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Wedding bands interlocked. The ring on the right has a diamond in the shape of a brain.

My Spouse’s Perspective on My Migraines

My husband and I just celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary, and all told, have been together almost seventeen years! He’s been with me in both pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis, and in both chronic and episodic times. He’s seen a lot in terms of my migraines and has been an incredible support for me. I also think he’s learned a lot about migraine since my diagnosis. I thought I’d ask him a few questions to get his perspective on my migraines.

What is it like being married to someone with migraine, in a nutshell?

Because it’s a one-sided change, it’s like your spouse is suddenly on a big project at work… or they had a baby in their brain. A change is taking place for this person, and while it affects you, you’re on the outside of it. There’s more distance between you and your spouse because your spouse’s attention is split trying to deal with this change in their life.

What was a difficult moment you remember from me having a migraine?

I remember needing Lisa to help me on a work project.  I needed her skills on the computer with Photoshop. I was under a deadline and getting really stressed about it. When I opened up about it and demanded her time (in I’m sure not the greatest way), it stressed her out while she had a migraine and she slumped to the floor and started to cry. And there I am, still stressed out about the work and its completion, and now suddenly also needing to forget about all that and be a supportive husband.

What’s a funny story you remember from one of my migraine attacks?

I thought it was funny when Lisa had to drive around New York City in a U-Haul with a ice pack turban. I think she also put some funny things in the fridge sometimes.

In the community, people with migraine often call their spouses “caregivers.” Do you feel this term fits you? Why or why not?

Yes and no. It’s an extra hat you as a spouse have to wear. It’s not the only hat.

If you had to tell the world something about migraine, what would you say?

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. I think it’s worse for people who are naturally good at putting on a strong face. I think the thing I hate about migraine is that for whatever reason it makes me want to validate what my spouse is saying. The stigma is exaggerated for migraine than some other diseases. My main piece of advice would be to trust your partner and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Grateful for the support

Again, I’m grateful to have such a supportive spouse, not only one who I can commiserate with but who I can laugh with about the funny moments. (The U-Haul/NYC story may have to be told in another post!).

If you are a spouse/partner/caregiver I’d love to hear your perspective as well. How has migraine affected you, and what are your thoughts on it? If you are someone with migraine, I’d love to hear how you navigate your close relationships when it comes to migraine. Share in the comments below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • laurahildebrand
    1 month ago

    My husband left me because of my migraines. One of the most painful things that has ever happened to me. I’ve moved past it and am seeing someone who does not judge me for my migraines. He is completely understanding and supportive. Having an understanding spouse is a real gift. I am so happy for you.

  • tonytoshiba
    1 month ago

    These are my thoughts and remembrances, I am the person with migraine.
    My wife and I have been married 39 glorious years. Maybe not all glorious, but mostly and we sure are happy we are growing old together. I am retired by disability, Emphysema has joined the party and I’m only 64.
    We married and I probably already had migraines, I just ate a lot of aspirin, never more than 24 per day as I didn’t want to hurt myself. I was very good at hiding my pain.
    She kept asking me to describe my headaches. After a few years I quit saying they are just a bad headache. I described as follows. A large vise is slowly being tightened on the sides of my head. While this is happening there is a red hot screwdriver being stabbed into and wriggled about inside. My neck and shoulders are cramped. There is a blinding light in my eyes and loudspeakers connected to my ears. My stomach is trying to vomit, I hold it in as in the confusion I am trying to figure out what I need to do, which is to hide but I have a family I need to be with and help take care of.
    In my mid 30s my belly and associated parts began bleeding and causing discomfort so off to the doc I went. She proceeded to tell me that I am a rather foolish, ignorant and stupid man. She had told me this before because I had severe asthma and I didn’t see her right away, my brain was dying and she had me transported by a station wagon with flashing lights. I don’t see doctors unless I am in extremely bad condition, no reason to take their time for a little cold or flu you know.
    The doctor let me know I had migraines. Okay with me, everybody else in my family does. So we went to work on prophalactate and pain killers. What a journey, it never ends. Some were useless, some caused intestinal issues, some wouldn’t let me sleep for a few days which was okay as I love to read.
    Imatrex, hooray, it stopped the migraine almost instantly after I injected myself. A few months later and the cramps were so bad we needed to continue the search.
    The medications to reduce frequency brought on a migraine with fifteen minutes of ingestion.
    We finally settled on opiates. And then one day she said that we might be addicted. Addicted, how, I’ve only been using them for a decade or so? She asked me to discontinue. Cold turkey or ease down? Cold turkey if you can.
    So I quit. No adverse affects. I wasn’t hungry, sleepy, couldn’t sleep, wasn’t irritable, did not crave one. I just ate aspirin to pull the migraine pain down.
    And then K medical group, (not real name), no longer offered opiates or any pain reducers except in itsy bitsy amounts and counts.
    And so the journey continues. My wife is getting used to living in a cave part time as two of our children, (special needs adults), live with us and they also have migraines. Naratriptan works for our daughter and codeine for our son. Getting ill from the meds without the meds helping. Going to pain management classes and having the instructor(s) tell us to have somebody stand behind us, wave their hands over our heads and state firmly, “I take your pain away,” and repeat until the pain is gone. No joking, real instructions. Also found out that chiropractors are witch doctors, they just steal money and do no good. Paid good money for that there teaching.
    Finally Botox was tried. Two in my eyebrows and two in the nerve block behind and below my ears. Three months and then more injections. No migraines until near the end of the forced time between injections. I presume they are expensive as K medical group has decided to provide Lidocaine and says that it always was Lidocaine. Lidocaine doesn’t work. Merely excruciating injection site pain for two weeks, two weeks no migraines and then the return of daily, weekly, and continuous migraines. So I am cancelling the Lidocaine injections.
    Considering changing insurance companies as this healthcare is most definitely not medical care.

  • laurahildebrand
    1 month ago

    Wow! I concur that treatment is almost impossible. The only thing that helps me is opiates. I’m amazed your doctor let you quit cold turkey! I get 30 pills to last 90 days. So I have to be really careful with my dosing. I live in fear of the day my neurologist tells me she can’t prescribe opiates anymore. I also have gastroparesis which is somehow connected to migraines. Also terrible acid reflux. I’m having surgery Sept 16 but until then I am in overwhelming abdominal pain all the time. My surgeon would not give me anything to take for pain because of South Carolina guidelines. In addition, after my surgery, which is gastric bypass (I’m not overweight) and removal of the rest of my stomach, I’ll receive the pain medication Norco but no more than five days’ worth. What a joke! I am just livid that responsible opiate users are being punished for the actions of people who abuse drugs. What happens after five days? I guess I’ll just be in constant pain from my migraines and my surgery – a 4-6 week recovery. Sorry. Rant over.

  • glassmind
    1 month ago

    My spouse is super compassionate and supportive when it comes to Migraine.

    So thankful.

    Initially in the early months, my spouse would say “sorry you have a headache.” This bothered me so much. As soon as I said “i wish i had a headache” asked “please say ‘sorry you are having a migraine'”, my partner switched language.

    Again very grateful

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