Living with Chronic Pain
8 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Love Life With Chronic Pain
Source: Healthline, Practical Pain Management, WebMD, National Center for Biotechnology Information: U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health, Everyday Health
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Chronic pain can negatively affect various aspects of life, including romantic relationships. For individuals with chronic pain, sexual intimacy can be a challenge. They may worry that sexual intercourse will worsen pain. Because intimacy is an important part of romantic relationships, lack of sexual intimacy can weaken the partnership.
Either the pain itself or medicine side effects used to treat the pain may inhibit or reduce libido, arousal, or orgasm. Although chronic pain can impact intimate relationships, several steps can help ensure that the effects are minimal.
Good communication is imperative for all relationships. This is especially true if a partner has a chronic pain condition. Failing to communicate openly and honestly leaves one person trying to guess about emotions, feelings, and intimacy preferences. The needs of both partners should be clearly communicated. Since intimacy is significant in successful relationships, communicating about fears, emotions and desires can help ease the stress of remaining intimate with chronic pain.
Laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter is contagious, which means that either partner can be the catalyst to start the other laughing. Not only does laughter bring partners closer, it is also a great coping mechanism when chronic pain is present. Laughing also increases the “feel good” endorphins in the brain.
Similar to laughing, smiling creates a release of tension. When sincere, smiling at someone tends to lower the heart rate of both the person smiling and the recipient of the smile. Smiling can also be flirtatious and bring couples closer together.
- Watch movies
Snuggling up with a blanket and partner to watch a movie can bring comfort. Comedies are a good option to increase laughter. A stay-at-home date night increases intimacy. Movies can bring calmness, which can turn negative thoughts into enjoyable ones.
- Take excursions
Getting out and exploring together brings couples closer. Let the new scenes, smells and sounds be a reprieve from the monotony of discomfort. Short or long trips are renowned for building intimacy and improving relationships.
- Intimately explore
Romantic moments that last a lifetime are often from a slow dance, snuggling in front of an open fire, or watching the sunset. Enjoy the moments that foster affection without expectations of intimacy. Sharing the experience together brings couples closer, both physically and mentally.
- Create emotion
Build emotional charges with games designed for couples, which do not necessarily lead to intercourse. This creates a deeper emotional bond. Allowing emotions to be true and expressed also gives both partners clarity, understanding and confidence.
- Take action
Actions truly do speak louder than words, especially in a strained relationship. Make mental notes about the partner’s preferences and desires, regardless of how trivial they may seem. It is uplifting for a person to feel that their intimacy preferences are noted by their partner.