Being married can be tricky but when you add Dissociative Identity Disorder to the mix, things can get complicated fast! If you’re married and you have DID, what can be done to improve your marriage? Whether you’re married to a singleton or another system, these tips will get you off to a great start! Let’s jump right in.
Pro tip: For this article, we’re assuming that you’re a system in a safe and loving relationship and that your spouse knows about your DID. If you’re not safe, please take steps to get your system to safety! If you haven’t told your spouse about your DID (and you want to!) check out this article here.
WARNING AND DISCLAIMER
Because of the nature of D.I.D., it’s possible that something in this article could be triggering to your system. Please use caution and your best judgement when reading this article. Safety first!
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, therapists, or mental health professionals. We’re just a bunch of alters that are speaking from personal experience to help other systems live their best lives.
Get Clear On The Needs
In any relationship, communicating your needs is essential and this is especially true in a marriage with a system. Your system can’t enjoy a happy marriage if both parties are chronically having their needs go unmet. Because of this, the first step is to make sure that everyone in the relationship has a crystal clear understanding of the needs of everyone in the marriage.
It’s important to note that needs can change and evolve over time so it’s really helpful to have a conversation about needs frequently. It’s especially helpful to discuss needs before or after these changes:
Before discussing needs with your spouse, having a team meeting (or two or three!) can make a huge difference. Go alter by alter and really make sure that everyone has had the chance to express their needs for the system. Once you know all of the needs for your system, you can compile them into a neat, easy to understand package for your spouse.
From there, any conversations that you have with your spouse about the needs of everyone in the relationship will be much more straightforward. If all of your alters are unable to be co-conscious when talking about needs with your spouse, be sure to let them know asap so everyone can be on the same page.
Pro tip: One of the best relationship tips that we’ve ever been given is to trust that our partner knows their own needs and to take them at their word. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you or if you dislike that they need something, we encourage you to try to accept your partner’s needs. This doesn’t necessarily mean fulfilling the need yourself (use your best judgement!); just believing them when they say it’s a need for them.
Get The Needs Met
Once your system and your spouse have had a conversation about the needs in the relationship, the next step is to work towards getting everyone’s needs met. This can be a bit tricky at times so use your best judgement and communicate, communicate, communicate!
One important thing to keep in mind is that the needs of either party is more important than the wants of either party. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having wants or going after them! Just make sure that your partner’s needs are taken care of first. By helping your system’s spouse to get their needs met, they’ll have more emotional resources available to deepen your relationship.
With a bit of creative thinking, you’ll often find that all of the needs of the relationship can be met by a handful of small tweaks. In the rare event that you and your partner have contradictory needs and you’re not able to find a solution that works for both parties, it’s often wisest to focus on meeting your system’s needs first. This doesn’t mean that you don’t love or prioritize your spouse; you simply can’t take care of others if your system isn’t having their needs met.
Take Care Of Your System
In addition to taking care of everyone’s needs, taking care of basic body and mind care is important for improving any relationship. By taking care of your body and mind, your system will have more opportunities to enjoy the happier aspects of the relationship. It’s hard to have a fun relationship if your body is struggling with preventable issues.
While it can be much easier said than done, taking care of basic body and mind care can dramatically improve how much your system is able to show up for your marriage. This article goes more in depth on this topic but if nothing else, we highly suggest improving your quality of sleep. Getting your beauty sleep helps every aspect of your life and is our secret weapon for a happy marriage. You can have a lackluster relationship without sleep but you can’t have a happy relationship without it!
Bonus! Never Say Never (Or Always)
Saying “never” or “always” during a disagreement is a quick way to escalate things unnecessarily so don’t do it! While this is pretty standard relationship advice, it’s especially true for systems. We know first hand how easy it is to say things like “You never talk to me” and “You always do that!”.
While it may be true that your spouse rarely does one thing or frequently does another, it’s also possible that you’re the alter that is frequently fronting when they do/don’t do things. It’s OK to still express your thoughts while also acknowledging the possibility that things may be happening differently while you’re not fronting.
Now that your system knows some simple ways to improve your marriage, where can you go from here? You can increase the number of good days that your system has by learning how to plan for triggers here. Your system can learn tips and tricks for planning happy holidays here.