Let me start off by saying, talking about dating makes me uncomfortable. It’s not something I share a lot about because it’s such a personal experience. That being said, when I first started dating after having health problems, I was lost. I wish I had an article like this to turn to. I wanted to share what has made my life easier with dating. I’ve fallen into a lot of pitfalls and I want to save you that frustration and heartache.
- Be Upfront
This is a really difficult balance. I want to ensure my safety but also be clear that I have a disability. For me, I find that not mentioning my health works up until planning an actual date. At which point I mention that Crush will be with me. This doesn’t put me at excessive risk but also invites a conversation about what my condition is. In some cases, I still hold back about talking about the actual extent of my condition for a while. I simply say that I have an issue with my nervous system and leave it at that.
- Don’t Answer Stupid Questions
When I first started this process, I felt obligated to answer every question people had about me. This specifically relates to my health, my condition, Crush and everything else. I learned in therapy that it’s not my responsibility to share. I only have to open up when I feel ready. I don’t owe anyone an explanation and neither do you. Let stupid questions roll of your back and don’t give them the time of day. Respect yourself. Don’t let others convince you that being honest means oversharing.
- Take Care of Yourself
Do not let symptoms go unnoticed because you’re on a date. This is actually really helpful to see how your date reacts. When they don’t ask questions about taking medication, it makes me feel comfortable. It’s also nice to see whether they’re supportive or feel frustrated. As if your symptoms or reality are an inconvenience to them or not. The point being, focus on taking care of yourself. Let their reaction be a guide about whether you keep them around.
- Stay Mindful
I think it’s easy to get caught up in the moment but stay mindful of your safety. I mean this both in the sense of taking care of yourself and that others don’t always have your best interest in mind. Having a disability does make you more vulnerable in a wide variety of ways. Just keep safety measures in place and don’t put trust in someone who you don’t know.
These are some of the things I’ve learned while dating. There are so many more but I’m dipping my toe in the water with sharing these. Let me know your experiences and what you’ve learned in your own journey. Let’s keep the conversation going! I hope your day is going well. I hope it’s filled with hope, positivity, and laughter.