When you are married or involved in a committed relationship, PD is something that happens to both of you.
Having PD can change the dynamics of the relationship, the family, and both partner's career roles and responsibilities.
In addition to the movement symptoms associated with PD, non-motor symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction can occur. It is not unusual for relationships to become strained due to the stress of being diagnosed or living with PD. Sometimes, the biggest challenge is to remain open to one another at a time when you may feel more inclined to shut down. If you can find the courage to be honest and vulnerable with one another about your fears and worries both now and in the future, your partnership may become stronger than before.
If you find that you are having trouble communicating about the changes that may be occurring in your life and your relationship, it may be wise to work with a relationship counselor who can help you identify new or better ways of communicating and problem-solving together. Visit our new Young Onset Resource Guide for information and organizations that may be able to help you address relationship issues.
- Impact of Parkinson's Disease on Relationships (Article)
- How Do We Make Love Stay (Blog)
- Valentines Day Marriage show (Podcast)
Sex & Sexuality
PD can make its presence known in even the most personal and intimate moments. Parkinson's disease has its roots in our biology, as do sex and sexuality, and there are times when the two become inextricably related. During those times, it may help you to understand what is (or is not) happening to the body from a physiological perspective. Of equal importance is how PD can impact intimacy and sexual relations from a psychological perspective.
Finding ways for you and your partner to talk openly and honestly about PD and its current or potential impact on the physical and emotional aspects of your relationship is important. If you find that discussions are too uncomfortable or too upsetting to one or both of you, there are many resources available (individually and as a couple) that can improve your level of physical and emotional intimacy.
- Sex and Sexuality (Excerpt from Young Parkinson's Handbook)
- Intimacy and Sexuality in Parkinson: Making the Impossible - Possible (Webcast). Presented by Gila Bronner. Southeastern Parkinson Conference, Atlanta, GA, 2010.