malcolmr 19/10/14
Last reply 3 years ago
MS, Divorce and loneliness

Hi, I am new to this site and have come looking for support. I was diagnosed in 2006, my life continued fairly much as before until the end of 2011. By this point I was having great difficulty working, for a number of reasons. I decided to take a break from my work efforts and moved out of my office (self-employed) and retreated home. This, it seems apparent now, was the beginning of the end for my then wife, and she started the divorce process in 2013. We are now divorced, but the financial division is still unresolved after 18 months! There is not much money involved, but it has been fiercely contested.

I have remained in the family home and my 12 year old son lives with me half the time, which I manage fine. I do, though, feel very lonely and am not sure how this is going to improve. I can walk about my house fine, but outdoors am limited to about 50-100 m with some walking aid; I can manage, for example, to walk around my supermarket with a trolley. Since my walking became very limited I have tried wheelchair tennis (no good when my grip tires, after 15 minutes), snowboarding and I play bridge.

I am 49 years old and I realise that for most 50 year old people, life is made up of work and family, and if these 2 pillars are removed there is not actually much there, or so is my experience.


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3 years ago

@malcolmr , it takes a really strong relationship to survive the introduction of MS.

It sounds like you’re at a similar stage to how I was when I hit 50. I had been offered an early retirement package against a background of rationalisation. My wife, who I had asked to leave me on diagnosis but stuck with me, suggested that she wouldn’t be able to handle having me at home 24×7. And I can understand that.

Well, she went out and spent 2½ years at a local University qualifying to be a Nurse. She now works part time at our local hospital, has a work-related social circle and is now a more “complete” person. She has made me immensely proud, even though she finds it hard to nurse me if the need arises.

I consider myself lucky that our relationship has a resolute attitude.

It’s a shame that two adults cannot come to a reasonable resolution if the relationship should break irretrievably.

But, MS or not, it’s down to us to move on as best we can.

Given your MS circumstances, are you claiming the available DLA/PIP benefit to help you out? Do you drive?

It may be difficult, but we must make the effort to get out and get involved in some social interaction. You’ve tried or are engaged in some social activities, so you just need to continue in that vane.

Another relationship may be the furthest thing on your mind, but, in time, there’s no reason why not.

Are you involved in any local MS Support organisations? There’s the Sussex MS Treatment Centre just the other side of Brighton. Yes, it may seem to be full of wheelchairs, sticks and wobbly people, but it is a strangely happy and jovial environment, providing a range of complementary treatments and therapies.

You’ve taken one big step by joining us. Yes, we do understand, so hang around with us for as long as you fancy. Ask questions, answer questions or just have a rant and get things off your chest. That’s what we do…….

3 years ago

Dear @MalcomR
Well it looks like mid life crisis, plus MS, which is double shit I am afraid. I don’t normslly reply to posts that I have no personal experience of, as I am not sure I can help, but apart from our white knight stumbler, no one else has chipped in, so here is my three pennies worth which you are free to ignore, if it seems irrelevant .

We have to hang onto the good stuff; a son who you see very regularly sounds good to me. Being needed and loved is what actually matters and MS has not stopped that – hang on to it!
Marriages are really bloody hard and if it didn’t work out then don’t beat your self up. Working at home has alot of benefits – including going to the loo when you want to and picking your nose in complete comfort!
You are still young and still active, you never know what fate has in store for you, but you need to be out there in reality, or on line to find out what it is .
I’ll shut up, I hope it helps just a little bit . Big hugs.

3 years ago

Hi Malcom, It is certainly complicated isn’t it? My partner and I had a rough time a few months ago, I think we almost split up about 5 times. I was angry and felt like a failure, she was frustrated with my attitude and then I did not want to feel like someone had to take care of me, since I had been active most of my life. So it was hard. Well we are still together and she is learning more about how we deal with an illness. It was really hard. I think in your situation you would benefit from Stumbler’s reply. It really helps to be able to be understood and what better people to be around than those who are going through it. That is why I joined this group. I know that you will find peace with this, it will all be okay.

3 years ago

In my early thirties when I was newly divorced, a (married) friend said to me:’ We are all alone’. In other words, even if everyone around seems to have a rock-solid support system, actually we all have to face the big things on an individual basis. I understand this, but at the time it seemed as though I was in a parallel universe: me on my own and everyone else in a safe, cosy unit. And there are no short cuts to feeling OK again. However, it sort of helped realising that SO MANY people who are married really shouldn’t be because they’re miserable as hell. Also, meeting other singletons and seeing a) what interesting lives many people have and b) how happy they are in their own skin. I think you need a starting point, an interest, something that makes you smile. Bridge, evening classes possibly? You need to build connections that have nothing to do with your past life. And have you fully exploited ways to keep you mobile/improve your walking? Big hugs from a (now) very happy single person. xx

3 years ago

Hi Malc. There’s 2 sides to every story of course, but if she wanted this just because of the MS? Not good what happened to in sickness and in health. Some might say life’s a bitch, then you marry one. Lol. But that’s not always the case, TIME is a good healer, day by day, do nothing silly and it will get easier in TIME. Good luck.

3 years ago

Malcolm: sounds very much like mid life crisis.
First off you might want to ask the GP for referral to wheelchair services. When my walking became so limited it was exhausting to get round suoermarket, that was when I reached the point of I NEED HELP.
2nd, do you recieve any help with day to day stuff? consider asking for a referral to social services.

Little story. I’m in my 50’s, had MS for 20 years, divorced since 2004. Finally met a wonderful bloke online and we are very much a couple. He loves me for what I am now – never having known me BEFORE MS – and I ditto. We both have health issues, but together….we’ll manage.
We will need help and places like shift help you to know where to turn.
So chin up and face the world kiddo!

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