Can Your Relationship Survive a Serious Illness?

“In sickness and in health” is easier said than done! If you’re wondering if your relationship can survive a serious illness – mental or physical – check these tips out. They’re inspired by a comment from a reader…

“I’ve been in a relationship for over five years,” says J. on When Your Partner is Depressed. “Until about four years ago things were great, my boyfriend was affectionate, complimentary, romantic, everything a woman could wish for. He lost his mom about four years ago, which was truly sad, but he seemed to cope. It wasn’t until the end of last year that he changed significantly, he became snappy and there was no intimacy in our relationship. Then he totally snapped and said he was fed up with things and didn’t know what he wanted. I told him until he sorted himself out and saw a doctor not to come back, which totally broke me as I love him deeply. Now we know he is depressed, he goes to cognitive therapy once a week. After seven months on feels no change, and won’t take medication. He also has a lot of financial issues and work stress due to self-employment. He shows no love towards me anymore, although I continue to let him know how much I love him.”

Is a severe illness, such as depression or cancer, threatening your relationship? Are you worried that your love won’t survive the illness? These tips may help.

Can Your Relationship Survive a Serious Illness?

Here’s the rest of J’s comment:

”Can I handle this situation better and will he be the way he was before? I just so hate the day I told him to go to the doctor because I think if he had not been told it was depression maybe he would of just got through it. Thanks if you could advise me in any way.”

Remember that you’re doing the best you can for your partner and relationship

Try not to second guess your past actions. You did the best you could; you were hoping to repair and save your love relationship! You did not cause your partner’s illness. You have no idea what shape he’d be in if you hadn’t encouraged him to see a doctor, my friend. So, do not beat yourself up for past decisions you made out of love.

One thing that worries me is when women stay in loveless relationships. I often get comments from women whose partners don’t show them any love, yet they stay in the relationship anyway. They think their love will save the relationship…but it can’t.

If you’re in love with a man who doesn’t love you back, read 5 Signs It’s Time to Take a Break From Your Relationship.

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Accept that your relationship probably will never be the way it was

Your partner won’t like go back to the way he was before the illness. Even if your relationship can survive this illness, both of you are totally different people! In many ways, you’re stronger, smarter, and healthier. I know it doesn’t seem that way now, but this illness can make your love and your selves stronger.

So no, he may not be the way he was before. I don’t know if he’ll be a happier, healthier man than he was before. Some people survive serious illnesses and their lives are 100% better!

Get as emotionally and physically strong as possible

Solve Relationship ProblemsIf you’re stressed, scared, worried, angry, or depressed about your relationship, then you won’t help it. You need to focus on getting strong and healthy. One of the best ways to help your partner survive a serious illness – and to help your love relationship survive – is to take care of yourself. The happier and healthier you are, the more you have to offer your partner.

Getting emotionally strong may involve talking to a counselor about your role in the relationship. There is such a thing as enabling an illness, which involves prolonging and even making it worse. A counselor can help you sort out if you and your partner are in a healthy love relationship. A serious illness is tough to survive no matter how healthy your love is — but if your love isn’t healthy, then you’re in for a long, unhappy haul.

Learn as much as you can about your partner’s illness

Go to support groups for family members, read books about the illness, talk to your partner’s doctor if possible, and get information from reputable health websites. If you visit blogs written by people with the illness, remember that you’re reading one person’s perspective. Try to distinguish between reputable health websites and personal blogs.

The more you know about your partner’s illness, the better you’ll be able to cope. Understanding and clarity can help your relationship survive his illness – especially if you know where to draw your boundaries, and how to stick to them.

You might find My Wife Has Cancer – How Husbands Can Help Women With Cancer helpful. It’s written from a man’s perspective.

Has your partner ever had a serious illness? How did your relationship survive? Comments welcome below…

Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.


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2 thoughts on “Can Your Relationship Survive a Serious Illness?

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author


    Thank you for your comment! I appreciate your kind words, and am glad to see that you’re also writing articles to help love relationships survive 🙂


  • Harleena Singh

    Great insights, about this complex situation in a relationship. Although, in my case, we never had to encounter a serious illness, but life is so uncertain. I’ll always remember what you wrote that love might not cure all, but lack of love will do more damage. This is a beautiful analysis, and I am sure those who’ve really faced such circumstances would greatly appreciate it. I believe that such ordeals do strengthen the bonding between the partners. It’s a pity that in some cases both partners in a relationship do not equally realize the value of love earlier on. Thanks for the post Laurie!