Relationships & Chronic Illness

Recently I read an article asking the question ‘would you date someone who was chronically ill?’. The author herself, has a chronic illness and shed light on her relationships with both healthy men and chronically ill men. In short, she explained she would because everyone deserves love. 

This really got me thinking. Before I was on the unhealthy side of the coin, I had almost dated two guys with their own illnesses. One, I’d had no idea until he said something a few dates in, but it didn’t bother me. Ultimately it just didn’t work out because he didn’t want to fully commit to anyone. The other was noticeably disabled and he used it as a sense of entitlement and well that just turned me off. Just because you’re sick doesn’t mean you can act like an a-hole.

It also made me realize that I got “lucky” in the sense I was already married when I got sick. No having to explain to someone and hope they both understand and don’t run scared. While I agree everyone deserves love, Lupus makes me feel like damaged goods. And nobody wants damaged goods. If something were to happen to cause me to be single again– I hate to admit it but I wouldn’t want to date anyone. Healthy or not. 

But you said you agree that everyone deserves love… 

And I do. I just also know the toll a chronic illness takes on a relationship. For instance, I remember reading about Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Yolanda Hadid getting a divorce while battling Lyme Disease, and questioning how someone who vowed “through sickness and health” could leave the person they love while they’re sick. 

But now I can see how it happens. It changes you. It changes your perspective and priorities. Your whole world is now dedicated to getting better. At one point or another, someone is always going to feel guilty or neglected. And that’s not a healthy environment for anyone or any relationship. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love the person, it just means you realize that you aren’t able to give fully to the relationship. 

Now that’s not to say that every person with a chronic illness is doomed. In some cases the relationships thrive and spark a newfound commitment to each other. And for those it does I applaud them! I know how hard it can be. 

In short, I guess what I’m saying is if my situation was different and I wasn’t married– no I wouldn’t date someone chronically ill. Nor would I want to date someone healthy now that I’m sick. Like I said chronic illness changes you and your perspective. I’ve now been on both sides and I know that I don’t have what it takes to be the strong one on either side.

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