June 29, 2022
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Members of our Bezzy Psoriasis and PsA communities share their tips for relationship success when you have a chronic condition.
When you live with a chronic condition like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, navigating relationships and intimacy can be difficult.
Whether you’ve been with your partner since before you were first diagnosed, or you’re dating in a post-diagnosis life, your questions may be similar: How and when do you talk with your partner about your condition? What if they don’t understand? How do you address sex during a flare?
The answers are different for everybody.
Members of the Bezzy Psoriasis and PsA communities share their relationship must-haves during a flare.
“Communication is an absolute must-have, especially with constant varying pain levels. Any fear of communicating what you need or want from your partner will cause harm to an intimate relationship.
A willingness to attend occasional rheumatologist appointments is also a must. When my husband started attending visits with me, his eyes were opened, and he began asking questions too. Our relationship was tough before he went with me because he simply didn’t understand how crazy this disease is. He’s much better at understanding my PsA and me since. He even asks me about my labs now. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would’ve preferred to be single than be in constant turmoil with him on top of having this disease.” — Paula
“To start, be with someone who loves you unconditionally, respects your boundaries, and treats you gently. Be with someone you can communicate with, that will still be there if you say no, and who will give you space to just exist as you are.” — Maxcatmom81
“Something I like to do when I’m flaring really bad and feel self-conscious about showing my body is to wear something that made me feel comfortable and sexy. Get some candles, dim the lights, or even wear lingerie or clothing that makes me feel confident.
Being funny helps when you are in a relationship, especially for us. There are days I just want to die. I will stick my tongue out at my husband just so he can say, ‘Gurl, you crazy,’ and it makes him laugh! It doesn’t have to be doom and gloom all the time.” — Diane Talbert
“It can be really tricky navigating intimacy when you have psoriasis in sensitive areas. My partner’s love language is physical touch — and for me, when I’m in a flare, that’s the absolute last thing I want — to be touched. Sex might be the last thing I want, too.
So when I’m struggling with all of this, it can make me feel isolated, it can make my partner feel like I’m not interested in him (even when I am), and overall it’s just really, really hard.
But the right person will not shame you. They will not make you feel bad for having different needs within the relationship. The right person will be supportive, ask questions, try to help you find solutions (and humor!) in the situation, and should ultimately be someone who welcomes your awkward truths into their own awkward open arms.” — Jenny, Bezzy PsA guide
“The best way to support me? Listen. Understand that even though I may want to do something, my body doesn’t always allow it.” — Anonymous
You know your needs better than anyone — communicating those needs in relationships is crucial when you live with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
If you want to learn more about how others with psoriasis and PsA talk with those around them, visit the Relationships and Work Forum at Bezzy Psoriasis. You’re not on this journey alone.
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