What Your Partner Wishes You Knew:
How much they still desire you yet they don’t want to put an additional burden on you. It makes them feel selfish to ask for physical affection. How unfair they think it is that this has happened to you both. Sometimes they can’t sleep because they’re so worried about losing you.
What exactly are they grieving since you’re still here? They’re grieving the loss of the future you had planned together. Neither of you had anticipated illness. They also feel helpless because they can’t ease your pain.
They don’t initiate sex as much. They are watching you for clues: are you hurting? Would you feel pressured if they ask to be intimate? Is this part of your connection something else you will both lose?
What You Wish Your Partner Knew:
How you feel like your body is no longer your own. That if they looked too closely at you, they’d see how broken you feel, how raw and not like yourself anymore. You’ve lost that sense of hope for the future and feel like a burden. That maybe you should encourage them to find someone else, someone who has more energy, who is not sick and would be able to meet their sexual needs. How do you cultivate desire when you feel like you’re going to break any second? Or that death feels like it is far closer than you would have ever imagined? Your body can’t relax enough to want to be intimate.
How can they expect you to relax in your body when it has betrayed you? You feel defeated and isolated in your experience. You also get irritable at how hard they try to reach you but could never understand what you’re going through exactly. You sometimes wish that they would leave already so that you could be sick by yourself. You’re a little ashamed of these thoughts and of your anger at the unfairness of it all. You’re irritable and feel undesirable. How can they find you attractive when you can’t tolerate being in your own skin?
How I Can Help:
I can hold space for you and your partner as you cry together and hold each other, witness how you express fear. I would encourage you to grieve together, for the loss of the certainty that you would grow old together a certain way. I can help you to share the fears that weigh on your heart the most. I can help you get closer to accepting your new normal and not define yourself as your illness. I can also help you and your partner get closer and relearn what feels good to your changed body with less shame and more acceptance. I can also help you learn how to expand your definition of intimacy and sex with tips, techniques, and lots of homework!
I’m here to support you. Reach out today.