23 Tips For Men on Supporting a Partner with Chronic Pain

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About Pete Beisner

Pete Beisner is a father, husband and veteran who works in the field of information technology. He has a bachelor's degree, two master's degrees and hates writing.


  1. Great piece. As a man who’s had a few herniated cervical discs for over 20 years, I can relate. The support of a partner makes a HUGE difference! Thank you so much for sharing your contribution to the journey.

  2. Alyssa Royse says:

    As someone who, like your wife, was in a car accident that left me with chronic pain (and unlike her, a broken neck) I love this piece.

    The part that is most important to me is to let us grit our teeth and do the things that matter to us. Sometimes I accidentally misunderstand my own boundaries and go too far, winding up in bed for a day. But I still need to do it, otherwise I will be nothing but a drugged out heap lying on the couch crying. I am NEVER not in pain. For many of us, this is the new normal, and we have to go out and find power and joy however we can. And when it doesn’t work, it is what it is, we’ll still try again. Protecting us from pain would men insulating us from life.

    Thank you for this.

  3. Thank you for this article!

    As part of my MS experience, I am someone living with chronic pain. You wrote quite eloquently on aspects of my struggles and while my wife is amazingly supportive, I will be showing her your piece.


  4. #⃣2: Yup yup…

    How lucky your wife is to have such a kind and considerate hubby…☺

    Pre-op I had to persuade my S.O. to go to a spousal support group… Even just one session made a huge difference in our relationship…. It clued him in on some important stuff…and I tend to be the tough, stoic , can-do kind of person, like your wife…such a tightrope to walk because I really did not want pity but just some listening and some compassion, which seems like such a scarcity sometimes….

    Please continue to write more about your experiences…. I have another procedure coming up in about a month…I think I am okay right now…. But sometimes anxiety and negative thoughts creep up out of the blue and smack me right in the face….so hard to find kind and sympathetic voices…

    Best regards to you and your wife…

  5. As a woman who has experienced chronic pain my whole adult life, through three relationships (including a marriage to an abuser who exploited my limitations) I really appreciate this piece. Every one should have so much compassion towards their partner.
    Something I would like to add: Treatment must be a priority. Sounds kind of obvious, but it’s easy for someone used to ignoring/minimizing their pain to not fully advocate for their need for treatment, so it is incumbent upon the partner to ensure that treatment is always available and used (this goes along with number one in the article, but I think it bears spelling out). For 20 years, I would wait till the pain got so bad that something needed to happen IMMEDIATELY. And I never got enough treatment to effectively heal, either. Most of the time I had to get work (causing more pain) to earn money for treatment, because my partners didn’t think it was a priority, even if they were the “bread winner”. Now after having spent half my life not healing, I am getting PT, covered by state insurance, and there are days when I am almost pain free.

  6. cedelune says:

    Honestly, this article should be published everywhere–it’s so badly needed and the process of caring for a chronic pain sufferer/post-surgical spouse is beautifully articulated here. Lynn is very fortunate to have you in her life (and I’m sure you would say you are fortunate to be in hers–being the sweetheart and amazing spouse that you are!)

  7. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Excellent article. Thank you!

  8. Yes! Number 8 on the first list is dead on. I know it comes from a place of concern, but sometimes you can’t help but feel utterly defeated when you are met with a well-intentioned “you shouldn’t do this.” Often I’m well aware of what I shouldn’t be doing, but giving up on attempting anything physically challenging makes me feel even more helpless about my chronic pain.

  9. Lynn Beisner says:

    As Pete and I talked about this piece, he asked if I would post this link in the comments: http://www.rolereboot.org/life/details/2013-04-depression-after-surgery-is-a-real-and-dangerous-thi

    It is an article that I wrote about post-surgical depression, and it is information that he felt really should have included in his wonderful article.

    And yes, I know how lucky I am. Pete is far more kind and nurturing than this piece shows.

  10. OldFashioned says:

    Power of Humanity……..nothing to do with gender. This article has re-newed my hope in finding someone to love me……….warts and all.

  11. This is brilliant, it is the only time i have seen such insight by someone who is not actually experiencing the pain themselves. Would you mind if I shared it on my website for others living with chronic pain, RSD/CRPS in this case? http://www.australianrsdcps.webs.com

  12. Solid advice. My wife (and I) have dealt with her fibromylagia for years. I can especially recommend no. 7. She beats herself up over what she used to be able to do vs. what she can do now. Good stuff.

  13. Great article on supporting someone who’s dealing with pain. Very thoughtful and thorough.

    Perhaps, however, it could have been written from a gender-neutral perspective. Men also experience pain, both chronic and acute, and certainly deserve the same typed of consideration. And a pain sufferer’s partner could also be of either gender. So why write the article aimed specifically at men supporting women in pain, as opposed to ANYONE supporting ANYONE ELSE in pain?

    Certainly the perspective offered is applicable to all types and genders of couples in that situation; it seems the author is doing a disservice to the reader by suggesting it only applies in heterosexual relationships where the female partner is the one experiencing the pain.

    • JJ Vincent says:

      Mike, thank you, I had very high hopes for this when I saw the title and the summary. It’s very well done, but I was somewhat disappointed as soon as I saw that it referenced straight and married.

      I understand that this is the “norm”, but there are a lot of unmarried hetero couples and plenty of gay couples of various attachments. I think we were hoping for the same thing – an article that acknowledged more than just “straight married”. The rest of us might like some validation or at the very least inclusion, too.

      I don’t think the usefulness, importance, or meaning would have been diluted by using inclusive language.

  14. Hi Pete

    This article will be stored in my folder called ” keep for the rest of my life”.

    Thank you.

  15. What a wonderfully supportive and sensitive husband is displayed in this article! God bless him!!

  16. A. Albert says:

    It was a well thought out article. It sounded like it was mostly for post surgical pain. I have had chronic pain since 2003 and surgery in 2006 with multiple complications and then, just as I was beginning to walk again, we were hit from behind which knocked me back to square one. Because of all the complications, I can have no further surgical repair. Therefore, I have varying levels of pain all the time. But I do not take medicine until the pain is severe. Since it will not change in the future, it will not get better for us. Some of the things brought out do apply, but mostly it sounds like the pain will end when the wife recovers. Sometimes it never does end.

  17. Lasara Firefox Allen says:

    Wow, thank you. This piece is insightful. As a chronic pain sufferer, I learned some new things. Also, you are a wonderful person. I’m so glad your wife has you. Bless.

  18. What a wonderful article! I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2002, then in 2003 came Multiple Sclerosis-after that the Osteoporosis, Arthritis, COPD, Degenerative Bone (Disc) Disease plus a few other minor syndromes. I had to medically retire so I changed my home business to making healing gemstone jewelry instead of a lot of aromatherapy products. Through all of this, I have had the most amazing man taking care of me. His name is Tom, he is my husband of 30 years. He knows pain as he has scoliosis, but he continues to work hard as a log truck driver to pay for our home and all the bills that go along with a home. My SSID is helpful. He understands everything about my pain issues. He can even translate what I am trying to say when MS has stolen away my cognition abilities for awhile. MS as well as Fibro changes every day-never the same. Yet Tom tirelessly continues to help me understand that I must take care of myself and not feel guilty because the walls are not washed, the carpet is stained, the laundry is not done, the bathtub is dirty. His love surrounds me 24/7, even when he is not home. He is amazing. And he is my love and my world.

  19. Most excellent article. Thanks for taking the time to put the words into print.

  20. This is a great piece, full of truth. Thank you.

  21. Thank you, Pete, for this well-written and relevant article. There are not many people who can understand chronic pain without having it themselves, so you are quite rare. I also have such a husband, but most people’s spouses/partners cannot relate to their pain with the empathy that you do. Not everyone is capable of such mindful compassion, but you are showing the way. You’re a good man, Pete!


  1. [...] Pete Beisner knows a lot about supporting a partner in pain. Here, he shares insights on how to take care of the person you love.  [...]

  2. [...] These are comments by Dr. Adam Sheck, Arthur MacMaster, Jess on the post “23 Tips For Men on Supporting a Partner with Chronic Pain“. [...]

  3. […] Get to know Lynn’s husband, Pete Beisner, better: read his fantastic post 23 Tips For Supporting a Partner With Chronic Pain […]

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