Interabled couples are dispelling the myth ‘100 out of 100 relationships that involve caregiving, fail’
Dr Phil made the bold statement on TV in March this year. An able-bodied women and disabled man appeared on his show and he declared: “you can be his lover or you can be his caregiver, but you can’t be both… It won’t work, 100 out of 100 times this won’t work.”
This resulted in an outrage from ‘interabled’ couples all around the world and they began to post on social media using #100outof100.
When you develop a chronic illness after you started dating
Young couple Beth and Ash Tew have been together for 6 years and married for the last 2. I was fortunate enough to meet them and it is clear how much they love each other.
Beth: “I love his sense of humour, his eyes and how we balance each other out (I’m manic as hell and he’s pretty chill)”
Ash: “I love her beautiful face, the fact that she is so driven to achieve what she sets out too.”
Beth has hEDS and PoTS which leave her managing a range of symptoms such as joint pain and sickness. But none of this happened when she first met Ash.
“I wasn’t chronically ill when we met: it was about 3 years into our relationship. It was very taxing on us as it was difficult to navigate. It took over a year and a half to get a diagnosis so it was a journey into the unknown but we stuck together!
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. We had our fights and issues, but the main thing is we worked through them together.”
“My advice to anyone in a similar situation is communication is key! Listen to each other. This will help reduce resentment and issues that may arise. For example I will tell Ash I need a day in bed or Ash will tell me he needs to go out and do an activity I can’t.”
“Also be patient. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. People deserve love regardless of race, religion, ability or sexual preference. Every situation is what you make it to be so be aware.”
Knowing what the other one needs
When you know each other inside out, you can tell when someone is feeling down or needs some extra support. For interabled couples, this understanding makes it easy to manage flare ups. It doesn’t mean that either of you have to give up doing activities or miss out, it’s all about planning.
“I think it’s important to compromise on things and find a balance of doing things together and separately. Mainly linked to physical activity such as hiking or riding a bike, but Ash is able to still do them. I express myself by making cards and other art. It’s all about planning now as it’s harder to do spur of the moment things due to pain or fatigue.”
And it’s not just Beth and Ash that show interabled relationships can be just as loving and happy as able bodied ones!