Moving in with a partner is one of the biggest steps forward in any relationship. It can impact the location, the decor, and even the laundry detergent you use.
A blending of two lives and preferences involves compromise, collaboration, and a lot of planning. Perhaps more so if one of you has asthma.
I committed my whole, true self to my partner when we decided to move in together. That meant I had to share every aspect of my asthma journey and trust that they accepted me.
Living with asthma isn’t easy. Asking someone who doesn’t have asthma to willingly sign up as a caregiver, a therapist, and a confidante is terrifying.
I feared that my partner would say they had enough of the late nights awake coughing, the constant sound of air purifiers running, the unscented soaps, and the special cleaning products.
After all the anxiety, we both decided to jump in with both feet. And it’s been wonderful!
Here are a few tips to consider if you have asthma and are planning to move in with your partner.
Agree on your non-negotiables
I had to be very selective when searching for a place to live. I needed to spend time in the space. I inspected high and low to ensure there wasn’t mold, cats living nearby, poor air flow, or any other asthma or allergy triggers.
Truth be told, I felt ridiculous! I never want to be considered “needy.” More than a few realtors were annoyed with me.
My partner and I toured a dozen homes before finding one that met both of our needs, fit within our budget, had outdoor space, and would allow a large-breed dog.
We made a list of non-negotiables before heading into our home search, and it made the process so much easier! We knew the other person’s needs, and they weren’t up for compromise.
Keep an open dialogue
Your asthma triggers are unique to you. In fact, my triggers are frustratingly personal.
I react to strong smells, cleaning products, soaps, feathers, smoke, cold air, open windows, certain foods, and all cats. The list goes on and on.
My partner lovingly came home with products that were “organic” or “allergy-friendly.” However, that didn’t always mean they would work for me. They were often an asthma trigger.
Be appreciative when your partner tries to be helpful but remain honest. Keeping an open dialogue about your triggers can help eliminate the cycle of blame and shame with asthma.
Discuss pets before you move
You probably haven’t ever thought about adopting a dog if you’re allergic to them, and it might become a surprise point of contention if your partner has always dreamed of having one.
My partner and I were forced to have the conversation early on about which animals could be allowed in our future home.
My partner’s roommates had cats. It was a huge challenge! I could only visit for a short amount of time, and I always needed my inhaler. We took extra precautions to reduce the cat hair and dander.
All of this was such a process. But at least we were both on the same page about pets when we moved in together.
Split up the responsibilities
Studies show that women are often responsible for a disproportionate amount of the “invisible workload,” including family schedules, cooking, and cleaning. This load multiplies when it comes to managing a chronic condition.
Have an honest conversation with your partner about workloads and household responsibilities early on. It can save you both from feeling like one is overburdened with tasks.
My biggest concern about moving in with my partner was that they would be resentful for the changes I brought to their life, with both the mental and physical burden of my condition. They now needed to avoid the many things that trigger my asthma, as well as having to watch me have scary asthma attacks.
I learned that the right partner won’t judge and run from the situation. They won’t reject you. They’ll do everything they can to make your life and your asthma run more smoothly.
Ultimately, no matter what your condition, your partner should accept you fully as you are. This may even help you to learn to accept yourself and your asthma better.
For more information on how to manage asthma, reach out to your doctor or healthcare team.
NPS-US-NP-00662 JUNE 2020