Your relationship means the world to you, but when a parent is sick or a sibling and you need to be their caregiver, your priorities will need to realign. Full-time caregivers will find that their responsibility can lead to:
- Stress on the relationship
- Substance abuse
- Neglecting a partner
It’s difficult to keep a relationship strong when being a caregiver, but it is possible to balance both your relationship and commitment as one.
1. Talk to Your Partner Openly
If you’re the “strong” type, you may want to tell your partner that everything is okay. The caregiving responsibility may be brushed to the side in an effort to not stress your partner out. But this is a bad idea.
Experts agree that it’s better to be open with your partner than it is to act like nothing is wrong.
No topic is off limits. You need to build trust with your partner and use this trust to talk about:
- Good things going on in your caregiving
- Bad things going on in your caregiving
Just knowing that you have someone to rely on that knows your struggles and can help talk you through them may help your relationship stay strong.
And when your partner is stressing their concerns or opinions, it’s equally important to listen. Relationships, and the struggles that a relationship may face, are two-sided.
2. Work on Teamwork
You and your partner are a team, or you should be a team that can rely on one another for help and support. If you’re caring for a family member or loved one, involve your partner in it, too. Sometimes, a partner just wants to feel that they’re needed and can help in some way.
Having help will help you overcome the many challenges that you face when caregiving.
Even something as simple as having your partner put down bed pads or cut pills can provide a bonding moment in a relationship.
If you work as a team, you’ll strengthen your relationship. But when you’re pushing your partner aside and excluding them from everything involved with the caregiving, this can lead to a feeling of resentment and abandonment – neither are good for a relationship.
3. Remember to Keep “Dating”
Relationships are work. When you’re in a relationship, you need to remember that it’s still important to keep dating. By dating, I mean going out with your significant other for a dinner date or arranging a picnic or something similar.
There needs to be time for both a relationship and caregiving.
Of course, in the final hours or days of a person’s life, you may not be able to leave and give the relationship the nurturing it needs. But when the person is in stable condition, you still need to go out and have fun with your partner.
Something as simple as having movie night at home will help keep the flame alive.
Back-up, such as family or other friends, can provide care for a loved one for just a few hours so that you can spend time with your partner. There are a lot of cheap, easy date ideas that any partner will enjoy.