Hey, sick chick! So glad you found this video. Now, press pause and go get your significant other, or your SO. I’ll wait.
OK, great! Hi there. I’m so excited to talk to BOTH of you. This week’s video is the last of 2016, and it’s for all those folks who love us ChronicBabes: husbands, wives, spouses, partners, girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers… this video is packed with advice for how to be a great significant other (SO) to a woman with chronic illness. I hope you find the advice helpful, and I encourage you share this video with anyone who might benefit:
*AWAP = As Well As Possible
Hi! I’m Jenni Grover Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible).
Each week, I offer you my personal favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can.
Everyone gets a little embarrassed about feeling sick and can feel afraid to burden friends and family with problems. That’s where you come in. Once a day, you should check in with your SO and ask how she’s doing and if there’s anything you can do to help.
Sometimes she’s really, really hoping for some help but won’t ask for it because she doesn’t want to create extra work for you. Checking in is a good way to let her know you are always willing to make the time to help her and show that you’re there for her.
Sometimes we just need a shoulder to cry on. Seriously. It’s understandable that you’ll want to problem-solve, because you hate to see your SO in pain or sad. But try not to assume that’s always the best move.
When your SO brings up a tough subject or challenge, consider asking this question: “How can I help you right now?” She might say “I just need you to listen so I can get this off my chest.” There will be time for problem-solving later.
Be a battle buddy
I recently spoke to a U.S. Army war veteran, who told me how battle buddies work when men and women are on the battlefield: They don’t leave each other’s side, they always make sure the other person is doing everything they need to be safe, and they always keep the necessary tools at hand. He explained that now that he’s back in the states and getting treatment for chronic pain and injuries, his wife is his battle buddy: she goes to all his health care appointments, she helps him remember the questions he needs to ask of his docs, and keeps him on schedule. So be your ChronicBabe’s battle buddy.
Understanding and non-judgement
ChronicBabes can experience judgement from all sides, even sometimes from close friends and family. You know her best and you know that when she’s lying in bed all day, unable to go out and get things done, it’s not because she’s lazy or selfish – it’s just an off day. You can make her feel better by being a shield from the judgement.
Make sure she knows that you know a day in bed is absolutely warranted and defend her from those who act like it’s not. The last thing she needs is another person demanding her to “pull it together” and “suck it up.” Some soup and TV in bed will go a long way.
Take care of yourself, too
This should go without saying but you can only be the best SO possible if you’re taking care of yourself as well. Always be there for her, but don’t neglect your needs in the process. She will be there for you too, as much as she can. Loving her and loving yourself go hand in hand.
The most valuable thing you can do for a ChronicBabe : Be her cheerleader. And when she can, she’ll cheer for you, too.
Thanks for watching today! What kinds of special things do YOU do for your SO that make your relationship strong? I’d love to know. Share your strategy in the comments here or head on over to the blog at ChronicBabe.com to join the conversation—I want to hear what YOU have to say.
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Until we meet again, be AWAP! Smooches!