When it comes to love and romance, there are some extra-thoughtful things you could do for your partner with arthritis!
1. It’s not the posh restaurant, but the taxi home that counts!
If there’s one thing that makes a romantic meal out even more romantic, it’s a comfortable journey to the restaurant and back. Struggling home on the late bus in the freezing cold, or walking home after sitting in one position for a couple of hours, could be enough to turn your partner off the whole idea. If you are on a budget, why not suggest you go for a less fancy meal (a pie and a pint in your favourite boozer can be just as romantic), and spend what you save on a taxi instead.
2. Ditch the quickie, have a slow one instead
Quickie sex is all too tempting, especially when there’s so much brilliant new TV on Netflix. But, if you really love your partner slow it all down at least enough to know if they are grimacing with pain or pleasure! The before, during and after bits of sex will all benefit from taking time to look after, as well as enjoy, your partner’s body. Are they comfortable? Is that position really working? Are you being sensitive to their feelings about showing off their body? Have they got the energy to carry on? Do they really just need a hug and a massive sleep?
3. A big tip about lingerie
If you want to buy gorgeous lingerie for your beloved, show her you’re really thinking about her by choosing sensitively. That means avoiding bras with fiddly fastenings, anything that’s awkward to get over her head, knickers with ties at the side. In fact, the best thing you could choose, for this time of year, is lingerie that is warm as well as sexy. Think about slip-on camisoles in warm fabrics like silk. Make her smile by choosing a matching pair of cutesy bed socks. She’ll look cute and feel cosy too – a winning combination. By the way, if you’re the one with arthritis, it will help to buy your partner lingerie without fiddly bits too, for less fumbling at those important moments!
4. Warm everything up
If your partner is comforted by heat, win yourself some serious brownie points by warming stuff up for them in advance. There is nothing like a warm sofa cushion, a warm bed, an already filled hot water bottle, gloves and socks straight from the radiator, a bathroom that’s properly heated. If it’s cold that turns them on, make sure you never run out of frozen peas.
5. Go WITH them to the gym
Exercise is so important for folk with arthritis. The benefits are numerous – it keeps joints supple, muscles strong and releases natural endorphins to help lift the low mood that can often result from living with pain. But, regardless of the known benefits, it can be very difficult to get motivated, or feel confident enough, to exercise, not least because arthritis can leave sufferers exhausted. If you really want to show you love your partner, offer to go with them for some exercise. Go for a walk together, swim together, join a gym together. Hell, if you really love them, you’ll Zumba together! It could be the best gift you ever give them.
6. Tell them they look sexy in flats
This won’t surprise your partner if they’re a bloke, but if your partner with arthritis is of the female variety you can make her day by convincing her that towering heels just aren’t your thing and flats are cute. She’ll be bombarded with images in magazines of various celebrities teetering around on stripper shoes, and feel under pressure to wear high heels like her friends. To know that you think her Nike hi-tops / Mary Janes / ballerina pumps are classier and a million times more stylish will make all the difference to her self-esteem.
7. Tell her / him they’re beautiful
While we’re talking about self-esteem, it’s true that many young folk with arthritis feel very self-conscious about their bodies. Whether it’s their ‘funny’ hands and feet, ‘awkward’ knees and elbows, or limited height, it’s easy to focus on the imperfections. Remind your partner that we all have funny bits, and that to you they are beautiful, every single bit of them.
8. Cook them a meal that helps
If food is your language of love, give up on the idea of feeding each other Haagen Dazs and lovingly prepare them a healthy, balanced meal that isn’t going to load on the calories. Broccoli might not seem like the sexiest food on the planet, but we can guarantee that a healthy BMI and symptoms under control will be loads better for your sex life in the long-run. If in doubt, how about a fish-based Mediterranean dish?
9. If your BNO clashes with meds, postpone
Many folk with arthritis will take their medication on a fortnightly or monthly basis. It’s best not to consume alcohol near the time of taking medication, so it’s a great idea to suggest moving a Big Night Out together if the date clashes. It’s much more romantic than canceling it all together – your partner will be sick of missing out on stuff. It goes without saying that it’s also worth thinking about postponing if your partner is experiencing a particularly bad flare-up.
10. Don’t forget to send a Valentine’s card!
They’ve got arthritis, people, they’ll be cranky enough already. (Joke!!)