When you’re managing psoriatic arthritis, a chronic condition that’s unpredictable and can worsen with time, it can affect your relationships with partners, family, and friends in many ways.

“The pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion of your joints can impose limitations on your daily activities and affect your mood,” says Stanford Shoor, MD, a rheumatologist at Stanford Health Care in California.Concerns about side effects of medication or worry about long-term disability and dependence can also make it difficult to put on a happy face and want to be with other people, Dr. Shoor says.

Psoriatic Arthritis and Relationships

Here are five common relationship challenges that people with psoriatic arthritis may face and possible ways to address them:

Relationship Challenge #1. You don’t know how to talk to others about your condition. “One of the biggest issues with autoimmune disorders such as psoriatic arthritis is that people don’t understand it,” says Aly Cohen, MD, a rheumatologist and integrative medicine practitioner in private practice in Monroe Township, New Jersey.

What to Do: Learn as much as you can about psoriatic arthritis from your healthcare team and reputable health information websites, Dr. Cohen says. “Explore the basics of autoimmunity,” she says. Once you’re comfortable with what you know about your condition, you can share better with others.

Also, bring family members or close friends to your doctor’s appointments so they can learn more about psoriatic arthritis firsthand, as well as how they might help. Your doctor may offer a lot of information and if your loved ones have questions, they can ask your doctor themselves, the Arthritis Foundation suggests.