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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 team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • alyssahend
    3 months ago

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you so much for sharing this perspective! I’m a migraine sufferer of 12 years and am only 22. I am so grateful to have found a partner who, even though we aren’t even engaged, is willing to move across the country with me to find a better fit for my head. Same goes for my parents. It’s truly crucial to have this support system with such a diagnosis, or any diagnosis, because life can be literally impossible to do without it. I’m so glad you’ve found this for yourself as well.
    Best of luck for the future.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hi Alyssa,

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m so glad to hear that you have such good support and I hope it continues for you. You’re right about how it can feel impossible without the proper support.


  • Alicat74
    4 months ago

    Sorry for the super long first post! lol! I thought it was both ironic and cool that this was my Facebook post on Sunday night, and then today I stumbled upon this amazing post and migraine community! It’s so encouraging to be able to connect with people who know exactly what you are going through. So again, sorry about the long post, and thanks for creating this awesome space!

    •My Migraine Journey•

    **Disclaimer: This post is 100% NOT a fishing trip for sympathy or pity. It is simply a platform to be able to share my personal experience with migraines and to hopefully educate and start a healthy dialogue with other sufferers, but even more-so, with non-migraine sufferers, to help them better understand what their family member, friend, co-worker, etc. is going through every day. And to hopefully remove some of the stigma surrounding not only migraines, but other types of “invisible”, yet very valid, chronic medical conditions.**

    My Journey began roughly 20 years ago. It started out as an occasional headache maybe once or twice a week. At that time, Tylenol and other OTC’s were actually helpful and would usually knock it out in a couple of hours. As the weeks and months went on, the headaches began to become more frequent and with more severe and scarier symptoms. Soon they were almost daily and came with severe nausea, worsening light and sound sensitivity, vertigo, etc. After seeing almost every Neurologist in a 50-100 mile radius of home, to no avail, a very wise ENT (Ernie Riley ) referred me to a Neurologist at The University of South Alabama in Mobile. That appointment would end up changing everything.

    On my very first visit, the Neurologist ordered an MRA, which is very similar to an MRI, except the MRA shows the arteries. That was when it was discovered that I had a right vertebral artery occlusion. Basically, this means that the blood flow into your brain that is sent through the Circle of Willis, is normally evenly distributed to both the left and right side of the Circle, by way of the left and right vertebral arteries, causing normal blood flow and “traffic”. In my case, it was determined that my right vertebral artery was completely occluded, or blocked, and that due to this, the left artery was having to work double time to keep the blood flow going due to the right artery being impassable. As with any other type of blockage (heart, carotid, clots, etc.) like that, the left artery was heavily overcompensating by doing the work for both itself, and the blocked right one. To say I was scared out of my wits was an understatement! That was 3 weeks before my 30th birthday. I was blessed for 4 great years with my Neurologist and all of the amazing staff at South. Unfortunately, my Neurologist received a great job offer in Virginia Beach and moved. I saw a couple of different doctors over the years in Birmingham, Atlanta, etc., but no one ever “stuck”.

    Fast forward to July of 2014. I had been without a doctor for awhile, and to say that the situation was getting worse is a gigantic understatement. I saw a local Neurologist here in Dothan, and like the many I had seen before them, the treatment regimen they tried was unsuccessful. But I am very grateful for one of the things they did. Since I had not been seeing a doctor consistently since mine in Mobile left, an MRA was ordered to check the status of the occlusion. It was still completely intact, and to all of our surprise, a 2 mm., right-sided aneurysm had now also joined the party. **major meltdown followed**

    When I say that I have tried every medication known to mankind, I literally mean of them. Also in the “try column” is Botox, nerve block injections (which for those who don’t know, are 3 injections at the base of your skull with fairly large needles), the Daith ear piercing, seeing a chiropractor, and every home remedy and old wives tale this side of VooDoo!

    I can honestly say that this is something I would not wish on anyone. Not only are the headaches themselves a total nightmare, but the stigma attached to them and the actions and attitudes of people around you, can sometimes hurt worse than the physical pain. I try not to let the things that people say (or the eye rolls, deep sighs, etc.) affect me personally. Unless someone has them also, or knows someone who does, they genuinely don’t understand how traumatic and life altering the headaches are. All they see is that you are grumpy at work, again. All they see is that you have missed out on so many major life events of the people you love most because you “have another headache”. All they see is that they repeatedly invite you places, and 9 times out of 10, you have to decline because yet again, you “have another headache”. What they don’t see is the way you lie in your bed sobbing (which does “wonders” for your head!) because you have missed another girl’s night out, another wedding of such good friends children that you consider them family, another amazing accomplishment by your child and the ceremony to recognize her. What they don’t see is the way you speak to and feel about yourself internally, because yet again, you have let so many people down and have even prayed out loud for God to just bring you Home and let the pain finally end.

    Let me say again, this post is NOT trying to elicit sympathy or pity! It is simply for awareness sake and to hopefully open up the dialogue to help people who have never experienced a migraine or know anyone who has, understand better what migraine sufferers go through.

    Next week I will take my 3rd shot of the new once-a-month migraine injection, Emgality. I was told that it generally takes around 3-5 months for the medicine to fully “infiltrate” my system and to begin to see a difference. I am praying with all that I have left that it works.

    If you actually made it all the way to the end of this…good job! lol! I hope this helps people have a somewhat better understanding of what migraine sufferers go through every day. I would love to do my best to answer any questions that anyone might have, and if you are a migraine warrior as well and would like to share your story or personal experiences, I would love that as well! #migrainewarrior #justbecauseyoucantseeourillness #doesntmeanitsnotthere #rememberthatwordshurttoo

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    3 months ago

    Thanks Alicat74 for sharing your journey! I think so many of relate to it deeply! I am also trying Emgality. Hope it has been of help to you. Always feel free to reach out to our community if you have any questions or need support!

  • Emae
    4 months ago

    My partner things I might be addicted to aspirins. Also, when I have a migraine I have other symptoms such as can’t handle lights, sounds or smells. I can’t really walk and I am hungrier. If I eat a lot I star to feel better along with medication.
    He believes it will go away if I wait and that I am making all my other symptoms up.

  • jt24p6
    4 months ago

    “It will go away if [you] wait.” Imagine saying that to someone with, say, epilepsy, another neurological disorder. Your partner needs to learn more about migraine. There are some great articles on this site that might help.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    4 months ago

    Hi Emae,

    I’m sorry that your partner isn’t being supportive. It can sometimes be hard for others to understand how complex migraine is. Have you tried showing him some of the articles on this or other migraine sites to show what you’re experiencing is common for migraine? Have you been able to see a doctor and get a migraine diagnosis? Is there anyone in your life that is supportive? We are here to help if you need, with any of the above. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

  • laurahildebrand
    6 months 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.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    4 months ago

    Hi laurahildebrand,

    Yes it is a gift, and it certainly isn’t easy on any relationship. I’m so glad you now are seeing someone more supportive. Thanks for sharing your experiences!


  • tonytoshiba
    6 months 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
    6 months 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
    6 months 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

  • Dana
    4 months ago

    My husband is AMAZING! I am incredibly lucky! I was diagnosed right before we starting dating when I was 16 and I just turned 40. (Also amazing lol). He waits on me hand and foot when I am out, make sure I have my meds, my ice, goes with me to all my doctor appointments and luckily he has the kind of job that allows him to work from home frequently. I know I sound braggy (if that’s even a word), but this man deserves to be bragged about. The only thing he won’t do is fight with insurance companies….and we know that alone can give us a migraine 🙁

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