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Managing relationships with multiple sclerosis

Relationships are hard work. When one partner has MS it adds a whole new set of challenges. Multiple sclerosis is unpredictable, making short-term and long-term planning difficult. You never know when MS will interfere with activities, or plans. Memory loss associated with multiple sclerosis may leave the healthy partner feeling that everything falls on them. They may begin to resent the forgetfulness of their partner.

Having MS fatigue means having to change plans sometimes, it means having trouble completing tasks you both used to take for granted. The physical symptoms of MS mean you may not be as active as you once were or may need assistance with household tasks or self care. Diminished feeling and slower reaction times may lead to sexual difficulties. Fatigue and altered self- image can mean the partner with MS doesn’t feel as interested in sex as they once did. These are the hard facts of multiple sclerosis.

But, that does not mean a person with MS is incapable of sustaining a long term relationship. Communication is a key factor in any relationship. For those with MS, communication is crucial to a satisfying relationship for both partners. Talk your partner about your symptoms, how MS makes you feel, both physically and emotionally. When either partner is feeling angry or frustrated by the limitations of the disease, they should be honest with one another. Remember a person may have multiple sclerosis, but MS is not the person. Be flexible. There may come a time when the typical division of responsibilities may need adjusted. Approach each new challenge with an eye to finding a solution that makes both of you happy. Deal with sexual issues openly and honestly.

Tell your partner what is going on with you and take the time to reassure them you are not rejecting them. Let them know they are still attractive in your eyes. Together, look for ways to fulfill the needs of both partners. Find other ways to stay close. Take time to celebrate each other, every day and dream together. .


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