Living with a chronic illness like rheumatoid arthritis can take a toll on your emotions and on your relationships, and can lead to intimacy difficulties and even divorce. "Divorce is certainly a potential consequence of having a chronic disease like rheumatoid arthritis," says Kristin Flynn Peters, PhD, a clinical health psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In fact, the divorce rate among people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been reported to be as much as 70 percent higher than that in the general population.
Surveys also show that many people with rheumatoid arthritis who are divorced do not remarry, Flynn Peters says.
* * *
You're not alone. If your spouse can't cope with your illness, it's a reflection on him, not you. Marriages involving chronic illness, where it's the wife who's sick, are far more likely to break up -- 90% of them by some estimates -- because, to quote my own ex, "I didn't get married to have to cook and clean".