PATIENT PERSPECTIVE: HOW DO I TELL MY WIFE I HAVE INCONTINENCE?
I’ve been incontinent for 1 year now, and my wife has no idea. (At least I don’t think she does). You see I’ve gone to great lengths to hide it from her. It’s not like I leak all the time, but a few times a week I find myself unable to make it to the bathroom in time and I have an accident. It horrifies me, since this has never happened before.
My doctor tells me I have an enlarged prostate. This, my wife knows. I’m sure she also knows some of the symptoms, since she’s the type to do research on this stuff. But I haven’t told her I suffer from bladder leaks.
I keep spare underwear hidden in the car. I limit my fluids when I know we’re going to be out. I always scout out the nearest restroom in case I need to make a beeline to it. I even decline certain events if I think there’s a risk I may have an accident. I feel like I’m living as a secret agent with this condition – always trying to stay 1 step ahead.
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t told her. Talking with your spouse about something that embarrasses you is never easy. But for me, this is devastating. I’ve always been her “tough guy”. The one who fixes up old cars, goes bowling with the guys on Tuesdays, can handle pretty much anything anyone throws my way. But this is different. It’s made me feel like less of a man. And I feel embarrassed that I can’t control something as simple as my bladder.
I know it’s more complicated than that, but I just can’t help thinking “What will she think of me?” “Will she still find me attractive?” “Will she think less of me?”
We’ve always been so spontaneous. Running out at a moments notice to meet up with friends at a pub. Jumping on those last minute flights to somewhere tropical. Going to shows and concerts and ball games. I still want to be that person. That guy who does all the fun stuff. But these bladder leaks are getting in the way of that.
I know we’re getting older, but I still just want her to look at me like she always has, and I’m so scared this will change that.
I’m planning to tell her soon. I know that it’s probably better to just get it out there, Knowing my wife, she’ll probably jump right in and try to help. She’s awesome like that.
And, I’m sure her knowing will probably be good for me. We’ll find ways to deal with it together. We’ll find solutions for this condition that I know are out there but I’ve been too stubborn or embarrassed to seek out. It will be better. She will help me make it better.
But the thought of having that conversation with her is still scary as hell. The telling is really the hardest part of all of this. Wish me luck.