Date Revised:

Find support to keep you, and the person you care for, healthy.

Also see Live Well on NHS Choices for help with your diet, stopping smoking, getting enough exercise, and coping with stress. 

Making time for your partner if you care for a child

Having a disabled child is likely to put extra pressure on your relationship with your partner. You may disagree about how the caring is done, but talking about things will help you manage your expectations, making it easier to deal with the situations that come up. It’s important to be able to talk openly and positively about your worries and expectations. Maintaining your relationship with your partner benefits both of you, and is good for your child too.

It’s not unusual for one of you to become the main carer. Caring takes a lot of emotional energy which doesn’t leave a lot to put into the relationship. When you’re busy, tired and stressed, it’s hard to make time to look after each other. You may find yourselves snapping, being critical, or even taking each other for granted. This is OK. Nobody expects you to be a perfect couple or to be happy all of the time.

10 top tips

  1. It’s hard, but it’s important to try and make time for each other. Don’t feel guilty about putting yourselves first. Try to be positive - even simple gestures can make a big difference to your relationship:
  2. Say ‘I love you’. Some people just like to be told – and the sincerity of the sentiment is just as important as the words themselves.
  3. Greet your partner with a hug and a kiss. Regular, intimate gestures like this can remind your partner that you’re happy to see them.
  4. Say thank you. Genuine gratitude rarely goes unappreciated.
  5. Run your partner a bath so they can have a soak when they get home.
  6. Choose a shared activity that they’ll want to do, like picking a film you know they want to watch. This also shows that you’ve been listening
  7. Do a job they don’t want to do. If your partner hates hanging up the washing, take it off their to-do list by doing it yourself.
  8. Text your partner to let them know you’re thinking of them. Checking in can be a great way to show your appreciation.
  9. Accept that you may have different roles to play. One of you may find caring more difficult. If that’s the case, you can still make a big difference by supporting your partner.
  10. Forgive and forget. A lot of stuff may be said in the heat of the moment – keep talking to each other and agree to differ sometimes.

Find more top tips, plus lots of other relationship support for parent carers, on caring for a child in our relationship guide.

More information about conditions

You can find out more about specific conditions including alcohol, drugs and addiction, dementia and Alzheimer’s, learning disabilities and mental health.

There may also be other organisations that specialise in the health condition the person you are care for has. Many of these organisations also have helplines and online forums.

Next update due: June 2017