Am I Ready to Date with a Chronic Illness?
Being single and looking for a relationship at 24 can be difficult enough, but add a chronic illness into the mix and it can really throw a spanner in the works. It seems like everyone and their dog are moving in, getting engaged and married or they’re having babies, and you are just there trying to get through the day without being in immense pain from pushing yourself too far the day before. I became single around the same time I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia – cue the onslaught of panic thinking that I would be alone forever because my life was over right then and there. Newsflash: it definitely was not. I found it way too easy to fall into the trap of thinking I could not progress with my life, but after some amazing sessions and the Pain Management Programme I have a completely new way of looking at my future. I thought I would put together a little list of the main things I am focusing on right now to help me get ready to ‘get back out there’.
It Is Time to Date Yourself!
I do not need to explain how important it is to practice self-love. It is the age-old lesson of learning to love yourself before you go on to start exploring relationships again. For anyone this is a hugely important thing, but I think it is especially important for those living with a chronic illness. I know for me, I started to question everything about myself. So ‘dating’ yourself can really help when it comes to getting ready to get back on the horse! Learn all about yourself again, your likes and dislikes, and all your hobbies, too. How can you tell someone all about yourself if you don’t even know anymore? This is the perfect excuse to indulge in some lush food, watch any film you want (without someone judging your film choices) and just enjoy your ‘me time’ before that becomes a distance memory.
What are you looking for?
In this day and age it can be difficult to find someone you like who is looking for all the same things as you. In the days of Tinder, and all the other dating apps out there, it is a lot easier to get lost in the crowds of people looking for just a quick fling. For me personally, I just do not have the interest, time, or effort for all of that. I’m ready to ‘settle down’ in some form. No, I’m not expecting marriage within the year; but, I am done with the casual dating where you end up catching feelings while the other person is talking to five other people. Done that, got the t-shirt and it just was not worth it. It is good to decide what kind of person you are when it comes to your love life. I am 100% a relationship kind of gal. I am terrible at ‘being single.’ I’ve spent the time to find exactly what I want out of a relationship and it’s a good idea for you to do the same.
Are You Ready?
This is the most important thing. Chronic illnesses can take a lot out of you. You might have experienced a relationship breakdown lately or maybe you are just enjoying being ‘just you’ right now. No use rushing into relationships if you are not mentally or physically ready for it. It is hard to remember that sometimes when you are single you end up having people asking you on a regular basis if you are seeing anyone new. There is absolutely no need to rush into any relationship. You have enough on your plate! It is also good to think about whether you are ready to be sharing your chronic illness with someone. I went a few months never bringing it up but at the end of the day it is something I have to live with so now I don’t hide it. It is good to figure out if you are ready for this, too.
Put Your Health First
Do I really need to explain this one? I am sure a lot of you out there have experienced a time where you have put another person’s feelings before your own physical or mental health. Chronic illnesses can impact every single aspect of your life. Your body and your mind work as one, so when you start to feel down or stressed, your pain, fatigue and any other symptom may increase with it. Do not put yourself through any unnecessary stress out in the dating world. It is not worth it and I can guarantee you will find someone who will make living with a chronic illness easier, not harder.
At the end of the day relationships are not the be all and end all. That does not mean you are a terrible person for wanting one. I am still stuck on point three. I can not be sure if I am 100% ready yet, but that’s okay. I’m enjoying my life, working really hard on managing my chronic pain, and that takes up enough of my time!
There is a new solution, the new dating app Lemonayde. It is a dating app especially made for people with health challenges. You can check it out here!
About the Author
Abbey is a 24-year-old Scientist with Fibromyalgia. She spent her University life fighting for a diagnosis so now she is trying to reclaim her social life. You can follow Abbey’s blog at Diary of a Fibro Girl.