Background: Stress in the intimate relationship is found to worsen the prognosis in women suffering from myocardial infarction (MI). Little is known about how male spouses experience the intimate relationship.Aim: This study aimed to explore and describe the experience of men’s intimate relationships in connection to and after their female partner’s first MI.Methods: An explorative and qualitative design was used. Interviews were conducted with 16 men having a partner who the year before had suffered a first MI. The data were analysed with qualitative content analysis.Results: Three themes emerged: masculine image challenged; life takes another direction; and life remains unchanged. The men were forced to deal with an altered image of themselves as men, and as sexual beings. They were hesitant to approach their spouse in the same way as before the MI because they viewed her to be more fragile. The event also caused them to consider their own lifestyle, changing towards healthier dietary and exercise habits.Conclusions: After their spouse’s MI, men experienced a challenge to their masculine image. They viewed their spouse as being more fragile, which led the men to be gentler in sexual intimacy and more hesitant to invite sexual activity. This knowledge about how male spouses experience the intimate relationship could be helpful for health personnel in hospitals and primary care when they interact with couples where the woman suffers from cardiac disease or other chronic disorders.
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (hsv//eng)
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Hälsovetenskaper -- Omvårdnad (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Health Sciences -- Nursing (hsv//eng)
INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS Caring sciences Nursing