If you are in a successful, long-lasting relationship, you recognize that it requires commitment, compromise, and sacrifice. The happiest relationships are the ones where both parties selflessly take care of each other. This balance shifts, however, if the person you love encounters a serious health concern. And this shift into the role of care provider can have a devastating effect on the dynamics of your relationship if you’re not careful.
Naturally, you want to do whatever you can to help when caring for a spouse. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure you’re not losing your romantic connection along the way. Trying to parent your spouse can cause resentment – for both of you. To keep healthy boundaries, keep the following at heart:
- Enable your partner to remain as independent as possible. While you undoubtedly have the best of intentions in wanting to help, it is easy to cross the line into more of a parenting role, which can damage a person’s self-esteem. Plan extra time, incorporate adaptive tools, and step back whenever you can to permit him/her to do whatever they can on their own.
- Convey your love for your partner in ways that have nothing in connection with the care you are providing. Write love letters, provide small, thoughtful gifts, tell the person just how much you admire specific qualities in them.
- Have an open, honest conversation about how the health changes are affecting you. Brainstorm approaches to find a new normal that will be fulfilling for each of you, and realign new, attainable goals and dreams together.
- Be deliberate in creating opportunities to focus on your relationship apart from the injury or illness. Continue to participate in the activities and conversations you enjoyed together before the health issue arose, adapting along the way if needed.
If all of this seems easier said than done, there are some specific steps you can take to make sure you’re maintaining appropriate boundaries in your role as caregiver for your partner:
- Place some favorite memorabilia or photos from prior vacations you’ve taken together in areas where you’ll see them frequently, to remind each of you of the happy times you’ve shared together.
- Offer hugs, hold hands, give a back rub or shoulder massage, etc. to stay in close physical contact apart from touch that is a required component of care.
- Keep an active social network, both as a couple and individually. The activities you participate in with relatives and friends may need to be modified, but should never be eliminated altogether.
- Focus on resolving any conflicts in a healthy way, bringing in a professional counselor for help if required.
An at-home caregiver is a perfect solution to make sure your partner has all the help and support needed, enabling you to focus on spending quality time together as a couple. Contact the care professionals at Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our respite care in Clearwater and the surrounding areas.