Dating With Chronic Illness
You deserve love. We all do. Every person wants someone who we can share our life with. Good moments, bad moments, and even the boring moments in between. When you have a chronic illness it can make the idea of dating scary. Like, super scary. How do you date with a chronic illness?
You’re not alone. No matter who you are (healthy or not), dating is daunting. It’s hard to find someone who you jive with. But, adding into the mix all the physical issues you’re facing can make it even more daunting. Fatigue, headaches, brain fog, dizziness, and more can all be wildcards on a date night.
We are here to help! Here’s some advice on how to date with POTS, dysautonomia, EDS, and other forms of chronic illness.
Don’t start by thinking it’s impossible.
The adage that there are “plenty of fish in the sea” is true. There is someone out there that you will not only connect with but who will also be patient and understanding. You may be surprised to learn that many people are willing to overlook a lot if they’re really into you. Love prevails, and you will too.
Laying all your cards on the table.
It’s good to be upfront about your struggles and who you are, but when do you disclose your chronic illness? Before the first date or maybe after the first few dates? It’s the million dollar question. This is down to personal preference, and what is right for you. If your illness scares someone away you have to step back and realize that they’re not worth your time; it can be better to know early on how respectful they will be of you. “Warts and all,” as the saying goes.
If disclosing your chronic illness gives you anxiety just remember that all people have drawbacks or something they think makes them undateable. We all have baggage somewhere if you look closely enough.
Practice telling your date about your chronic illness.
The delivery of the message can affect the mood of the relationship ongoing. You don’t have to tell everything in one day. Maybe mention that you have a chronic illness that causes you fatigue (or whatever your worst symptom may be) and leave it at that. More of an explanation of symptoms and how you manage it can be explained later. Plus, if they’re really into you they may ask more questions which can be the green flag you need to see.
Postponing dates because of chronic illness flares.
You found someone who you are into, and they really like you. However, it’s early in the relationship and you’re experiencing a flare on a night you’re supposed to get together. What do you do?
Be upfront. If you haven’t talked about your chronic illness yet, this may be the time to explain how it affects you. Using spoon theory could help them better understand. You never know, they may show up at your door with medical grade electrolytes like Normalyte!
Your illness doesn’t define you.
You are more than your illness, and don’t forget it! Don’t dwell on it during dates. It’s important that you build a relationship with someone while not focusing on the negatives. Your partner has hobbies and interests - find the common ground and talk about things you love.
Keep their needs in mind.
There needs to be understanding on both sides. When your relationship is becoming established it’s good to keep a check on them too. How are they feeling? What challenges are they facing? Where can you fill a need for them? Don’t forget the way your date may be feeling. Sometimes it’s easy for the focus to lay on you, but you must show them the same compassion they are likely showing you.
Foster the relationship.
Once you’ve found someone, it’s all about fostering that relationship so it can grow. Be sure to do things like putting your devices down and giving them their full attention. Spend quality time playing board games or cards at home. Find ways to make each other laugh. Take this test to find out what their love language is (acts of service, gifts, quality time, etc) and shower them with love.
Does your girlfriend (or boyfriend) have POTS?
Bravo! We love that you came here because of how much you care. Your partner has POTS and you’re at a loss on how to help. We’ve got you with these tips.
Listen. This is maybe the most important tip. Just listen. Sympathize with them when they’re having a bad day. That doesn’t mean you need to fix anything (something men especially like to do). It’s likely they just need to vent so that someone knows how they feel.
Be ready with the electrolytes. Not all electrolytes are created equal, either. Keeping medical grade electrolytes at your home (especially if you live separately) is a super caring gesture. Symptoms of POTS can be managed with NormaLyte. Sometimes it will mean the difference of being able to get up off the couch to do daily tasks. If she hasn’t tried it, there’s free samples on our website.
Don’t take their illness personally. It’s not you, it’s them. It’s their bodies defying them and sometimes that might make them cranky or unable to leave the house that day. Be flexible and understanding. It’s not anything you may have done or that they have control over. They are not doing this to you on purpose.
Take time to research it. Knowing what the illness is and how it affects people can help your relationship by giving you a knowledge base of what to expect. We recommend looking through resources. You may even find yourself advocating for them to their doctors, and that is something invaluable to people with chronic illness.
Ask questions. This goes along with learning and researching their illness. If you want to really fully understand just ask! They will love that you are taking the time to understand, and may like talking about what’s affecting them. For any relationship, communication is always the biggest part of their success. Talk through it all!
Don’t dismiss the power of love. It’s the root of all relationships.