I go back and forth on the issue of dating. Sometimes I think it’s because even before I got sick, I was considered “intimidating” to many men. I have been told this for most of my adult life: They meet me, they find me attractive, we start talking, and then out of nowhere, I’m “intimidating.” When this first started happening, I wondered what I could do to be less scary. Then I realized that I had too much ambition, too many goals, and too much energy to make it happen. Frustrating any of that would short-circuit me.
I grew up in inner-city Chicago, and from a young age, I decided I was going to move above my circumstances. I have met lupus with that same fighting spirit. I have never been one to rest with making excuses. I have this idea that we can have an impact on much of what we complain about, unless it’s the weather. With lupus, I looked for better healthcare, sold all that I owned, and moved to a land clear on the opposite side of the world — sight unseen. I don’t allow circumstances that I feel are minor to stand in the way of those I consider to be major.
When the doctors told me that they thought my brain was affected by lupus because my hair was falling out in handfuls, I was very upset. But when I weighed up the situation, I looked at what I could control. I couldn’t stop my body from attacking my brain, but I could stop myself from worrying about my hair falling out. So, I shaved it off. Problem solved. However, I was so bold about this move that I didn’t think about the other effects it would have on my life. Right away, I felt like I looked like a boy. In a land with a large population of trans people, I started wondering if people were going to think I was trans, too, or at least a lesbian. Then I decided that all of this was foolish and that it was best not to date at all.
No one wants to grow older alone, and I am no exception. However, if I am honest, I feel fearful and guilty about the possibility of a relationship. First of all, dating is stressful; stress is a lupus trigger, and it’s usually the one that lands me in the hospital. That’s why I take control of potential issues as quickly as possible. Dating also means you hope that people will accept you as you are. I have a revolving door at the hospital and an illness that seems to be getting progressively worse. My mind says, “Who is signing up for that?” And if they do, I wonder if, at some point, there would be resentment for a life half-lived. I still want to do many things but because of my body rebelling I don’t do things or go places as much as I’d like to, so that means a potential partner would go alone or not at all. I don’t want to feel responsible or guilty for that.
I have moments where I feel really down about my life, but I am never down for too long. I am also the type of person who will accept some things as just the way they are, and if I can’t change it I may as well accept it. As I examine my thoughts about dating, I accept that this is the way things are. Fortunately, I rarely feel lonely, though I spend a lot of time alone. The idea of dating comes up every so often in my mind, and while I have come to be quite dismissive of it, I wonder how others who are battling lupus feel about this topic.
What are your thoughts on dating? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.