In a perfect world, dating, maintaining relationships, being social and making new friends can be a challenge. When you suffer with an invisible illness, these challenges are magnified a hundred fold. If family and friends don’t understand what you’re going through, how will someone new be able to?
Dating is all about first impressions, keeping the conversation flowing, expressing interest, and finding commonalities. Let’s take a look at how invisible illness affects these components of dating:
First Impressions – When brushing your teeth or hair is a physical challenge, it’s impossible to put forth the effort needed to look stunning for a night on the town. If your body is attacking itself, “looking good” is not high on your list of priorities.
Keeping the Conversation Flowing – You’re out of the loop on current events, couldn’t care less about who was just voted off the island, and don’t remember the last concert or sporting event you’ve attended. Your illness consumes your life, and your quest for diagnosis, treatment and understanding don’t rate highly as date conversation topics.
Expressing Interest – Even if you enjoy the companionship and find your date intriguing, expressing interest is a challenge. You simply don’t have the energy to be interested in anything or anyone outside the realm of your diagnosis and healing.
Finding Commonalities – If you’re having trouble keeping the conversation flowing, it’s not likely that you’ll discover what common interests, dreams, and goals you share with your date.
While dating with an invisible illness is certainly possible, building and maintaining a relationship while starting at ground zero often poses insurmountable challenges. Remember, family and friends “knew you when” and have a vested interest in your life. It’s hard for someone new to see the real you – especially when you’ve lost sight of yourself.
What were my personal experiences? I was unable to sustain any relationship past the third or fourth date. My energy was zapped and I just couldn’t focus on anything else but getting well.
What challenges is your invisible illness presenting for dating and relationships in your life? Share your comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to learn more about you.