Failing to discuss sensitive health issues in your relationship is a problem that can lead to a life of shame and guilt, according to the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. But when we talk about significant concerns with our partner, it displays trust in them, and it helps raise the self-esteem of the person dealing with the issue.
In this article, we provide you with the tools you need, to talk about sensitive issues with your partner.
Where to Start
When life is busy, and you’re always focusing on other things, it’s sometimes an afterthought to think that your issue might be serious enough to merit a talk with your partner. Maybe you’re afraid that this conversation may lead to a conflict.
Even the happiest marriages and unions run into health issues like erectile dysfunction and depression at many points, but it’s important that you identify warning signs of the problem that might not stand out as much.
Here are a few tips to help keep you strong while bringing up sensitive issues to your partner:
- Don’t be afraid to show your emotions
- Make sure to keep your partner calm
- Provide solutions to the problem
- Have a goal in mind for when you want to talk about it
Now, what if you’re on the other side of the fence. If you’re the spouse or partner who wants to bring something up to the person with a sensitive health issue…We have tips for you as well.
Your position might be even more challenging because you’re afraid of hurting your partner’s feelings – making them feel exposed or vulnerable, and possibly causing confrontation.
They might think their health issue is a secret that only they know about, but when they find out you know, they might deny it or get angry with you.
Here are a few tips to help you as well:
- Always stay calm
- Make sure they’re comfortable
- Reassure them that it’s okay and you’re here to help
- Partner with your spouse and show them you respect them no matter what
Communication is everything in a relationship, and when we keep secrets from each other, it leads to negative mental and physical impact. We should do everything we can to remain open and honest about our sensitive health issues, whether we are the person keeping the secret or approaching our partner about something.
Discussing Erectile Dysfunction With Your Partner
If you’re currently dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED), your first instinct may be to shut out your partner so you can safely hide the issue from them. Unfortunately, doing that may lead to further problems because your partner may feel isolated from you and think there is a deeper underlying issue causing that separation.
It’s okay to feel anger and resentment, but a proper diagnosis, treatment, and open communication with your partner is the key to helping them understand what you’re going through, so you can tackle it together.
Know and understand that there are treatment options for you, but a support system is an important part of improving your quality of life.
If you’re worried about embarrassment or that your wife/partner might see you as less of a man, you’ll be happy to know that you’re not alone as many men deal with ED as well.
Confronting Your Partner About ED
In some situations, you might be the partner of someone with erectile dysfunction, and they refuse to talk about it. If you think your partner has ED and he has become standoffish and distant, you might be right.
You might notice changes in your sex life in terms of frequency and enjoyment for both of you. Know that it’s okay to approach your partner about their issue because that might show them that you’re okay with talking about it. If you’re okay with it, they might be okay with it as well.
There are many treatments and underlying causes of ED that a slight change in diet and lifestyle can help with.
Talking to Your Partner About a Sexually Transmitted Infection
When you’re diagnosed with an STI, it’s easy to feel isolated and singled out by society. You might judge yourself and wonder what you’ve done to deserve something like this. You should know that more than one million sexually transmitted infections are contracted throughout the world each day.
You’re not alone, and what you’re going through is nothing different than what millions have gone through before you.
What’s not okay is keeping it a secret from your partner. You might have an STI that is curable through medication; but, some like herpes and HPV are not curable, so you need to tell your partner about the diagnosis.
If you’re with a new partner whom you’ve started dating, you don’t need to come right out with it on the first or second date, but you need to tell them before things get intimate. When you feel the relationship is heading in that direction, you both like each other, and you’re ready to take things to the next level, that is when you need to tell them.
Take your partner on a little walk or some form of outdoor activity in a neutral setting when you tell them. If you’re out doing something normal in a public place, your partner will have a better time absorbing the information.
What to Say
It can be hard to figure out exactly what to say to your partner, but it’s important to be straightforward and honest. If you have herpes, say, “I have herpes.” Explain that you don’t have any lesions, and if you take the right medications, you can prevent outbreaks. Tell them that you won’t try any form of sexual activity with them when you’re experiencing an outbreak.
If you follow all the rules and stick to recommendations from medical professionals, the chances of your partner contracting anything are extremely low.
It also helps to tell them that you haven’t transmitted anything to past partners due to your responsible actions (if that’s the case). Honesty is always the best policy, and 99% of people will respect you for that decision.
How to Talk to Your Partner About Incontinence
For this subject, we’re taking the perspective of someone discussing this issue with their male partner. It’s common for relationships to experience issues with incontinence, especially after many years together.
The problem is, most men are too proud to open up to their partner and discuss these types of problems. He may never talk about it with you, which can lead to the worsening of the problem, which in turn will cause further feelings of shame and guilt on his part.
For this reason, you’ll want to find a way to talk to him about it, and here are some tips to help you with that.
Make Sure He’s Comfortable
It’s no secret that he’s uncomfortable with the situation, so you need to do everything you can to make him feel at ease when you approach him. Don’t make him feel threatened or like you are accusing him of something. Never shame him over the issues.
Also, we would suggest waiting some time following an accident because he will feel embarrassed if you approach him right after he experienced an episode.
Explain That You Want to Help
The ultimate goal here is a resolution, and if you’re only there to talk about the problem, he might feel that the conversation isn’t necessary, and he’ll ignore you. The good news is, there are plenty of treatment options to manage the condition, so he doesn’t need to feel ashamed anymore.
You can tell him that you’re here to help, you’ve done some research, and you don’t want him to think he has to hide it because you can stick together so he can feel better.
In some cases, incontinence is the first sign of an underlying condition, so you don’t want to leave the issue at that. Try to motivate him to get treatment so both of you can find out if there is anything more serious that you need to tackle.
Let him know that he should see a professional, and if he is resistant, tell him that you can take very small steps together, and you will schedule the appointment for him.
Helping Your Partner Understand Depression
Living with depression makes everything more challenging, including romantic relationships. You might feel hopeless, empty, and tired most of your day. The hardest part is making other people understand what you’re going through and why you experience issues handling tasks that other people do effortlessly.
But, there is hope. Having someone to act as your rock and guide you through this tough time is what you need to get through it. It’s possible to have a successful romantic relationship even with depression, but it all starts with opening up to them and telling them that you think there is a problem.
More than 16.2 million adults have depressive episodes, so it’s crucial to understand that you’re not alone, and what you’re going through may pass with the right support.
When Should You Tell Them?
It’s your choice. You can muster up the courage to tell them randomly in the middle of the day, or you can create a setting that feels more comfortable for you, it’s all up to you.
Take the embarrassment out of it and tell them that you think you may need help dealing with it. Any partner should understand and respect you for making such a brave decision.
Also, if you feel that your depression has become too much to handle and you would rather speak with a confidential professional, please understand there are resources out there to help you. The SAMHSA National Helpline is free, confidential, and available all day, every day. Approaching a Partner with Addiction
Approaching a Partner with Addiction
Admitting your an addict is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. By this point, you may feel shame and guilt over your actions, you might have hurt someone in your social group, and you may have hurt yourself as a result of your addiction.
Having the courage to admit that you have an addiction takes a lot of courage, but it’s possible if you take the necessary steps leading up to it.
Finding That Moment
When you have an addiction, it’s important to understand that time is not on your side. Medical professionals do not recommend that you sit on your addiction for longer than necessary. Try to find the most comfortable setting, preferably private and calm, and tell them that you have an addiction problem.
If you’re in a new relationship, you should understand that it may hurt them, and they might even become angry. This factor is especially true if the relationship has gone on for a few weeks or months, and you haven’t told them yet.
Teach them Something
Do some research ahead of time so you can help them understand how common it is to suffer from addiction. Let them know more about your addiction and how you reached this point. It’s crucial that you are as open and honest as possible. Your partner will have a lot of questions, and it’s your responsibility to answer them.
Take the Necessary Steps Together
If you’re with the right person, they should be there to help you no matter what. Tell them that you want their help in getting treatment and you want to get better. You shouldn’t deal with this addiction any longer, and there are resources out there to help you. Work together and build a stronger bond.
The number one benefit of sharing sensitive health issues with our partners is the fact that we don’t need to go through it alone anymore. Many of us deal with these problems, and when we hide them, we surround ourselves in guilt and shame. But that doesn’t have to be the case; when we share our sensitive health issues, we build a support system that is necessary for treatment, diagnosis, and recovery.