a man rubs a woman's feet as she lays in bed

RLS Isn't Doom for Romantic Relationships

When my husband, Mr. Li, and I first started dating, my RLS wasn’t really much of a bother.

Before we started dating, I informed him that I had endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and RLS. My illnesses didn’t really impact me much in our first couple of months of dating.

A difficult recovery from surgery

Seven months into dating, I had my gallbladder removed due to a large gallstone. Mr. Li was very supportive and helpful as I struggled to recover from the surgery and deal with the new changes it brought.

It took me a month to be able to handle liquid foods and another month to be able to handle plain solid food like crackers, bread, and chicken. My stomach reacted so quickly to whatever was being put in it and was followed by agony and rushing to the bathroom.

Sympathy, laughter, and careful massage

I am very blessed that Mr. Li is understanding and sympathetic because his Mom has MS. I know he feels very frustrated that he can’t do more to help me and will do whatever he can, even if it’s just making me laugh.

When it comes to my RLS, Mr. Li helps massage my legs when they ache pretty bad. He has nice big hands so they are able to fully wrap around my legs and apply pressure. Sometimes just squeezing on and off can bring relief. Other times he will do a full leg massage, always being careful not to go too hard. I find the muscles around my shin (tibia) are usually the most tender when massaged.

Accommodating my need to move and helping me relax

Mr. Li knows me so well he can tell just by the way I breathe or adjust in a seat that I am in pain or discomfort. He will ask what’s causing the pain and then offer up different things I do to try to help ease the pain or discomfort based on my answer.

He doesn’t mind turning off the TV and putting on music so I can dance around the apartment to try to quell the RLS pains. Other times he joins me on walks, making it a more relaxing experience. There have even been times when we have to stop the show we are watching so I can jump into the shower to get heat on my legs. Mr. Li will often help me stand up and then quickly go off to put my shower stool in the shower, get the hot water going, and then help me walk to the bathroom.

We have had way more great days than bad days

We have talked at great length about how my illnesses affect Mr. Li. RLS definitely has the least impact on him. He’s never disturbed by my need to move, even at night in bed. He is a heavy enough sleeper that my movements don’t disturb him. On nights when we end up going to bed at the same time, he will read either read on the couch or in bed to give me a chance to fall asleep first.

It may not always be easy being in a relationship with someone who has multiple conditions, but there are so many wonderful and fun memories that my husband and I have together. We have had way more great days than bad days. Having someone who makes me laugh and supports me is fantastic.

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