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Writing a Dating Profile When You Have a Life-Threatening Illness

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Let’s face it. The days of meeting the man of your dreams organically are long gone. It could be the most picturesque, rom com movie moment. You could be the most gorgeous girl in the world, wearing a dress that makes you feel like an absolute 10.

You make a calculated move and walk directly past your dream man,
but he won’t even notice you. Because 9/10 times he was checking his Instagram, sharing a new meme or chuckling at a new video on Tik tok.

In a society of ducked heads staring into phones, when it comes to finding a date, and potentially finding the love of your life, you have to be “on screen” to be seen.

I may be only 25, but lately I’ve definitely been hit by this harsh reality. Living in a small town where either all my friends have babies or are desperately searching for someone to call them “baby,” I’ve felt a shadow looming over my shoulders. Whispering in my ear saying, “You need to start at least dating or you’re going to die alone.”

But living with a chronic/life-threatening illness (especially in a pandemic) makes this enormous feat 1,000 times more difficult.

Why, you may ask?

1. Being the only “dates” I have scheduled this past year are appointments and procedures on my “My chart patient app.”

2. I attempted to write my dating profile. (Basically my own personal eBay ad that states “Date me! I’m adorable and available!”). The glimpse into my world for every possible match I may have…

And it all went terribly wrong.

Seriously. When I wrote my bio for this dating site, it went something like this.

Me:  OK. I need something, cute, flirty, fact filled. But may allude to the fact that if you take me on a physically active date there is a slight chance you may have to take me to the emergency room ….  I think I have the perfect idea!

Anxiously types on my iPhone: “I may be chronically ill… but Id like to CHILL with you.”

Me: No..  Nooo .. Nooo.. too literal.

I hit the backspace button about a million times.

Me: OK. Maybe something less “chronic.”  More iconic? Something that doesn’t scream “Hey, I’m sick! We can always talk about that if I actually like the guy, right?”

I type: “Not so Slim…  kind of Shady?”

Me:  OK. This is cute, creative, and may allude to the fact that right now my autoimmune disease has made me SO swollen that I’m basically a human water balloon. Wait…  Shady?!..  What am I thinking?! I’m not shady. What kind of creepy stranger on the internet is going to be interested in a girl who advertises herself as shady?! Ugh…

I hit the backspace button multiple times. Throw my hands in the air like I’m begging the universe for mercy.

“Maybe, I might need something more personal anyway.”

In the midst of this calamity of trying to write my own dating profile…

The alarm on my phone rings to let me know it’s time to take one of my seemingly millions of pills that make it so my body won’t kill me. A smirk spreads across my lips. And a mischievous chuckle escapes my mouth. As I decide to write the most honest thing I can on my dating profile.

“Limited time offer… Date with outgoing 6’1 girl.. take her out. Before her rare life-threatening autoimmune disease does.”

I chuckle internally in a twisted sort of manner.

Me: “OK that’s hilarious, but way too dark. I can’t post that.”

I take a screen shot to show my friends with chronic illness because they are the only ones who will get this twisted sense of humor and then once again hits the backspace button.

I let out an audible sigh, slap my palm to my face and think out loud.

“Maybe I should just put an ironic quote from the office like everyone else does?”

I end up going for something entirely generic where not a word of my illness was mentioned. But deeper in the pictures attached to the profile, I add a picture with myself wearing my oxygen cannula, so the profile doesn’t feel like a complete lie.

Scrolling through dating apps

Seeing accounts of CrossFit Junkies who are looking for their adventure buddy and someone to just go hiking with, it’s utterly terrifying knowing you will never be that girl. That you will have to share the fact that you are sick. If you ever do make a love connection, you want them to see you, not just your illness. But how can you accurately share about your life, if you are too scared to talk about one of the biggest parts of it. And how can you even think of promising to spend your life with someone when doctors’ hands are up in the air, when it comes to how long your life is going to be.

Most people when they make a dating profile are either searching for a soulmate or a good time. But for me, making a dating profile feels like I’m making a promise I can’t keep. To be that bright eyed, outgoing girl in my picture. But in all honesty I can’t tell you if I will physically be able to make it out of bed tomorrow. Or if I’ll be here next year.

The whole aspect of dating, especially online dating, just seems to be one of the 100,009 things my illness makes 1,000 times more difficult. I’ve kept my dating profile, but if we are honest it’s been just for entertainment purposes. Like online window shopping, but with good looking men  instead of clothes.

But I still hope and pray one day I’ll spontaneously meet a man who understands the unpredictable nature of my health situation. Who doesn’t make commitment feel like a promise I can’t keep, but a ride he is willing to go on, ho matter how long it lasts.

In a world full of unpredictability, living in a body that’s trying to kill me, I don’t need a protagonist; I’m the hero of my own story. I don’t need someone with a savior complex  who wants a delicate little rose. And heaven knows I don’t need a man who is going to leave the second life gets hard (my life is primarily full of hard).

I need someone who will be there. Who accepts me for my faults, like I accept him for his. And together we run closer to God and bring out the best version of each other. But in today’s world that seems as hard as writing the perfect profile when you’re chronically ill.

But it could happen? Right? Maybe since I spend so much of my time in the hospital he will be a doctor. If he is a doctor, at least he would have good health insurance…

Image via contributor

Originally published: March 22, 2021
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