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Dealing with spouse
kel2255 posted:
Hello everyone. Do you ever second guess yourself, as if to think you are being unfair or selfish? Disabled before I met my hubby. Married for eleven yrs. with a 10 and 7 yr old at home. I had more energy even with the FM when we first married and I helped him raise his older two boys from prev. marriage. I am at the point now that I have to ask for help and I've tried to talk to hubby about how I feel and how I need his help around the house.

I take care of kids' doctor visits/appts, and my own. He has been able to take me to an appt. if it is far away from home a few times. However, being really sick with the flu last week has made me so afraid! It's as if his life isn't changed and he carries on with his own thing, work what ever! He works, that's his only responsibility! I feel like the kids and I don't matter. So, while I was sick with the flu, the kids and my laundry piled up and dishes too. He finally did the dishes but that was cuz nothing was clean. Is this how it is supposed to be? I pay for bills too in our household. I have to be the one to worry about the kids if I can't watch them when they are home and he is at work! He never acts worried. His mom is disabled too so she can't help and his father was never in his life much. My mom helps me all she can. But I feel she shouldn't have to worry about me so much! I'm scared. We rent from my parents and hubby doesn't fix anything around here. Help!
dollbug responded:
Hello kel and welcome. MiMi in that you are having to deal with so much. I think we all know though that actually no one understands us FMers....except those of us who walk the same path. Regardless of how much we try to explain to our family and friends....they still do not get it and probably never will. Heck there are times when I don't even understand things which how in the world can we expect anyone else to understand?

I also think that most men think we women are supposed to take care of the children and the housework, plus do anything and everything else as well. I hope you can try to get your husband to understand that you need help and perhaps your children can learn how to pitch in as well. I try to do what I can and forget the rest. Some things get put on the back burner, whether I like it or not. I also have chronic fatigue and in the beginning it was really hard for me to accept this mean and ugly illness. I had to learn how to pace, pace and pace even more. And I had to learn how to say NO sometimes, whether I wanted to or not. We, FMers, sometimes must have to pick and choose what we do.

We will have good days and then there will be not too good days as well. As you learn more about the illness and how to cope, things do get better or we learn how to pace better.

We have to also learn that stress is the wrath of the dragon's best friend and when we allow our levels to get high, then we only increase our pain. It is NOT worth it. Sooner or later you will also learn this as well.

Everything is a process.....we have to figure it out and slowly but surely we do. Hopefully your children will indeed learn how to help around the house some. Your 10 year old should be old enough to do some things now. Wash dishes, fold clothes and pick up around the house, at least. Soon perhaps you can show them how to do their own laundry. I remember my youngest son did his laundry at a young age. (I have 3 children - 2 boys and a girl in the middle...they are all grown now with children of their own...I have 4 grandchildren now).

I hope you will check out the info here under *tips* and *resources* and be sure and read the *member toolbox* as well....perhaps you will find some tools that you have not thought of trying that just might help you cope better.

I do not think you should second guess yourself or think you are being unfair or selfish. None of us asked to be this way, it just happened. Hopefully one day we will all find a good solution in dealing better with everything.
Remember to take time for yourself....because no one else will do this for you.

Good luck.



bette_kaffitz responded:
Oh, Kel,

Remember the women's movement? There were strides made. 99% of them were in the workplace. In the home, things are pretty much the way they have always been.

The traditional role for the man is still the breadwinner. The traditional role for the woman is still the nestbuilder. Never mind that many if not most women have jobs outside the home, women still do far more than half of the tasks at home.

Your husband (like most men) was brought up to think that this is the way things should be. We know better. It's up to us to show him.

There was a time when I did all the cooking, all the cleaning, and all the childcare in our home. DH worked long and hard outside the home. Then I started college. Hubby took over a lot of the afterschool time with the boys. I started teaching, and my position ran the full year--not just the traditional school year. DH started doing the vacuuming. As my fibro got worse, he took on all the housecleaning that gets done at our house.

We are now in our 70's. On bad days, DH cooks dinner. On most days, I do. We shop for groceries together, but when it comes time to stand in line at the checkout, I go sit in the car because I just cannot stand without pain. (I can walk, but I can't stand.) To be fair, I am the one who always wipes her feet before she enters the house. My boots come off at the door. I still do more than 50% of the "women's work" in our home. I just don't do it all.

Your husband has just seen what happens when you cannot do any of the chores he took for granted. He got a taste of what his life would be like without your help. He probably has at least a little better idea of how much time and effort you put into making your house a pleasant home for him to come home to.

This is the perfect time for you to let him know that your current workload is just too much for someone in your physical condition. You really need some help around the house. What does he think is the solution? (Will he hire you a cleaning lady? Probably not.) Your children are old enough to have regular chores. (Get hubby on board with this. Kids listen when Dad says to "just do it.") And, of course, it would be a big help if your husband were cooking dinner while the 7 year old set the table and the 10 year old threw a load in the washer.

At first, there will be stubborn resistance. There will be a lot of "show me again how to do this." Things won't be done to your satisfaction. Try not to re-do them. (If you have the energy to re-do a job, you could have done it yourself--in THEIR dreams. If you re-do something, you will undermine the new worker's confidence in a job well done. And you won't have your before dinner rest time.)

As someone who has often not had the energy to eat dinner after she spent all her oomph on cooking dinner, let me tell you that your home will be happier if everyone does the tasks he or she has the time and ability to do. You are not the only person living there. You are not the only person dirtying the house. You are not the only person eating. Why are you the only one cooking and cleaning?

A true man is a partner. Teach your husband to be one.

harleytaz22 responded:
kel2255 ,

I am sorry to hear what u are going thru. I can say that My boyfriend who has been to every test appointment etc with me was amazing at the beginning. I'm in alot of the boat you are. He had 2 kiddos by someone else. She decided to hurt the children in many different ways and then walk away. I have become there mother and wouldn't have it any other way. We also have a daughter together. He use to understand what I was going thru but over the years as i've gotten older my FM n other medical issues have gotten worse. Where the same thing has happened laundry piles up, every dish in the house is dirty. and Finally he starts to help why cause he has no clean clothes n there are no clean dishes. We got into many fights about it. and yet i felt alone. I started wondering if he wanted me still or that he deserved better. I finally waited up for him one night and when he got home told him We needed to talk. I gave him a chance to leave to find someone else that could better do the things that he n the kids needed. it was this talk not out of anger but fear that made him tell me That he was sorry He did love me n that he didn't know the full truth to how I felt. But he explain how if It continues to get worse as it has He's afraid of losing me Of me getting so sick that i don't make it thru it. He is afraid for the children and how he will handle it. He had true fears that lead him to become in his own way depressed and unable to cope in his mind. After we talked and held each other things have gotten alot better. He's back to himself. ppl have to remember that we aren't the only ones going thru this. We are the ones who suffer the pain n fatuge but they suffer with us because the one thing a guy wants it to make everything better. and this they can't. I hope this helps and maybe try to talk to him try to give him a chance to let you know what is going on u might just find that it helps. Good Luck n I hope all gets better.
mnjeepguy responded:
A Fibro-understanding man's side:

I am not diagnosed, but treated for fibro. I have shared my trials, as so many women here have. I see the responsibilities of both roles in marriage, being married for 18 years. In a nutshell, no matter what our role is perceived to be, when we suddenly change it is a red flag. The kind where the other should take note and adjust to compensate. Wouldn't it be nice if it were that simple? It isn't. My DW is an amazing spouse, but the F-word was very hard for her to swallow. It still is after several years.

Pain is the single hardest thing to convey to others, I feel. We all have a different threshold, tolerance, and processing of pain signals. We cannot see or feel each others.

Talk, as much as you can, calmly, before anyone gets angry. It is not easy, but we have to try.

dollbug replied to mnjeepguy's response:
Hello are so right. Lack of communication, training and interpretation is what the entire country is about. Notice I said *LACK OF*.....sometimes, I think these are *needs* that actually everyone takes for granted. Just think about it. A lot of times everything is ok as long as there are NO PROBLEMS. When the problems happen though, then it seems like no one knows how to *FIX THEM*.

I am sure there are so many other ways that everything could be improved but as long as something works, why do anything about it?

Things should always be addressed as soon as they become an issue. But we seem to wait until things get out of hand.

Communication makes a BIG issue become a small issue if and when it is addressed and sorted out. We should all address things as soon as we see them or know that they exist. I guess it is the *unknown* that many of us are afraid of. But we can not solve anything without addressing it. Sometimes, I think people think that *it will just go away, if we do not address what is going on*. I think we all know though that sometimes, probably most of the time, things just continue to get worse.

This is the way of life for so many things in today's world.

Thanks for sharing.



kel2255 responded:
Thank you everyone. Well, I guess I'm done talking because he says he just isn't that kind of guy......he doesn't like to talk. How can anyone have a relationship if you don't "talk"? He's left me with no other choice..this has been going on for years. I do pace myself and I do have the kids help out on the smaller things.
Gentle hugs to you all.
missist replied to kel2255's response:
Hi Kel...
Some thoughts.

First I'm sorry it is so uneven for you. Do you guys both work full time? I was surprised when I was working that hubby for I think the first time in our marriage was helping a little with the 'women's work'. Of course then my thing was-- he doesn't do it the way I do. LOL.

Its hard yes. I don't think it is unusual though.

What you need to do is look at it all and consider-- all things considered-- you're going to make the marriage work? yes/no.

If yes-- you put up with things and you start to take more note of what he DOES do--cuz there probably is something. Mine does all the car work and all the repairs-maybe not as quick as I might like--but he does them. No way I could.

As you get older, if your fibro or other issues tend to get worse- you're likely going to retire earlier than he is. So there is something right there you will find yourself grateful for--I am--I'm so glad he works cuz I'm toast.

They say this isn't progressive, but it does get a lot harder to deal with a chronic illness as you age.

Kids can help too-- which really is important they need to learn how.


Remember too the children are growing up in a 2 parent home--and if it is not ideal-it is much like almost any marriage --there are always problems in marriage. I mentioned some of my own misery earlier this week.

A 2 parent home is a HUGE plus for kids.

Other than that-if you choose to stay you will need to learn to accept things as they are. That's a hard truth and I cannot give you a 3 step how to fix your hubby or anyone else, booklet.

What we can do is fix ourselves--and that in itself is nearly impossible. I go through times when I feel just really frustrated and sad about things and I did vent about that in a long thread of posts earlier last week. But I find I usually get over it and begin to realize how much better things are than I was realizing.

I think we all have a wrong idea of life cuz we think its gonna be fair, or that marriage is 50/50 etc.. and it really is not that way. I'm 55, after 32 yrs of marriage I can tell you its just not a perfect arrangement for ANYone. I'm serious-- I can't tell you how many women I knew who had perfect hubbies that cheated on them. LOL. Always remembered gifts, good looking, etc..

Its always something.

Will pray for you though,
God Bless,
booch007 replied to kel2255's response:
Good morning Kel,

You said something that rang out to me. "His father wasn't around much......" There is the imprinter there. I will say that if the spouse had a good home with sharing of the chores or support to the unit as a whole, it make this so much better.

But as Cory so wisely* shared. This is not simple. We as humans are made to forget pain. it is inate in the brains function. If we remebered how labor REALLY was there would be only one child per person!!

So in saying that no one can really be empathetic and feel your pain. Evem between us we are different. Right now I am in a 8-9 level of pain. Hoping tomorrow I win against this and I will forget the actual sensations I am dealing with, yes I will remember this weekend was tough and I had pain here and here...but the quality of it is gone from my head. "On purpose".

The best move I made was bring my DH to see the neurologist I visit. It was life changing for us. Before that Iwas made fun of, not helped and cried in the shower quite a bit.

I am my own worst enemy though I am the DOER here, always I keep doing. Now I do it because I have a need to prove to myself I am able to do it. BUT put me in a I HAVE TO DO IT, not I WANT TO DO IT...and it is all different, I get bad feelings to the DH and the family.

So, attitude on my part played a role in what happened here. I have a cleaning helper. Have had someone for 10 years now. THIS was the best thing I ever did, yet when they first came I sat and cried......she put her arm around me and said "why are you crying? People love me to come and help..." I said it is because I NEED you to help not WANT you to help. It is admitting that I cannot do it anymore......

Perspective is everything. maybe you can change your approach to him. be grateful (dripping grateful...when he helps) We are so often looked at as lazy. They don't know. It is just what they see. With having a good day and doing some things and then not. It is confusing. Hell, I get confused myself with this body..........

Maybe showing him some of these responses. That we all have had to deal with our spouse to GET IT*. And then there are those who are still working at it.

I work full time and my DH mostly cooks our dinner, or the meat part and then I do veggies and set the table. He cleans up and does dishes often, but if i am in a good place I will take it.

I have a tolerant husband. BUT he knows that if he was in this boat, I would be there for him. He has heart disease and I have fixed him more than once. It is just we have an invisable problem and so hard to understand. Do you have books on this?
I love "FM and Cronic Myofascial Pain", a survival manual by Dr Devin Starlanyl. The first book is a great start. I got mine on Amazon.

I had him read parts of it, or if the info clicked I read it out loud to say "ah ha" that is why I have this.....

Well, I am rambling on and on. I wish you all the best. This is number one in the fight to be better..leading the right doctor and the right meds.....

Take care, Nancy B
Anon_10089 replied to booch007's response:
I think FM is a great magnifier. I'm pretty sure all the issues my husband and I have dealt with would have been there even without the FM but they have come out earlier, bigger, and stronger because of it.

I had my occasional/semi-frequent migraines turn chronic this past year. I had a migraine 3-7 days per week. I also had a family member die. I had this idea that finally, my condition would be bad enough that my husband would have to take care of me, at least a little. I was in a very bad place, physically and emotionally.

Well, he didn't do what I wanted or expected. Most especially, he isn't often able to be emotionally supportive. I'll spare the story of my roller coaster of emotions and the reasons why those things came up, but then it came down to me having to change my point of view.

I had to come to the following: My husband, first, has his own chronic health issues. A day of work is hard for him, too. He doesn't have much leftover. He makes enough money so that I don't have to work, or work very much (I am eternally grateful for that) and he has a job with insurance benefits. While he may not come home and cook or clean, he also doesn't expect the house to be clean or for me to cook. He was always willing to drive thru or pick food up. So while he wasn't picking up the slack, he also wasn't pressuring me to do things I couldn't. That is priceless for me. I still often wish he could do more, or at least be more supportive emotionally, but I'm constantly reminding myself of the the good and trying to accept what is not going to change.

The bottom line for me is that I'd rather have him and our marriage the way it is, than not at all. And men are terrible, in general, at dealing with sickness and caretaking (not all men , I know). It's laughable the difference in what we do for each other even when we just have bad colds!

I think many men also get better at this stuff with age. My grandfather, because of his generation, is a very traditional man, and he cooked and cleaned for many years in his 70's and 80's. Even when I knew him when I was little and he was still working I never would have imagined that!

I'm rambling too and I didn't mean for this to come off as preachy. It is just my own experience. I also do not have children to take care of and that does complicate things. Marriage is so fluid and just when I think I have mine figured out, I get thrown for a loop again!

missist replied to Anon_10089's response:
JR-- my mom used to make my room all nice and tuck me in when I was sick. Sometimes I wonder if this is all psycho somatic and Im just wishing somebody would do that again. LOL. Boy--if it is-- 30 years with a combo of crazy illnesses and NOBODY has ever done that.. seems like beating a dead horse eh?

However I can say.. at times due to mustness-- Hubby has cleaned up a bit of vomit and brought me a bowl or grabbed a burger for me. He also pays the bills around here and they can be quite hefty.

Anon_10089 replied to missist's response:


Does anyone take care of us like our mothers? Thankfully, in our almost 10 years of marriage I have never been extremely sick. My husband is the queasy type. I really don't think he could handle vomit or any amount of blood. If I ever have surgery or any serious illness, requiring something like help to the bathroom, I'll have to call my mom, or even his mom! I love your theory, though!!

abused_____telsum1 replied to harleytaz22's response:
Debbie.....wise words!

Kel I think marraiage counseling is needed. Maybe ask your doctor to talk with you both. You can try to talk to your husband first.

God bless you and your family!
kel2255 responded:
Thank you all. Mary, your husband may take care of you, mine does not. I do not work full time because the fibro IS PROGRESSIVE!!! In my late 20's, dr said I have FM, I said he was nuts because I didn't really hurt. Just had headaches real bad. Now, I can't do many of the things I used to. I can't work due to my energy level. I have to pace myself with the housework. Some days, nothing gets done. Mary, my husband comes home, looks to see if I made supper and sits on his butt watching tv. That's what he does best. I don't feel like we are even a family. we are just co existing. I have tried to talk to him so many times! He doesn't even do anything with the house on the outside or if something needs fixed! I have to call my step dad. I have some more I want to say to the others who replied, but gonna have to stop for now. Thanks for the advice. It's nice to know someone cares.
Anon_10089 responded:

Your last post gave more insight on what you're dealing with. I understand more now about your fears because it sounds like there are some fundamental issues. And you purely can't talk to someone who isn't willing to communicate!

I feel like my post was a little off base now, so I apologize if it was. I think I often start off trying to give "advice" and end more more in self introspection, anyway! It's difficult to give good advice anyway without knowing the ins and outs of someone's situation.

I guess sometimes there is not a clear cut answer and maybe the only thing we can do is offer emotional support and a listening ear. Sorry for what you're dealing with and I hope you can find some support here.


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