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Why I Put My Invisible Illness on My Online Dating Profile

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I realized my personal life is heading towards the lonely side and my heart is still yearning to meet that special someone.

In some ways my chronic illness diagnosis makes me feel much older than my 32 years on this planet. Arthritis has a special way of speeding up the maturation process. You couldn’t tell I am chronically ill by looking at me, though.

It’s not really easy to meet people these days, at least not for me and seems to be a common complaint for those living in or around Vancouver. I had my therapist confirm: Vancouver is, in my opinion, an unfriendly and judgmental city which I find only adds to my frustrations when it comes to dating as a chronically ill single mother in the search of true love. If that exists. I’ve searched close and far away for it.

Is this dating in your 30s? Do people still get to know each other in person or just our online profiles, so easy to move onto the next within moments for some. It seems like love has become disposable, especially when you can find a new match with a few swipes.

Chronic illness makes you disposable to some. So do children. “Not my burden, not my problem.”

My time dating with chronic illness has made dating much more difficult. I go on way fewer dates now than when I was just a single mother or when I was just single. I am, however, way more picky and I know what red flags look like. I also know how I want and deserve to be treated before I let my self esteem issues spiral out of control.

Chronic illness can be extremely lonely. I’ve lost lovers, friends and even family have brushed me off. I’ve lost the ability to hold a job and social activities I once regularly took part in are difficult, now they become sparse for me.

It is important to find new friends and activities that best suit how your chronic illness has affected your life. I would love to meet someone as focused on their health as I am on mine.

I want to spend my time with someone who makes life a little more enjoyable. I refuse to settle while hopefully making some valuable friends along the way. I have unfortunately discovered this can be difficult when you are disabled because that’s not really considered sexy to some people? And energy is very limited when dates do come up. Keep them simple and sweet. If he ain’t sweet, nah uh.

Hard Time Relating To People Now

I gave up drinking for my health and when you do that you don’t resonate with many of your old drinking buddies anymore. You may also notice events with drinking run too late and are too hectic for you. The more you stop going, the invites stop coming. While I don’t mind if someone drinks, I feel bad I can’t parttake like I used to on regular dates or activities.

I often need to go to bed early and get excited to watch the 6 p.m. local news. I can’t stay up late, my body just won’t let me.

Online Dating Is The Easiest Most Convenient Way To Meet Others

When I go out it’s usually to some sort of health-related appointment, I scan the waiting room for eligible bachelors. It usually comes up empty.

Let’s face it, arthritis does affect more women than men. When there are gentlemen in the waiting room they are usually elderly, and while I love a handsome silver fox, I do have age limits.

Repeating myself over and over, typing with arthritis in my hands is not very easy either. Sometimes I just don’t want to respond to men because my hands hurt and brain fog has me unable to keep up with conversation or have much witty positive things to say because I’ve been sick for a week. He must have good conversation skills.

eileen davidson holding flowers and disability parking placard

I am sensitive to my crappy brain-fogged memory which can be difficult and awkward if multiple potential suitors message you at the same time. I often blame being a blonde, the cognitive dysfunction from symptoms and side effects, “mommy brain” or possibly the medicinal marijuana or my horrible memory. This can be embarrassing if you try to juggle chatting with more than one potential suitor. I’ll repeat myself or forget something I should have mentioned. I’ll especially forget names.

My illness make me feel like an inadequate mother, friend, lover. I wonder if I should stay single because I have a hard time thinking what I could offer in any sort of relationship. Being chronically ill requires a lot of time taking care of myself. So does a 5-year-old. My diseases also unfortunately cause pain and sleep disturbances so I may also not be able to sleep next to someone. I may need time to rest, which I like to be quiet. I’m also usually always pretty broke.

People used to describe me as fun; now that’s been replaced with strong, fierce and chronically ill single mom. It suddenly got very serious. So if he’s not looking for serious, he’s not looking at me.

In many cases I threw my writing at some of the gentlemen that caught my eye. To me it was a way of saying here, this is all my “ugly.” I am tired of rejection and I fear it, so really if someone is going to reject me because I have an illness and I have a kid then they aren’t worth the time, lack of energy, motivation, or pain to meet or even type messages to.

Intimacy intimidates me. My body is constantly in pain and a state of exhaustion. Arthritis medications don’t exactly work like Viagra, even though my 5-year-old asked me if the medicine would help me feel better. I’m sure it would, but I need to form a bond with a partner first.

Many men have been attracted to my honesty and strength. I received many messages about how brave I was to put that I am disabled and chronically ill in my profile. Others said they felt more comfortable to disclose theirs to others because I showed them I could.

I may have a lot of adversity now, at a young age, but I still hope to meet someone one day to build a better life with. If not I’m attempting the best I can on my own, adversity and all. It’s been bumpy and taught me my need of independence is different than someone healthy.

I hope to inspire others to open up about their disability and not be ashamed. I hope to show those who live without disability, we matter too.

Someone asked me if I am proud to be disabled.

Well, it’s part of who I am, I must accept myself, all faults and “flaws” which include disease, so my answer would be yes.

Chronic illness has given me a different perspective on life I don’t ever want to trade. I also don’t want to let the negatives in my life consume me anymore. Chronic illness gave me a new purpose in life.

What happened to me is completely natural, part of life and can happen to anyone, even the men who say they don’t want to date me because of illness. Why be ashamed of something like that? One in 4 women in Canada get arthritis, so gentlemen, chances are you’ll probably know it one day sooner or later.

The only ones who should be ashamed are those who judge you for it.

I had to learn to accept myself through disease. I am looking for someone to accept me through my sickness because it isn’t going anywhere until my eventual death or a cure is found. I am not getting any younger and probably not getting much healthier. I want to spend my best and worst times with someone who makes my life better, and I to them.

Also, I come with awesome parking.

Originally published: August 24, 2018
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