Wondering if You Can Find True Love with Lupus

Kellie McRae avatar

by Kellie McRae |

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Lupus and true love

When a long-term relationship ends, I usually take a year or two to understand the new me because, let’s face it, we change. My last serious relationship ended in 2010. After a while, I got caught up in all the wonderful things that were happening in my life, and dating again was honestly one of the last things on my mind.

When I finally did get back around to the thought of dating, men I had no interest in would ask me out and I would respond with, “Sorry, I don’t date.” Men I might have had an interest in would tell me I was intimidating, so I figured I should forget the idea of having someone significant in my life. So that’s what I did. I filled my time with building a business, being with friends and family, and doing other things that brought me pleasure. Then I hit a brick wall.

I moved to a new town, where I knew only a few people I worked with. I had moved there to take a new position, and got sick. I spent months in my apartment all alone trying to figure out what was stealing my life. When I was finally diagnosed with lupus, I was relieved. At least I finally had a name for this thing that was beating the daylights out of me.

But I was still sad and angry because lupus is incurable, and no one could tell me where it came from. Those were some of the loneliest times ever. The furthest thing from my mind was having a man in my life.

A year later, and with a little more than a year’s worth of experience with lupus, I was still feeling lonely. Most people who you spend the majority of your time around are healthy. They think a day of being tired means they can relate to your chronic fatigue. They think a kink in their knee means they can relate to the fiery joints you have pretty much on a daily basis. So, when you start thinking about dating, you’re probably looking at a healthy partner.

You show up with your invisible illness, and he thinks he’s getting the girl of his dreams. Then you have to cancel the date because you can’t crawl out of bed, and he thinks about that day when he was really tired, but still got things done.

He books a great restaurant but you can’t eat half the food, because you know they are a trigger for lupus. He figures you are a picky eater and thinks, “How will I ever be able to invite her to dinner since she ‘chooses’ not to eat certain foods?”

Lupus won’t wait three or four months for you to ease him in slowly to the idea that you aren’t well. I am really battling with this. I don’t have the luxury any more of filling the empty space in my life with activities that allow me to ignore the empty space in my heart. Now I sit home for days on end. I’m still a bit of a workaholic, but there are too many empty moments that allow me to think about this situation.

As a healthy woman, I had a difficult time finding a suitable partner. Now, as a woman who is battling something new almost daily, I find it difficult to think I can ask a perfect stranger, who has options, to battle alongside me. This makes me sad. Lupus is enough to deal with. The thought that, as a young woman, the last relationship I had might have actually been my last relationship, is hard to accept.

My worry that I will hurt the rest of my life, and that I will be alone while I hurt, makes the pain more difficult. Sometimes wrapping yourself in a pair of loving and understanding arms can make a world of difference. It can be a moment of real honesty, with no happy fluff added in.

I am not one to wallow, but I would be a liar if I said this is not something that weighs on me.  I pray for a partner who will be understanding and choose to know me in spite of my difficulties. I am usually optimistic, but this one has me wondering.


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.


Latisha Harrison avatar

Latisha Harrison

You are an amazing woman and any man would be lucky to have someone so strong and intelligent in their life. Hang in there girl, you're my hero!

Kellie McRae avatar

Kellie McRae

Awww Latisha, thank you so much. From your mouth to God's ears :-) I think all of us with these crazy illnesses who are single worry with these issues. I pray that I will be blessed with someone strong, intelligent and understanding. Thanks for the words of encouragement, I appreciate them more than you know.

Jill Blackstone avatar

Jill Blackstone

I was at my desk (i.e. procrastinating / wasting time / having weekly methotrexate brain fog - take your pick of what you call it) when I scrolled down and saw your headline and it jumped off the screen at me. I can handle lupus, I have handled it for about 10 years now and probably much longer without a diagnosis. It sucks. I can take pain, I know how to manage stress, and I have the will power to manage diet and exercise and sun exposure. I made peace with adjusting (i.e. losing most of) my social life. I learned how to accept that this former super-achiever super-woman couldn't do it all. But when I think about going the rest of my life solo, I am sad. My therapist tells me that anyone would be lucky to have me. And my response was, "I get what you're saying, but who in their right mind would buy this package?" I am past 50. I am a very youthful version of my age, but I have friends who are beginning to accept that where they are is where they will stay. Not me. I have decades ahead of me and I would like to have a partner, a good guy who shares the little intimacies of daily life and night, maybe even be a good stepmom or stepgrandma some day. So I agree with all your things about what might go through a guy's head as we dip a toe back into dating. But... my therapist asked me a good question. He said, "If you met a person who was smart and funny and compassionate, would you walk away because he had a chronic illness?" I didn't have to hesitate, my answer was "No, I'd stay." So maybe there are a few good men out there for the likes of us.

Kellie McRae avatar

Kellie McRae

Hi Jill, my apologies for taking a few days to respond, I am enjoying the facilities offered at the fantastic Thai hospital I have been admitted to. :-) So I see that we are both youthful mature women, I often get hit on but by men in their late 20's and early 30's. My friends say "have a little fun" I say I am not interested in a little fun, I'm interested in something long tern and then I tell them, I already have Lupus, I don't need AIDS. Today I had a friend come by and visit me who is a new friend "many are since I am only 6 months into a new country" she shared with me that she met a man (she's healthy) who revealed to her that he was at the beginning stages of RA and like lupus, you know there is more to that one than meets the eye as well. She said she thought he was such a great person that she still wanted to explore where things could go. They were together for 6 months before he told her that he felt she wasn't a good fit for her, she was heartbroken. She'd mentioned this man and relationship before but hadn't tole me that until tonight when we started really talking about autoimmune and the love issue. I looked at this hopeless romantic and felt hope so I will jump on board the last part of what you said, perhaps we aren't as bad off as we think, as long as we keep our minds and hearts open to the possibility. Thank you for being so open with me and I would say now get back to work lol but that was before the weekend :-)

Shelley avatar


Hi Kellie!I hope that you're receiving great care at the hospital and that you'll be able to return home soon. I, too, struggle with the idea of finding the right partner for me. I'm young, intelligent, educated and generally clean up nice (ha ha) but good relationships (romantic or otherwise) require time, effort, energy and other things that I'm not always able to give. I'm a little gun-shy because my husband left shortly after my lupus diagnosis and then I lost most of my friends after my fibromyalgia diagnosis. I was still the same person inside but I was no longer able to do some of the things that I'd done for these people in the past so they're no longer a part of my life. I'm not saying this to garner pity or whatever, but it does add to the difficulty of seeking out new relationships. I, too, pray that God will lead me in the right direction to find a spouse one day. I hope that's His plan because I, like you, hate the thought of being alone with this illness forever. Thank you for posting. Take care. =)

Kellie McRae avatar

Kellie McRae

Hi Shelley, Thank you for your honest and thoughtful comment. I think we are right to be a bit gun shy, its hard for healthy women to find good partners and like you said, we have a few extra things we are bringing to the table. I am working on a list of the things I pray for in a mate and will start working on some affirmations and visualizations. This has worked for me in the past for my family and career. I have yet to work on it for a mate but what the heck, I figure if it doesn't work, then my life hasn't changed right? I think when we get a diagnosis like the ones we are living with, we truly find out who our true circle of love is. I've lost some people (I hesitate to call them friends) and I've gained plenty as well who show up when I need them most, I am going to believe for both you and I that in the batch of people who show up will be the man we need in our lives and in our hearts. :-)


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