Relationships and chronic pain - a very rough, complex, and painful pairing. I have found, personally and professionally, that all significant relationships in that person's life, are greatly impacted by this condition. When you think about it, that is not a surprising statement - it makes sense. If your partner stubs his big toe and screams some nasty word, you would likely laugh and/or provide support. However the way you react to your partners toe (and the rest of him), will determine if he will either feel in more pain or less. The kids may come home and ask "What's the matter with dad? Why's he mad and why is he limping?" The point is, every relationship will have to adjust to this uninvited member, including (or perhaps most importantly) the relationship between the one with pain, and their inner self. Unlike the 'toe story' we have all experienced, chronic pain can shift in location and intensity multiple times in a day, which can lead to other's not understanding, and not having any idea what to do to help...unless, the one 'in pain' can share what is happening in the moment, and how others can be most helpful - even if that means to be left alone. It always comes down to this: In order to manage our day-to-day life, with this invader, we are going to have to talk openly between us, about how this is "messing things up" and what we can do to move forward, as best we can.
I realized that "open communication" is the foundation of every relationship - every relationship!