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When a Partner Needs More than He Can Give...

My partner of 7 years has lifelong Cerebral Palsy and I have been his mate and caretaker for that time. The 2nd year into our relationship, he damaged his back and I had to do more things for him that he could no longer do. By 2005 he became extremely ill with kidney failure caused by kidney stones and my workload to help him quadrupled. We had started out as an even give-and-take couple, but now he can only receive and I'm left being called upon to give everything that I have left with very little return. Leaving is not an option, since he requires regular attention to maintain his health, but unfortunately I am still young enough to crave the man/woman intimacy that my partner's ailments just do not allow through no fault of his own. I'm caught between pinning myself to my duties as his partner + caretaker, thus setting my sacrifices in stone...or allowing a doomed romance into the picture, just to experience a normal moment

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Asked by BlueIsland at 7:39 PM on Jun. 10, 2009 in Relationships

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Answers (6)
  • how does partner feel about your needs being unmet?that's a tough one.

    Answer by writeon at 7:42 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • Writeon:
    It IS a tough one. He tries to tell me verbally that he will step up and try to do more for me, but his body and sicknesses get in the way almost without fail. (Can anyone maintain the mood if they have to stop sex to run to get medications or a bucket because their partner might throw up?)


    Answer by BlueIsland at 8:00 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • Sounds like your having sex with a pregnant woman. There should be more to relationships than physical intimacy, that one can take care of on their own. Perhaps you should work more on you twos emotional and intellectual intimacy. That is what keeps old couples alive and together after one of them looses the "ability" to have sex. It is also more fulfilling and rewarding than sex could ever be.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:13 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • oh goodness, i just wish i could tell you what to do. I'm so sorry about his health, and i'm so sorry that this is your life now. I would like to think that you have friends that you can spend time with and that his family members could help out with his cares and such from time to time.

    Answer by princessj05 at 8:16 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • Anonymous:
    Well, that looks good on paper. I'm not getting the impression, though, that you are as old as your advice might be, because older couples (grandparents, notably) who are no longer able to have traditional sex don't just give up and do everything by telepathy from across the room. They still find ways because physical intimacy is indeed an important part of intellectual intimacy in a couple.

    That being said, my partner's illnesses affect his emotional and physical availability, which is kind of where we're at. We talk things over regularly, just as anyone speaking to someone behind bars in prison might do, but words aren't deeds.

    Answer by BlueIsland at 8:43 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • Princessj05:
    Thanks for the support. We have SHARED friends that visit us both, but I have no friends of my own. My partner does, which I rather envy. Not a lot of people want to be involved in a friendship that is anchored so powerfully in other commitments such as mine is. People seem to feel like I need to be left alone to have more time to care for my partner, which is backward, but it's true. The only time I have off is when I go grocery shopping or run some other errand. If I'm gone too long my partner calls my cell phone demanding to know where I am and what I'm doing and that I should have taken him with me if I was going to take that long.

    My partner's family are all in other states, and their main fear is to be stuck caring for him. They chuck money at us once in a while to show their support, but I guess they feel that the house will suck them in and trap them if they visit. So they don't.

    Answer by BlueIsland at 8:54 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

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