Impact of Long-term Health Problems on Romantic Relationships

Any health problems can negatively impact romantic relationships, but when these health problems are long-term, will be permanent or are terminal, this can have significant implications for the couple/throuple. Not only does each partner need to process their own feelings about the health problem and the effect, but they also need to establish a way of being together that is both self and other supporting. These are extremely challenging considerations to examine, and they can put the relationship under increasing strain. Some people might find themselves withdrawing whereas others become clingy and over possessive. Often these behaviours are rooted in their own early attachment experiences and these then surface and impact in the here and now.

When health problems involve surgery or invasive treatments, this can impact the way we see ourselves and others and some common experiences are:

  • You may feel less attractive or less lovable. Being able to talk openly about how you feel and acknowledge any assumptions about what you believe your partner/s feels, can be an important starting point towards better understanding. Likewise, these conversations can result in practical changes and adaptations that could help move your relationship/s back into a more connected place.
  • You might be treated differently by your partner/s. Partners can step into a caring role which can significantly impact on intimacy and connectivity. This is extremely painful, but once identified, a couple can restore their intimate connections through dialogue and understanding.
  • Communication difficulties can emerge. Communication is vital in relationships, but communicating about the difficult things is hard. Here at The Retreat Clinics, we have a team of experienced relationship therapists who can help you examine how you communicate and then explore what changes you would like to take place. This can lead to greater connectivity with your partner/s and agreement between you of suitable ways forward, whether that be in practical steps, greater emotional connection, support managing the expectations of children or supporting ongoing physical intimacy.

Health problems can significantly impact relationships, but you do not have to struggle on alone. The Retreat Clinics is here to help you and are just a phone call away. For more information Click here