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17 Reasons People With Chronic Illness May Have Such a Hard Time Finding Love

Love rarely comes easily. But when you’re living with chronic health conditions, you may experience challenges in dating and relationships that healthy people don’t have to worry about. A good partner would need to be understanding of your health and open to working together to figure out what a supportive partnership looks like for you, which may look different than a partnership between two healthy people. It’s not impossible to find love, but chronic illness can undoubtedly make it more difficult.

We asked our Facebook community to share why they believe people with chronic illness may have such a hard time finding love. Their answers provide insight into the hurdles people with health challenges must overcome to date and find love — hurdles that can hopefully become easier to tackle with a greater understanding from their prospective partners.

Here’s what they told us: 

1. “It’s hard to find love, more specifically with a healthy person, because they do not understand our [pain]. They get upset when we have to cancel plans, which in turn causes us to feel guilty, which only makes our health worse.”

2. “People automatically assume if they take you on you’re going to be a burden or a chore to deal with because of the illnesses you have. And in some cases people don’t want to be seen with someone who has an obvious illness because of the use of a cane, wheelchair, or some other medically needed device. People don’t want to be stared at because they’re with you and you’re obviously ill.”

3. “It’s hard to find love as someone with a chronic illness because our health always has to come first and that means putting your significant other second sometimes, which not everyone can handle.”

4. “It’s so hard to find a person willing to support the multiple bad days. Took me 14 years to find a kind man who could handle all my issues with pain and depression.”

5. “Meeting people and dating can be a challenge when you’re never sure if you’ll feel well enough to go out.”

6. “For me, I think it is related to the fear of being judged as less. What if my struggles and ‘baggage’ somehow overshadow how awesome I am?”

7. “I’ve known at least two instances a young man’s father has literally taken him aside to say, ‘Do you really want this burden your whole life? Leave now while you have a chance.’ So I say pressure by family, elders, and peers to avoid those of us with chronic illness can often deter prospects of love or put strain on a developing relationship.”

8. “It will always feel unbalanced. My boyfriend has been with me during my journey to finding a diagnosis and as my health gets worse, our relationship naturally becomes more strained. He will always be taking care of me, or deal with me backing out of plans, or just plain not being able to do what we used to enjoy doing together. He loves me and wants to see me feel better, but our relationship will never be fair. Somehow though, I found a person who is willing to deal with that because he loves me.”

9. “You’re scared. Of opening up, of trusting someone, of letting someone know that you’re not OK. You put on a brave face for so many people, but it’s hard to decide who you want to take it off for. In lasting relationships, the mask will eventually come off. You have to decide who is worth that, who you are willing to bare your being to, and who you are hoping might choose to stay by your side.”

10.It is hard for others to understand that life is different with a chronic illness. My family still thinks I will wake up one morning and everything will be all better. How do you bring someone into that life and ask them to love you. For better or worse, there really isn’t going to be a better.”

11. “Because we’re too exhausted too even think about going out or on a date after using all of our energy towards things that need to be done like school, work, cleaning, taking care of a family, etc.”

12. “You’re so accustomed to putting a mask on over your pain every day — a smile, makeup, ‘I’m fine’ — it’s a hard habit to break. Letting someone into your world is scary; vulnerability is scary. Besides, allowing yourself to love and be loved is a challenge for anyone, regardless of your health.”

13. “The stigma my diseases are treated with make me feel like a burden to literally everyone around me. It’s incredibly hard to love when you feel so hard to love most of the time.”

14. “Many people are not strong enough to deal with everything that comes along with being a caregiver. Relationships are hard as is. Start adding in chronic illness and you’re playing love on hard mode.”

15. “It’s hard to find someone who understands that I want to spend time with them, but sometimes that has to be indoors only because the light hurts and sound hurts.”

16. “For me, it took a long time to value my own worth and realize I deserved to be treated right. And to voice my limitations.”

17.It’s hard to find love with a chronic illness, because most of us cannot even explain to ourselves what’s happening. Symptoms get mistaken for laziness, feelings are hurt. Words cut deeper than a knife sometimes. I believe if patients had more of an understanding of what’s going on with their bodies it wouldn’t be so scary or misleading to their loved one.”

17 Reasons People With Chronic Illness May Have Such a Hard Time Finding Love