One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to people with disabilities is that we don’t have the social skills to want to be in a relationship, or we don’t have a desire to find love. I can tell you right off the bat, this is false! We do have a desire to find love and we do have social skills to be in a relationship.
I have always been a hopeless romantic type of girl. My dream is to get married in Tennessee overlooking the Smokey Mountains and ride away with my husband in the General Lee from my favorite TV show, Dukes of Hazzard.
Having Anxiety in a Relationship
Dating has always been one of the most challenging parts my life. This is mainly because I always wind up catching feelings for a young man who isn’t willing to understand my cerebral palsy and anxiety to a full extent. Or he isn’t willing to get educated on what it’s like to date someone with cerebral palsy and anxiety altogether. It wasn’t until five years ago when I met my boyfriend on social media that I finally felt like someone could fully understand me and accept my cerebral palsy and anxiety for what they are.
So, what’s it like being in a relationship when you have anxiety? I can tell you this firsthand. It’s like having a box of chocolate each day, and you never know what you’re going to get within that day. Sometimes days will be good, and some other days will be bad.
One of the main things that triggers me in my current relationship is the fact that my boyfriend and I have the same type of condition. I am not able to help him complete his daily tasks like an able-bodied woman would be able to. When I become triggered, I tend to communicate how I feel so he knows that I’m triggered, and he’s always there to listen even if we just had this conversation five minutes ago. But he understands.
Dating With Anxiety Tip #1: Listen!
My first tip for anyone dating a significant other with anxiety is listen to whatever is on their mind. Be patient and kind and try to help them find ways to cope. I know for me the best way to deal is watching one of our favorite movies together, like Urban Cowboy or Dear John.
Dating With Anxiety Tip #2: Ask for Space!
Another thing I would say causes me stress when it comes to dealing with anxiety in general are the days where I just want to be left alone because my anxiety is at an all-time high and I have to use my anxiety medication. I don’t like my boyfriend to see me in that upset state, so I tend to push him away because I don’t want him to see me in a negative light.
Then again, I feel bad because I feel like I’m abandoning him even though I have told myself it’s okay to ask for space. For those of you who are in a relationship struggling with anxiety, keep that in mind: it’s always okay to ask for space! At first, my boyfriend wasn’t quite as understanding, but now he fully understands. All I have to do is text him and tell him I need space and he’ll be understanding.
Dating With Anxiety Tip #3: Don’t Hide Your Anxiety!
I know firsthand that dealing with anxiety isn’t easy. When I was officially diagnosed with anxiety back in March, I didn’t know how to tell my boyfriend. How could I tell him that I was diagnosed with anxiety and that I had to take anti-anxiety pills and anti-depressants to control my emotions?
I was scared out of my mind. I was thinking in my head, “That’s it. He’s going to break up with me because he has too much on his plate.” So when I got home from the doctor’s office, I debated whether to FaceTime him that day because he lives all the way in Kentucky and I live in Florida. Finally, after he called me a hundred times, I picked up the phone.
As my heart pumped out of my chest, I said, “Austin, I went to the doctor today and I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.”
He told me, “Honey, I love you. I’m not leaving your side. We’ll get through it one day at a time.”
I was touched by Austin’s heart and the way he handled the news of my diagnosis. He also told me I should be proud of the fact I was unique, and I was one of a kind.
Dating With Anxiety Tip #4: Be There for Your Partner
Be open and willing to do your research on the diagnosis. Try to be there for your partner the best way you can, because at the end of the day they’re going to need you when the days get tough. They’re going to need you when they feel like the world is spinning and their thoughts are moving too fast.
I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for my boyfriend with me on this journey. I would probably feel as if there was always a dark cloud over my head with no sunshine. But he always gives me hope that it will all be okay one day and he makes my anxiety go away .
Austin is the sunrise after the rainstorm when times get tough. Always be in the sunshine for your partner because they’re going to need you to shine.
When you have a chronic illness, you need support from someone who understands. If you have a chronic illness and are looking to meet new people, check out this promising new dating app Lemonayde. It allows you to connect with others with chronic illnesses just like you from the comfort of home!
About the Author:
Tylia Flores is a 22-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world. In doing so, she hopes to help others with disabilities realize that they, too, have the potential to make their dreams come true.