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To the Chronically Ill Who Think They Shouldn't Date

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For the last few years my health has quickly declined. It made me feel like I can’t and shouldn’t date. I though it would be an impossible task for someone like me to find love. I felt I didn’t deserve to find the love I felt others deserve, all because of my illnesses.

In the life of the chronically ill, there is a great deal of uncertainty and fear. As a woman with multiple rare diseases, my life and future are full of the unknown (every life is, but chronic illness takes it up a notch).

Until recently I believed I didn’t deserve love. I felt that putting another person through this life and its obstacles was wrong, that I had to either suffer alone or drag someone down with me. I was destined to be alone, or to deal with rejection and heartbreak over and over. I don’t want to put my loved ones through that. I know from experience that my pain can hurt my loved ones, so I assumed any love I found would feel the same.

I thought I had to struggle through dates without my braces and hurt myself in the long run, hiding that part of me away. Either I had to hide what my life is truly like, or face rejection.

Who would go out with or ask for a second date with a woman wearing multiple braces, an IV pump, and possibly a cane or wheelchair?

Who could love someone so broken inside and out?

Let me tell you, this is not true! Rather than hide and lie to my dates, I’ve been open and honest from the get-go. Not just with my limitations, but also the things in which I’m not limited. There is always a light in the darkness; you just have to find it.

I recently read and article on The Mighty about chronic illness and dating, explaining that having an illness is an advantage. Dating is a daunting task for everyone, but I feel that this is an advantage — one that I never thought I’d have in the dating world. Why? Being sick helps you weed out the unlikely ones, and those that have only one intention. It raises up those with the strength to help you handle your illness. Until reading this article I had never thought of it that way before.

So please, for me, don’t let the negatives of your illness and health keep you from finding love, light, and happiness. There is someone out there with the strength to handle your limitations, pain, and to support you on your journey to feeling better. Trust me, I know from experience. My love also has a chronic illness and understands my daily struggle.

Don’t ever forget, you deserve love as much as any healthy being. Don’t ever give up on yourself, your health, your happiness, or the prospect of love. Some day you will find the deep love you deserve.

Originally published: September 15, 2016
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