This post was originally published in February 2018. I’ve updated it to include a follow up since the original publication.
We don’t get to choose whether or not we get MS, nor do we get to decide when we get that diagnosis. For some, it comes while in a relationship, and for others, it happens outside of one.
Either scenario forces the following self-reflection: does my partner stay with me? And, do I disclose my situation on a date? MS is challenging because it turns partners or potential partners into caretakers.
It fosters self-doubt after the diagnosis: is my partner with me because they feel obligated? Do they resent having to care for me? Are they only interested in me because they have to “fix” me? What happens if they leave or die before me?
It is little wonder that many bloggers and experts refer to MS as the third wheel in a relationship. It’s an unwanted obstacle that can put a strain on any current or budding relationship.
The Third Wheel
MS is the unpredictable cousin that comes into your life and needs a place to crash until they get on their feet. They take up space on a centrally located couch and refuse to leave when you want to watch a movie with your partner (or bring a date home). They say they are looking for a job, but really spend all day watching half-hour courtroom shows with ads for injury lawyers.
It’s that cousin that interrupts you every time you want to have a conversation with someone. Because of the interruption, you forget what you were saying and get frustrated because you can’t remember.
Simply put: MS is an unwelcome third-party to your relationship that isn’t going to leave anytime soon. No matter how many times you ask it to get its act together and move on.
Trying to figure MS out and how it factors into a relationship is extremely hard. In addition to maintaining a relationship, I am trying to learn my limitations. How much do I put on or ask of Ash? Should I even ask him to help? Is the relationship lopsided? Am I really that bad that I need his help? Or am I just imagining things?
MS is always hiding in the background of every thought or action I take. I have to plan out my day to make sure I have enough energy for when Ash gets home to make any interactions with him meaningful. I have to pause frequently and ask myself: am I feeling this way because this is normal for someone who only got 4 hours of sleep with a teething toddler, or is this because of the MS?
As you can see, I ask myself a lot of questions. I tend to overthink things, and so it takes a lot of energy to manage my MS. So when it is time for quality time with Ash, sometimes I just don’t have what it takes to be the partner I think he deserves.Read More