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Intimacy, Marriage and Chronic Illness

February 19, 2018

Living with a chronic illness can make you feel uncomfortable with yourself, your body, and even those you are closest with. Chronic illness has been said to interfere with one’s desire to be intimate and close with spouses, or even begin romantic relationships.

When you are in pain or experiencing flare-ups, the last thing on your mind is going to be feeling sexual. It is also hard to devote attention and time to your partner and spouse when you must care for yourself both physically and mentally. For this reason, several people have said their relationships and marriages fail due to their chronic illness. There are some ways in which one can work around these problems and create intimacy with their romantic partners.

Quality time

Make time throughout your day to spend even just little moments with your partner or spouse. Whether it is taking a walk, sharing a meal or even just watching a movie together and relaxing, these activities add up and allow for you to connect, talk and devote your attention to one another.


While you may not always want the touch of someone else when you are in pain, cuddling and the physical touch of your partner or spouse can be extremely comforting. Holding your loved one close and just hugging for some time can make both of you feel better, closer and important to one another.

Be open and honest

Express any concerns or fears you have in your relationship as they come along, especially if they coincide with your chronic illness. This can help improve your relationship and help your significant other understand what you are going through. You should also express ways in which they can help you get through certain hardships you may be facing. Realistically discuss the levels of care you need, or may need in the future, as it is only fair to be honest in discussing the future of your chronic illness.

Be open about your feelings too—confess your love if that is what you are feeling and let your spouse or partner know how much you appreciate them as well as their patience and attention.

Maintain a friendship

Allow your relationship to be a friendship instead of thinking it should be strictly romantic. Have fun, be goofy and don’t let the pressure of feeling you have to be romantic and intimate all the time get in the way of a maintained friendly relationship.