Dating has never been a simple task since the beginning of time. Whether a fine lady being wooed by a noble in the Middle Ages, breaking convention and marrying for love in the 19th century, or swiping right in the 21st century, meeting the right person can be a challenge.
Insert chronic illness into the picture and suddenly there’s a whole slew of unique issues to manage. Upon posting a question about dating on our Facebook page, it was clear as day that there seem to be two sides to dating with chronic illness.
Dating? Go For It!
Many of our fellow Chargies who commented on the Facebook post are comfortable with dating while having chronic illness.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
“I agree honesty is the best policy. So when you’re dating someone or you meet someone on the Internet and there is an interest between two people, be honest. They will respect you more.” Elissa
“Put it all out there when you first meet them. Don’t try to hide it. They will find out later anyway. If you are upfront about it and they stay, they are a keeper.” Heather
“I am honest and open about everything from the get-go. When I met my current spouse on the Internet, I told him my issues, warned him I would never be fully healthy and would probably get worse, and went from there. I had to make it clear what he would be dealing with.” Amanda
“I am honest right away about my illnesses. No sense in hiding it because it will come out. I’ve also found it helps weed the wrong ones out. If they disappear, they’re not worth my time.“ Dawnique
“Make it clear up front that all plans are subject to change at any moment; it is not personal.” Gwendolyn
“I told my high school love after not seeing him for 22 years, ‘I have to be honest. I have MS.’ He said, ‘No, you don’t. We do.’ We are married 6 years now.” Eileen
Try Not to Make Things Too Complicated
“I don’t have the energy to play games or tip-toe around anything or make my life more complicated. Don’t make it harder for yourself by doing so and don’t feel like you need to be something you aren’t. If you lie or pretend or fake in the beginning, you can’t fully blame them when they are surprised or taken aback by the truth. Remember, if things get serious, they will be sharing your burden.” Amanda
“Just be yourself. Don’t overwhelm them right off the bat. Let them fall for you, not your physicality.” Liz
“When we got married, he knew I was sick and wanted to take care of me. Then he got sick and I took care of him. I briefly dated someone before my husband and he didn’t understand illness at all; he thought I just needed to try harder. Don’t waste emotional energy trying to change them. Just move on.” Linda
“Date another spoonie and spend your days watching Netflix and snuggling.” Bronwyn
Don’t Give Up!
“Don’t push yourself or over exert yourself. Find people who enjoy the same music, movies, books, and hobbies. Find someone with core likes and enjoyments. Connect on other levels than the physical. Find someone who isn’t looking to fix you or push you to be who you aren’t. Find someone who supports you and cares about you. Don’t settle for a rough situation out of self-pity or self-deprecation. You matter. You are a person with feelings and heart and dreams. Never lose yourself. And don’t force yourself on someone not ready or sure if they can handle what you deal with. That will be a constant uphill battle.” Amanda
“If they run, then they don’t deserve you. Any man/woman won’t care what is wrong or what is right. No one is ever perfect. Everyone has an imperfection. If they want to judge you over something like that, all I can say is they are a pathetic excuse for a human. Keep going and never give up hope. Please, guys and girls, don’t ever give up. Don’t let your worries hold you back. Your prince/princess won’t give a damn what is wrong or what is right. They will love you for you and nothing else.” Tonie
“I would suggest connecting in online groups or pages that are about your favorite hobbies, things, etc. Be wary, but be strong and be proud of who you are. Focus on your strengths. Talk about yourself in a positive light when you can. Although you should be honest, constantly complaining and always being negative will drive people away. Don’t lay it on heavy or always make it about you.” Amanda
Dating? No Way!
While many of our fellow Chargies encourage dating, others have a different view.
“Just don’t. It’s been 10+ years and just less stress this way. There is no room for any more stress or caregiving of another person.” Jamie
“No dating here, either. I used to have summer flings. But men cannot handle this. They try to cure me and then get frustrated when love doesn’t magically make my illness go away.” Anne
“See someone cute, walk tall, and smile. Then keep walking because it probably isn’t worth it!” Sam
”How can I let someone know I have a colostomy bag and just pray they won’t run the other way?” Elissa
“It doesn’t work. My body creates its own schedule. I have other medical issues so I am done dating. I definitely have too much baggage. I am ok with it, though.” Becky
“Please do NOT tell me to change my lifestyle to suit your preferences or to ‘fix’ me. My daily activities, diet, and medical treatments have developed over *years* of working with professionals, and they HAVE to revolve around my illnesses for my survival. As much as I’d love to do spontaneous and fun things, I physically cannot…and I will not tolerate being teased, pressured, or shamed for things beyond my control.” Grace
How Do You Meet Someone When You Barely Leave the House?
Dating is not for everyone. There’s no question that dating while also trying to handle chronic illness can present some significant and unique challenges.
But what if you could get to know someone before you even meet in person? If you have a chronic illness and are looking to meet new people, check out this promising new dating app Lemonayde. Made for people with health challenges, it allows you to connect with others with chronic illnesses just like you from the comfort of home!
Compiled and edited by Laura Tietz