Did RA Fatigue Kill My Relationship?

Last updated: January 2016

Fatigue is one of the most difficult RA symptoms to treat, and over the last year and a half, it has been my most pernicious symptom in dealing with my RA.

It was also one of my now ex-boyfriend’s chief complaints.

He was annoyed that we couldn’t be more social because of my fatigue.  I encouraged him to do what he wanted and told him that he could attend things without me, if he really wanted to go and I wasn’t feeling up to it.  I didn’t try and hold him back from being social because I couldn’t be all the time, but I know my body well enough to know the things that will just totally zap my energy and aren’t worth the effort.

He was also annoyed because our sex life suffered because of my fatigue.  And I’ll be the first to admit that it did.  But when I was so tired that you could poke me with a stick and I couldn’t even be roused, that’s not the most conducive time to try and get frisky.  I don’t think that would have been good for either of us.

It seemed like it would come in spurts.  We’d go two or three weeks without having sex, and then as soon as I would seem to get enough energy back, I would get my period, which in my relationship was off limits for sex.

We never went more than a few weeks without having sex, and while I know for some people that is unacceptable, it could have been worse.  Plus, we both knew that it wasn’t for lack of want or desire, but was simply an unfortunate reality for us while my fatigue was really an issue.

I understand that it can be frustrating to deal with someone who has limitations due to their health.  I understand that in a relationship, you want a partner in life who you can do things with.  But there’s a big difference between simply not rising to the occasion, and not being physically able to do so.

In reality, I know that it wasn’t just the fatigue that led to the demise of my three and a half year long relationship.

But I think that it is every chronically ill person’s worst fear to think that their illness or illnesses could be a factor or the factor that ends a relationship, especially a long-standing one.

So in the back of my mind, there is this nagging worry that my illnesses could kill future relationships.  And that scares me because there is nothing I want more than to fall in love, get married, and have a family.

I know that it takes a certain kind of person to walk through the illness journey with us.  It’s not for everyone.  But it’s sad to think that something I really have no control over is what contributed to the end of my relationship.  It means that the relationship probably couldn’t have been saved and probably ultimately never would have worked out because my illnesses aren’t going anywhere, and while I wanted to be optimistic that my fatigue would improve, I couldn’t provide that assurance to myself or anyone else.

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