Get a Rheum! An RA Patient’s Guide to Romance
by Linda Perkins | Pack Health Member and Patient Advocate
I get it. Your hands hurt. Your feet too. You’re fatigued beyond belief and you’re feeling frumpy because your anti-inflammatory meds have you swollen up like a puffer fish. So when Valentine’s Day rolls around, you just roll your eyes. Romance? Ha! I don’t know about you, but as far as me and my RA goes, I am often just happy to get through each day. Sex and romance are far from the top of my list of priorities.
That said, since my RA diagnosis and my wedding occurred within a few months of each other, I have had the unique opportunity of learning how to manage my rheumatoid disease while still nurturing my newlywed status. So while I am hardly an expert, I can offer a few tips on how to still enjoy a romantic relationship when you have RA.
Sadly, it’s hard to plan ahead when you have RA because you never know how you’ll feel from one day to the next. So it’s important to take advantage of the times you’re feeling good! My husband has a chronic illness too, so it’s tricky to find a time that’s best for both of us, but we have learned that when the moment is right, we have to GO FOR IT!
Develop your Own Love Language
My teenage daughter thinks it’s ridiculous that her parents write XOXO on notes around the house and in texts to each other, but that is our special way of saying I love you to one another. When I am having a bad day, an XOXO from hubby can put an instant smile on my face, knowing there are physical hugs and kisses waiting for me!
Get Away from the Ordinary
Routines can be great, but nothing kills romance faster than the same ole same ole, day after day. That just spells b-o-r-i-n-g. Switch things up a bit! Eat lunch on the back patio, enjoying the warm sunshine or cool breeze. Take the long way home, holding hands as you drive down country roads. While you’re there, pick some wildflowers! Find a place to park one evening and look for shooting stars. As you enjoy each special moment together, you will feel instantly closer.
Be Grateful for Each Other
A little gratitude goes a long way, and showing it is a key that can unlock the door to romance. What does your partner do that you appreciate? My husband makes me coffee. I am so grateful for that warm cup of liquid nirvana he brings me that it generates an instant smile in his direction, and he often gets a coffee kiss from me too! When we notice our partners and show our appreciation, we connect to each other at a deep emotional level that can ignite a little flame of passion right there on the spot.
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