Relationships are tricky for anyone of any age. There’s a lot of give and take and everyone has some sort of baggage. But what about when your baggage is up front and center? In my case, my baggage is my chronic pain that comes from my chronic illnesses, inflammatory arthritis (we currently think it’s psoriatic) and fibromyalgia. So today it’s time to talk about what happens when you mix relationships and chronic pain.
Relationship Problems If You Have Chronic Pain
Having chronic pain and/or a serious health condition scares people away: Like I said earlier, everyone has baggage but ours is just upfront. I completely understand why someone might hear that I have a severe case of a psoriatic arthritis and then not want to get involved. Who wants to sign up for a relationship with (and possibly falling for someone) you know has serious health problems? Who wants to sign up for watching someone they care about be in pain, sometimes seriously? That being said, know that the ones worth having will be there anyway. And you don’t want to be with someone who can’t deal with your health issues.
You can’t do date ideas that other people can: We can’t do a lot of things other people can and our energy is limited, and that can be an issue. So get create and proactive so that if someone suggests an activity you can’t do, you have a list of suggestions instead.
You have to bail all the time at the last minute because of pain: This is honestly the worst part of it all. I hate canceling plans. I hate disappointing other people. And I hate making other people think that it’s their fault. And while I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way, these intricacies of living with chronic pain are not always obvious to people who don’t live with it. So if you’re seeing someone and you have to cancel at least once, make sure that you vocalize how you feel about this situation. They may not know that you hate doing it or how you feel about the whole thing in general. And if you can, offer a replacement or alternative to the plan.
What You Should Know if You’re Interested in Someone with Chronic Pain
Chronic pain affects our lives in so many different ways. It can affect our energy, our sleep, our appetite … pretty much anything.
It isn’t reliable: We can feel great one day and horrible next. And even if we know generally when we feel better or worse, we can’t predict everything.
If we have to cancel things, it’s probably not related to you. Even if we have to cancel regularly.
Everything takes takes a lot out of us. You really, really should read about spoon theory, which is a great way to understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain.
(PS – There’s a Twitter chat about relationships with chronic illness and everything involved. It’s #chronicsex and check out Kirsten Schultz on Twitter for more information.)
How has having a chronic illness affected your love life? Do you have any tips to make the whole thing easier?What you should know if you want to date (or are dating) someone with chronic pain Click To Tweet