Life and love after a traumatic injury is not much different than that of our able bodied counterparts; the desire to be accepted, sexual attracted to, romanced and truly cared for is innate. Each and every soul has this desire. Some long for it, crave it, and jump through hoops just to find it. Others harbor such anger from their injury, or pasts, that they won't let anyone or anything in and push people away as a defense mechanism. I too have gone through the emotional unpacking after my injury where I had to first accept my injury, redefine who I was as a person and see myself as worthy of being loved. To say that these steps are easy would be untrue. Everyone has to grieve and accept on differing scales, but without first coming to terms with the "new you", one can never truly move on.
My wife’s and my journey actually began in high school. I was a senior and new guy to the school, and Michal was a freshman. We knew of each other in passing but never hung in the same circles. I was a jock and "ladies man" and she was what I lovingly refer to as an "athletic book nerd" having skipped grades. Truth be told, we didn't have the highest of fondness for each other back then, but 19 years of life, maturity and self-growth brought us full circle. We "met" again on social media in October 2010 and started out slow with phone conversations, texts, and a friendly invite for a movie and dinner night on November 5, 2010. The rest is history.
To say I found my soul mate in high school but pushed her away isn't accurate. It actually took life, a lot of mileage and my injury to get us to the perfect point of God's timing. I've done my share of dating and "playing the field", but when you truly connect with someone on a whole different level, you just know. To see her take the initiative to understand me and research my injury, I knew I had a keeper.
I get the question from time to time on tips.
- Be up front and honest about your injury, expectations and limitations (can you and do you want kids, travel, what help you need, etc.). People try to put up a front, but your life partner
needs to know and understand the real you.
- Be prepared to work. Life and love requires cultivating. Romance and newness can fuel a flame in the beginning, but wear off when life gets real. You have to work (hard at times) to keep the fire burning, especially if your spouse helps a lot with care giving. I know I get a little dependent when I get a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and fall down on pulling "my load", leaving my wife to pick up the slack sometimes. This can cause additional stress so make sure your spouse knows they are truly appreciated!
- A real relationship takes 3: you, your spouse and God. There are days I love my wife but I just don't want to see her face. She's gotten on my last nerve and today's not the day for whatever reason and I just have to pray and thank God for bringing us together. I am blessed and have an amazing wife, but she is human and knows how to push my buttons. Just know that true love will bend and requires prayer not to break.
I don't type this to sound like I have all the answers. Lord knows I don't. But love is out there and is real. I pray each and everyone searching for it finds their special someone. Until then, keep on pushing forward and love the unique you.
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0117/0386