Inside The Minds of Men Loving Women With Endometriosis

how do I talk endometriosis

I am constantly blown clear away at what you can learn by doing nothing more than just genuinely listening to folks.

Last week, we published an article on sex and endometriosis. Honestly, because of the comments I saw that led us to cover the topic, I expected more traction out of that one. It didn’t seem to strike a cord on the scale we would have liked.

BUT – what it lacked in scale, it more than made up for in depth via the comment section and future ideas for a new Endo Partner series where we will give the platform to the men and women in your lives who are in this battle with you.

I started with men though, partly because I’m a man and two, because we’re often known for not being good at sharing our feelings.

With that, maybe I could help you get a peek inside some of our heads? And hopefully inspire others to open up in the process?

But, why?

Because this communication thing, it absolutely has to be a two-way street. Because, in my own relationship, I experienced a resurgence in love and understanding when I started sharing my frustrations and concerns.

Because, as supporters, the burn-out and the guilt and the shame we feel…it has to come out.

And there are groups like Mendo Warriors, and folks like myself that will take time to listen – why not with you too?

Why not with the people we cherish most in this world? The one person that we’re truly in this together with?

I Was On The Fence About This, until…

Honestly, I was on the fence about this. I reached out to Mendo Warriors, I sent a few emails from past Braave blog commentors, everyone seemed on board…but, I wasn’t sure if sharing our feelings really was the right thing for this organization.

Until I got this comment from Celeste:

“…Also, I think we (women) tend to forget that endometriosis also effects the men in our lives. After reading Chris’s comment, I don’t know if I ever really considered what the man in my life must be dealing with too. So thank you Chris for shining some light – it was so honest and hit home…”

My mind was made up. We’re going to share. I hope you get something from it. I hope it inspires better communication in your relationships.

If you’re an endo-partner, and you’d like to share, go here to our endometriosis partner support page or leave a comment at the end of this article.

Inside The Minds of Men Loving Women With Endometriosis

To give you an idea of what we’re planning with the Endo Partner Series, I’ve included the first two stories below. Both Jody and Zac gave me permission to repost and share as they feel we all should be stepping forward to talk about this.

However, anonymous is always an option.

I Don’t Know How To Reach Out

endometriosis support for husbands

As a husband it has been really hard on me as well. I feel rejected. I know it’s not her fault that sex is painful. It’s just hard because our relationship is suffering because of it. It’s been five years since we’ve had sex.

That alone has put a strain on things.

It’s not just about the sex though. We barely make contact any more because I always manage to touch her were she hurts. Then that just separates us more. We find ourselves sitting on opposite sides of the couch which feels like opposite sides of the world.

She has had surgery twice but the endometriosis came back with a vengeance. We were trying to have a child when we found out she had endo from the fertility doctor. That was the same doctor that preformed the two surgeries.

She found a specialist in Atlanta. Now she’s going to have a hysterectomy. Hopefully that’ll fix this pain that is constantly eating at her every minute of every day. Maybe we can pick up the pieces afterwardspick up the pieces afterwards.

I’m still standing by her for what it’s worth. I don’t really know how to reach out to her without making it look like I’m being insensitive. – Jody

———

All I Feel Is Guilt, Worry, Frustration

endometriosis husband support

I’m dating a woman with endo.

I struggle with committing fully to her because I’m fraught with worry. I worry that I cause her pain. I worry that we won’t be able to have kids, and about all the time, money, and heartache that could be spent trying and failing.

I worry that any kids we did have would have the same condition. I worry that we won’t be able to experience many of the things we want to because she won’t be able. I worry that this will eat at her and worsen her already present depression.

Most of all I worry that I would end up resenting her, this woman who completes me so well, simply because of a condition she can’t do anything about.

Then I feel guilt.

Guilt for being so selfish as to actually be annoyed or irritated with her when she can no longer mask her symptoms and finally lashes out in pain, shame, and helplessness. Guilt for my insensitive remarks when her suffering mildly inconveniences me and I’m too weak to have patience with her.

Guilt for the fact that she can’t feel comfortable venting to me because I’ve become tired of hearing it. And worst of all, guilt for even considering leaving her over this. For wanting to bail on her because I don’t know if I’m strong enough to support her.

I’m ashamed.

I consider myself a good man, a loyal man, and I feel terrible just for thinking these things. I know what it is to experience a broken heart, and I can’t do that to her. To us. Not over this. Yet these doubts remain. I don’t know what to do. I’m stuck between love and comfort, between loyalty and cowardice.

Thanks for listening. – Chris

—-

A Disclaimer of Sorts

Shawnda wanted to make sure that I made something very clear: as you are beginning to share your feelings, you need to be prepared for every reaction she may have.

Yes, it is possible that she may not react favorably to what you’re sharing. Especially if you haven’t been supportive up until this point.

Yes, it is possible that things may get a little heated from time to time. But with friction, comes bonding.

I’ll end with a quote from a the Sex & Endo post from Zac’s girlfriend after she read his comment above. To me, this sums the whole thing up:

“…I am glad he shared with you guys. I have never been prouder of someone. Sharing feelings is hard. Especially worries and doubts. I see now how much he cares and it brought me to happy tears…”

photo: howard_roark/flickr

Comments

  1. crystal says

    My partner has endo and I followed this link from her fb page. It hadn’t even occurred to me that partners would need a place for support but now after reading this it really makes sense. Thank you.

  2. Eric says

    Thanks for sharing these examples and stories. I appreciated the other post as well, about Sex and Endo. My wife was formally diagnosed two years ago, but has been struggling with rough periods for most of her life. It’s been roller-coaster of plans, emotions, surgery, and care over the last couple years. I look forward to learning more and being in contact with more people who are going through what we are.