Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

LIVING WITH LIMB LOSS: Key Tips to Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Jul 1, 2020 |

Shared from inMotion  |  Volume 30, Issue 4  |  July/August 2020, Page 24

By Lisa Strube, Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, CRC

Relationships and intimacy are some of the greatest things we experience as people. Without these things, life may seem unbearable and meaningless. Nevertheless, while relationships can be sources of joy and pleasure, they also take work to maintain.

I know firsthand of the difficulty of being in a relationship while coping with limb loss. For many people who also have faced limb loss, there are common questions like “Will anyone want me anymore?” or “Am I still desirable?” The good news is many people with limb loss find happiness in love.

What I want to focus on is how to maintain healthy relationships while coping with limb loss. For you and your partner, you will be making adjustments in your life. There is a good chance your partner will be one of your caregivers, and this could be challenging for your relationship. One recommendation on how to cope with limb loss is going to support group meetings for you and your loved one. Going to these meetings is one way that can help you work through the issues you both may have been struggling with.

While adjusting to life during the early part of limb loss, here are some other things that can help you and your partner:

  1. Have a sense of humor. In an article from the Mayo Clinic titled, “Stress Relief Laughter? It’s No Joke.” states,“Laughter can improve mood, activate and relieve stress, and soothe tension.” These moments can also bring you closer together because you will feel more connected.
  2. Give each other a time out when arguing becomes too much. Renowned couples therapists John and Julie Gottman recommend when people are overwhelmed with emotions during an argument, they must take the time to calm down and remove themselves from the situation. Nothing can be resolved if someone is overwhelmed with emotion. Come back to the issue when both of you are calm.
  3. Express gratitude to each other sincerely and regularly. Psychotherapist Amy Morin wrote an article in Psychology Today, titled “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude,” stating that expressing gratitude improves mental health, enhances empathy, and increases self‑esteem among other things. There are so many reasons that can vastly improve your life and relationships.
  4. Have a date night. Dedicate at least one night a week for at least an hour to reconnect. In the busy pace of life, it’s easy to forget romance. You don’t necessarily have to go out. A candlelight dinner at home or snuggling on the couch during a movie will do plenty. The purpose is to rekindle connection and remember what you love about each other. This is must-do homework that I give my clients, and I hear many positive results.

These are effective suggestions that have helped me personally and professionally. Relationships can be difficult, but with some work they can be your greatest gifts.