MS and your relationship

For many couples, multiple sclerosis (MS) may feel like an unwelcome guest. Each couple's experience with MS is different, but here are some of the issues that couples may face: the stress of seeing a partner become ill or disabled; changing relationship roles as one partner becomes a caregiver or assumes more of the household responsibilities; changes in sex life; stress caused by the unpredictability of MS; and the strain that MS can place on a family's financial, time, and emotional resources.

Facing MS together can help you grow closer as a couple. Here are a few ways to make it happen:

  • Don't let MS steal your together time! Set aside some time every day to connect with each other. Share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns so that things don't have time to build up.
  • Take action to bring back the balance in your relationship. When one partner starts to feel like they are shouldering most of the responsibility, talk about how to bring back some balance (e.g., by getting support from family and friends or by hiring a caregiver).
  • Connect with your local MS Society to find out about support groups and courses for couples living with MS.
  • Learn how to help your partner fight back against MS.

Try these tips so you can take charge of MS together.

Helping your partner fight MS

As the partner of someone with multiple sclerosis (MS), you have an important role to play in helping your partner fight MS. Not only can you help to care for your partner, but you can also be a strong voice to advocate for your partner.

Here are a few ways to fight in your partner's corner:

  • Help your partner take charge. Ask your partner how you can help. For example, your partner may want you to help organize their medications and medical appointments, administer their medications, accompany them to doctor's visits, or just be there when they need to talk.
  • Watch for signs that MS is on the move. Look for changes in your partner's symptoms. Because of your close relationship, you may be in a position to notice subtle changes (e.g., numbness and tingling) that may indicate their disease is active. Encourage your partner to talk to their neurologist about any changes.
  • Notice how your partner is doing on treatment. Use the Treatment Check-Up tool to see whether your partner is having issues with their treatment. Encourage your partner to speak to their neurologist about treatment options. Offer to come to the appointment and advocate for your partner.

Together, you and your partner can be a powerful force to fight MS.