British Liver Trust
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After 4 years of keeping it a secret I told my partner the truth about my chronic cirrhosis

Four years ago after nearly losing my life to a heavy bleed and vomiting blood and being diagnosed with chronic liver disease I decided to keep it to myself. My friends and family knew I was seriously ill but they think I have fully recovered. I've been with my partner 17 years and the past few years have been difficult and he's become more of a friend than a lover. This year we've had sex once and he thinks it's acceptable. I spent the last week in bed sleeping with depression and had no motivation to do anything. Today he asked if I was drinking again as I've become distant and vacant. I told him I want a normal relationship and want to be happy with the time I have left. I didn't think about what I'd said until it was too late and I told him I'm very ill. We both had a cry and I said if he wants to leave I'd understand. He said he'd stand by me and now understands why I get so tired and unmotivated. He's agreed to not tell anyone apart from his Mum. In a way it's a relief he knows the truth but I'm still upset at how unemotional he's been and treats me like a friend. Have I done the right thing telling him?

8 Replies

Hi, personally, although I don't speak from personal experience, I think it's better you're honest with each other about how you feel.

Have you thought about asking your GP to refer you for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)?

It can be very effective in helping people with diagnoses that have a profound effect on daily living: It's all about coping strategies.


I think its best you told him. You are both about to go through a lot. I would focus on getting well and be glad he was willing to help me. Good luck


Of course you have, honesty is the right policy. Living with big secrets is hard and would take its toll. Your partner was already suspecting things and by telling the truth you will have put his mind at ease. Ask your GP for a referral for the pair of you to have counseling and use what energy you have to go on adventures and enjoy the life you have to share

1 like

Please check him out.


Hi there. First, it's good you told him. It's best not to be alone.

I'm not a doctor, but, have you considered the idea that his distance might be due to how you've been acting? Many of us don't feel sexual with this illness.

Even if that's not the case, partners know or can feel retain things, especially after 17 years.

You probably suffer from depression, and there have to be days it's obvious you must be hiding something. And this illness is huge. Imagine what he must think, what you might be hiding?

If a partner cannot trust you, of course he will be distant, and not want to be sexual.

I'm not trying to hurt you..but this seems to be an obvious answer. I don't care how good of an actress you one is that good.

Please consider this when it comes to your own feeling in the matter.

If your no longer interested, than maybe you should be the one to leave? After all, it would be cruel to put something through all this if there's no love left on your part.

All that being said...I wish you the best of luck and health!

Cheering you not!



I think it's good you told him. You can't keep that to yourself.


Well done on being honest and talking through this with your hubby. You have a good connection there between you both and it's good that you've both been able you talk through this and shed a few tears. The fact that he want's to stand by you and support you through this difficult time is really good the hear. My wife has been my rock through my troubles and has been there every step of the way. It just shows us that we are loved and people do care about us, even if at times we feel so alone.

People on this site who know me will know that I've been just were you are now. You are not alone. Depression is a double edge sword. There are up to 7-different causes of depression (the latest being identified by a team of scientist in Australia who have found a link with the bodies immune system and depression:

I didn't realise at the time, but I've had depression most of my life, and I like so many others out there was self-medicating on alcohol to try and lift the gloom. My depressive episodes would last up to three days, and I would drink continually over these three day period. After the gloom had lifted, I wouldn't drink again for up to four weeks when the whole cycle would start again.

Alcohol in it's self is a depressant so you get a double whammy of depression. You have to drink more each time to get to that happy stage, which in the end doesn't last very long. During this time, I'd want to push everyone away, and just be left alone. This is typical of wanting to shut yourself away inside a bubble. It's a bit like wanting to climb back in the womb where you feel safe and warm. When coming out of the depression, I would feel terrible guilt and ashamed of myself. This can and does have a huge impact on any relationship, and it takes a very special person who want's to stay and support their love one.

When a person is going through this phase, sex or making love is the last thing they think of. But then once again the guilt can set in as you feel your a failure. It's common therefore to have sex not because you want to, but because you feel you have to.

I'd like to know please as to why you think you only have a short time of life left? Have you just given up? Or is there some medical reason as to why you think this way? The reason I ask is that a person can live with cirrhosis, but of course it involves a lot of life style changes. But you do have a choice. And, there are over 2000 liver transplant carried out each year in this country and over 72% are alcohol-related.

Please DONT give up.

Richard xx


I know I could not go through this without my wife. She has been strong when I have been weak. Your partner will support you even if you do not realise it. I feel unworthy of my wife and family but never judged by them. They have a right and need to know, you have nothing to be ashamed of and they love you.



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