Tips on Dating with a Chronic Illness
By Jessica | @jessiixxii | August 22, 2018
Tips on Dating with a Chronic Illness
Let me tell you a story. I was at a theatre convention and was introduced to this guy. We sat down and started talking. We hadn’t been talking more than ten minutes before I said, “Wait. Before we go anywhere else, I want to tell you two things: I’m vegan and I’m allergic to everything.”
We then dated for six months. I just figured it would be best to be blunt. It would be safe, right? Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of things about myself and my illness regarding dating.
1 . Date someone supportive
This is probably the one time I will condone judging someone: judge their character. Make sure they’re willing to be helpful and supportive, whether it means just being a shoulder to cry on or someone to drive you to doctor appointments. If they seem nonchalant about your illness, chances are the relationship will just be toxic. You need to take care of yourself; don’t let someone else hinder that. 2 . Communicate I always tell anyone I date: “I’ve heard every question in the book. Ask my anything.” It’s better for them to know than not to. Sit down and talk about it. Go through the steps of what would help you during a flare-up or attack. For example, I always mention that I have an EpiPen in my purse. Ask if they have any questions and answer them to the best of your ability. It’s much better to be safe than sorry. Communication is key in any relationship, but definitely communicate your illness with your partner. If they aren’t understanding, this might be a sign to move on. Remember, they might not know exactly what you’re going through. It might be hard to explain, but do your best. That’s all you can do! If you need to talk about one part one day and another the next, that’s fine. Take your time. If they don’t understand right away, be patient. They are also trying their best to understand, so take it in stride. It’s when they act uncaring about it, you should rethink the relationship. In the beginning, you might have to take a direct as I was from the story above. Again, better safe than sorry. It’s your wellbeing and that should be priority. 3 . Find your support system
I guess this kind of goes back to being with someone supportive. Make sure they understand that this is your health we’re talking about. They should respect it, bring you your meds, ask how you’re doing, and so on and so forth. Your partner shouldn’t treat you like a nuisance or a burden. Because guess what: you’re not. I will scream that from the mountaintops. You are not a burden and don’t let anyone else tell you that you are.
4 . Don’t sacrifice your health
Which is more important: your doctor’s appointment or the final play in an NFL game? The first one, of course! If your partner puts other things before your health, this could be a sign of a toxic relationship. They shouldn’t brush it off or tell you to just suck it up and put on a happy face. It shouldn’t be an inconvenience to them to check on you and see how you’re doing.
5 . Don’t let your illness define you or the relationship
Basically, enjoy the relationship! Have fun! Go on dates! Walk along the boardwalk, kiss in the rain, sing in the car, go see a movie, go shopping together, do the Penny Date. If you don’t feel like leaving the house, have a candle lit dinner over the coffee table, watch Netflix, cuddle, play board or card games. Even go on Pinterest and look at date ideas you feel comfortable doing. Every conversation you two have doesn’t have to focus on your illness. You are a beautiful strong person with hobbies and loves and even dislikes. Be that person. Relationships are meant to be fun and exciting. Enjoy that!
Enjoy this other person you can be around for more than twenty minutes. Enjoy this person that knows your favorite color. Whether you like sugar or honey in your tea. If you even like tea. What you order at Starbucks. Your favorite shirt to sleep in. If you like your neck kissed or not. Of course, knowing the details of your illness is important but I’ll say it again. Your illness does not define you.
6 . Stay confident
Don’t think your partner likes you despite your illness. Your partner loves all of you. I’m not saying everything will be sunshine and rainbows. With chronic illness, there are rough days. The good, the bad, and the ugly days. And your partner should be there. Don’t apologize for the way that you are because you have nothing to apologize for. You are you and they love you! If you take anything away from this blog post, I hope it’s that.
Stay strong, loves!
Jessica is a legal studies major at Florida Gulf Coast University. She also lives with severe anaphylaxis allergies to over fifty foods and asthma. Despite her physical limitations, she loves singing and performing, slam poetry, and Parks and Rec.