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Dating someone with MS

  • By NewToMSCaregiving

    Hi everyone! I’m new to this website and wanted to get a little feedback from people who have been where I am and where I will be going. My boyfriend was diagnosed with MS about 1 year before we started dating. We have now been dating for right at a year. He was diagnosed when he was 39 years old. We have known each other since high school and have lived in the same small town together all of our lives. I truly believe God brought us together when we both needed it the most. I had been divorced about 7 years and have 3 children. He had been divorced about 1 year (yes his then wife left him right before he got the official diagnosis, but knew something was wrong). Having said all that, I truly love this man with all my heart. I can’t imagine not having him in my life & feel beyond blessed that he is part of mine & my children’s lives. I’ve been as supportive as I know how to be. I go with him to his doctor’s appointments, went with him to his MRI’s, and most recently, his first round of Ocrevus. Knowing how strong this man is and how independent he is, I can’t imagine what it will be like for him when his physical abilities start to decline. He has RRMS and shows no signs or symptoms, physically, right now. He does get tired easily and it usually occurs mid afternoon. He also has optic neuritis, which is how they started to finally diagnosis his MS. I guess I’m just looking for encouragement or advice on how best to help him. He is opening up more about when he doesn’t feel good. I have absolutely no plans about leaving this precious man. I have told him numerous times that, if he wants me here, I am in this with him for the long of it. We have discussed marriage openly, so I know that will happen. I just want to be the best that I can for him because I do love him so very much! Please please please … any advice or words of encouragement??

    Sincerely,
    New to this!

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  • By Erin Rush Moderator

    Hi NewtoMSCaregiving and welcome! I think it’s great that you are seeking advice and insight into life with MS, for the sake of your partner.

    My first suggestion would be to read through our Caregiver forum, if you haven’t done so already. It can give you a glimpse of life as a caregiver and what it entails. And, not to overwhelm you with reading, but I am linking to a list of our articles on the topic of relationships and MS — https://multiplesclerosis.net/?s=marriage&submit=Go.

    Also, if your partner’s MS progresses to the point where you are a primary caregiver, you will want to consider support for yourself. There are groups for caregivers, like the NFCA — https://www.caregiver.org/support-groups and CAN — http://www.caregiveraction.org/.

    Also, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a great resource for both you and your partner. Here is a list of some of the support groups they recommend — https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Chapters/NJM/Services-and-Support/Services/Caregivers.

    I do hope you get some input from our members as well. Some of the typical relationship stuff still applies — listening, communicating respecting each other, etc. But, when a chronic condition like MS is part of the relationship, there are additional skills and actions that are necessary. Like, self-care, a good support system, an outlet separate from your relationship and MS, etc. And I hope our members can offer you even more ideas and tips you can use!

    Thank you for reaching out and may you and your partner have years of love, health, and happiness in your future, in spite of MS!

    Best, Erin, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member.

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  • By rolly

    Hi NewToMSCaregiving, I just came across your post and thought it’s a shame that no other members gave you any feedback, so let me share my thoughts as someone who has lived with MS for 23 years, and who was diagnosed little more than year after getting married.
    You two have known each other for a long time and obviously deeply care for each other. I admire your courage to pledge to stay with him for the long run despite his MS and the prospect that at some point in the future he may not be as physically able as now, and that he will need your support. But then, if you really care for the man (and I can see that you do), then it’s also clear that you would not want to just run away because the MS has come into your lives.
    I think that the best help you can give him is by deeply caring for him (which you obviously do) and respecting the limitations the MS puts on him. Trust, understanding and respect are some of the main pillars of any relationshlp. Once MS comes into the picture, they become even more important. The fact that he is opening up to you when he doesn’t feel so good means he trusts you.
    From everything you wrote, I have the feeling that your marriage will be a strong one, despite the MS, which so often can put a huge strain on a relationship.
    I speak from experience, in that my wife cares as deeply for me now that I’m physically dependent on her help, as when I was an able-bodied 24-year old, when we met. The MS will definitely challenge your relationship. Don’t expect an easy ride! But it can also help grow the relationship to another level.
    Your boyfriend is lucky to have you!

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