With symptoms ranging from fatigue and depression to joint pain and puffiness, hypothyroidism isn’t an easy condition to manage. Still, hypothyroidism doesn’t have to become the awkward third wheel in a relationship.
Regardless if you’re married, in a long-term relationship, or navigating the dating scene, here are five tips from people living with the disease.
1. Share information.
Hypothyroidism is a difficult condition to explain. While you may feel like you’re explaining yourself well, there may be times when your partner just nods their head or offers their sympathy. This, of course, can be frustrating and can lead to intense, strained conversations. Instead of going at it alone, share with your partner.
Email them links to great articles, blogs, or websites about the condition. Also, sharing with them what others who have the disease have to say might give them a better perspective. Ask them to explore some hypothyroidism community pages. Share with them any great books or pamphlets you’ve read about the disease. Consider asking them to come to a doctor’s visit. The more they know about hypothyroidism, the more they can help you.
2. Ask for help.
Hypothyroidism can affect not only how you feel, but how you function too. Going to work, doing the dishes, going to the grocery store, or picking up the kids from school may have been relatively easy before, but now those tasks may seem like insurmountable feats.
If this is the case, ask your partner for a helping hand. Freeing up your schedule will give you the time you need to relax, or -- at the very least -- relieve some unnecessary stress.
3. Do something active together.
Having an underactive thyroid increases your chances of developing cardiovascular problems. Exercising regularly can help reduce these risks, but sticking to a plan can be difficult, particularly if you’re feeling tired. Use this as an opportunity to enlist your partner to help you stay on track.
This doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a marathon together! Going for a walk after dinner, swimming a few laps in the community pool, or playing a few games of tennis are all good choices. These activities can leave you feeling energized, and even facilitate some meaningful conversations between you and your partner.
4. Find other ways to be intimate.
You may not think having an underactive thyroid will affect your sexual relationship with your partner, but it might. Fatigue and tiredness can lead to a lower sex drive and a lower libido.
But don’t automatically assume that your quest for intimacy is out of the picture. This is simply a chance for you and your partner to find other ways to be intimate. Cuddle together while watching your favorite movie, hold hands while you’re shopping, or give each other a relaxing massage with fragrant oils and creams. With time, and with the proper treatment, you’ll likely see your drive and libido level return to normal.
5. Be patient.
Being patient can be difficult and tricky at times –- even for those without thyroid problems. But patience is key, and it’s how you should try to approach dating with hypothyroidism.
Your body, mind, and spirit may not be up for going out and socializing all the time. Rather than pushing yourself too far, communicate your needs. If you’ve already agreed to go on a date and you’re not up for it, ask if you can reschedule instead.
Consider asking your friends for help. They may know someone that’s right for you or may have suggestions for meeting others. And remember, finding a partner takes time. For everyone.