Love can be beautiful, but it can also be hard at times - especially when you're trying to explain something that is potentially invisible or difficult to talk about. MS doesn't always make things easy.
Communication is so key in any relationship. Whether it's a first date, a long term partner or a friend, communicating your needs in relation to your condition is really important. But it can be tricky. Sometimes it can feel awkward explaining your symptoms. And at times there's that fear that you won't be believed or it will ‘put someone off’.
But truthfully, if I can't explain what is happening in my body to someone I care about, how are they supposed to know how I might need their support?
Here are my top tips for communicating what I need from my partner when it comes to MS.
1. Be clear
Try using "I need" statements to explain explicitly what you need with regards to help, rest or in order to meet your own needs.
For example "what I will need after a walk, is a rest" or "what I need today is for you to cook as my neck is stiff". (The latter is definitely a firm favourite!)
2. Explain that not all symptoms are visible
I am currently mobile and sometimes it's not obvious that I am struggling. I'm working on telling my husband what some of these symptoms are before they cause me hassle - this has gotten me into trouble before and it wasn't worth the early night and medication.
3. Don't push yourself and work together
There have been times I have reached my pain limit part way through an activity and my husband has been shocked: "But I thought you were OK, you were powering on!" If I’d explained I needed to pace myself, we could have worked better to create a schedule to include breaks, whether we’re having fun or doing chores.
Hopefully these few tips help. To have happy, successful relationships, it’s so important to communicate the things most important to us, including our condition and health.