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Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

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Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby amberfer » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:33 pm

Hi! I'm recently diagnosed, and honestly I think this is more difficult on my husband than me. He has come a long way in the 90 days since my diagnosis.

Before my dx, he refused to push a wheelchair. He got annoyed with my physical limitations and with the house getting messy and having to make dinner.

After my dx, he was still annoyed, but he kept it quiet and didn't talk about how he felt, because he knew it wasn't my fault. (I told him later that is no reason not to tell me; I'm not a fragile vase, and I know the truth anyway. Let it out, man!

He was already introverted, but now even more so. Refuses to go to anything that involves being social. Doesn't even want to spend time with me, even if it's just watching a movie. Not interested in sex at all.

He makes fun of me a lot. He deflects with dry humor; I suppose this is his way of dealing with the fear? We had a very good conversation last night about fears, and he agreed that we should talk about it more often (probably because I threatened to make him go to counseling, haha!)

He isn't very attentive. Even when I'm struggling with my cane to get to the car, he won't hold open the door for me. He walks in front of me since I walk slowly, and turns around and tells me to hurry up - jokingly, but it's still annoying.

I really do see hope; he has gradually been improving, and he is willing to take me out in the wheelchair now (though he still asks "are you sure you can't just use your cane this time?")

My Question For You:

How did an MS diagnosis affect the non-MS spouse or partner?
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby jimmylegs » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:42 pm

hi there, my relationship was too dysfunctional beforehand to really contribute anything useful in way of an answer... but fwiw my partner was unusually awesome when I first got diagnosed, and he went back to being a jerk as i started to recover. I broke up with him eventually!
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby centenarian100 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:00 pm

I would defnitely recommend couples counseling.

It helped a lot for me and my husband.

We all have certain expectations about what life and marriage and family are supposed to be like. We don't visualize ourselves caring for a disabled spouse 15 years after the altar. However, these changes tend to become "normal" and routine over time.

best of luck
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby Cece » Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:45 pm

So he's annoyed, makes fun, doesn't want to spend time with you and doesn't want to have sex? There are different ways of dealing with the same situation but he might well need therapy on his own or antidepressants. Not helping you with the door could be a way of denying that you're having problems with it? Denying that you need a wheelchair and not a cane, or that you couldn't walk faster if you really tried. If it's only been 90 days, then maybe there's more time needed to grasp the reality. I hope you have other people in your life that are able to be emotional support persons if your husband is not able to be emotionally there at this time.
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby amberfer » Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:07 am

Cece wrote:So he's annoyed, makes fun, doesn't want to spend time with you and doesn't want to have sex? There are different ways of dealing with the same situation but he might well need therapy on his own or antidepressants. Not helping you with the door could be a way of denying that you're having problems with it? Denying that you need a wheelchair and not a cane, or that you couldn't walk faster if you really tried. If it's only been 90 days, then maybe there's more time needed to grasp the reality. I hope you have other people in your life that are able to be emotional support persons if your husband is not able to be emotionally there at this time.


Yes Cece, exactly! He takes antidepressants but I don't think they are working and he refuses to seek therapy...but I think you are totally right. I definitely do have a lot of other emotional and spiritual support in my life, to fill the gap while he tries to grasp this. And he really has improved a lot since when my legs first started failing me. I will be patient with him.
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby HarryZ » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:32 am

My wife had MS for 35 years before she passed away in 2007. I knew she had the disease when we got married and she went about 20 years without any progression after her initial attack.(about 3 years before we got married and I had not met her at that time.)

The level level of care required increased a lot in the last few years of her life and it was indeed difficult.

He takes antidepressants but I don't think they are working and he refuses to seek therapy.


Speaking from years of experience your husband has to get over this refusal to seek therapy and get himself in order. Until this happens he isn't likely to be much help to you and the situation will become more and more difficult. And he likely won't listen to your suggestions in this area so it would be great if a close friend could step in a recommend he do this.

MS places a huge strain on a relationship and you need to get all the professional help you can. It also helps to have a lot of family and friend support as well. I wish you both luck.
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby amberfer » Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:10 pm

HarryZ wrote:My wife had MS for 35 years before she passed away in 2007. I knew she had the disease when we got married and she went about 20 years without any progression after her initial attack.(about 3 years before we got married and I had not met her at that time.)

The level level of care required increased a lot in the last few years of her life and it was indeed difficult.

He takes antidepressants but I don't think they are working and he refuses to seek therapy.


Speaking from years of experience your husband has to get over this refusal to seek therapy and get himself in order. Until this happens he isn't likely to be much help to you and the situation will become more and more difficult. And he likely won't listen to your suggestions in this area so it would be great if a close friend could step in a recommend he do this.

MS places a huge strain on a relationship and you need to get all the professional help you can. It also helps to have a lot of family and friend support as well. I wish you both luck.



Thanks so much for these words, from a husband's perspective. And even harder for my husband, who didn't know when he married me, and three years in, we find this thing out that will affect the rest of our lives!

I will continue to encourage him to get therapy; maybe I can get him to sit in on one of my therapy sessions. Thank you for your words.
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby Cece » Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:20 pm

Really glad to hear that you've got the sort of emotional support that you need.
If he's the introvert, then he may not have the support you have. Or he relies on you as his support. It's not good for you to hear all his fears related to MS. Some of that can be hurtful and unnecessary to share. For your sake, he should make sure to have at least one other person he can talk about this stuff with on a deep level.
I remember reading that there are five ways to combat depression but everyone only talks about the first two: Antidepressants, therapy, nutrition, exercise and being social.
Good luck. My husband dealt with my MS diagnosis better than I did, but we both reacted in different ways. He was very concerned about being the sole provider for our at-the-time growing family. I did a lot of internet research and focusing on surviving the day-to-day. It was actually worse just before getting diagnosed because he had a lot of expectations that I was not living up to, and he would say things like so-and-so's wife works full-time and takes care of the kids and housework in the evening, and why wasn't I getting anything close to that done? Yah, that hurt, because I was pushing myself so hard to do as much as I was doing.
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby tzootsi » Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:35 pm

I'm the husband of a woman with a mild case of PPMS. We always had a great relationship, and since her dx 7 years ago, if anything we are even closer. We've had to forgo things like hikes and skiing (we still enjoy bike rides and snowshoeing), but we still have a good life, , good friends and great daughters. True I sometimes tend to walk too fast for my wife, but I've learned to deal with what life deals us, and enjoy the great moments we continue to have together. The best way for your husband to deal with this is to realize that you are still the same person. He can also get more involved in ways to possibly help kick butt with your ms, like doing research into things like diet, CCSVI, excercise, etc. 90 days out from dx is still a very stressful time. You both will find that time may bring you back into a better relationship.
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby amberfer » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:32 pm

tzootsi wrote:I'm the husband of a woman with a mild case of PPMS. We always had a great relationship, and since her dx 7 years ago, if anything we are even closer. We've had to forgo things like hikes and skiing (we still enjoy bike rides and snowshoeing), but we still have a good life, , good friends and great daughters. True I sometimes tend to walk too fast for my wife, but I've learned to deal with what life deals us, and enjoy the great moments we continue to have together. The best way for your husband to deal with this is to realize that you are still the same person. He can also get more involved in ways to possibly help kick butt with your ms, like doing research into things like diet, CCSVI, excercise, etc. 90 days out from dx is still a very stressful time. You both will find that time may bring you back into a better relationship.


Oh thank you! I can already feel us getting closer sometimes. Thank you so much for the encouragement. Activities have been hard since he's such an introvert and I can barely walk, so I hope as he learns to deal with this, he'll be open to things like reading together or watching more movies! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It was just what I needed to hear.
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Re: Question: MS Affecting Husband/Wife/Significant Other

Postby amberfer » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:41 pm

Cece wrote:Really glad to hear that you've got the sort of emotional support that you need.
If he's the introvert, then he may not have the support you have. Or he relies on you as his support. It's not good for you to hear all his fears related to MS. Some of that can be hurtful and unnecessary to share. For your sake, he should make sure to have at least one other person he can talk about this stuff with on a deep level.
I remember reading that there are five ways to combat depression but everyone only talks about the first two: Antidepressants, therapy, nutrition, exercise and being social.
Good luck. My husband dealt with my MS diagnosis better than I did, but we both reacted in different ways. He was very concerned about being the sole provider for our at-the-time growing family. I did a lot of internet research and focusing on surviving the day-to-day. It was actually worse just before getting diagnosed because he had a lot of expectations that I was not living up to, and he would say things like so-and-so's wife works full-time and takes care of the kids and housework in the evening, and why wasn't I getting anything close to that done? Yah, that hurt, because I was pushing myself so hard to do as much as I was doing.


He is the introvert, and yes he does not have support and relies on me. He's lucky I'm pretty even-tempered, haha. I wish he would talk to someone, but he has barely talked to anyone for a year since his depression started. I have gently suggested that he get together with a friend, but he won't. Maybe I will tell him that it would help me if he talks to someone. When he does get together with friends he has a great time - it's like suddenly he remembers that he doesn't hate people.

But you've given me an idea - I can have more game nights at our house. And my friends are always willing to help me clean up the house beforehand. Maybe we'll even do a last-minute New Years' Eve party if I can convince him! Hehehe.

I am so thankful that he has a job that can provide for us both. I had actually been unemployed and not seeking work for several months before my dx, and he was fine with that. Ohhhh I hear you about living up to expectations...it was so hard for him to understand before the dx. I was so relieved when I heard the words "You have MS."

Thanks for sharing your experience. It really helps me know how to nudge him to be more social, which I do think will help him immensely.
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