Dating and Chronic Illness
Finding love in this world is hard. And most people out there will have had at least a few failed dates and a couple failed relationships before they find their true match. Those first few months of a new relationship are so much fun, before the "newness" wears off. You are likely spending a lot of time together and having fun just being together but also learning about one another. When you are living with a chronic illness dating is just more complicated. It's not something we chose to make more complicated, it's just the way it is. Just because we are sick doesn't mean that we deserve love any less than anyone less, but there are some things people need to know about dating someone with a chronic illness.
We have a hard time knowing when let you in.
- When we are in a new relationship it is very hard for us to know how and when to tell you about our health. We never want you to feel like we hid things from you. But we also don't want to scare you off from the get go. We want you to have a chance to get to know us for who we are before we bring up our health. If we tell people to early in a relationship usually it scares people off, because it's a LOT and they don't want to take all that on. But if we wait to long, then the other person feels like we weren't honest and have been hiding something from them. Honestly, it's so hard to know when the right time is. For us it's just an everyday part of our life. But for someone else it's a BIG deal. There really is no right or wrong answer. It really is a personal decision.
We aren't lying, we just may not always be forthcoming about how we feel.
- We get asked what seems like a million times a day how we are feeling and we don't always want to say how awful we feel because we don't want the looks of pity that follow. We know it's not intended to make us feel bad but sometimes it's just easier to say that we are okay, or fine, than it is to say how we are really feeling. It is never an intentional lie, it just a mode of protection.
Don't be offended if we ask for a rain check more than once
- One aspect of living with a chronic Illness is dealing with getting worn out quickly and usually at the most inopportune times. Just like everyone else, we love having fun, we just often have less energy and get tired much quicker than most. There will be days when we feel like we can do all the things. But those days are usually followed by a day, or several days, where we won't be able to get out of bed. We need you to understand that this is not us being lazy, that this is us simply taking care of our bodies. Due to the fact that our bodies require more rest and self care than others. So please remember if we cancel plans, please don't take it personally. Chances are we would much rather be spending time with you than resting. And if I cancel because I don't feel like going out, doesn't mean I'm not up to a movie night in.
Take time to research our health conditions
- When you are dating someone who is chronically ill, it would mean so much if you would take the time to research what is going on with our health. In most cases we are an open book and are happy to answer any questions that you might have regarding our health. Simply because this means you do really care and that you want to put time into understanding our health and what may happen.
We have a lot on our plates
- Just because we may not work the typical job like most does not mean that we don't still have a LOT going on. Many of us who have chronic illnesses have had to start working from home, have changed to a modified work schedule or are unable to work at all. No matter how we work our health is our full time job. It may seem like we have a lot of free time on our hands but it's really quite the opposite. Most of us have certain routines that we have to follow daily or weekly for our health. That routine may be taking our medications on time, getting week lab work, or going to the abundant number of doctors appointments we have. Having a set routine does not mean we won't have time for you. It just means we have a little less flexibility than others.
We feel really guilty, a LOT
- One of the worst parts of living with some kind of chronic illness is the feeling of guilt we deal with. In most cases we didn't do anything to cause our conditions, and we know it's not our fault that we are sick but that doesn't mean we don't feel guilty about our illness. We care about you so much that we don't ever want you to have to live with our illness. We feel guilty about the fact that you have gotten a "broken" significant other.
There are so very many reasons why dating someone with a chronic illness is more complicated. That being said there are just as many more reason why it is so worth it. In general people with a chronic condition appreciate life more, love harder and fight harder for things they really want! Because of our health issues we will be there to stand by those in our lives who stood by us. And we will be there with you to fight the good fight because our health has made us to be a warrior at heart. So please don't give up on us just because we have a chronic illness. Most of us would not give up on you that quickly if the tables were turned so please give us the same courtesy.