Relationships vs Singledom

Hands up who has a chronic illness and has spent more hours than they care to admit worrying about their partner or being able to find one? I see lots of hands in the air, including mine.

Like good vs evil or batman vs superman, we are all left pondering the battle of relationships vs singledom. I speak to countless women who are worried about how their illness affects their partner and their emails ooze sadness and worry.

Relationships are hard at the best of times without throwing chronic illness amongst the hormones, arguments and bed hogging. Instead of concentrating on ourselves, we constantly worry about how our illness affects our partner. There’s the guilt of changing their life, not having a regular sex life and the thought they would be better off with someone healthy. All self confidence flies out the window and no matter what our partner says, there’s always the nagging doubt he’s secretly looking for a one way ticket out of the madness.

Compare that to someone who is single and your mind is consumed with thoughts of living alone in a cattery because no one in their right mind would take you on. You don’t have the guilt of changing someone else’s life but you live with the thought that the only thing you’ll ever share your bed with again is a hot water bottle.

So what’s easier, being in a relationship or being single? I’ve had a taster of both but still don’t have the answer.

Before I was diagnosed with ICI played out countless conversations in my head telling him to leave because I couldn’t bear to put him through dealing with my broken bladder. Now, I play out countless conversations explaining my tale of woe and it always ends with dust in my face as they sprint in the opposite direction.

One thing I do know is whether you’re in a relationship or single, you need to have one thing…faith.

Faith that your partner loves you and wants to be with you. Would you leave them if they had a chronic illness? I’ll take a wild guess at ‘hell no’. So stop worrying about coming home to empty wardrobes and put that energy into healing yourself.


Faith that someone will fall in love with you regardless of your illness because you are pretty fucking awesome. There’s much more to you than medication, pain and heat packs. The right person will see through all of those accessories and won’t think twice about being by your side through the hospital appointments and sleepless nights.

A relationship with chronic illness third wheeling isn’t conventional and Disney haven’t made their millions writing about it BUT love isn’t a fairytale.

It’s not easy to stop worrying, in fact it would probably be easier to win the lottery but imagine if you did, what you could fill that extra head space with? In my case, probably just thoughts on how I would spend all the money but that fantasy sure beats thinking about something I have no control over.

Emma x

6 thoughts on “Relationships vs Singledom

  1. Lynn Burns RPHN says:

    Great post. It is true that we sufferers can worry (I am married and was diagnosed after our second child was about 3 after about a year or so trying to get to the bottom of it) and especially so when the whole thing is getting you down or you have had a bad run of sleepless nights or through those periods where life is quite mundane and you may have not been so great with each other. As you say, relationships are a bit of a rollercoaster without the ‘broken bladder’ adding to it all.

    And when you get the diagnosis when you are in a relationship – it is a shared diagnosis, your partner has to readjust to the effects of the condition on their life and that is challenging journey for them too – different but still hard. As the sufferer you can’t help thinking ‘they can walk away from this so why don’t they – I wish I could walk away’, even though if the boot was on the other foot you wouldn’t walk away from them.

    But overall if the relationship is working then the illness isn’t going to break it, in fact some ways it can make it stronger. The support I have had and the reminding that I am dealing with this thing pretty well, the hugs on the down days, the patience and understanding, the planning the journeys we take so that there is no added pressure because we have to keep stopping. The list goes on. That reassurance that you are dealing with it well when you forget how to can be such a great addition to keeping positive.

    Being open and honest about your condition with people you meet and the people that you are close to is really important – without letting it become you – is important. I find this condition lonely sometimes because no-one can feel what I feel, no one can really experience the pain or the inconvenience. They only witness glimpses of it, even people really close to you can’t get inside your head. At least people can support you when you say this thing will be awkward for me. By being up front is so helpful even though it can be embarrassing but I find it takes the stress off and it can help the symptoms to be less. If you give me a lift you need to know that I may need to stop lots, if we watch a movie together do you mind if we have to pause it loads while I nip of to the loo, can we plan the walk a place where it is easy to hide behind a bush or where there are lots of toilets….. when new people get to know you they get to know from the word go that you are special!

    Sometimes you make stronger friends quicker because of the way they are unphased by the oddness that is you with the broken bladder. Those that can’t cope with who you are with the bladder then will never become close.

    It is only natural to worry about these things. But as said earlier, people who can’t cope aren’t going to be positive people to have around you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • brokenbladder says:

      I totally agree with what you say about not letting your illness become you. IC is a massive part of my life but there is so much to me besides that!

      It is hard dealing with something that most people cannot comprehend but as you say, if they can’t cope with the illness, we don’t need them around!

      Hope you’re keeping well x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. writerkatgn says:

    This is an excellent post. You’re right, faith is so important! I know I regularly fall into the trap of thinking that my husband would be better off without me and trying to push him away because of it. I know he hates it, so I’m trying very hard to remember to rely on my faith that he loves he, he chose me, and I am enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    • brokenbladder says:

      That’s exactly it! He’s not pushing you away so you have to accept the love he is offering and remember that he is with you because he loves you and wants to be with you. He sounds like a great husband to have 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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