The Emotional Tolls ED Plays on Relationships


When you or your partner is diagnosed with any kind of health issue, illness, or recurring problem, it affects the entire relationship. From a simple cold to a more serious sickness, battling through all of the health problems life throws at a couple takes love, time, and care. However, there are some health crises that can add an even greater amount of difficultly to a relationship – the illnesses or problems that come with a stigma that makes it challenging to work through together as a couple. Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED, is one such health problem. If your other half suffers from ED, it can create a number of issues – but they don’t have to end your relationship together.

Erectile dysfunction is more common than you might initially think. Millions of men worldwide are affected by this health problem; medical experts state that five percent of men who are 40 years old and 25 percent of men who are 65 or older experience ED regularly. It is a long-term problem that affects so much of a man’s life, and it also affects their partners as well. In addition to causing problems in the bedroom, erectile dysfunction can bring quite a few communication, emotional, and even connection issues into a relationship. So, how can a couple handle ED together?

Most couples find it incredibly difficult to have an open conversation about erectile dysfunction. Instead of talking about their feelings and the potential problems, couples tend to hide their emotions from one another and avoid the conversation entirely. Because people believe it’s an embarrassing topic, individuals both with ED and who are in a relationship with someone suffering from ED can develop unhealthy emotional habits that can ultimately end the relationship. It’s important to speak about the issue together, and to perhaps speak with a therapist to improve communication and the overall relationship.

When ED becomes a part of a couple’s life, it can bring with it feelings of low self esteem, anxiety, and even depression. As men anticipate erectile dysfunction leading into intimacy, they begin to feel anticipatory anxiety, which in turn makes the problem grow increasingly worse. Additionally, men can feel as though they have lost their confidence and their worth when they cannot make their ED disappear. Luckily, these negative effects that come with an ED diagnosis can be solved with the help of a licensed therapist, whether a psychologist or a sex therapist. If a couple works together to confront ED, they can avoid so many of these negative emotional tolls.