It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “What the point of a relationship? Who would want to be with me? Ah, I can’t be bothered- I’m such a burden.” Many people deliberately try and distance themselves from loved ones or potential partners because what if it doesn’t work out? Is there any point in starting something if you believe you’ll probably disappoint the person later? How can I be in a relationship if I can’t even leave the house to go on a date?
We need to switch our thinking around. You are separate from your illness, and you need to remember this true ‘you’, this separate part of yourself that is worthy of love and belonging. Although you might believe that CFS will completely disrupt any chance you have at a relationship, this will only be the case if you let it be that way.
We don’t have the right to dictate how someone sees us. If they like us, they like us and there’s not a darn thing we can do about it. How we chose to react to this is what’s important.
Single with CFS
If you’re single, don’t write yourself off. Don’t believe that you’re going to be like this forever. Ask friends and family to help you, and stop hiding yourself away. If you’re completely happy being your fantastic self, rock it.
(Reread the paragraph on ‘Worthiness’- rinse and repeat again.)
In a Relationship with CFS
If you’re currently in a relationship or married, you might be wondering exactly the same questions. You might deliberately be trying to sabotage your relationship to distance yourself from your partner. It’s kinder that way, right? However, the only person you end up alienating is yourself.
Relationships can be an incredible source of relief, fun ( hat’s right, I said the ‘f’ word!) and comfort when we’re not feeling so great, but we often tell ourselves that we feel horrible and disgusting, so this is probably what we think we are to others. When somebody tells you that you’re gorgeous or reminds you of that ‘spark’, believe them. They know their emotions better than you and they know what they like. Don’t push them away because you believe you’re right and you know yourself better than anyone else. Stand back a little bit…
Sex and CFS
There are ways to enjoy yourself without forcing yourself into crazy, swinging from the chandelier positions. Sex might even help you to feel good about yourself- it gets those endorphins flowing and you tend to focus on something other than feeling horrendous. You might think that you don’t look especially sexy or you feel guilty for enjoying yourself when you’re so sick (something which I often told myself), but why not?! Sex can often make you feel energy you didn’t know you had- it helps you to rediscover that spark in you that you thought you’d lost.
Having a partner who respects your wishes if you don’t feel like ‘getting jiggy with it’ is also part of it too, because there will be times it’ll be too much for you. Remind your partner that reserving your energy will make it all the more pleasurable next time.
(For more on making sex a pleasure rather than something your dread talking about with your parter, please visit beautiful Susana Frioni’s website. Astounding.)
The Golden Rules
- I cannot expect another person to like and/or love me unless I’m willing to contemplate liking and/or loving myself.
- Asking for help is all part of it. Don’t deny them the pleasure of helping you- be receptive.
- What works for one person might not work for you- as with everything, different strokes for different folks.
- You need to separate yourself from your illness (as an ongoing practice, not just in relationships).
- Remember that it’s not all about you. It’s incredibly frustrating for our families too, and sometimes we just need to give them a break. Unless you’ve had CFS yourself, you can empathise, but you can’t totally understand.
- You are allowed to feel all loved up, fabulous and sexy when you’re sick. There’s nothing wrong with it and it could even make you feel a little better. Nobody’s going to call you up on enjoying yourself.
- Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’d love to get a conversation going on this. Please feel free to share your comments below- let someone else know they’re not alone.
Love and more love,