In Sickness and In Health: Dating with a Chronic Illness

Dating and relationships are already known to be a hairy challenge for many. What if you have chronic illnesses looming over your head as well? Well, that takes "It's Complicated" to a whole new level! Different illnesses can present their own difficulties but I'm going to be presenting my personal struggles from the perspective of Fibromyalgia, Anxiety/Panic, Agoraphobia and Misophonia.

The struggle is real.

Dating... date... yeah, you kinda have to go on a date sometimes to truly be "dating" huh? Not always a complete inability for me but at times, it definitely is. In the "flare" I'm in right now, any date outside of coming to my house to eat with me and watch Netflix is most likely not a huge possibility. I might could do a picnic at the park down the street but most restaurants are still out of my "comfort zone" at this moment. Fun, right? Definitely makes for an inexpensive date but boring, too. When the agoraphobia isn't as much an issue, the fibro still comes into play limiting the things I have the energy for. It's just kind of a bleak outlook in general. Anxiety and panic play a nice role of blanketing some insecurity and fear of being hurt over the whole idea of starting a new relationship and trusting someone. Misophonia is less of an issue for me as mine is more flared when I'm hurting badly, sick or very panicked so I would likely have cancelled a date at that point anyways and I also am not too triggered by chewing sounds (but a fork dragging on a plate makes my skin crawl!). So, at this point we've already deduced I'm doomed to becoming a crazy cat lady, right?! Maybe not.

Alone is scary enough, alone with a chronic illness is even scarier.

There is definitely more motivation, I think, to have that comfort of a partner when you are a spoonie. Maybe not for everyone but I think it's already a natural desire we have. The raw and transparent truth is that a good partner sure does make life easier. Let alone the most horrible days of flare ups when someone to care for you would be a-maz-ing.

So what does it take to be a good partner for a Spoonie?

It takes the most selfless and warm of hearts, I do believe. Kindness, gentleness, compassion all play the biggest roles in the personality traits necessary for sure. You can't get into a relationship with someone to "fix" them, which is true across the board, not just for us. Chronic means just that and while being happy and nurtured can definitely lessen some symptoms sometimes and having a good support can be encouraging, you have to be willing to accept this is life. Having a caregiver's heart which does not mean you'll be a 24/7 nurse but that when there are moments where care is needed, you're eager to do so. A spoonie's significant other should be a lover first but be ready to take on a second role as caregiver in the moments when it's needed. Honest and trustworthy- biggie there... if we can't be with you all of the time when you are out can we trust you? Can you assure me that I'm not a burden to you but that I am a treasure and you'll be happy to come home? Definitely a huge one there. 

So, "In Sickness and In Health" is possible. 

Or at least, I'd like to believe it is. I sure do hope it is because I'd love to cancel this pre-order for my crazy cat lady kit I have on hold. It just takes a bit more open communication than many are used to, a good bit of patience (and who has that?!) and a sprinkle of hope.

Got any dating tips you'd like to add? Jot them down in the comments below and share with us!

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