Neglected after kidney transplant

A letter writer is feeling shut out after her boyfriend’s kidney transplant. Is a cuddle too much to ask for?

Be patient with your patient, says our elder.

Dear EWC

I’m 21 years old, and me and my boyfriend have been together two and a half years. He’s 22 and just received a kidney transplant. We found out two weeks into the relationship that he had kidney failure but decided to give the relationship a go and I told him I would stand by him because I loved him. There have been ups and downs like any relationship but have got through them and had so many happy times together. Three months ago we was given the date for his transplant, and that is when the problems began.

He’s not a very talkative person when it comes to feels, so it’s hard to find out how he’s feeling. He said he was nervous but happy it was happening. On Thursday he went into hospital ready for his transplant, and since his op he has been really off with me. I thought he was just tired and maybe it was the drugs but when his family came to see him, he was fine and was talking to them. I know it’s selfish but I just feel really unloved and alone at the moment. I love him very much but have been feeling like going out and getting the love and attention from someone else. I’ve never cheated in my life and wouldn’t dream of doing it, but with the way I’m feeling I just feel like I need a good cuddle and someone to love me.

Splotch replies

You have written in to the Elder Wisdom Circle because you would like an opinion, so I’ll give you mine. Before I do, however, you need to understand that I don’t know any of the players in your situation, especially you. The only information I have to go on is the letter you wrote. So, having said that, this is what I think.

You are young and in love. What a wonderful time in life to be young and in love. The only problem is that life has a way of putting obstacles in our path, and challenges us to overcome them.

At this time (while I’m responding to your letter) I don’t know if your boyfriend has come home from the hospital or not. Let’s assume he has. Here’s the thing. He has just gone through a tremendous life threatening situation that hasn’t yet been resolved. He has to recover from the surgery, a painful experience at best, regain his strength, and, hopefully, the transplant has resolved his initial problem. Often it doesn’t.

Right now, he has his plate completely full, focusing on himself. This situation reminds me of a celebrity chef show I saw once where the chef was talking about how to cook an omelet. He said the omelet has enough to do just cooking itself, so anything that goes into the omelet should be already cooked. Right now, your boyfriend is like that omelet. He has enough to do taking care of himself. If he doesn’t take care of your needs 100% right now, forgiving him is basically what you committed to when you pledged to “stand by him.”

It’s OK to take care of your needs, to a degree. Perhaps a good cuddle is inappropriate. Would you settle for a good hug from a friend or family member? Give him a little time. If he doesn’t come around after a month or two, then perhaps it’s time to dump him, but for now, I would suggest you be patient for your patient.

By the way, don’t worry about him being more comfortable with his family. He’s bee with them for 22 years, he’s been with you for only two and a half. Men like to be strong for their women. Right now I don’t think he’s feeling very strong.

I hope what I’ve written helps you, even if it’s just a little. I hope things work out for you. Write us again in the future if you need any more advice. Good luck.

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