How to Prevent Your Health Problems from Affecting Your RelationshipsHealth problems

Your health is your most important quality, and it can affect every part of your life including your relationship. When you neglect your health, there’s a trickle-down effect. However, this doesn’t mean you need to have or maintain perfect health in order to sustain your relationships. It does mean you need to spend a little time considering how your health might impact those around you. This can be particularly true for those suffering from chronic conditions. Whether you’re worried about how to talk about a health issue with a new partner or thinking about alternative treatments like seeking stem cell therapy, communication is key. Here are a few considerations to help strike that balance between a healthy relationship and caring about your health:

  1. Talk, but don’t make your partner your sole sounding board. It’s important to have a trusted person to vent to, but if you’re facing serious health problems that might be asking too much of your partner. Finding a support group or a therapist can help offer various ways to vent and find support. This is also helpful because it’s likely your partner isn’t an expert on what you’re going through and they don’t have first-hand experience. The more support you have, the better you’ll feel. Your partner and family will also have peace of mind knowing you have the support you need.
  2. Understand what you need for your health. Maybe to take care of yourself you need a certain amount of solo time. Perhaps to treat your diabetes it’s important that you cook at home and reduce going out. Maybe an anxiety disorder makes it challenging to navigate social situations. Understanding your healthcare needs is the first step in sharing with others so that they can be supportive. If you don’t know what you need, it will be very difficult for others in your life to help you. These needs can also change, so it’s important to know that it’s an evolving set of best practices.
  3. Practice empathy. Just like you want your family and friends to be compassionate and empathetic with you, it’s a two-way street. Even on the toughest of days, it’s important to put yourself in other’s shoes. However, empathy and compassion aren’t necessarily innate. They are skills that need to be practiced, and some days are easier than others. Making it a daily goal is a good idea for anyone, regardless of their state of health.
  4. Tell your friends and family what you need. This can vary greatly depending on health problems. However, remember that your loved ones want to help. They appreciate being told what you need. From an eating disorder making it uncomfortable to be in most social situations (i.e. offering to meet up for a walk around the neighborhood rather than dinner) to fibromyalgia making it necessary to often reschedule plans due to pain, lack of communication and being evasive can be detrimental to relationships. It’s not just communication, but direct communication and honesty, that’s key to sustaining relationships while dealing with health crises.
  5. Consider joint therapy. If it feels like your health is destroying your relationship, you might benefit from a mediator. Going to joint therapy or family therapy isn’t just for couples. It can be helpful for anyone who’s an important part of your life. You’ll both learn ways to communicate and tools to strengthen your bond. This is a wise move for anyone but can be especially helpful when health issues are exacerbating relationships.

There’s no reason to let health problems get in between friends and family. The sooner you act and make positive changes, the sooner you can get back on track. Relationships require nurturing and attention—just like your health. Make them a priority and you’ll find that these relationships can be vital during especially trying times.