What It’s Like Dating With A Chronic Illness
If you suffer from a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease or Diabetes, you know that nothing gets to remain a mystery for long in relationships. You don’t have the luxury, as some people do, of appearing like some perfect, perky, sexy physical specimen. Your life involves packing bags full of medication every time you leave your home for a few hours. If you miss a treatment or can’t make it to the pharmacy before it closes, you could be facing an emergency. Your life is not easy, and so dating is not easy. Furthermore, when you get into a serious relationship with somebody, you can even feel that you’ve made his life a little less easy. Perhaps your friends don’t need to know much about your illness, but your romantic partner is different—that’s someone you spend a lot of time with. Here’s what it’s like dating with a chronic illness.
Spontaneity is difficult
A guy cannot show up at your office on a Friday with plane tickets and a packed suitcase for you. Spontaneity is out of the question. You need to do your research any time you go anywhere. Will the facilities accommodate your condition? Will you have access to services you need? Not to mention that you need to pack any medical-related items you need.
Your partner can’t really surprise you
Your partner cannot really surprise you with…anything. He cannot throw you a surprise party, for example, because he runs the risk that on that day, your symptoms are flaring up, and you cannot handle company. He cannot even surprise you with a meal because it could interact with your condition, or medications, poorly.
It can be too real for some people
A lot of people cannot handle it. Some guy may say he can handle it, but the first time you have to cancel the date, and he stays in your apartment with you while you’re in pain, tending to your condition, he’ll freak out. They realize this is heavy, and perhaps they just want something light and easy. Dates, after all, are supposed to be light and easy. But they often can’t be for people with chronic illnesses.
It’s hard to feel sexy
Feeling sexy is complicated. Not only must you be having a day of no symptoms, but you also need to have had several days of no or at least mild symptoms. Feeling strong and sexy enough to get it on is difficult if just yesterday you were faint or vomiting or had to go to urgent care. You need, in addition to the healthy day, buffer healthy days leading up to it, all to feel attractive enough for sex.
Many partners try to heal you
When someone really cares about you, he can’t help but try to heal you. Some guys you date will make it their project to read everything about your condition, and even make appointments for you with specialists. You really appreciate that they care and want to know about your condition, but you also don’t want your relationship to be all about your condition.
The long-term can be daunting
Some partners may leave when they think about spending a lifetime with you. They don’t know if they can be there for you when you’re old, and your condition gets worse. They don’t know if they can handle twenty, thirty, forty…years of this lifestyle. It’s very hard when someone tells you this, but you appreciate that they were honest with you sooner rather than later.
Your illness can cause depression
Because you can’t always do the things you love, your illness can cause depression. Depression, on its own, is very difficult on a relationship. Then you add the physical illness. It can really feel like an uphill battle sometimes.
You’re always the reason you’re late as a couple
You and your partner are always running late and it’s typically your fault. Whether your symptoms were flaring up, you were debating whether or not you were strong enough to go, or just couldn’t find that one medication you needed to bring alone, you were the cause of your tardiness. You hate that you are that couple who is always late.
You often have to end nights early
You often have to disappoint your partner by telling him you need to leave the party, the movie, the dinner, the concert—whatever—early, because you aren’t feeling well. There have been times you’ve looked at your partner, and he was clearly having the time of his life, but you had to say, “We need to go.”
Your parents are especially protective
Parents of healthy individuals can be picky about who their children date. Your parents are even pickier. They know that whoever you spend your life with will also become your caretaker. In fact, they’ll take your parents’ place as your caretaker. They don’t only evaluate your boyfriends as romantic partners but as nurses.
You’ll push yourself, for your partner
Sometimes, you want so much to make your partner happy, that you’ll do something he wants to do, even when you know you’re not up to it. That always results in you becoming quite ill, having to cancel everything, and making your partner feel very guilty because he thinks he pushed you.
You hate how much your partner worries
You really hate how much your partner worries about you. Sometimes, you try to hide flare-ups from him, so he doesn’t worry. But you’ve learned that hiding flare-ups usually means not taking good enough care of yourself, so you just have to tell him about them.
You have to forgive stupidity
As if dating isn’t difficult enough, you have one more hurdle to get over: some dates are just ignorant about your condition. They’ll say or ask offensive questions. You have to forgive them and realize that they haven’t lived with this condition in their lives forever like you have. They don’t mean to sound ignorant.
Some guys think they’re heroes
Some people think they’re superheroes for dating you. The fact that they’re quite proud of themselves—as if they’re making some sacrifice—starts to creep up on you. It’s sickening.
You need someone really special
Ultimately, whomever you end up with will be a very special person. He’ll need to be someone who is tremendously patient and humble. He’ll need to be someone who is comfortable facing mortality every day, because he will face it, by watching you be ill on a regular basis. You’ll need to be with someone who is quite selfless, because he often won’t get to do the things he wants to do, in favor of taking care of you. But when you find him, he’ll be amazing.