Jan, 45, of Boulder, Colo., recognizes that her chronic back pain has been very hard on her marriage.
"People get divorced over this," says Jan, who is still happily married. "My husband doesn't want to deal with this, and he's the nicest guy in history. But no one can feel your pain."
"I'm not the kind of person that has lunch and pours out my sorrows on friends. I don't want to talk about it. So who gets to hear it?" says Jan. "My spouse. Maybe he gets more than his fair share."
Migraine sufferer Amanda, 39, of Manchester, N.H., is also aware of the impact on her partner. "I'm sure my husband's tired of hearing it," she says. "He's really good about helping me through it: 'What can I do for you?' But it's straining on any relationship."
Educate your spouse
"It's a major concern," agrees Todd Sitzman, MD, a past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. "I see it on a weekly basis. There's isolation, not wanting to go out, not wanting to participate in marital relations, and the marriage suffers."