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The Big File All issues not easily categorized in the above forums are here. Comments on general health, diet, "getting comfortable," and more are here.


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Old 05-23-2006, 07:11 AM
David David is offline
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Anyone out there willing to share any insight / experience they might have with relationships falling apart, primarily due to chronic pain? (I apologize, as I might ramble for a bit)

I am really hesitant to write/share this, mainly because I am not sure it is going to help any.....

I certainly don't want to lay blame on her, but to a certain extent, I guess I need to vent a little bit.

In summary, I just had a 2 year relationship end quite badly. It was a long distance relationship to begin with (~300 miles), so I had a feeling to begin with that it would probably fall apart, eventually.

She broke it off a few months back, and wanted to remain "friends", which is a topic that I basically avoided, mainly because I didn't see how that was realistically going to work (the main reason being that I don't travel anymore unless it is work or medically necessary).

Well, a few days back, I made the "mistake" of posting on my blog about how I felt everything was over, and how I was moving on my life, and I got an email from her asking what the hell I was talking about.

The email conversation didn't go very well, and finally I decided to tell her why I felt the relationship ended, and explain to her that even with drugs, I was in serious pain that never really goes away (being borderline depressed doesn't help any either). That being said, I can understand from her point of view how I probably never opened up, and how my mood / attitude has deteriorated and really gotten worse over the last couple of years.

The thing that I really can't understand (and is probably the reason why I am writing) is the fact that she counter-attacked my reasons for the relationship ending, and clearly couldn't believe that chronic pain was (and still is) running my life (of course, take this with a grain of salt, since you are only hearing "my point of view").

Obviously, I am a bit sad about the relationship ending, because I really was hoping we could work things out, but I felt (again, from my point of view), that even though I was/still am withdrawn, that she decided to walk away from the relationship.

I have really tried not to blame my back pain on running my life, but I have to fully admit that the one thing in my life that has stopped me from doing anything in life that I might possibly enjoy is my constant back pain. I think like most of us here, my choices are:

a. No drugs, and lots of pain.
b. Some drugs, and some pain.
c. Lots of drugs, but you will probably not remember what happened during the course of the day.

I guess I should stop rambling. If anyone has made it this far, I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

Thanks.

David
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  #2  
Old 05-23-2006, 07:37 AM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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David, chronic pain is a nasty, insidious thing that winds its way deep into our lives -- really our soul mind and body. It forces us to change in ways we usually don't want to accept; but may understand later in life. For people people lucky enough to crawl out of the depths of hell, there's a bundle of gratitude and compassion that awaits...

In 2003-04, I was forced to use your option "B," but there may be more choices for you to consider in each "area" of your life. E.g., in pain management, there are other things you may try (if not already) like more/different stretching, hot water baths or jacuzzis, traction (all different kinds), various classes of NSAIDs, etc. There are some good posts on Pain Mgt in the Spinal Roundtable and in the FAQs too.

I have ideas about the "life" categories, but don't want to get all "Dear Abbie" on y'all. If you want to chat some time, PM me with your number.

Hang tough, let's work together and think "outside the box" of pain!
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Old 05-23-2006, 06:20 PM
Texas-T Texas-T is offline
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David,
I know what you're talking about. I have a similar story that had a better ending. My boyfriend Jeff and I were long distance (1,440 miles) when I was in my car accident and we had a very rough patch during my inital recovery. I felt like he didn't have a clue what I was going through despite his insistance that he did. This created a lot of problems for us, which in retrospect began and ended with my pain and how we each dealt with it.

It wasn't until we lived together that I felt that he truly understood. It's hard for others to understand how much pain takes over your life when they don't see you day to day. It takes a very strong person to take on the issues we deal with and work to truly understand what we go through.

In my opnion - for a relationship to work and be healthy you must have this understanding. Maybe this is for the best David.

Hang in there, you won't always be single. From what you've told me, you're a catch - pain or no pain.

Sorry to go all Dear Abby... lol
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:14 PM
bobb0 bobb0 is offline
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David, I live with someone who is debilitated due to chronic severe pain. I suspect my wife could qualify for permanent disability, realistically there is no chance she could manage a regular job.
It would take the exceptional individual to understand/comprehend what chronic pain patients go through without living with someone in that condition (or had the pain themselves).

My two suggestions:

Don't beat yourself up over this.
Don't keep things bottled up inside. There can be a strong desire not to let others know how much pain you are in and tendency to go it alone. Find someone to talk to, even if it is a counselor.

bob
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:57 PM
djscal djscal is offline
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Hi David,

I was in a 6 year relationship when I hurt my back. I lived with a woman that I thought I was going to marry some day. Without getting into too many details my girlfriend didn't seem to care much about the pain that I was in. She didn't really help me much either. She thought I was exaggerating. I was horrified to have someone that I loved so deeply and someone that I thought loved me equally treat me like crap. My chronic pain and her inability to help me tore us apart and we were never able to recover. We struggled through another year of heart break, but I realized that the problem was unfixable because she lacked something very basic: compassion. She had many hardships in life (both parents died at an early age) which could explain it.

Going through a spinal injury is difficult enough, but then to compound it with a failing long term relationship made it exponentially worse. Both my back and my heart hurt for a very long time.

A year and a half later my back is somewhat better and my heart is a lot better. So, I just wanted to tell you to hang in there and if you ever want to talk I'm here.

I know that someday I will find someone that will be able to deal with my limitations and love me for who I am and not for what I can or can't do. You will too. I have since changed my priorities in what I look for in a mate and now have been dating girls who are teachers, volunteers and social workers. It's funny because that is the kind of person that I should have been looking for in the 1st place.

Dan
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Old 05-25-2006, 12:37 AM
Kim Kim is offline
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I feel that long term chronic pain can put a toll on the best of relationships. I have been married for over 12 years now and the last 2 have put a very big strain on us. It hard for me to accept that I cant do many of the things that I did before and I am so independant I hate to have to ask for others to do things for me I feel that I should be helping with. My husband has a very demanding job and works long hours. With the loss of my income in addition to the loss of my ability to do many things at home it has definitely put a strain on us. Its hard to talk about things to even our spouses sometimes as if they have not experienced what we have, they cannot understand totally what we are going through emotionally or physically.
I have felt at times that it would be better for hubby to just trade me in for a new model when things get so far behind around here.
We have endured and are still struggling and I hope and pray that we make it through this but I wanted you to know David that its not easy on anyone
I was told by a counseller at one time that chronic pain is not one persons problem it affects the whole family and this is so true.
It affects our close relationships and our childrens lives as well if that is applicable to you.
I have also talked to many women who have either lost their partner or husband due to being in chronic pain. So yours is not an isolated incident. I know this will not make it any easier for you but know that you are not alone in this.
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Old 05-25-2006, 06:59 AM
David David is offline
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Thanks to everyone for their replies.

I guess I just feel a bit torn because I made the mistake of starting to have feelings for her, and was hoping that we could work things out. Instead, things "blew up" in a spectacular fashion

I know that I shouldn't try and define myself or my level of happiness on whether or not I am in a relationship....

But...for better or worse, I guess I have to accept the fact that I probably won't be in another relationship for several years.

100% of my focus is going to have to be on my back pain, myself, and eventually, surgery and recovery (which will probably take a year or two).

Ain't life grand?

David
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  #8  
Old 05-25-2006, 10:26 AM
Mariaa Mariaa is offline
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David,
I'm a middle aged gal that's had spine probs since a work related injury in '82 (so I was once young and in love several times at least!)!

Yes, the injury has had an impact on all of my relationships, esp, when I was younger altho when I look back, I had a tendancy to pick the wrong relationships to stick with (even tho the guys were very nice), and maybe let a few more caring compassionate guys go by the wayside...

My husband of nearly 13 years was always pretty good about my spinal limitations, but I had felt in the last few years he wasn't supportive of my spine situation/adr quest.. long story short I moved out for various reasons. I find him more supportive now, tho we still have issues.

You're young, your heart will most certainly recover, and you will move on and most likely find someone else you'll love. Just takes time.

Try not to let negative feelings override you, and as you're stating, focus on what's ahead of you and your health. If the woman wants to be part of your life she will most definately let you know (if you're still interested). If not, you're most likely better off~ IMHO~
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