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Love life in the face of illness: how to cope?

14 Feb 2019 • 22 comments

Love life in the face of illness: how to cope?

Today is Valentine's Day! This emblematic day, sometimes criticized for its commercial and marketing impact, undoubtedly evokes love. We organised a poll* to allow you to express your views on this subject. Does being chronically ill affect romantic life? Does caring for a patient also have an impact? Here are your answers.

Amour-couple-maladie

 

Maintaining an intimate and sexual life: a challenge for 31.2% of respondents

The question "as a patient or family member, what impact does the disease have on your love life", a majority of participants answered that their intimate and sexual life is difficult. There are many reasons for this: decreased libido due to fatigue, erectile dysfunction, localised pain... Having a chronic disease can severely disrupt intimate relationships with your partner. As for patients' relatives, they too may experience psychological or even physical exhaustion.

>> Join our discussion group on Men's Health

For patients who have not found a soulmate, the disease can also hinder the meeting someone. Our large isolation survey revealed that 57% of patients had reduced their outings and social activities. Opportunities to meet new people are therefore more limited. In addition, 88% of patients reported an impact of isolation on their intimate life and 98% on their social life.

Relationships with partners are more difficult for 21.5% of respondents

For 21.5% of patients and relatives of patients who responded to the survey, relationships with their partners became more complicated due to the disease. Patients may suffer from their spouse's misunderstanding or no longer have enough energy to devote time and attention to them.

Only 9.3% of the participants were lucky enough to see their relationship strengthened by the ordeal of the disease. Many couples separate after being diagnosed with a disease; moreover, a recent study showed that a woman is six times more likely to experience a separation after being diagnosed with cancer or multiple sclerosis than a man in the same situation. 

Remaining alone, the solution for 18.3% of respondents

"I want to be alone partly because of the disease" is the answer given by 18.3% of respondents to our survey. Scars, weight gain or loss, or medical equipment can lead to a poor self-image. Difficulties in maintaining a normal couple's life or fear of rejection of the other can discourage people to attempt to date.

>> Join our group on pain treatment and find solutions

What can I do to find a fulfilling love life?

Health professionals recommend that ,first and foremost, these issues should be discussed with your partner. Communication is the tool that will allow you, in many cases, to make things happen. Everyone, at their own pace, without forcing themselves, will be able to relearn how to have a dialogue with their partner.

If you have not found a soul mate, remember that you are not defined solely by your illness. You keep the qualities you had before you became ill or cared for a sick relative. Sexuality can take many forms, whether your illness is disabling or not.

Symptoms of disease that impact on intimate life should also be treated as soon as possible. Neurological, cardiovascular, physical or psychological symptoms can affect sexuality, as can the side effects of a drug. Talk to your doctor to reduce fatigue, pain and improve your morale. You can also consult a specialist:

- A psychologist can help you overcome your problems and accept your illness or that of your loved one
- A sexologist will advise you on all aspects of sexuality, both physical and emotional
- A gynaecologist treats the disorders of the female genital system to help them limit pain or various discomforts
- A urologist is responsible for the male urogenital system and can advise you on erectile disorders or other pains.

 

And you, is your love life put in difficulty from a disease? Talking about it is already moving towards a loving and sexual intimacy, whatever it may be, that will open you up. Have you treated any specific symptoms?

Carenity

avatar Louise Bollecker

Author: Louise Bollecker, Community Manager France and Content Manager

Community Manager of Carenity in France, Louise is also editor-in-chief of the Health Magazine to provide articles, videos and testimonials that focus on patients' experiences and making their voices heard. With a multidisciplinary background in journalism, she coordinates the writing of content for the Carenity platforms and facilitates the members' interaction on the site.

>> Learn more

Comments

on 14/02/2019

I have E. D. due to diabetes T2 and although I have been tali king with my girlfriend it is still difficult to come to terms with. 

As a man of 48 I never thought that I would have to deal with this but it is more difficult for my girlfriend to understand as she doesn't know about diabetes and how it affects the person who has it.

I have tried to explain it but it is upsetting for both of us. She has said she will stay with me and for that I truly love her. 

on 14/02/2019

I was originally diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus,the only type of Diabetes in 1959,then research started and has continued to find other types,i am now classified as type 1.I can not remember when I was diagnosed with E.D,it was about 34 years ago.When I meet a female,i always pre warn them about it. One female,found it strange,i did not show any reaction,when she started to undress. As we spoke more,she came accept it.More is being published about it,with famous celebrities,also being diagnosed with it.I have tried different types of medication,but have just come to accept it and please females in other ways.

on 14/02/2019

Hi @Hidden username‍  - Did you know that Diabetic Men can get on prescription Viagra from your GP for Erection Problems.

on 15/02/2019

I have been to see GP, Sexual Health clinic, and Diabetic clinic and have had talk with them and been told I need to see a Urologist. Have appointment on 06/03/2019. Fingers, eyes and everything else crossed!

Have tried Sildenafil ( Viagra) and Tadalafil, nothing works!! See what my options are next. 

on 15/02/2019

I was fully prepared to go it alone following my marriage breakdown 6 years ago and following several dates thereafter. One guy wined and dined me for a couple of months and he seemed ok about my MS, then he sent me a text to say it wasn't going to work as he'd noticed me limping on the last couple of dates and that he wanted someone he could go on walks with.  I was devasted, not because I was in love or anything but because it literally was down to my affliction. He was a nice guy and a was being completely honest but after that I thought I'm not bothering again and I didn't...for a while and then along came my partner  out of the blue following a meal with friends. I told him about my MS straight off and that I used a mobility scooter, his words were  and I quote " you can pick me up from the pub then!'  We have now been together 15 months. He helps me if I ask but he knows I'm independent and  he never smothers me or takes over or makes derogatory comments or accuses me of using my illness to not get intimate, unlike my ex husband. And now the funny thing is we have the most wonderful and caring sex life than I could ever have imagined. It is imperative to have a loving partner, someone who respects you. Someone who,  though can never understand what this disease can do to you as much as humanly possible. Someone to hug and cry with and talk to, communicating is key, that old chestnut but it is true. Dont settle for less than you deserve and do walk away from someone that doesn't respect you or at least try and understand you and care for you. Relationships and sex can happen with the right partner. Hope this helps someone 😊

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