Spouses-I actually have a non technical question for y’all

So with all the bad news we have had over the last year.  Especially finding out my mitral surgery did not reverse remodel (although it may still yet) and my heart is getting worse, I am sure y'all can relate that me and my fiancé are worried.  My question is have any of you experienced your partner or spouse trying to "be the rock" and not show how worried they are?  My fiancé openly admits to doing this, but it confuses me.  He will tell me he will have had a conversation with a near stranger to me and came to tears (this has occurred a number of times).  But rarely when he talks with me about the state of my health does he ever seem emotional (no tears).  I get stressed very occasionally about the situation and come to tears only about once a month maximum but usually I have a "Shit just happens, go with it" attitude.  I tell him he can talk to me about his feelings, but he says it is his job to be strong for me.  Honestly, I would rather have him share those tears with me than with strangers so I knew I wasn't the only one who gets emotional about it.  Telling me he gets upset and actually doing it my presence are two different things in my mind.  Anyways don't worry, we have a fantastic relationship but I just wondered if anyone else has expienced a similar reaction with their spouse?


edited to add:

PersonallyI think healthy spouses have the harder time in dealing with chronic and/or terminal illness.  I know I would be a complete wreck if the roles were reversed and it was me watching him get sicker.


Good points

by AgentX86 - 2021-04-01 15:41:16

I know my wife has always been more worried about my heart problems than I have.  She's like a tiger-mom in the hospital.  She'll go for the throat of anyone who's screwing up and doesn't care who's listening.  One time I showed up at 5:30AM for an ablation and the response at the desk was "Who are you?".  As soon as the cardiology department opened, eveyone in the place knew she was there.  I was still chilling in the EP waiting room waiting for someone to admit to something (I didn't much care, as long as I wasn't there all day for nothing).  My EP was laughing about it later.  He, nor any of the medical team was in the direct line of fire.  The hospital administration is woefully incompetent, though.

I know she's confided in church friends for support.  I don't know what I can do to support her supporting me?  I appreciate, immensely, that she's there fighting my battles so I can relax before these procedures but I'm not one to worry about that, that I have no power to change.


by Gemita - 2021-04-01 17:49:42

Dear Asully, you do like to challenge us.   A technical question might have been easier than one on emotions.  Hubby doesn’t do emotions.  He also doesn’t do sadness, fear, worry.  He leaves that to me.  Although his moods can change due to his present illness, he was born happy and he tells me he will die happy especially if I make sure I continue to feed him well.  Being Italian he loves his food.  He has prepared me well for a world without him Asully, since he is the one with the serious health problems and I am the one that needs to take care of him.

But on the subject of emotions, I have only once witnessed hubby breaking down and that was when we visited the resting place of his youngest brother who died suddenly from a stroke.  It disturbed me to see him express his emotions in such an open way but it was clearly important for him to relieve the tensions that had built up. 

Some years later however when I got news of my cancer and hubby accompanied me to my first oncology appointment, he was unusually cheerful, so positive that everything would be alright that he didn't give me a chance to expect bad news.  Even the consultant appeared to be influenced by hubby's positivity and was soon agreeing with him.  He told the Oncologist that I was too young to die, that I was very healthy, that there must have been a mistake, that we still had a lot to do together. He also told the oncologist to tell me that everything would be alright.  Well to my surprise the consultant did!!   But I wasn’t feeling so confident, I knew there were no guarantees.  I just wanted to tell the consultant how frightened I was really feeling but I didn't get the opportunity.  Hubby's positive, happy manner helped me through a very frightening time, when the fear proved far far worse than the actual disease.  I hope Asully it will be the same for you too and that you will overcome any difficulties you have to face.


by Persephone - 2021-04-01 19:25:28

I have a similar relationship with my partner, A, and I have seen this same behavior exhibited when he was dealing with illnesses of other loved ones.  Over time, I have grown to appreciate and value the steadiness and the "we'll deal with it" attitude.  I have the counter-balance of a very emotional sibling, and while I love and appreciate my sibling, I'd rather have my rock of a partner in the doc's office / hospital room / any random dark moment to support me and deal with things in a thoughtful, rational way rather than reacting emotionally. 


by Gemita - 2021-04-02 02:29:48

How can you support your wife to support you?  You could try not being quite so laid back before any major heart procedure in the future?  Take some of the worry off her.  Not quite sure how you and hubby are going to achieve this, but please work on it!  It always amazes me how calm hubby is when facing serious health problems, almost bordering on self neglect and telling me "Che sarà, sarà".  So not only do I have to face his serious physical illness but I have to deal with his attitude problems as well.

Showing emotions

by Gemita - 2021-04-02 03:14:56

Asully your fiancé has to keep strong not only for you but for himself too.  If he lets his guard down, perhaps he will feel all will be lost and that you will be taken from him forever.  He cannot face this, or admit this to you personally, and perhaps this is why he is able to "let go" of his emotions with others but not with you?

Help support her supporting me?

by AgentX86 - 2021-04-02 20:30:06

Simple.  If I fell apart, she'd be a basket case.  If I can't do anything about the situation, should I be depressed?  Isn't that counterproductive?  On the contrary, I was 90% looking forward to all of the surgeries, thinking they would make my life better.  Some made did my life (hugely) better, and the others (abations) didn't make it ant worse than before. Sure, there was always risk but really no decision to be made.

"What, me worry?" --Alfred E. Newman

You are right of course AgentX86

by Gemita - 2021-04-03 03:33:12

No, no one can argue with any of what you say.   And in fact doctors, surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists, axillary and administrative staff all find my husband’s over cheerful, relaxed nature during any hospital attendance really rather refreshing and unusual, but it hasn’t always led to getting the best care, especially when I am not around. 

By spending time discussing pleasant matters not remotely related to his condition, the procedure or surgery he is about to face has often led to less time being available for important questions, answers, sometimes even pre/post surgical care.  My husband certainly knows how to distract his medical team and this really concerns me.  (It even led to one consultant saying, "next time you come, bring a bottle ..... ")

I  would ideally like to see hubby’s nature tamed before a major procedure, shall we say more aware of what he is about to face.  I am not looking for him to over worry, it wouldn’t be his style, but I am looking for a bit more concern which might be a more normal reaction.  This would certainly help me to keep my worry levels to a minimum and help me to focus on the matter at hand rather than how to control hubby’s enthusiasm prior to a serious procedure but I don’t suppose he will ever change now.


by AgentX86 - 2021-04-03 20:17:19

I havent found any issues with the level of care, at all.  My thoracic surgeon was a "little" short but I only saw him twice (when he told me that I needed the bypass and at prep for the surgery).  He had excellent PAs woking for him. 

My EP and cardiologist are great people.  Even though I only see my EP once a year, he knows our first names and my complete history.  My wife thinks both are great people.  Do I talk about the weather?  Of course not.   I'm too much of a geek for that.  ;-)  I want to know how everything works.

I'm not sure why you're want to "curb his enthusiasm", as long as it isn't hiding a real problem.  As I'm sure you know, burying such things isn't healty either.  My attitude allows my wife to look after things I can't, like chasing down incompetent administrative staff.  You'd think they worked for the government.

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