How Support for My Partner Changes With the Seasons
The support that I offer my partner living with endometriosis changes throughout the year in response to the changing expectations and opportunities that present themselves.
Being a supportive partner through changing seasons
I support my partner by helping with life stuff such as shopping, chores, navigating social gatherings. Things that many take for granted but are made more difficult by living with a chronic condition.
These challenges change with the seasons. What is expected of a person during the winter differs from what is expected of a person during the summer.
As the weather changes here in the northern hemisphere from cold to warmer, it got me thinking about what this change looks like.
Support through the winter months
During the winter, staying at home and taking it easy is much more socially acceptable, and this is easier on my partner in some ways. There are fewer invites to events, more reasons to wear big comfortable clothing, and more time to spend resting at home.
During these months, I might support my partner by cooking more often or going out into the cold to shop if she’s not well.
However, winter is also the festive season, which brings the additional challenges of navigating family events, alcohol, and sugary foods. These are things my partner limits to avoid endo flare-ups.
During these times, I might support her by making similar food and drink choices so she doesn’t feel isolated and by remaining aware of how she feels when we’re out, so I know when we should stay and have fun and when we should exit stage left.
Support through the summer months
The summer months have a similar tone of festivity and celebration.
There are festivals, parties, barbeques, and other events full of booze and frivolity. Again, by making sure my partner doesn’t feel isolated, I can help her feel more included, even when her choices around managing endo are at odds with those around us.
This time of year begs people to stay out longer and later, sleep less, drink more, and wear fewer clothes. I can help explain to friends and family why my partner can’t join us if she isn’t able to and use this as an opportunity to advocate for her and endo more generally.
Sometimes I can cancel my plans too, and instead, spend a pleasant evening together getting well again.
Supporting someone with endo is an active and evolving practice. By being perceptive and predictive of how my partner feels or will feel after we do something, I can make sure we can successfully navigate the changing weather and social calendars.
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