Love is patient, love is kind..
I have a confession to make. I was not in a loving marriage, nor one that was supportive in the realm of handling chronic illness. Rest assured, he grasped, to some degree, that I wasn’t feeling well, but 1) never came to terms with what SLE is and how it affects you 2) that it wasn’t something that could go away with “proper hydration” or just exercising more.
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I can’t tell you how many times I was told that “if you just drink more water,” “if you just exercised more,” everything would be okay. He went as far as to accuse me of doctor shopping for a diagnosis, using it to get out of social functions (when do I even turn down a good time when I’m feeling good?), and using the illness for attention, the latter of which I find rather sick and highly disturbed.
Another confession: I was not strong enough to leave him. He left me. He was “tired of babysitting me,” after he hurt my back and I was in too much pain to eat. I find it a little funny that, on the day he left and told me those words, he slept in till 12. I had been up at 8 to take care of the farm, clean the kitchen, and fix breakfast. Back busted and all.
So many people ask me, “Why in the world did you stay with him so long!?” Well, there are a couple of answers for that. None of which are very good reasons for staying in a destructive relationship, but they were mine, nonetheless:
1) I believe in the sanctity of marriage. Really, really, believe in it. And it’s really important to me.
2) We’ve known each other since 4th grade. The man who hurt me was not the man I married, nor the one I went to school with. It’s hard to give up on someone when you know what they were like before making such a drastic change.
3) I’m stubborn. I don’t like to give up on people, especially someone I’ve committed to never giving up on through marriage vows.
In many ways, it seems that the stress of being in a dangerous and unpredictable relationship exacerbated your lupus. I started getting sick when he was overseas, shortly after he started becoming very verbally abusive. And it was all downhill from there.
Today: Despite the hell that the last 3 years have been, I’m doing really well and am genuinely happy. I’ve known girls who have been through what I’ve been through – and they’re angry, mean, bitter people. I will never let what happened to define me, how I look at and love others, or allow me to become in any way an angry person. To stay angry would prove nothing, help no one, and only hurt the people I love and myself. Life will go on. I’m not sad its over – I’m relieved and ready to move on with my life toward a more healthy, happy, and fulfilled future.
1) Don’t ever let someone you love hurt you.
2) Don’t ever let someone you love make you feel less of a person because of your illness.
3) If someone you love is doing any of the above, it might be worth your while to consider whether that relationship is worth staying in.