Being chronically ill and single comes with its own unique set of challenges. First and most important: I don’t have energy to socialize or go out much, so how will I ever meet someone?
Being a Chargie (someone with a chronic illness, invisible illness, and/or chronic pain) is hard enough. Now add the stress of dating onto that and we feel like we will always stay single. Although it is hard to date as a Chargie, it is certainly not impossible!
How can I date with chronic illness?
We asked our Twitter community what they wanted to share about this topic. This is what they had to say!
Many Chargies feel that they are “not good enough” because they can’t do “healthy people” activities.
Dating Tip: Don’t try and go somewhere where you know you will have to use too much energy. Go see a movie or have dinner. Sit in the park. Skip mini-golf or other more active dates.
It’s hard to plan when you are chronically ill. Today you may feel fine, but you never know what tomorrow brings.
Dating Tip: Make sure to rest as much as possible before your date so you can use your energy on the actual date itself. Don’t overdo it prepping yourself. Do you wear your hair and make up like that every day? I didn’t think so. Less is more.
Explain to the other party that you have to take it slow. When you’ve just started dating someone, it’s hard to talk about health challenges. You don’t have to throw it all out there before or on the first date if it makes you uncomfortable!
Dating Tip: If you feel uncomfortable telling your date all the ins and outs of your health right from the start, keep it vague. Just say that you get tired easily. It’s a start.
How I Feel About Chargie Dating Challenges
Wouldn’t it be great if we could meet new people from the comfort and safety of our own homes? Even when we feel bad, having contact with others can make us feel better.
Spoiler alert: At the end of the article I’ll tell you how this is possible! Can’t wait? Check it out here!
It’s important to understand that your illness is not your fault. Others don’t blame you for your symptoms, and if they do, you don’t need those people in your life. Living with a chronic illness is a full time job.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You can only do what your body allows you to do. The other person needs to understand. If they can’t, they are not the right person for you.
An understanding partner is very important. Be open and find someone who accepts you for who you are.
Dating Tip: If you find yourself ready to be intimate with someone, take the time to explain what limitations your condition may cause before you get to the moment of intimacy.
We can often feel that having a chronic illness robs us of that “youthful vitality” that permeates the typical dating scene. You don’t have to only be in your 20s or 30s to be able to date! If you’re in your 30s and your illness makes you feel like you’re 70, dare to date anyway!
Dating Tip: You don’t need to skip along the beach in a maxi dress to have fun on a date. Low-key activities can be just as enjoyable and fulfilling.
I’m a warrior; I need a partner, not a caretaker!
In some cases people will think you need help all the time, when you are not looking for a caretaker but for a partner. Make it clear to them that you can do things yourself and would love the emotional support, but are looking for an equal partnership.
Dating tip: Don’t bring this up until you are sure you want to start a relationship with this person.
Show them your character and how fun you are. Talk about your hopes and dreams for your life despite being disabled. When you don’t focus on your disability, neither will they.
If you’re dating someone who is unfamiliar with the needs of individuals with disabilities, they will likely be unsure of where the boundaries are. They may be eager to show they care by trying to help you. While frustrating for those with disabilities, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Be sure to explain that you will ask for help if you need it.
Dating Tip: If you sense that they may be using you, or not listening to your wishes, get away! If they don’t understand basic needs after telling them once, maybe twice, they will never get it.
To date or not to date with chronic illness?
Opinions are divided on that front, but one thing is clear. Dating with a chronic illness is even more work than dating without one. Wouldn’t it be great if you could skip over the part where you need to tell them about your health challenges?
There is a solution, the new dating app Lemonayde. It is a dating app especially made for people with health challenges. You can check it out here!
Graphics by T.J. Madden
Compiled and edited by Natalie van Scheltinga and Laura Tietz