Everything you’ve been reading about couples’ problems is also true if your relationship is affected by invisible disability. Actually, even more so. I get the marriage part and the invisible disability part: I’ve carried a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis for over 35 years and I’m now into the 25th year of my second marriage. Like you, every one of my relationships is impacted. From relationships with friends and colleagues to family and community, none is more impacted than my relationship with my husband, David.
I know that everything in your lives is affected, too: intimacy, finances, social networks, working (or not), parenting (or not), leisure activities, aging, planning, style of living, how you cope with multiple systems like healthcare, government agencies, and the social systems are lives are made of — from disability determination to going to the movies.
Being invisibly disabled is sometimes like being invisible. If disability is kept secret for whatever reason, pressure can build between partners who may feel smothered, ignored, misunderstood, unappreciated, even disbelieved.
Developing a sound foundation is even more essential for couples like us: without one, normal relationship pressures can get compounded. The multiplicity of problems stemming from invisible disability are often overwhelming. Because of that, learning effective communication skills is an essential focus of our work together.
Take control of what you can. Being Heard will help you prepare your relationship to be healthy.