feel better and god bless you. Thanks
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 08
Thank you. What states still allow common law marriage? Here in NJ, if I wanted to be in a heterosexual relationship and NOT get married, I'd have to be older than 65! We don't live together either....but perhaps I will speak to him today about my physical problems and explain why I need to move out of my home (before I get hurt!). Take care!
• United States
29 Mar 08
I will apologize cause I miss understood when you said together 4 1/2 yrs. I thought you meant you lived together during that time. Sorry for my misinterpretation of the fact. The only state I know of right now that doesn't have common law marriage is Illinois. The length of time you have to live together varies from state to state. Some as low as 3 years and at least 1 10 years. Hope everything works out okay for ya. Thanks
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 08
I know that NJ doesn't have commonlaw marriage, Pennsylvania banned it if it wasn't established before a certain date and Delaware doesn't have it either (I live in NJ, he lives in PA and we're close to Delaware). I mentioned what happened to me this week (falling), but he didn't seem to take it seriously. Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait and see....
@skysuccess (8882)
• Singapore
1 Apr 08
I think first of all you will need to really share this with your boyfriend. As the both of you are together, I am sure he loves you no matter who you are and what you are and certainly what you have. All the more, we are very supportive and understanding when we know what is really happening with you. Just don't undermine our feelings and love. It is not that we are empathetic but we have feelings and that thing called unconditional love that has kept this relationship going. Just don't shut him off as what I am experiencing. You may want to see our perspective from this thread http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/1434875.aspx You will need to read up more about your condition so as to better manage your condition and effectively communicate with your family member(s) and love ones. I would also encourage you to join their support group to learn and encourage same sufferers and helpers. You may want to look into to this site for some information http://www.nationalmssociety.org/index.aspx I wish you well and hope that you will be able to better manage your current situation. Remember don't leave him out on this.
• Singapore
1 Apr 08
P.S. It seems like there are some members who have the similar condition as you are having so it goes to show that you are not alone on this.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Apr 08
I contacted the NMSS today to have information sent to me; I'll give it to him to read. I really don't know if he loves me anyway ...and right now I'm preparing to leave tomorrow on a trip, so an in-depth discussion is out of the question. I appreciate the links though.
@ciades (1624)
• Philippines
29 Mar 08
Sorry to hear that scorpiobabes. The best way you can do right now is to tell him earlier. Explain to him about your disease. Just don't hesitate about it coz the long you hide it for him the long it will be worst and if he really loves you. He will stay with you for sure...But ofcourse just prepare yourself if whatever will be his decisions. Pray for you always CIADES.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 08
Thank you for the prayers. He knows I have it; these problems became very obvious in the last two weeks when I didn't get to see him (I thought perhaps it was because I had a virus last week). He strikes me as the type of guy that once he's with a woman, he WITH a woman (long-term relationships); I think it's just because of our different backgrounds (I'm from a small town, he's from the city) and our ages (nearly 11 years) that he's got cold feet! I knew he was the one the moment I laid eyes on him!
1 person likes this
@ciades (1624)
• Philippines
30 Mar 08
lol. well, just pray for you both always.
1 person likes this
@sherrir101 (3670)
• United States
29 Mar 08
Both Bruce (my boyfriend/husband) and I have Multiple Sclerosis. We got together because of that. We met in a Yahoo support group called MSFriends. My suggestion is that you talk to him about your fears. He has been with you this long. Has he shown any sign of discomfort with you? Wait until you get back to address him with the subject. I hope he settles your fears, sweetie. (((hugs)))
• United States
30 Mar 08
I think that he's just plain ignorant of the disease...I'm NOT educating him--it's not my job! I'm just going to go on my trip and enjoy myself and deal with things when I come back. Thanks (and especially for sharing that Yahoogroup--I'll check them out too!)
@mugzy528 (801)
• United States
29 Mar 08
I would tell him about it now why wait? I Have MS Also and my wife has stuck by my side through it all I can no longer walk or get myself dressed all the time. But if he really loves You I would tell him now and not wait. Have a great Day.
• United States
30 Mar 08
Thanks Mugzy! I'm not so sure that this is a love thing (except from me) and I'm thinking that he'll move on (or at least back to his current living situation which isn't with me!).
@vera5d (4007)
• United States
29 Mar 08
if i really loved someone, it wouldn't matter. if it were to happen to my hubby i would stay...and i know he would do the same for me... i would definately talk to him about it...is he aware you have ms? that might be a shock for him if he didn't know at all...but if he does know and has been with you this long i would assume he's researched it and realized what it could mean...
• United States
29 Mar 08
He's known since prior to our getting together. I've never really had a problem until recently, so I'm not so sure how much (if any) experience he has with this disease. I guess I'll have to drag out some books for him to read up on this more...he didn't seem all that worried about hearing of my fall today...
@Ldyjarhead (10157)
• United States
29 Mar 08
That's a tough situation, but if your relationship is based on true love (and I hope it is!) then it shouldn't matter. Of course it will be harder on both of you, but that's life. If he chooses not to stay with you when he knows the truth, then you are better to be rid of him now anyway. Would it make a difference if you'd been married for several years? Would you expect him not to stay with you then? Would you stay with him if the roles were reversed? I don't think anyone can answer what would be right for you to do in your situation because we are not you. Personally, I think that you should tell him as soon as you can, but again, who can say what's right in your situation. Can your doctor recommend a counselor? There must be people available that are trained to help in a situation such as his. I pray it works out for you.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 08
I hope that our relationship is based on true love too--I know it is on my side! I would stay with him no matter what...he's the one man I've ever truly loved no matter what! I'm waiting for my doctor to have an appointment to see me and get me on the road to SSDI (the last time I tried to start the process, she wasn't much help, but I determined that the issue was due to medication she prescribed). I could also go to the NMSS, but right now, I'm just preparing for my trip. Thanks for the advice!
@chrysz (1603)
• Philippines
29 Mar 08
I think the earlier he knows about your condition, the better. If you will tell him about it before you leave, at least he will be given some time off alone to think things over. If he loves you so much and been together for a long time, here's the chance to prove that he will stay with you in sickness and in health.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 08
He already knew that I had this disease--mostly because I b*tch about never getting to sit outside in the sun! I'm afraid to give him too much time to think...he can run with a tangent! But thanks for the comments!
@goergineo (1498)
• Jordan
29 Mar 08
You should tell him cause there is gonna be time when he will know. instead of discovering his reaction at that time you just will know his reaction now. this saves you a lot of time.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 08
He knows that I have the disease--I told him before we got together (when I thought we would only be friends). I just haven't seen him in a couple of weeks and that's when the fatigue became so pronounced...I think more so because of stress. I'll probably tell him that I'm looking to move into something smaller because having this big house for one person is a waste of space.