In spite of what pop culture has led us to believe, all relationships need work. Whether it’s seeking therapy to mend differences, overcoming distance or figuring out finances, most couples admit that they have put in efforts to make it work. This is the same for people with epilepsy who are in a relationship. According to this study in Science Direct, relationship satisfaction can be achieved with appropriate self-management techniques in people diagnosed with epilepsy. However, it is normal to be worried when you start seeing someone new. As is normal, the nervousness of getting to know someone can carry all sorts of doubts with it. Here are some relationship tips for people with epilepsy to make it work:
Communication is Key
Communication is key in relationships for finding what works for you and your partner. While it might seem difficult, talk about your condition with them to build a healthy and nurturing space for both of you. Talk about what your needs are and let them know if you’ll need them to do some things for you, like drive you to doctor appointments. Setting boundaries is important to protect your mental health, and it’s important for relationship growth. Remember that this is not an overnight conversation; take your time and be as honest and specific as you can with your partner.
1. Discuss the Long-term
The key to building healthy relationships is making space for each other to grow. Talk to your partner about what they expect from the relationship and let them know what you do. Some topics you could pick are whether they want children, what kind of vacations they like, and what their goals for themselves are. This is important to avoid resentment from affecting your relationship in the long run. The more you understand, the easier it is to build a relationship together.
2. Speak About your Needs
Explain the symptoms of your condition to your partner and let them know what your triggers are. If there is a specific diet or routine you follow, convey that to them and explain why it’s important for you. If you have a sleep schedule that does not let you be out late, it can change how you spend time together. It is best to ask them how willing they are to be there to support you. For instance, would they like to (and be able to) accompany you on your visits to the doctor? Make sure they are aware of the first aid they need to give you and any subtle symptoms of a seizure they might need to look out for. If speaking about your needs is difficult for you, a little help from a therapist can make your relationship a fulfilling experience.
3. Be There for Them
If your partner has any concerns about your condition, talk it out with them. For instance, if they are worried about night seizures, explain how they can be there for you. Sit down with your neurologist so the two of you can work out the best way to be there for each other.
Talk About Sex
While there is no research that says sex can trigger seizures, it is best to speak to your neurologist about it. However, according to this article published by the Epilepsy Society, the condition can change sexual drive for both men and women. This is due to the change in hormonal balance caused either by the condition itself or the anti-epileptic drugs that you may be on. Apart from this, women with epilepsy can also have trouble with medication during pregnancy so consult your neurologist before you plan a family.
Your neurological condition should not define your relationship. There may be certain things that are difficult for your partner to understand, however, this only emphasises the importance of constant communication so you can figure out the best ways to be with each other.