YOU CAN’T EXPERIENCE SOMEONE ELSE’S PAIN
Living with someone in pain is tough. As much as you would you like to feel your partner’s pain, you have to accept that you can’t. You can acknowledge that she has pain and that you can help her with her pain.
Not being able to grasp the pain may be difficult to accept. Pain itself and the full extent of it isn’t possible to comprehend for someone who hasn’t experienced it – even people in similar pain comprehend and cope differently. What you can do is explain to your partner that you hear what she is saying and you welcome if she can tell what might help her ease her pain; fetching her a pillow when she keeps moving about in the couch, or helping her lift heavy items are great examples. You can look for causes of pain and help her avoid them.
She – on the other hand – has to accept that you will never be able to understand her entirely, but that is okay. Helping her with her pain isn’t living the pain. You can’t protect her from all pain, but you can help her. Talk through how you can distract the focus from the pain if that works for her. For some it is a relief, for others, it would be a pain in itself. Your partner must believe that she is stronger than the pain and that it will not inhibit her more than necessary. You can help her to get there and encourage her.
HOW TO TACKLE YOUR ROLE
Some partners get angry, frustrated, and depressed when their lovers experience pain. Could it be that they might feel trapped because it is not possible to trade places? Or are they afraid or feel left out?
Our best advice is to come to terms with your feelings and express them to your partner. You could tell her (if indeed that is how you feel) that it will help you if she explains what you can do. Many partners feel comfortable to have something they can do – a plan of action. That can give you ideas of how to contribute.
IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO
As a couple, you need to find a way that works for the both of you, and that means that you both have to be flexible. In your case: If you love penetration, you might have to enjoy a soft hand instead. In a sense, you as a couple have to be open to what you would like and be willing and able to give it to each other maybe in a new form, respecting boundaries. In the end, you might like it as well for the mere reason that your partner likes it. Remember to be daring and playful. Of course, you might have strong boundaries to intimacy, and that is ok, but there is a long way between “couldn’t be bothered to try” to “dislike”.