The way endometriosis affects your relationships can be very distressing for many women. The most profound affect it can have is on your relationship with your partner if you have one. Even if you do not have a partner, it affects your image of yourself and how you imagine not being able to sustain a loving relationship whilst dealing with the symptoms of endometriosis.
The repercussions of endometriosis on you and your partner are a constant strain. It is something that is there day in, day out. You will probably be suffering from constant tiredness, which can make every day tasks seem like a huge effort. The tiredness will make you more miserable and depressed than you already are. It becomes a vicious circle.
You will have the depression to deal with because of the pain and you are also aware of the possible long term affects of endometriosis regarding fertility and starting a family, if you have not had children already. Both you and your partner will no doubt go through agonies over this.
There will be so many things in life that you will not be able to do now due to lack of energy or the pain of endometriosis, which could be constant or it could be at certain times of the month.
This disease can be one of the most testing and trying situations for a close relationship. It is well known that some marriages and long term relationships have been ruined because of endometriosis. This situation is so sad, but in a long term relationship where both partners are wanting a family and that situation looks to be in jeopardy, then sometimes the strain is just too much.
Added to this is the difficulty of having a normal, healthy sex life because of the pain it can cause. The affect of this goes to the core of a relationship, and sometimes it can be too much to deal with, and can also cause the break up of a relationship.
There are many women however, who find themselves in a relationship with a man who is in it for real, in sickness and in health, and they do as much as they can to provide support and help cope with the broader concerns that this disease brings up.
There are now support groups on the internet, dedicated to providing support for men whose partners have endometriosis. This will help to alleviate the isolation for these men and give them a network where they can share experiences.
There are no easy answers as to how to improve the quality of your relationship with your partner when you are trying to cope with a serious illness. It all comes down to the qualities, the attitudes, the personalities, the needs, and so many other personal traits of the individuals involved.
It has been found by other women suffering from endometriosis, that when they educate their partners and their family about endometriosis, they then begin to understand just what a profound affect this disease is having on the woman and her image of herself. The more they learn, the more they understand, and the closer they feel, which has improved their relationships immensely.
Friendships and endometriosis
Your relationships with your friends will undoubtedly change, sometimes for the worse, and this can be very hurtful. This will not be intentional and there will be no malice, it just happens. It seems to go with the territory of illness. They will be concerned at first; they will offer support and advice. They will visit you in hospital when you have yet another operation.
But gradually this support starts to wear thin. Your friends still want you to be the person they knew before. The person who could go out for the evening at a moments notice. The person who was full of energy and enjoyed a good laugh.
Now, you have to plan everything around your periods. You feel too awful to even leave your bed most months. And you dread it, if for any reason your periods go hay-wire and do not start on time. This can happen, and you may be out for the evening and suddenly you start having serious agonising cramps and you have to go home.
You may be lucky to have a few friends who are more sensitive and understanding, and they will continue to be good friends no matter how awful you are feeling. These are the sort of people who can visualise how they would like to be treated if it was they who were ill.
But the strange thing that happens to most people regarding illness is they have an innate tendency to shy away from other people who are ill. They do not want to associate with it, to face up to it, and to realise that “it could happen to anyone of us”. ….. It is the understanding souls who will stay in contact. The ones who have a true sense of reality including all of life’s pitfalls.
Co-Workers and endometriosis
What happens with your work colleagues is very similar to what happens with your friends, and they gradually draw away. They do not want to get involved in your ‘tales of woe’.
But the serious affect it has is on your career credibility. You will probably end up taking time off work because you are not fit enough to work. You will have the same nightmarish attitudes to deal with here as you do with your doctor, in that they cannot see anything physically wrong with you, so it must be one of those typical ‘women things’ that is bothering you.
Many women will continue to try and work when they do not feel well enough, but they will be performing below par. Your manager/boss will notice this; they will ask if anything is wrong. You try to explain in a brief succinct manner, but the gravity of your situation ‘does not compute’! You may as well be talking to a brick wall.
It gets to the point were you dread going to work, because of the things that are being said behind your back. People do not like it when colleagues are off sick because they have to fill in for them. They also feel resentment based on selfish human nature. They too would like to go into work when it suits them and not to have to continually work the contracted 5 days a week, every week.
So they feel you are only going into work when it suits you, not knowing that you are off sick for a genuine reason. And so the animosity builds, and when you get back to work the atmosphere is awful.
Eventually, you may end up in a situation where your work quality and sickness leave puts you in a situation were you are given a warning about your conduct in your job.
You then start to look for work which is part time or even to stop work all together if you can manage financially. All this has come about due to inconsiderate and uncaring attitudes in the work place.
This article has been written to help those women and girls suffering with endometriosis - so they may realise that the observations they have about the changes in their relationships are common and not any fault of their own. Also to help them know they are not being over sensitive - your relationships DO SUFFER - there is no doubt about it.
Sometimes the best friends for endometriosis sufferers are those who are in the same situation as them. This is why networking and sharing with other endometriosis girls is so important and provides a HUGE support mechanism.
'Common worries bring us closer together than
common joys' - sad but true!