How To Explain Endometriosis To Your Partner
Jessica has endometriosis, and Chris is her partner. Together, they find ways to manage the condition and support each other through its challenges. But they weren't always on the same page when talking about endo... Below they share some tips they've learned on how to start sharing your endo journey with your partner:
When is the best time to discuss endo with your partner?
Endometriosis is such a huge part of my life that if you get to know me, endometriosis is going to come out pretty soon, probably in our first real conversation. If endometriosis affects your every day, or you manage it in a way that affects your every day, like avoiding gluten and dairy, it could be hard to not talk about it - especially on a date, as you may have to choose a particular place to go. I think in those situations, my personal preference would be to talk about it, even briefly, really early on, like the first or second date.
If it’s not taking a major toll on your life and it’s just something in the background, you may feel more comfortable talking about it a bit later, perhaps when things become ‘official’ or more serious. You have to do what’s right for you, but just be mindful that by not talking about it, you might be making it harder to talk about it and get support from your partner when you do need to.
I think it's best to get it out in the open early on. If you have been in the relationship for a while but have only just discovered your endo, it's important to share and get support from your partner as soon as possible.
If it's early on in your relationship and you're not sure how your partner will react, it's still important to share early as you need to know how they will cope with it and if they are able to support you as the endo is likely to be a part of the relationship for a while.
What advice could you give to someone who is nervous about talking to their partner about endo or unsure of how to start the conversation?
This is such a complicated question. I’ve known people whose partners have been super unsupportive and after constant persistence from the partner with endo, they’ve transformed and have become dedicated to battling it together! However, it’s often been a really long and hard road to that transformation, and sometimes it doesn’t happen, which I’ve witnessed too.
I guess the thing to consider is that endometriosis is likely going to be with you until at leastmenopause. I truly hope it doesn’t make your life hard, but it might do at times, and at those points, you want a loving and supportive partner who gets that. If this is the person for you, my feeling is that they need to be on board the endo train with you, prepared to battle it together. If I’m honest, I can’t imagine trying to hide my endometriosis and suffering in silence to make my partner comfortable.
All that being said, whether it’s uncomfortable to have the conversation or not, I really think it’s integral to have this conversation because without it, how will you know whether this person will show up and be there for you when you really need it?
If you’re struggling to do it face to face, or you think they will, perhaps it’s about starting the conversation first with a phone call, or an email, or even a long text message conversation. Once that silence has been broken and you’ve started that conversation, you may find it easier to discuss it in person with them.
Also, quick tip - the Rise Together Podcast is a great resource for learning how to have hard conversations with your partner and being on the same team.
Don't be nervous - your loved one will want to know about something of such importance, and they'll most likely want to know how they can help if they can. Your loved one cares about you and that includes supporting you through your endo journey.
Also, if your partner is male, they may have much less of an understanding of women's reproductive health than you, so be clear and don't scrimp on the basics.
Do you make any endo preparations when you know you are attending a BBQ, party, or a day at the beach?