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Marrying someone with MS?
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Marrying someone with MS?

I recently met a man who told me has MS. We're now having a romantic relationship and he's hoping it would lead to marriage. His condition is progressive and has been stable for the past 12 years. My parents are not for this relationship with this guy, though I like him a lot, because they think it's a 'way to hell'.

I would like some advice and would like to know if people with progressive MS can have a normal life? and how dangerous can it be if thinking of having children? etc.
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31 Comments Post a Comment
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Hi, Fifa, and welcome.

This is a good question for our forum and I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions. We have many knowledgeable people with lots of experience. We have a few member whose spouses are the ones with MS.

I have one question for you. I don't see how MS can be called progressive if it has been stable for 12 years. The two ideas are direct opposites. People with progressive forms of the disease are not stable, they gradually get worse and worse. Could you talk to your guy and let him tell you more about his disease process? And could you get a book or two about MS and read them carefully? If you decide to continue your relationship you should understand all the facts. MS is not a way to hell by any means, so your parents are dead wrong, but it's not an easy thing either, and there's no predicting what will happen.

People with MS, including women, marry, have children and raise them just as other people do. The children run only a very slight risk of getting MS themselves later on.

By asking this forum, you are on your way to being more informed. That's the most important thing. Then you can make whatever decisions that need to be made based on facts, not worry or myths.

Have a merry Christmas,
ess
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Many thanks for your response Ess.

His disease has been stable for the past 12 years. What he gets is fatigue and sometimes short-term memory loss.

I would like to learn more about the disease and how spouses of people with MS deal with their spouses' condition.

It would also be nice to know if someone can tell me whether MS should be the main concern when deciding marrying the guy (though he got everything I look for in a man).

Thanks and happy Christmas to you too.
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195469_tn?1388326488
Welcome.

There is alot of discussion that needs to take place between your mate and yourself.  Just as with any disorder, it's LOVE that should be the determining factor in a future marriage.  If you love a person, despite their disability, then love is what guides your heart.

Living with someone that has MS can be difficult.  There are good days and bad days, but so it is with anything in life.  the Good and the bad.

If you decide to give your heart to this man, learn everything you can about MS and the kind of MS he has, so you can be his true "partner" in his disease AND his life.

Do you mind me asking how old you and this precious man are?

The best of luck to you,
Heather
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Hi Heather,

Thanks for your comments and advice.

I am 27 and he's 42.

And yes, I am willing to learn everything I need to know about MS so that I can assess myself and know if I can deal with it.

In terms of love, I certainly feel something for him. Don't know if I can call it love but it's very special. Again, I have only known him for the past 2 months but it's been very intense.

Thanks
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572651_tn?1333939396
Dear Fifa,
There certainly are people who marry their partner, knowing full well there is a disability.  But it needs to be done with eyes wide open.  

As Ess and heather have wisely suggested, take time to learn more about MS and the form of MS this man has.  

Being a caregiver is a special role and  not everyone is suited to sacrifice their own interests for the sake of their partner.  Many a person here is split from their partner because the relationship cracked under the strain of this disease.  

I applaud you for looking for more information and trying to understand what this relationship would mean for you if it continues to develop into something more.

Good luck with working through this,
Lulu

  
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695000_tn?1316139648
Hi Fifa,
I was diagnosed with MS shortly after I started dating my dream man.  We had been dating for a couple of months when I got really sick.  He stuck by me and helped me through the hard time and when I was better he asked me to marry him.  I cried and cried thinking I would ruin this wonderful man's life but he didn't see it that way.  He loved me and he was willing to take a chance.  If you love this man, go for it.  You could marry a perfectly healthy man and he could have an accident 3 months down the road and be disabled....what then?  As mentioned above, it could be hard to live with someone who has MS.  But challenges are there to make us stronger people.  Just think what would you want him to do if the table were turned around?  All I know is that by having my husband by my side and loving me the way he does, I am much stonger and I am more willing to fight for my life.  I haven't ruined his life at all.  We have a wonderful life together and we love each other.  We will deal with challenges as they come.  That's what love is about.
It definately helps, if you educate yourself about MS.  The more you understand it, the less scarey it gets (at least that's how I felt).  It's bit overwhelming but you can get a ton of information on line.  Google "National MS Society" for their website.  They have a lot of information on MS (and lots of booklets they can send to you).  If you decide this is not for you, that's okay too but please be fully honest with him.
Please feel free to drop me a note, if I can answer any questions for you.


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Thanks LKG54 and Auspiciousme!

There are two challenges here. Though I really like this gentleman, I only met him less than 2 months ago. My parents, for example, think I should this relationship right now before I get too attached.

Spending time with him everyday definitely makes me like him more and I forget about his disease and what could potentially happen to him if his condition gets worse.

Recently I noticed that in the middle of a conversation, he would stop for about 5 seconds and then continues. He said that his doctor told him that it was not related to his MS but that to be honest, got me worried to see him episodically struggle to say something so he would just stop for a few seconds and continue normally.

The other challenge is that ever since I was a little girl, I had dreams and big ambitions. This is probably what's killing my mom because she thinks after all the efforts I did in my life/ career, she doesn't want to see me end up being a caregiver or a 'nurse' as she said.

I truly like this man and he really got everything I would want in my ideal partner but i also want to think clearly whether I can live with him and his MS. As I said, his condition has been stable for more than 10 years and the problems he gets are difficulty to walk (sometimes) and fatigue.

Thanks again for your advice and support!

Fifa
,
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Avatar_m_tn
My Neuro told me he had several elderly gentlemen that had "progressive"  MS, They were in their 70's and still playing golf, so it is very possible that you will never have to deal with a disabled partner.  Anyway living or marrying someone should be about Love not the circumstances.  I suspect MA and PA are more concwerned about the age difference.
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Thanks JonM.

Most people think he's about 34 years-old. He doesn't look his age at all and his spirit is very young too.

Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, Fifa. Forgot something. Meredith Vieira of the Today show has been married for many years to a man with MS. He had had it a good while when they met and started getting serious, so she had to think things over and make some real decisions herself. Her husband is named Richard Cohen, and I believe he recently had a book published talking about overcoming disabilities.

He does have some himself. He can't drive, for instance. But in many other ways he leads a full, normal life, and has been very successful in his work. He and Meredith have 3 kids who are almost grown up now.

You could Google him to get more info, or try to find his book on Amazon. You can read there the reviews that people submit on books offered at Amazon.

Anyway, it's a suggestion.

ess
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Fifa and welcome to the forum!

I can't give a better answer than others have already stated.

I will say that good men are hard to find and since you've only known him for 2 months, I would think it is a little too early to make a definite decision one way or the other, even without MS thrown in the picture.

Educate yourself about MS and get to know your guy even better over time and then you could make a better and more educated decision.

No matter what you choose, I wish you happiness.

doni
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198419_tn?1360245956
Hi Fifa,

Welcome to our family here.  I think it's just wonderful that you would like to learn more about MS and I also think that you have good instincts.  You know how much you really care for this person, just seems the outside influence is seeping into your thoughts.  This is very normal.  Loving and being loved, is surely not the path to hell that is for sure.

I say go for it. If you care for him like you feel you do, then don't let this durned MS stand in you or his way.  Afterall, there are no guarantees in this world for any of us.  You might as well be happy while you are here because life can be short for some.  

I'm happy for you to have found someone special. I have a girlfriend who has not met anyone worthy.  It's just hard to be single and looking from what I see.

Thank you for coming our way Fifa, it's nice to have you here. We are a just a sorted mix and you can ask us anything.

Hope to see you around, ask us anything, or share your thoughts and fears as you have.
ttys,
Shell
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Me yet again. I just Googled Richard Cohen disabilities Multiple Sclerosis, and I think I struck gold.

http://www.nationalmssociety.org/online-community/personal-stories/richard-cohen/index.aspx

Try this and follow some of the links, including to a Web site on living with people with chronic illnesses. MedHelp may have one of these forums too, not sure.

Anyway, there's a huge amount of info on line.

ess
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello Fifa,
I Know You Don't Want To Read This But My Thinking Is That This Gentlemen Is Not Being Entirely Straight With You, In Your First Post You State That He Has Been Stable For 12 Years Then In Your 2nd Post You State That He Has Short-term Memory Loss And Fatigue, You Then Go On To Say In Your Third Post That At Times He Struggles Getting His Words Out And That He Has Problems With His Mobility.
What I Would Do If I Were You Is Have A Good Heart To Heart With This Man And Tell Him To Lay All His Cards On The Table Regarding This Progressive Form Of MS For Example What Problems Does He Really Have. It Is Unfair On You To Have A Relationship Where You Get Info On A Drip-Drip Basis.
I Can Totally Understand Your Mother's Concern, She Is Only Doing What A Loving And Caring Mother Would Do.
And If You Are Honest With Yourself You Would Be Exactly The Same.
I Am Sorry If This Post Sounds Harsh But I Am Someone A Male, Who Has Primary Progressive MS And I Have Been Getting Steadly Worse Since 1995 And I Was Only Diagnosed In May Of This Year After 2 Years Of Testing.
Take Care Of Yourself Fifa.
Regards Joe.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks all for your comments.

I am getting more information everyday on his MS as I am getting to know him better as a person.

To be honest, if MS wasn't there, I wouldn't think twice about this man. He's just perfectly what I am looking for...

In terms of the disease, it's just to be prepared to what could potentially happen to him and also to educate my folks about it as they're totally against this relationship, which makes it extremely difficult for me.

Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm in the same situation. I have dated a guy for over 2 years. He told me a 2 week ago that he has ms, saying that he didn’t tell me before as he thought he would lose me. I don’t know what to do. I'm scared that if I stay with him and he falls very sick and ends up with lots of disabilities and is in a wheel chair I won’t be capable of looking after him? Do right by him?. At the moment he is 30 and seems healthy. This might make me sound bad but I have an aunt who has a husband in a wheel chair, and the strain is making her bitter towards her husband.She never has time to her self. Is this the same with MS. He also told me that had optic neuritis which reduces the ms attacks. Is this true? Please help me, I’m scared I don’t no what to expect. I didn’t even know what ms was till last week.
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Avatar_n_tn
dont do it....
there are so many hidden ways that this will effect you...
No him......YOU!
i am in this situation and i feel so so trapped....
Please listen to me...
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751951_tn?1406636463
I sure hope that this URL comes through for everyone.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/marriage_challenges/special-needs-and-marriage.aspx

The most poignant comment I read in this thread was from Auspiciousme, "You could marry a perfectly healthy man and he could have an accident 3 months down the road and be disabled....what then?"

Marriage is a huge step for anyone.  Interjecting a disease, whether it is MS, Alzheimer's, cancer, or acne, simply adds another wrinkle to a very complex tapestry that few consider as carefully and thoroughly as they should before making a decision that will alter the course of the rest of their life and the lives of multiple others.

Anyone considering marriage should seek the aid of an experienced and trained premarital counselor.  Medical issues are a biggie, but they're far from the only one.

Just one man's opinion, FWIW.

(P.S.: Anybody know what Fifa did?  I see it's been nearly two years.)
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1406332_tn?1315966360
Here is another way to look at it.

Let's say the two of you got married a long time ago, not knowing he had MS. Then 5 years into the marriage he was diagnosed with MS. Would you divorce him then? Would it change how you looked at him or how you felt about him?

Let's say then that you were the one with diagnosed with MS five years into your marriage. Do you think he would stick by you through sickness and health?

There are no promises in this world or in marriage. I figure ALL couples will go through their health problems throughout their marriage whether it be MS, cancer, mental health issues, heart attacks, broken bones, migrains, or even PMS =D

Marry him because you can't imagine your life with out him. As well as educating yourself, which is wonderful, you might want to start educating your parents as well.

Best wishes to you and your boyfriend. I wish you two a long life filled with laughter and happiness.

-Kelly
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Avatar_m_tn
She was diagnosed two years ago and I was diagnosed this past summer. We have totally different symptoms but know excactly what the other is going through.
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1394601_tn?1328035908
I didn't read all the comments....way too long for me but my opinion?  If you love the man why would it make a difference?  Hell, if I loved a man and he was dying of cancer I would marry him.  

You don't say how old you are but your parents (unless you are from another culture) don't choose your spouse...at least not here in the USA.  You do.

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For me, Sumanadevii summed it up so well..."If you love the man why would it make a difference?".

That's what love and marriage is all about and why the traditional vows include "in sickness and in health". For me personally, this one stirred up a lot of negative emotions.

I have a sister who dated a young man who was an epileptic and his seizures were difficult to control. She could not handle the seizures. They would have intimate relations and then he would sleep on the couch. I thought that was so cruel. If you love someone, you take them warts and all, even if those warts are something more serious. She finally did end the relationship when she realized how scared she was of his seizures. He did die of a seizure before the age of 40.

Maybe I would have responded differently if the question was posed "I have fallen in love with a man who has MS and marriage is a definite possibility. What are the things I should know so that I can be a supportive wife and work with him through this disease?"

The original poster's link is inactive, so we can't even send her an PM to find out what she decided and why.

OK, so I blew off some steam.

Audrey




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429700_tn?1308011423
I think what was posted by Audrey and Sumanadevii sums up my feelings quite well.  I have a lot of emotion about this, too.  I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful husband.  It's a give and take relationship.  He's lost without me and I am without him.  He's my rock and has been through the whole ugly ordeal with me, and has stuck with me.  This is true love.

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It's time again!  I am sending you each off to read my journal entry on "What is Love".  

Enjoy!!
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429700_tn?1308011423
Wow!  What a great story!  THAT is what love is, Thanks for sharing.  Deb
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Hi guys,
I am back!!
Sorry for not giving any news. I have been very busy with marriage, a long honeymoon, pregnancy and now having a 6-month-old baby.
I know!! Everything went really fast.
My husband is doing well. He's promised me to take care of his health and he's doing so by working out everyday and doing the right stuff.
I don't regret a minute having married him although sometimes I get worried when I see him struggling with walking, or getting tired quickly or stumbling... But I really love him and we are happy together and that means the world to me.
I know it was a tough decision I had to take. But I must say that I had trusted him. I remember once him saying 'If I believe what you could go through is 'hell', I would not ask you to marry me.' And he was right...
Praying for health and a cure fast for all people with MS.
Best
Fifa
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, Fifa!

I'm so glad to hear what happened in your case.

Best wishes for always,
ess
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Thanks Ess.
Sorry just saw the message now.
Happy New Year!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello all,
I have a question much like Fifa did. And might i say that your story just gave me the courage i needed!

I have been in complete love with a man that i've dated on an off for the past 5 years, He recently found out last year that he has MS. I had no idea how to handle this information, and still don't. I love him all and all, MS or no MS. I just don't know how to help him through it. I am naturally a nurturing person, but I'm scared that my nurturing is going to be confused as me trying to be his "mother" figure. I'm trying to find out all that I can about MS because it scares and confuses me.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello my name is Bonnie. I have MS since at least 1991. Mine is considered RRMS [remitting relapsing MS]. In 2010 I had to give up my job due to problems with my MS. I now administer a support group on FB for people with MS and one for Caregivers. I have heard many stories of couples getting divorced because the well spouse could not handle the stress of what MS does to a marriage. I married in 2004, after my diagnosis but he is a special man. Be cautious and know yourself well enough to predict if you can go the distance with this disease. It can turn into a progressive disease at any time and you may well see your spouse go from walking to wheel chair or bed bound at some point and time. We ALL need love and if you can love someone past a debilitating disease, I say God Bless you and by all means go on and love that person. But if you can't go the distance, don't set them up for disaster as Stress can accelerate the disease quickly and make them more disabled. My best to you both.
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572651_tn?1333939396
Hello - I am glad you found this conversation and have introduced yourself.  It can be daunting to face a future with someone living with a disease like MS that doesn't have a known disease course.  It is anyone's guess how we will end up. Even more so, you never know what will happen to yourself.

For an example, my husband had open heart surgery at the age of 51. He had a hip replacement a few years back and needs the other one done. I  never thought twice about helping him with these medical trials.  Later when I was diagnosed with MS I never doubted that he would be there for me.  That's just what people who are in strong relationships do for each other.  

Through MS contacts, I have met some wonderful people who are now caretakers for their partner - they don't seem to have doubted their role and willingness to be there for the other person. I have also met people who have been abandoned/discarded by partners who were not strong enough to be there through the uncertainties and less than perfect world we live in.

I'm  rambling  now - just know that if there is love and commitment between two people, you can face anything together.  For your situation, I would recommend you learn as much as you can about MS, and if you decided  to move forward with him, you can be a wonderful advocate, which is a lot different than mothering.    

Good luck - you both deserve happiness.
Laura
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