If it wasn’t for the note to my kids, it might have been titled “How My Sex Life has Changed Since Chronic Pain/Illness. Frankly I thought the warning to my kids was more important. As it is now any psychiatrist they ever see in their future is going to blame it on me already, no need to inflict additional harm if I can avoid it. I know sarcasm isn’t always clear when facial cues are missing, so without assuming anyone’s a dumbass, my previous sentence was it.
I’m so aware and so grateful that my husband and I were married and in a good relationship when I first became ill. I couldn’t as for anyone better as a caretaker and I couldn’t imagine anybody else being willing to take me on after I was sick. I also know that when the going gets tough, some spouses leave. I know that this is going to tell MY experience and not everyone else’s, I only hope to open a dialogue. It’s such a personal subject not a whole lot of us are talking about it. To be honest it didn’t occur to me to write about intimacy until I read a comment on a chronic pain article in Psychology Today.
I always had mad crazy chemistry and love for my husband and we enjoyed an intensive and active sex life. Well I have to be honest things have definitely changed in that department. I will try to spare you the unnecessary details, but I’m not always a good judge of what is necessary so the people that know me “in real life,” try not to picture anything. I think after the intense glow of a new relationship way back in 1994, Rudy‘s sex drive was always stronger than mine, but I had no issues with accommodating him, since once I started I always had a good time. Without drawing a picture I will say that I’ve learned accomodational techniques. Sometimes pain is pain and that’s not going away and endorphins kicking in at some point are not as reliable as they used to be. Who knows, the endorphin thing could be because of the pain meds I now have to take on a daily basis that allow me to live my life albeit a different version than before I got sick. As my bestie Michelle and I used to say, it is what it is.
This part is important, not all of the changes have been bad, in fact most of them have been wonderful and on reflection surprisingly unexpected. Rudy’s role has changed, he’s not just my lover, husband, and partner he’s also my caretaker and in ways that take my breath away it has changed the way he treats me. He has become more attentive and tender in both words and deeds with me. He always walked faster than me and had a habit of walking ahead of me when I was well, not anymore now he walks slower and walks with me. He opens doors for me again. His words are not harsh with me when he’s angry anymore and is infinitely more understanding when plans change at the last minute due to how I’m feeling. He didn’t come out of the box this way and had to learn, read, and talk to doctors and nurses about my condition to understand that I couldn’t always keep promises I made. It also took me a while to learn not to make promises I couldn’t keep.
My role has also changed and when I would think of the things I could no longer do I felt diminished. Rudy works really hard at making sure I know that I’m just as important to his life if not more than I ever was. Taking care of me has only made him love me more. My heart grows more love for him every day. So my takeaways from this would be that our love has only grown stronger. Is it strange that while my world has gotten smaller, my heart has grown larger?
I am a better, kinder more generous person with Rudy than I ever would have been on my own. he truly brings out the best in me. If I could go back to my healthy life tomorrow, but couldn’t keep what I’ve learned, I wouldn’t do it. I have to believe there are more lessons to be learned.
Well, at the end of this, it turns out that I wouldn’t mind at all if my kids (who are all adults now) read this. I’m really kind of proud of us. I’m not changing the title though. Love to all and as always comments are welcome