The bloating, exhaustion, and physical pain associated with uterine fibroids can affect your daily routine. But it’s important to remember that fibroids may also have a major emotional impact, and can even affect your relationship with your significant other.
Unfortunately, many women with fibroids feel that their partner doesn’t understand how to best help them when they’re struggling to deal with their fibroids. This situation can lead to emotional distance or tension between women living with fibroids and their partners.
The good news is that communicating with your loved one about your condition can help prevent conflict and leave both of you feeling understood and happier. Here are tips for ensuring your uterine fibroids don’t disrupt your relationship, and advice on how you can teach your partner about the best ways for them to support you.
Uterine fibroids and relationship challenges: Is there a connection?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Studies have found that women with uterine fibroids have a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety, which can in turn affect your romantic relationships.
If you’re feeling sad or worried, this will likely have an impact on your partner. Feeling down could also mean that you avoid going out, socializing, or engaging in the same activities that you did before your diagnosis, which might lead to your partner feeling isolated or frozen out.
Uterine fibroids are also linked to pain during sex. Because of this, women with fibroids may decline to engage in physical intimacy. This could cause their partners to feel rejected or frustrated if they’re unsure of the reason why the woman is avoiding intercourse.
The truth is that the emotional and physical issues created by uterine fibroids do have the potential to cause strain in your relationship. But you can take active steps to help mitigate these challenges and strengthen your bond with your partner.
Educating your partner about uterine fibroids and your needs
Communicating with your significant other about fibroids is important for preventing misunderstanding and ensuring that they can understand what you’re experiencing.
You may want to consider giving your partners a “Fibroids 101 ” talk, explaining to them exactly what the condition means for you and how it affects both your physical and mental health.
Pick the right time and place for the conversation, when both you and your partner can be fully present. Don’t assume that your partner already understands the basics of uterine fibroids — start small, with basic concepts. Explain what fibroids are, where they are located in the body, and how they physically impact you.
Let your partner know it’s okay for for you if they ask questions. There’s no need to delve into an advanced explanation regarding the biology or science behind the condition. Instead, focus on expressing how uterine fibroids affect how you feel and what you’re physically able to do.
Telling your partner what you need when you’re struggling with fibroid pain is critical. Explain what practical support you’d like during these times, such as them accompanying you to doctors’ appointments, helping more around the house, or assisting in your pain relief efforts.
Patience and open communication is key
Encourage open communication and non-judgement, and always assume the best about your partner when you’re talking about fibroids. Give them the benefit of the doubt and operate from a place of curiosity and understanding. If your partner makes an ill-informed comment about your condition, you can gently correct them, rather than assuming they’re intentionally trying to hurt you.
You can also offer a compassionate ear as your partner expresses themselves and relays their experiences about what they’re going through. It may be difficult for them to see you in pain that they’re unable to take away, and they could be feeling saddened if there’s been a lack of engagement in the physical side of the relationship from your end.
Moving forward, together
With open communication, honesty, and patience from both partners, you can overcome the relationship challenges posed by uterine fibroids. While it may be tempting to withdraw into yourself and avoid speaking about what you’re going through, that behavior can end up distancing you from your partner and creating misunderstandings.
Embrace speaking openly about your condition with your loved one, and set a standard for your relationship that sees both of you sharing how you’re feeling on a regular basis. Uterine fibroids don’t have to be a problem for your relationship — they can be an opportunity to teach each other about what you need in order to feel supported and loved.