Tips for Migraine Sufferers and Their Spouses

Marriage With Migraines

Migraine warrior Barbara Leech and counselor Eric Patterson share their thoughts on marriage with migraines. 

Barbara’s Thoughts on Relationships and Migraine

Marriage With Migraines: Tips for Sufferers and Spouses

Can you have a migraine and feel sexy? Can you still be fun to be around? From my personal experience, the answer is probably not.

It is hard to feel attractive and passionate when any outside stimulation – visual, audible or physical – is something you are trying to avoid. My sense of humor goes out the window and nothing seems funny when I am struggling to function and in so much pain.

All of this can affect your relationships, especially your marriage or committed partnership.

Thankfully, my second time around at marriage brought me a supportive, patient human being to share my life with, but that has not always been the case. My first husband did not understand the impact of a migraine and, along with a short temper, he lacked the compassion required to actually offer help or at the very least cut me some slack.

If I had a migraine, I knew it would cause tension and blame. At times it was not possible to keep up with laundry or cook dinner after I got home from work; I was in just too much pain to do everything that was expected of me, and my marriage suffered for it. He thought I was weak, told me I was over reacting, and even suggested that I planned my migraines to sabotage fun.


It never occurred to my ex that maybe he should offer to do something to help rather than blame me for my migraines. My marriage didn’t fall apart solely because of migraines, but it certainly was a factor that wore on our relationship.

How It Hurts

Migraines affect many of our relationships, but especially the one with our significant other. This relationship is most at risk when:

They Don’t Understand Migraines

There is nothing worse than suffering from something incredibly painful and feeling like your loved one doesn’t understand or care about what you are going through.

Often, part of our love for a significant other is tied into feeling a level of compassion and concern radiate towards us in time of trouble or illness. When that concern is missing, we have a void in the reciprocal relationship that love is supposed to be.

Love for our partner is compromised when that care feels one-sided. We start to feel less love for someone who does not give us the compassion we need or deserve.

They Are Angered by Your Sick Day

If your partner actually gets angry at you for being “sick again” or not keeping up with tasks like cooking and cleaning, then the entire relationship can become clouded by anger and resentment.

You feel resentment towards them because they should understand what you’re going through and offer to help you out by taking over some of your tasks. They are angry at you because they feel those tasks are not their responsibility, or it is your turn and you are making up excuses.

The whole thing boils down to how much they care and how seriously they take your migraines. If they are angered by the inconvenience their love is not very apparent and the relationship begins to feel it.

Next page: four more ways migraines can impact your relationship, and strategies for helping the situation for migraine sufferers.
Page three: tips for spouses of migraine sufferers.

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