How Aphasia Can Affect Relationships

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The Oregon coast was filled with much love, compassion, and total fun during the 2018 Couples Retreat Event. It was an opportunity that was given to people with aphasia and their partners to bond and strengthen their relationship through fun activities and small group sessions with other participants as well. Their sessions will be led by a team of occupational and speech therapy students and certified therapists who will guide and teach couples some coping strategies that they can utilize during challenging times in their marriage.

Below is a brief explanation of what aphasia is and how it affects marriage and other relationships.

Aphasia can, indeed transform relationships. Family members and significant others will have to make adjustments to what the new normal will be. Friends often can’t last long when visiting, especially when the conversation becomes confusing and lengthy. However, aphasia may also be an opportunity for families to know people they have never met, perhaps from other support groups or from members of the occupational or speech therapy team. For the couple, it is an opportunity for them to be closer as they forge new memories of their new life together.

Relationship with Others

Friends. When you have aphasia, you will feel like you just went inside a whole new world. For the aphasic individual, he will have trouble putting the pieces of his old and new life together. The people he will meet and talk to every day will be like new acquaintances to him – his doctor, nurses, therapists, etc. But his old friends, the more empathic and sincere ones, they will remain in the aphasic person’s life and find creative ways to communicate with their friend and make him feel loved.

For his relationship with his partner or spouse, it can be challenging, a test of love. Communication in this situation won’t work the normal way. This means that the spouse must find other ways to communicate with him and letting him feel important and cared for. She may try to sway him into doing small but meaningful activities together, like having dinner or watching television together.

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Sadly, because of the increased levels of stress and anxiety, some couples break up. Still, many see through the challenges and will even come out stronger than ever.