The challenges of dating with a chronic illness

Self-disclosure, the process of revealing personal information openly and implicitly, is an important part of any growing relationship. Sharing health information can be especially empowering for people with chronic illnesses as they consider any internal stigma and shame, Dr. Gideon said. And, for anyone requesting accommodations, disclosure can create space to meet those needs.

“Even if it seems like a relatively simple date to most people, like just going out to dinner, driving is still taxing. Getting ready is physically taxing,” said Kerra Macdonald, one The 33-year-old graphic designer from Napa, California, lives with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes musculoskeletal pain and sleep disturbances, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome.

Ms. Macdonald has learned to manage her energy to prevent flare-ups. Before dating, she avoids doing housework, errands, and even cooking meals, as those activities can burn you out. She also arranged time to recuperate afterwards. Ms Macdonald found that making sure potential partners knew about her identity, as both a woman with a chronic illness and a transgender woman, would help her feel more open to romantic relationships. .

Iman Rahman, who is living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a painful connective tissue disorder that affects mobility, says: “Sometimes what someone with a chronic condition needs, such as cancel dates without notice, and run an Instagram account that amplifies the voices of people of color with disabilities. But when Rahman, 22, asked her what she needed from a date and got it, her understanding of the romantic connection deepened.

“Being met with love and care is very healing,” says Ms. Rahman. “The disabled soulmate is so beautiful. It’s your girlfriend sending you a vomit bag knowing that you’re vomiting all the time. It’s about them knowing the most vulnerable parts of your life and taking care of them. “

If someone is interested in sharing their health information with potential romantic partners, Ms. Rose, sex educator and relationship coach, suggests the following formula: First: , decide what you want out of the conversation. Then let the person know you want to talk. If you are concerned about what they might say, you can start by sharing that concern.

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