This Common Condition Is Killing Your Relationship Without You Knowing It
It affects one in four U.S. households, and it can also end your relationship, experts warn.
We’re all aware of how physical ailments and our health can affect every aspect of our lives. But one of the most prevalent conditions in America is having an even worse effect on your relationship than you might realize, according to experts. Migraines, an invisible but very common ailment, can affect your well-being to the point that they can destroy your relationship, experts say. Read on to find out more and for other marriage killers, check out Your Relationship Is Doomed If Your Partner Does This.
A 2016 meta-analysis published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that 24 percent of people with migraines report the condition has an effect on their sexual relationships, and 5 percent said they separated or divorced from a partner because of their migraines. Sadly, 50 percent of those who deal with migraines and 12 percent of their spouses report that the migraine sufferer would be a better partner if they did not have migraines.
Migraines are the third most prevalent illness in the world, with nearly one in four U.S. households including someone with the condition, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. They're even more common among women: Six percent of men experience migraines versus 18 percent of women.
The foundation also points out that while people with migraines can experience visual disturbances; nausea; vomiting; dizziness; extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell; and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face, that's only half the story.
Migraines also significantly diminish a patient's quality of life and can even lead to the demise of their romantic relationships due to the physical, emotional, and financial effects they cause. “We know based on evidence that migraines affect academic, social, family, and personal domains of life,” Cynthia Armand, MD, a neurologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, told People.
Read on to find out how, and for more on what that pounding in your head could mean, check out What Your Headaches Are Telling You About Your Health.
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Those with migraines experience mental health issues, which can wear on relationships.
Depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances are common among those with migraines. According to The King's Fund, a think tank associated with the U.K.'s National Health Services, people dealing with migraines are three times more likely to experience depression. The American Migraine Foundation also points out that about 30 to 50 percent of people with from chronic migraines have anxiety, as do 20 percent of those with episodic migraines.
Armand told People that a likely increase in irritability and overt sensitivity to light and noise as adding to tension at home, potentially leading to a relationship breakdown. And for more on what makes a partnership healthy, check out The No. 1 Thing That Makes a Relationship Successful, New Study Shows.
People with migraines are more likely to miss work, potentially creating financial stresses.
A 2016 survey by Ipsos of 4,000 Americans, commissioned by Excedrin, found that among those with migraines, more than half (55 percent) have missed school or work in the last three months because of their ailment.
In fact, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, more than 157 million workdays are lost each year in the U.S. due to migraines, while healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with the condition estimated to be as high as $36 billion nationwide.
That adds to financial stresses for anyone and their spouse, which is a common cause of a relationship's dissolution, considering the top issue couples fight about is money. According to a 2017 survey by Ramsey Solutions, arguments about finances are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity. And for more tips on keeping your bond strong, here are The Most Common Mistakes Couples Make, According to Marriage Counselors.
And they miss milestone personal events and home responsibilities.
People dealing with migraines “often miss joyous activities with their family members," Armand explained. "They’re unable to keep up with daily chores or care for others in the household. They might also feel guilt for underperforming at work and home.” And for more ways to maintain a healthy relationship, know that If You're Not Doing This, Your Relationship Won't Last, Study Says.
The invisible nature of migraines can create misunderstandings in relationships.
“Someone with migraines spends the majority of their time proving to the outside world that something is wrong," Armand says. "So the last thing they need is their own [loved ones] to not believe what’s happening."
Armand recommends that the partners and family of those with migraines educate themselves about the condition, plan in advance for contingencies around a migraine, and be ready to step up without complaining. “You don’t want to show that you’re frustrated in the middle of an attack. All of that requires patience and not showing you’re upset in the moment.” And for more marriage advice from those who know best, here are The 50 Best Marriage Tips From Couples Who've Been Married for 50 Years.