Dating and maintaining a happy, fulfilling relationship is a challenge for anyone – but it’s especially wrought with anxiety when you deal with fibroids. So when is the “right” time to bring up your fibroids, and how can you have a conversation that results in your partner becoming your biggest ally?
Here are tips from VIVA EVE’s resident expert and psychologist, Nehal Farouky. She received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health from Augusta State University.
Open up and stop covering for your fibroids
“If your fibroids are starting to affect your emotional life or your sexual life with your partner, it’s time to be honest about why,” says Nehal Farouky, also a fibroid patient of VIVA EVE. “Faking it and making excuses will only last for so long. Remember that everybody has something they’re insecure about. Chances are that when you open up and share, your partner will also open up and share something that they may have been insecure or worried about in the past.”
Explain that fibroids are a widespread condition that most women develop
“Start with facts and statistics,” suggests Nehal. “Something as simple as, ‘I don’t know if you know this, but 80 percent of women develop these tumors in and around their uterus by the age of 50. It affects most women, it’s very common, and they’re usually not harmful, but here are some of the symptoms they cause.’ This is a great way to explain away unrelated fears and also begin to focus the conversation towards how fibroids affect you specifically.”
Discuss the ways in which fibroids affect you
As a woman living with symptomatic fibroids, your life is one big juggling act, especially when you’re on your period. For you, PMS doesn’t stop at minor menstrual cramps – so when you cancel plans or avoid being intimate, your partner has no clue why. Don’t be afraid to open up about what you’re dealing with. “You can say something like, ‘I was diagnosed with them several years ago and the symptoms I experience are _____, so that’s why maybe sometimes I’m not forthcoming. It has nothing to do with you and I am looking for a solution, but it’s a journey I have to go through,’” says Nehal.
Talk about your journey
Now that your partner is clued in on your fibroids, what are your expectations? Are you just looking for their support, or do you want them to take a more active role in helping you choose a treatment path? It’s up to you how much input should they have over your treatment, says Nehal. “This really depends on the person. Some people find it helpful to enlist their significant other’s help, but there are some people like myself who prefer to go the journey on their own.”
We know it’s not easy to explain your medical conditions, especially when it involves intimacy and even fertility. To help you and your partner’s discussions, free reading material is available from The Fibroid Experts. Download our e-books, which offer tips on how to make an informed treatment decision, and the available alternatives to hysterectomy.