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Relationship problems when your partner is disabled(54 Posts)
I feel so miserable at the moment. I would really like to talk about our relationship problems but I'm worried about being judged. Does anyone else feel irritated/appropriated by having their partner with them all the time?
Spending 24/7/365 with anyone would create irritation and resentment. So you shouldn't feel guilty simply because it happens to be because your partner is disabled.
Are you their carer as well as their partner? Do you get any respite at all from day to day life?
Hi spotty thanks for replying. I'm not his carer, no. He doesn't have one.
I don't have any opportunities to go out alone because I don't know how to tell him that I don't want him to come with him. It feels awful just typing that.
It's not just about getting outside. I want to be able to get on with things indoors as well. Yesterday I hit the roof. I am studying at the moment and had been in my bedroom all day where the computer is. I went in the living room and there were dirty tissues all over the floor. DP has issues with his sinuses and has to blow his nose a lot. I screamed at him that it was horrifying walking into that mess and that it was just laziness that had stopped him from putting them in the bin. I know his legs hurt but I am really sick of living like this. I feel like I just want to stay in bed.
quite normal - I'm disabled, dp is f/t carer and we spend all our time together - too much
Hi julia thanks for putting the boot on the other foot, so to speak. I expect DP has as many irritations with me as I do with him.
I'm not DP's carer. He isn't really dependent on me. My problem is that I'm unhappy with our situation and don't know how to change things or how to decide what is fair.
I don't understand why he can't use the bin; understandably irritating
Well that's the crux of one of our issues julia. I know he's in pain but I can't experience it so I can't empathise with him. I can't possibly imagine being in so much pain that I would throw snotty tissues on the carpet over and over again. I can't imagine taking a t-shirt out of the wardrobe and just slinging the hanger on the floor. I can't imagine kicking my shoes off into the middle of the room. I've got to the point where I feel so worn down by trying to imagine how much pain DP is in that he does these things that I'd rather just bury my head under the pillows and sleep all day.
It is really difficult to tell him that he's being unreasonable because he can always tell me that I don't understand how much pain he's in.
Explain you are his partner not his servant and he is making you unhappy by treating you like one.
I am in a lot of pain with my back and legs but I would never just throw things on the floor and expect someone else to pick up after me. After my last surgery I was mortified that anything I'd dropped during the day had to stay there until someone got home to pick it up!
Sounds like a lack of respect and maybe frustration/anger on your partners behalf.
Physical pain is not an excuse for abandoning all attempts to be a civilised human being.
That's just disrespectful and laziness - nothing to do with how much pain he is in.
Maybe he thinks your his cleaner now too?
Sounds like you need some time out. How long have you been together? Has he always been like this?
Thanks MNers (sorry, never know what to call us collectively. I hate 'ladies' and 'guys' feels a bit odd).
coffee I think there is a lot of anger bubbling away in him. It is impossible to talk to him about things. Yesterday when I confronted him about the tissues on the floor he got up and held on to the door frame and was really yelling at me about how much pain he is in. I kept telling him to sit down again but he was mad and shouty and wouldn't let it go.
teq we've been together almost 20 years and no, he wasn't like this before he retired from work.
What is his disability?
I would only consider certain things acceptable if they were health related.
Your post sounds as though you are just irritated by him in general and not due to his illness ??
Do you want to be with him?
I think this is a relationship problem and not a disability problem. Disabled people can be arseholes too. It's equal opportunity.
My DH is in constant, excruciating pain, for which he is on vast amounts fentanyl and ketamine, no joke. This does not mean he is entitled to a relationship with me that is without joy, love, and companionship. You don't get awarded women on a points basis by the government.
Working out what is fair means you thinking about what you need to make a happy life. Not a life without struggle or adversity, perhaps, but it is ok to want love, respect and care and ok to prioritise this. Life with DH is hard, and has cost me a lot tbh, but I do feel he loves and supports me and takes my life and hopes seriously, as something he can help me with as I help him. It's got to be teamwork or else what is the point.
So his disability shouldn't affect his ability to put snotty tissues in a bin? Tbh even if it did, I don't think I could live like that.
Why does he have to go everywhere with you? I don't understand that sorry.
It sounds like you need some respite from this. Is there a possibility of a carer coming in to help with the physical stuff?
It sounds as if you are not getting anything from this relationship but would feel guilty about ending it.
Start building up a life for yourself and see if you still feel the same.
These may just be details in a bigger picture, but can you stretch to some practical solutions, like a few extra bins (even cheap stuff from Wilkinsons), and some kind of basket beside the wardrobe/bed/wherever he tends to put the hangers? Can he try and scoot the shoes into a corner or under the bed if he needs to take them off there and then?
There's also an issue of different levels of mess / tidiness tolerance here, as well as the pain making it difficult for him to keep to previous? your? standards.
Can he just be messy in certain corners, say beside a favourite chair or something, so it doesn't spread everywhere? Compromise on 'zones'?
Would he be able to clear stuff up later himself, whether it's in a few hours or a few days, if he has fluctuating levels of illness?
Although if someone is in that much pain/ is that tired, doing things you're unmotivated to do can be incredibly wearing in a way that a lot of people just can't make sense of. If you are naturally neat but tired and ill, it's easier to use phases of feeling better for something like that without resenting the use of fleeting okayness on it.
Presumably he's checked if he can get better pain relief?
You both sound fed up and like you could do with feeling looked after. Don't suppose it's possible to afford a cleaner, even once a month?
Or are there any friends or relatives who might be able to help out occaionally?
OP, things will be difficult for both of you, no question. IMO your relationship difficulties need to be aired. Pain and other adverse symptoms can cause anger and frustration, I don't believe you should discount them as contributors to 'unreasonable' behaviour.
Forgive the question, but is DP eligible for provided care and is his pain management monitored? They should both be integrated (in an ideal world) for his symptoms to be properly assessed and treated.
I'm wondering whether his disability has come on as a part of his age or has he always been disabled? My Sdad has a degenerative condition that he didn't have when he first got with my DM.
Some days he can't even put his socks on himself and he struggles to get in and out of the chair, etc.
Despite this, he would never be inconsiderate towards my mum. He handles his illness well even though he has very clear limitations
often can't walk to the bank from the car park, Mum has to drop him outside he refuses a blue badge even though they keep trying to give him one
Is your OH suffering from any worries/anxiety/depression about his illness? ie. I can't do this because I'm not capable?
I am disabled and in constant pain. I cannot physically pick anything up off the floor. I know my pain makes me grumpier and more self centred than I would like to be.
However I wouldn't deliberately drop stuff or kick stuff onto the floor and expect someone to pick it up. Very disrespectful. I treat my DH with love, respect and consideration and realise he needs his own "down" time. I wouldn't ever shout at him.
I'm sorry but even if he is disabled I would still expect him to show you love, respect and consideration. If he can't, then he is an arse, disabled or not.
Please don't worry about being judged. I think it would be good to get this off your chest and get some outside perspective.
Thanks for all the really good posts above. A bit more information about DP's disability:
He has psoriatic arthritis. He was diagnosed when he was 19, just before we met, but he didn't tell me until he started struggling massively at work and one day just couldn't go in. Within 3 months of that first day of sickness he'd been retired form work on the grounds that he almost certainly (within 10 years) would not work again. He was given a company pension.
It really was as shocking as that for me. I'm bitter about it. I'm pissed off that he didn't tell me what we were facing. I feel bloody stupid that I'd believed he had an old sports injury that made his knee swell up regularly. I have read the medical reports from his consultant that STATES when he was diagnosed but he is adamant that nobody told him. I think he just didn't want to hear it, but I am very angry with him for not telling me. I feel duped I suppose.
There is lots of anger on my side. I don't know how he feels though. He seems to be content with a life of snoozing on the sofa, chucking tissues on the floor and playing on the x box.
We did talk at the beginning of the year after I told him that I was unhappy. He agreed to get a job and found one really quickly. Then he decided that he didn't have the confidence to go ahead with it. He found something else that was supposed to start last month but that hasn't materialised. I don't see the point in raising it with him - it will just start another argument.
You are both in a very difficult position, so it looks like there has to be a lot of talking and thinking things through.
Starting with the tissues and the bin. I'm sure it must be hell for him to get up and put tissues in the bin every time if he has to walk there.
But, if he has to use a lot, then it would be easier to keep a bag or a waste paper basket with him in the living room to put tissues in. I do it myself when I have to blow my nose a lot and I'm not in pain.
Other things, he should really try to make it as easy as possible for you. And you should tell him where the boundaries are, particularly if it's things that don't impact on his pain levels too much.
But, I think it's important to find strategies to limit his exposure to pain. You should think about them together and actively.
Then, the being together all the time. Why do you feel you can't tell him you want some time alone? Does he kick up a fuss if you do it? Or is it that you feel bad and assume he won't like it?
I'd try to have a mix of getting out together and alone. Would he enjoy some time with friends or doing something by himself? But, regardless, if you need time on your own, it's still fine. And you should be able to talk about how difficult it can be to be with someone all the time.
Finally, is he being seen for pain? There are pain therapists who can help, both with medicine and other methods.
Bloody hell. Why exactly do you stay with this deceiving, manipulative excuse for a man?
I'm pissed off that he didn't tell me what we were facing.
You know that you could probably have your marriage annulled for that lie?
Having read your last post, it seems like he is taking the piss and using you for an easy life.
You don't have to stay with him. For lying before you got married and for abusing his own health problem.
And if you don't have children, the best time to go is before you have them.
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