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Redditor At A Loss After Husband Refuses To Seek Help For His Chronic Headaches

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Chronic medical conditions are truly no joke and should be taken very seriously.

But living with someone who has a chronic condition can be incredibly trying, especially when they aren’t interested in exploring possible treatments.

Admitting that this is a difficult situation to live in does not make the person a bad one, either, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Successful_Clock4472 found themselves coming to terms with this when they were no longer feeling sympathetic to their husband’s chronic headaches that he was hesitant to treat.

But when their feelings continued to mount, the Original Poster (OP) questioned if they should look at the situation in a different way.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for being unsympathetic to my husband’s chronic headaches?”

The OP’s husband suffered from migraines and headaches.

“My husband has had migraines since he was a little boy. At times they are debilitating and he will be in bed, vomiting, and unable to get up for hours.”

“When this happens, I feel terrible for him and do everything I can to run our household so that he can rest until it passes.”

“He will have this type of headache every few months.”

The OP recently felt fed up by the situation.

“I am not referring to these incidences when I say I’m unsympathetic.”

“He also gets chronic (not migraine) headaches. These happen every couple of days.”

“He gets them because he has tight muscles in his back and neck. I think they are likely job-related. And also from carrying/looking down while parenting our 3-year-old son.”

“I used to feel awful that he has headaches so much, but lately I’ve been feeling a little frustrated because he doesn’t make any effort to correct the issues that cause them.”

“I have suggested multiple times that he go for physiotherapy or see a massage therapist to help relieve some of the muscle tension he is dealing with… but he always says, ‘I will later,’ and never does.”

The OP also questioned how intense these headaches were.

“I get annoyed because when he has these headaches, he says he needs to lie down and rest, but this evening this entailed lying on the couch while looking at his phone the whole time.”

“Meanwhile, I am entertaining our son and trying to clean up from dinner.”

“If he is able to be on his phone, is the headache really that bad?”

“I feel like a jerk saying this, but I feel like no?”

“I’m just irritated because of the frequency this is happening lately… which results in him being on the couch a lot, and me having to take care of everything else. Especially since he won’t help himself.”

The OP also didn’t feel equally cared for.

“Another point of contention is that when I am feeling unwell, I don’t seem entitled to the same treatment.”

“I was vomiting last week, and he went out to dinner and left me to watch our son.”

“He hadn’t seen them in a while due to the pandemic, but if I can push through, can’t he?”

“I know I’m being resentful, but don’t I have the right to be?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP should continue encouraging medical treatment.

“OP, your obviously NTA. He needs to go to a doctor and make an attempt for it to get better.”

“That being said, I have had some headaches where sleeping only makes it worse and I can manage to be on my phone for a bit. I’ve had somewhere being on my phone is unbearable. I actually had one yesterday where being on my phone was fine, but standing up was terrible and I got dizzy and felt like passing out.”

“Is he drinking enough water/eating enough?”chunkymonkeyborra

“I get that there comes a point where you just give up on meds (and indeed, due to rebound headaches, taking too many pain meds can actually make your headaches worse), but OP wasn’t suggesting meds – she was suggesting things which could help alleviate the source of her husband’s chronic tension headaches.”

“I literally have a headache all day, every day, and have for 20+ years, but PT and massage therapy have indeed made it a ton better.”DangerousPraline41

“I’ve had migraines about as often as OP’s husband since I was a kid in the mid-90s, and it honestly had a profound effect on my expectations for pain relief just in general.”

“I was having periods for 3 years before it occurred to me that I could just… take ibuprofen for the cramps. And it would work! And I could concentrate on school! I took OTC (over the counter) painkillers for a non-migraine headache, for the very first time ever, in the Year of Our Lord 2019.”

“Husband’s migraines sound like they aren’t controlled well by whatever meds he might have. He may have internally given up before trying anything for the non-migraine headaches or decided that they’re beneath trying to fix because they’re ‘not that bad’ compared to migraines when they’re actually impacting his daily activities enough for his wife to feel overworked. It might be useful to probe for his reasons when having the conversation.”

“He’s absolutely the asshole for ignoring the strain this is putting on OP, and for not extending the same compassion to the OP when she’s sick, of course. Feeling crappy doesn’t excuse any of that.”facets-and-rainbows

Others questioned if this was the husband’s way of opting out of parenting.

“I’m sure he does have a headache when he needs to lay on the couch, but also probably he knows it will get him a free pass from parenting for the night and he could probably push through but just would rather not.”

“But you know what? When you are a parent you don’t always get to take it easy when you are sick or hurting. Tell him that unless his head is hurting enough to see a professional about it it isn’t hurting enough to stop him from parenting and he needs to pick up the slack. He can see a doctor or he can help with the kid, but he doesn’t get a pass on both.”

“Also, the next time you are super sick or vomiting tell him that he is 100% in charge of the kid and doesn’t get to skip out. It doesn’t seem like he has your back at all.”Music_withRocks_In

“NTA. The fact that your husband is unwilling to look towards solutions for his non-migraine headaches means that they are probably not that debilitating. If I were suffering from chronic headaches I would do whatever it takes to help relieve that tension.”

“The fact that he expects you to take care of him when he is suffering from these headaches but can not be bothered to cancel a dinner when you are feeling ill, and leaving you to take care of your son is quite the c**t move.”

“You need to make it clear that it is up to him to get treatment for those headaches and that you will no longer coddle him if he is unwilling to take care of himself. You are his wife, not his mother.” – Destroyer_Of_Nations

“NTA. I get chronic migraines and do everything I possibly can to keep them at bay. I’m currently on five prescription medications for them and a few supplements in addition to those because I’m getting desperate. I’ve had two MRIs and may have an EEG at some point if the most recent meds don’t help.”

“Given that my migraines tend to occur every couple of days or so, I’m pretty sure my condition is at least as debilitating as the husband’s, and yet I have managed to schedule my own doctor appointments for it since I was a teenager. OP, tell him that.”schrodingers_cat42

Some also pointed out the OP deserved care, too.

“NAH. I’ve had chronic headaches/migraines since I was 6 years old, and I’ve had plenty of fights with my husband over it as I’ve had more events than I can count that I’ve had to bail on because I have to sit in the dark and sleep because my head hurts.”

“HOWEVER, he needs to get help!! His doing nothing to make them better does push him a bit towards being TA. I had reconstructive jaw surgery for my headaches. When that didn’t work, I tried different migraines medications. When those didn’t work, I finally found my saving grace of nerve block injections. I get them every 6 weeks now and my daily headaches have turned into maybe once a month if that. Miracle treatment.”

“Try to get your husband to see his primary care, or find a migraine/pain clinic near you. EDIT: he should ALSO show you the same compassion you show him. He should’ve taken care of you instead of going out with his friends. Forgot to add that part”DueMoose9831

“I don’t know how him leaving her with the kid while vomiting to hang out with friends didn’t warrant a CTJ (Come to Jesus) talk when she felt better.”trilliumsummer

“NTA. Someone I know went through almost this exact scenario. She finally had to be very frank with her husband that the situation was untenable and he HAD to start taking steps to find/get the right treatment. It’s not fair to you to care for him, your child, and the household when he won’t help himself.”

“You may have to make the appointment with the headache specialist or whatever and take him like he’s a child. He’s certainly acting like one! And to leave you to care for your child when you’re sick and vomiting is further proof he lacks empathy and self-awareness. Don’t wait for him to act on this – it could take years based on my friend’s experience.”NGDGUnpunished

Though the OP felt guilty for their decreasing empathy toward their husband’s condition, the subReddit understood what they were going through. Not only was the OP having to pick up the slack at home, even when they themselves were ill, but with their husband not seeking out treatment, it made it especially difficult for the OP to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit