How to Cope with a Spouse’s Brain Injury

married couple

After a traumatic brain injury, couples face financial, medical, and emotional challenges. People married to brain injury victims know how much it can tax their marriage. Many couples spend the rest of their lives figuring out how to create "a new normal" after a loved one's head injury, and it’s crucial that they know they are not alone.

How Do Brain Injuries Change Marriages?

Brain injury survivors often exhibit drastic changes in behavior. Many people describe people with brain injuries like a different person altogether. To work through these obstacles, both spouses must identify changes and discuss how they’ll work through it together.

After a brain injury, survivors might show any of the following:

  • A lack of emotion
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Frustration
  • Anger

Brain injuries can change a spouse’s role in a marriage drastically. Suddenly, the spouse of an injured person might find themselves with all the responsibilities that their spouse formerly had. While many couples hope that these changes are temporary, it’s important that they know some changes may be permanent. Whether changes are drastic or minor, both people should be prepared to support the other in any way possible.

To adjust to role changes, couples should do the following:

  • Learn how each other will operate in their new roles through talking about them
  • Understand that there will be a period of adjustment for both people
  • Avoid criticizing each other
  • Remember that both people are feeling scared and uncertain about the future

Dealing with Friends & Family After a Brain Injury

Asking for help with coping with a spouse’s brain injury is normal. However, some friends and family might fail to understand the situation and offer frustrating or impractical advice. It’s critical to remember that they might not understand the intricacies of your spouse’s injury or recovery. To fix this, be open with your family and friends about what your spouse needs for recovery. This will help them understand more about you and your spouse’s situation and will help them work with both of you positively. Doing so will give both of you a much-needed support system consisting of friends and family.

Changes in Intimacy

Couples often face changes in their intimacy routine after a brain injury. Brain injuries impact sexual relationships because of their wide range of side effects and challenges. While you may fear this will have a lasting negative impact on your marriage, it's vital to remain flexible and unflinchingly supportive.

Brain injuries might change sexual relationships because of the following:

  • Changed self-confidence because of appearance
  • Different hormone levels
  • A change in roles between partners
  • Different post-injury sexual interests
  • A change in physical function caused by the brain injury

While a couple’s intimacy might be one of the most challenging things for them to talk about, discussing it can save the relationship. Reaching out to a therapist or finding a support group of couples going through the same thing can be a great way of working through sexual problems after a brain injury. Additionally, couples might try scheduling date nights to make sure they’re continuing to strengthen their bond as a couple; it can be useful for couples to use date nights as a way of getting to know each other all over again.

If you or your spouse are suffering after a traumatic brain injury, contact HHR today at (888) 498-3023. Our attorneys help people find answers and the care they need after brain injuries change their lives.

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