A chronic disease like rheumatoid arthritis can bring marital stress, if you let it. Learn about some common challenges and how to deal with them.
The stress of living with rheumatoid arthritis can take its toll on all aspects of life — including marriage and partnerships. But while the reported divorce rate is high for unions affected by RA, studies also show that having a good marriage can improve the quality of life and even reduce pain for people with this condition. That’s no surprise for Stephanie and Waide Yokom of Wichita, Kan., who have kept their relationship going strong while dealing with Stephanie’s rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. Here they share what’s worked for them.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Relationship Challenges
While the challenges of the person living with the disease may be obvious, partners without rheumatoid arthritis face obstacles, too.
- When your partner is in pain. “It is difficult to watch her, with all the pain and the frustration that she goes through,” Waide says.
- When rheumatoid arthritis slows your partner down. “Initially I was frustrated for her,” Waide says. “Stephanie is so full of life, and wants to get things done. And this changed all that. She can’t seem to get as much done.”
- Shifting household responsibilities. Rheumatoid arthritis often puts limits on what you can and can’t do and this unfortunately means more work for your partner. “There are just some days where he has to be dad and mom for our kids because I am just too tired to deal with any of it,” Stephanie says.