The Disappointing Disappointment Of Migraines In My Marriage
Last updated: November 2022
I’ve been known to go to far lengths to avoid disappointing those I love. I’ve worn horrible Punky Brewster-style mismatched outfits suggested by ex-boyfriends. I’ve met friends at horror movies even though I know I won’t sleep for days after said viewing. I care deeply about those I care about and this is why letting people down when I have a migraine is rough—especially when that person is my husband.
Has migraine changed our relationship?
My husband and I met when The Matrix character Neo was new and Y2K was a thing. In fact, my husband and I started dating when my migraines weren’t even a thing. I actually showed up for our dates! He was around when I had my first migraine, and then my second, and then my 1,237th.
My hubby has taken this whole migraine journey with me, but understanding the evolution of my neurological disorder doesn’t always stop the disappointment from flowing when my head destroys our plans.
"Can you take over?"
“Can you take him to the birthday party? I can’t.” I ask shielding my eyes from the evil sunlight.
The request for my husband to take over parenting, chauffeuring and parenting, or dog walking and parenting duties at a moment’s notice is not usual.
I do my best to take care of my head and avoid potential migraine triggers like lack of sleep, drinking alcohol, and doing hardcore geometry. But even when I avoid all these, my brain can have a mind of its own. This is when I have to change my family’s schedule and scramble to come up with a Plan B - it's usually my husband.
How does my husband react?
Once my request is thrown out there, I can see my husband’s body stiffen, and I watch his mouth tighten. It's a subtle shift, but because I’ve known him since before Ben and Jerry invented their failed ice cream bars, I can read this disappointment. His plans were long set in his brain, and now my boiling brain has changed them.
I feel his disappointment in my body as if it were my own. There are times he keeps this discontentment to himself and others when he voices his sadness — both reactions hurt my heart, even though that’s not his intent. What hurts is my inability to control my head in order to avoid this letdown altogether. I feel like my head has failed us once again.
What's the solution?
Over the years, I’ve searched for an easy answer to this dilemma and found no simple solution. As long as I have migraines, I'll invariably go through phases where I’m destined to lie like a slug, in pain, in my dark bedroom. Plans will have to change, but hopefully, our open attitudes toward discussing our feelings will not. This is what keeps the resentment from building and our connection connecting.
Perhaps some disappointment is the name of the game in a world where migraines exist. But where we haven’t let each other down is in our willingness to talk through our feelings. As long as our communication stays open, our love for one another will as well.
Have others downplayed your migraine pain?