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Health advocate and blogger Leslie Rott has a three-date rule: “I think it gets harder to tell the longer you wait, and, in reality, you don’t want to be with someone who can’t accept or handle your illness.” Author, TV personality, and children’s advocate Christine Schwab recommends holding off, saying it is a discussion for a serious relationship: “I am not saying ignore your RA; talk to your doctor or your therapist, but not your date.
It can kill the best of dates.” Chris Lowthian also prefers not to disclose before a date: “I just want to go out and have a good time! When it comes to revealing the fact that they have RA, a number of Creaky Joints members say they turn to social media.
My doctor also said that if a person couldn’t love and accept me and my heart disease, they did not deserve me. I remember wondering if someone could genuinely love me with my illness. It seemed as if I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Looking back, I realize that I employed defense mechanisms; there was an impenetrable wall.
Dating is difficult under the best of circumstances. To answer these and other relationship questions, Creaky Joints, the arthritis advocacy group, asked its thousands of Facebook followers for dating advice. Deciding when to tell a potential date that you have a chronic illness can be a tough call: Do you tell the person right away so that it is not a surprise?
What happens when a chronic illness such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is added to the mix? Do you wait until you know the person better and can anticipate a reaction?
Community member Andrea Mamun says: “Meeting online takes the inhibition out of the mix.
It’s easier putting it out in writing than in person.” Nancy Hunt-Mc Donald agrees that sharing online is a great option and suggests telling a potential date right away: “If they can’t accept you the way you are, then you haven’t really invested too much of yourself in the relationship.” Mary Ellen Rotolo puts her health status in her online profile, noting that RA is not something she could hide in person.
I recall a conversation I had with my childhood cardiologist, who is now deceased.
He was with me through my adolescent years and he accompanied me into adulthood.
On the surface, I appeared like a self-confident young lady. I followed the directive of my doctor because, deep within, I knew it was the right thing to do.
My message for this column is simple: I am reaching out to those who are afraid, insecure, or uncomfortable discussing their illness for fear of rejection.
Bon Crosby says that while she appears otherwise healthy, she worries about dating because of her hands: “My problem is that my hands look so bad it is embarrassing.” Denise Morant notes, “Sometimes you might not want to go out or you can’t travel long distances because of the pain.” Kathy Mallon voices a similar concern: “The hardest part of dating is not knowing if I am able to make it.