PartnershipMonday, April 07, 2014
I don’t know about you, but when I got married 40 years ago I thought love would conquer all. Of course there would be ups and downs but l...
I don’t know about you, but when I got married 40 years ago I thought love would conquer all. Of course there would be ups and downs but love would prevail and there was nothing we wouldn’t be able to solve by talking it out. 40 years later, I’m still married, just not so naive.
Whether you have been in a relationship for years or months, you soon learn that there has to be a lot of give and take. Communication is vital, but sometimes you can talk a problem to death and still not come up with a solution. That’s part of what one of the “cartoons” on the WED Facebook page is about.
Talk to 50 people with WED and you will get 50 different descriptions of what it feels like. And of those 50 descriptions, none will actually describe what we truly feel. It is frustrating to try and explain what we feel, both physically and mentally. In turn, it is truly hard for our partners to even begin to feel like they understand. They may be sympathetic. They may be supportive. They may want to help in any way they can. Then again, they may not. They may be anywhere in-between.
The first panel of the “cartoon” shows a person sitting in bed trying to rub the WED feelings away. Her partner sleeps on. I am fortunate; my husband could sleep through a tornado siren. My good friend and her husband haven’t slept together in years. I have visited with people who can and can’t, do and don’t, sleep together. Some of the latter even feel guilty about not sleeping together. Why? Sleeping in the same bed does not guarantee a good marriage! But either way, when those symptoms strike, you often feel lonely.
The second panel shows the way we typically fight WED--walking. And walking. And trying to find something that will enable us to sleep. This panel also shows the partner peeking around a corner to see what is going on. Maybe this happens, maybe it doesn’t. But partners often worry about us more than we realize. WED is a part of our lives which makes it part of theirs. How they deal with is can make or break a relationship. How WE deal with it often determines how they perceive it. It’s back to that communication issue.
The last panel is truly done tongue-in-cheek. I doubt that there are many partners who willingly get up to walk with us in the middle of the night. If your partner does (at least once in awhile), then I hope you tell them how wonderful that is. If your partner doesn’t, don’t feel like you are being slighted. That’s a lot to ask and probably isn’t very realistic. Of course, you can show them the “cartoon” as a hint, especially if the communication lines are down. Maybe it will start a conversation.
40 years has taught me this much. If you feel alone in this struggle with WED, if you feel overwhelmed with the symptoms, or the fatigue or any other problem, reach out. The worst thing we can do is to be stoic about this. Thinking and acting like you can handle this alone, without any help or understanding from your partner, not only makes your life harder but it also steals away the chance of your partnership becoming stronger. There is no such thing as a 50/50 partnership. Some of your best days may be more 95/5. No matter which side of the WED situation you are on, trust your partner. Listen to each other. If talking isn’t helping, just be there for each other. A touch or a hug during bad times can often speak louder than words.
And even though it is hard to remember sometimes--you are not alone.