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Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:44 am
by Didge
I'm going to throw something into the ether for you all to mull over. When you are in a relationship when one of you is terminally ill, are there different rules? Does the ill person get special treatment, are they allowed to do what they like regardless of others? Or do they feel they have to be on their best behaviour so to leave good memories? How much guilt is created when you have a row? It's hard enough coping with PC but relationships still have to be maintained and managed even though the cards on the table have changed. And that is even harder than in more normal times. So for anyone who is struggling I just wanted to say that you're not alone. Years ago when I was part of a young widows support group, the one thing which we felt comfortable with was being able to moan without feeling guilt as we were all in the same boat and knew our partners, love them as we did, were not perfect and were able to say that. Out loud. Sometimes to the shock of other people!

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:18 pm
by jay
Ive been pretending its me who is getting confused with the tablets as Jem is getting so frustrated and keeps checking them off a list. Ive done my own list and he finally said this morning he now trusts me with them,
hugs didge
xxx

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:02 pm
by Didge
Thanks, Jay. Hope you have a lovely night with your man. Wish mine was with me! Will be thinking of you and hope things improve. x

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:51 pm
by Bowie
Didge, absolutely spot on to raise this, which as you imply does seem to be taboo. Our relationship has definitely changed and although we love each other and have been married for 34 years and together for 36, we have never had this constant emotional stress and it's hard. I have always relied on James practically, emotionally and financially. The first and last I can manage alone, although it's not nice, but emotionally I'm a wreck and can't let go and tell him how I feel as I don't want to upset him, but however hard I try he knows me and it's just all different and not in a good way. He's often snappy and irritable and I know that's because he's tired, his brain is fried from all the chemo and drugs and he hates not doing everything for us the family like he always did. We pander around him and that makes him worse. I hate this evil cancer that has destroyed our lives. Fiona X

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:43 am
by Birchen
Hello I to wrote about the emotional side of this when my husband was ill. He found it extremely difficult to open up and discuss what was happening but I think that was he way of coping. He played a lot of golf and socialised as much as he could but not what what you do or say you never know what they are thinking. He did become snappy as well but I put that down to frustration. I miss him terribly. Love Lyn

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:24 pm
by Didge
Yes it is so difficult. The ill person often says they don't want to be treated differently and yet how can they not be? We excuse snappiness or inconsiderate behaviour sometimes because our feelings don't count in this situation. Except they do, of course. But in trying not to let them, the whole dynamics of the usual relationship changes. And Lyn, your last comment reminded me of what one of my widowed friends said - that she round it unbearable after to listen to married friends moaning about their husbands because she would have given ANYTHING to have hers back. I suppose what I was trying to say in my ramblings is that your emotions and feelings do count and it is not bad to feel what you feel. It's how to manage those feelings which is difficult and that talking to the ill partner is not always an option - although it might be more often than you think!

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:44 pm
by rsk1974
Nice to be able to discuss this on here, my mum used to phone me up in tears as dad was being nasty to her and she felt she couldn't retaliate as he was ill in bed. Then there where times she did shout at him and then phoned me up upset that she list his temper. It's so difficult to see someone you love reliant on you. Dad hated that he was not strong enough to drive and I was taking him and mum to Dr's etc. I think it is more of that generation that dad who was 70 when he was taken from us the man did everything and he hated seeing my mum do it all, and felt so guilty that mum was exhausted. X

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:28 pm
by sandraW
That's a bit like my husband, Trevor, he wants to be the doer and the one that looks after us all, even though I had usually been the one doing the looking after. Our son and his wife have visited this weekend as its his 40th next week, and as Trevor restarts his treatment tomorrow, we wouldn't get to see him for his birthday as he lives 3 hours away. They have bought a flat in Morocco and want to do the kitchen, Trevor just wants to go and do it for them, and is so frustrated that he has been really snappy and cross all weekend. I must be horrible because I can only stand so much then I have to have a word with him, explaining that I understand that he is scared, worried and thoroughly pi@@ed off, but its not our fault, and we are doing all we can, and we love him so much and that we would do anything we could to change it, but we can't. It helps me at least because I have got it off my chest, and he does seem better for the "chat", usually.
We have been together for 49 years and married for nearly 46, but this time has been the most stressful time of all, I get scared about how I'll cope, but can't let him see that,so I just stick on the smile and get on with it,love and hugs to you all, take care sandrax

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:34 pm
by Didge
And love and hugs to all you fellow warriers too - whichever side you're on! x

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:48 am
by RLF
Wow, and there I was thinking I'm the only one! I went to a Macmillan counsellor for awhile, and would tell her that I felt guilty about my thoughts and about getting annoyed with things that Carl did or said, or feeling guilty that I wanted play on my playstation for an hour and not be spending that time with Carl and she would keep telling me that I can't downplay my own feeling just because I'm not the one who is ill. That was about 5months ago and I don't think I've managed to mastered that advice at all.

80% of the time we get on fine, 10% I'm annoyed but keeping my mouth zipped and 10% we're having words sometimes raised voices sometimes calm and reasoned. It last 3mins normally, get it all out we both apologise and get back to normal again. Like Sandra said Carl gets grumpy/angry really badly around scan times or results times, or anything to do with the dr. At first I took it personally, now I just carry in through it. It hurts, a lot, and I feel he's blaming me or something but once he's calmed down he always says sorry and explains it was just fear off the unknown.

I do, however make huge allowances all the time, say if Carl wants to go somewhere and I don't ....we go, if Carl wants to buy something, we get it ....even if it's pushing the budget a little. I used to be the one who got his own way all the time and was spoilt by Carl (he still spoils me from time to time so can't complain about that) but he is now my main concern so I make loads of allowances and put his feelings/wishes first as like you've said I'm worried that it might be the last time he gets to do something. It's been a role reversal and I don't mind that at all actually. I think I'm a better person for it.

Yesterday was a good example of us falling out momentarily, I wanted to plan really really nice holiday for February next year, not sure what may be a cruise, the Caribbean, just something exciting and slightly extravagant to spoil ourselves with. Now I know Carl doesn't like to book things that far in advance like that, so I didn't say we would book it I just said plan for one, he got frustrated with me threw his hands in the air (drama queen!!) and said "I might not be here in February next year!" Well this time I snapped at him and said "I know that, that's all I think about, that's all I try to prevent, but surely it's okay to plan something? If it turns out something happens to you then we will take a last-minute holiday anywhere!" I think he got that he'd upset me and we moved on from it quickly as we always do as there is no point in holding on to any issues.

Long post, sorry! I'm not having any counselling at the moment so I guess this is now my place to vent! Lol. But having said all that, I feel closer, stronger and more deeply in love now than ever before. I'd take this issues for him to stay well, I'd take even more in fact!

Lots of hugs to my fellow ....well we're not the "warriors" so I guess we're the squires? Doesn't have the same ring does it lol xx

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:06 am
by Didge
You vent away, Rob! I do think it's better to have a little falling out and rant from time to time as surely 'better out than in' and sometimes it does clear the air as long as loving words follow. The two main pieces of advice I try to remember are these: 1) when explaining how you feel do not say "you make me feel..." but "when (you say this, do this) I feel..." Seems it is a little change in words but is not confrontational and is merely stating a fact. 2) this is an old saying but I think it is important in these challenging times 'never let the sun set on your anger'. Whatever has happened during the day if you can tell them you love them, give them a cuddle at the end of the day, it will go a long way. I remember also when my late husband was ill (I also had 3 children under the age of 6 and was so tired I very nearly fell over the banister when I got up one night) that if ever I snapped at him or said something horrible, to ignore it because I loved him very much and it was just the stress. Good luck everyone and let's hope we all get some good news in the coming new week x

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:41 pm
by Bowie
Rob, you are amazing and have articulated more or less how it is between me and James. A few times I have reacted, but then immediately been sorry and we are both momentarily upset and then as you say move on, because I don't want to make things worse. However I'm left feeling really sad and not being able to have a good ding dong as we once did. I too let James chose, which is a complete reversal of how it was and more than chose I try and anticipate what he wants and pretend I want that too. James in turn tries to please me as much as possible when he is well and is determinedly getting rooms in the house decorated , although not personally he's too tired for that, because in the past it's what I wanted. Now, however, I can see how meaningless that is and just want to do things with him, but he's often too tired. We are just focused on him getting better, despite the odds and having a life post chemo.

Didge, your advice is great. I was a teenager when my father died and we had always been very close. On the night he went, we had argued and I went out with my boyfriend. when I came in later he was in bed and shouted out I love you, but because I was still mad with him, I didn't answer. He had a major attack later that night and died instantly and for over 40 years I carried that guilt, although I know he knew I loved him too. Now to this day I always say I love you to all the children , grandchildren and James before leaving to go anywhere and at night. Thanks for raising this, it has really helped to know others have similar feelings. Fiona X

Re: Relationships in 'the worst of times'

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:24 pm
by sandraW
Fiona a very similar thing happened to me, I was 17 my Dad and I argued too the night he died of a massive heart attack, but luckily I did give him a kiss before I went out, if a bit begrudgeingly. It certainly shapes your life, and I do exactly the same as you never part or sleep on an argument, with all my family. take care sandrax