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A part of having hypothyroidism that we perhaps don’t speak about enough is how it can affect our relationships.
I have heard from thyroid patients who told me that hypothyroidism contributed to their relationship or marriage breaking down.
So I asked followers of my Facebook page how thyroid disease has affected their relationships with husbands, wives, partners, as well as friends and family.
People have been kept anonymous as some of these comments are very personal.
“I’m very, very lucky my partner has been so supportive and understanding but at times I’ve questioned how he’s found the strength – it definitely wasn’t what he signed up for when we met. It has changed our relationship for sure but luckily I feel it has made us stronger. I can completely see how it can lead to relationship breakdowns and my heart goes out to those affected.”
“Hypothyroidism affects relationships and marriages.. because you expect your spouse to be the same person they always were. Hypothyroidism changes the person and if you’re not willing to do your own research on this disease, you won’t ever understand what your significant other is going through.”
“If you are involved with anyone, it changes not just you physically, but the emotional balance is horrible. We don’t realise how moody we get until it’s gone too far, sometimes we don’t know what we’ve done, because our mind is lost, and we will unintentionally hurt others. It’s hard to control your moodiness and when you have a partner that doesn’t understand what you’re going through or why, it will definitely put a major strain on your relationship. I have split up from relationships because I didn’t realise that I may have been the problem. It was my mood swings and I went too far.”
“I don’t know how my husband copes sometimes but he does….the anxiety attack when I felt my bones were freezing and he wrapped me up in a blanket…the fatigue at the beginning when I was too tired to do anything and he had to go alone to family functions or work parties… ER visits for stomach or chest pains and sleeping sitting up in a chair beside the bed and so on…it has affected our marriage but so does any life changing illness and divorce is not an option for us. I asked him today if he gets it and he has attended every endocrinologist appointment and he said. ‘I believe I do’.”
“As a man with hypothyroidism, since our roles are reversed, that places me in charge of the majority of the household. Even were I in top form, my wife would easily run circles around me in this regard. I honestly try to keep things in order with what energy I have and what cognition I can muster. Needless to say, it’s difficult at any time for anyone. Our relationship suffers because there’s an expectation I can almost never meet. Every day, I wonder what little land mine I’ve set for myself, what did I forget, what mistake did I make. It’s not always so bad but there’s almost never any real understanding. Doesn’t seem to matter that she’s aware of the difficulties. I admit, she also has health issues and a stressful career. So, hypo has resulted in expectations not being met, recriminations about not caring, actual apathy, lack of emotional support. This is a two way street because as many of us have experienced, we’re sometimes emotionally toxic and depressed. It’s a cycle that I’m not sure how to change.”
“I have lost several friends, family and partners and everything is always blamed on me.. Every day is a fighting battle with yourself.. feelings, emotions, and trying to accomplish daily tasks of getting things done. Life is a struggle going day in and day out with very little sleep, always in pain, hormones all out of whack with levels. It’s a fighting battle for life everyday, then to have friends, family and partners not understand it is debilitating, mentally, physically, and emotionally.”
“The mood swings, depression, anxiety and fatigue that this crappy disease causes put a huge strain on relationships. It can be tough on everyone, partners and kids too. Doesn’t help that even when optimally medicated and doing well, out of nowhere you can still get a bad day/week/month and feel like you’re back at square one again.”
“It definitely put a huge strain on our marriage before I was medicated. We had just gotten married and had nothing in the bank account when I became horribly sick. I was always unwell but it got so I couldn’t work or move from the couch all summer long. It caused my husband to work an ungodly amount which added to the tension. He is also very sensitive so seeing me suffer was very hard for him.. It has required financial sacrifice to get better. We won’t be able to get a house as soon as we hoped because of it. In turn this has caused further turmoil in our marriage, lots of fights and hurt feelings. I feel it’s been especially difficult because people are always telling me how young we are and how we should be healthy and happy. It’s not like that for us, and it’s saddening. However, we didn’t get married with divorce being an option, and we have been able to overcome all these obstacles together with help from family and a therapist.”
“Luckily, my Boyfriend has stuck by my side, and has never held it against me. Makes you lonely and no one realises how much you slowly disappear, like a cloud of smoke.”
Feel free to add your own in the comments section below.
Read other blogs in the ‘Thyroid Patients Explain’ format here.
Related Article: Feeling Guilt and Shame for Not Wanting Sex With Hypothyroidism
The book You, Me and Hypothyroidism: When Someone You Love Has Hypothyroidism, a book for those who know someone with hypothyroidism. It deals with loss of libido, disruptions to sex life, intimacy and other relationships problems when someone has hypothyroidism.
If you are on thyroid medication and still having issues with fatigue and other hypothyroidism symptoms, you are likely not optimally treated, or have other problems you need to address. A properly treated thyroid condition should have no or very few symptoms. Of course, other illness, conditions and deficiencies can cause problems too, so explore them all if possible.
Of course, getting ourselves optimally treated and finding doctors who will listen to us, is a whole other topic!
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.