Robby: How do you talk about how your relationships might change as MS progresses?
Dr Rachel Davies, Counselling Psychologist: Well, I think what, again, go back to what we just said, everybody’s different and every couple will be different, but I think that what we notice when we work with people is sometimes they’re both thinking about the future but they’re not necessarily talking to each other. So the person with MS is kind of wanting to speak but is nervous, and the partner is wanting to speak but is nervous, and you both get into this thing where you try to protect each other by not speaking about it. And then what we sometimes see is when one of you’s brave enough to speak about it, it’s like the floodgates open and you both can talk about what’s been inside you, together, and that’s a huge relief for people. So I would say, again – I’m saying the same thing as I said before really – I would say, try to talk to each other, but don’t talk about it all day. I mean we’ve just been talking now off camera about how tiring things can be, talking. So don’t talk for three hours, have a little 15 minute conversation about it, and then do something else.
Robby: Sure. Bringing up a health condition is such a major thing. I mean it’s not something you can discuss down the pub. So I mean it’s a really serious part of your relationship, so how could you make it more of a… not make it so much of an issue?
Dr Rachel Davies: Well, I suppose I would say that it is a serious thing and therefore in a way it is an issue, you don’t want to have this conversation late at night when you’re both tired, you know, when you’ve only got five minutes, or when the children are around, or whenever. You want to have the conversation at the right time. So I think you do make a bit of an issue of it by saying, you know, there is something I want to talk about, you know, can we go out for coffee on Saturday morning and have a conversation. You might want to think about doing it in a quiet café rather than at home, you might want to think about where the venue is, when the time is, when is a good time for me, when is a good time for my partner.
MS Reporter: Robby
Expert: Dr Rachel Davies is a counsellor and Senior Practice Consultant at relationship support charity, Relate. Find out more about Relate’s services here: www.relate.org.uk.
– The timing of when you discuss this depends on your relationship
– The people involved will need to make a decision on what time is right
– Do talk but not all day everyday. Set time aside in an agreed location to talk about it
– Make sure the time and place is right for both people in the relationship.
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