Thoughts of Dating

Kellie McRae avatar

by Kellie McRae |

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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.


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