This post is MUCH longer than I usually like to post. It may well come across as pessimistic. I’d prefer to think that it’s realistic. I don’t need to be told that there are lovely, caring, understanding people out there. I’m not an idiot. Dating can be eventful with or without health factors. These are just my thoughts as of now. I mean no offence. I’m talking from my point of view only.
Are we the real undateables?
We can’t even always tolerate being in the same room as another person because it is over stimulating!!! Never mind get out on a date or even have someone come for dinner.A long time ago a friend of mine asked me to blog about dating with a chronic illness. I haven’t tackled it before because I’ve actually only been on one date since being ill and I felt so ill I can’t/don’t really want to remember it. I’m being super brave and sharing this because I know there’s so many of you in the same boat. I’m not usually one for sharing details of my love life (ask my friends) but I’m going to share a few posts with you. Starting with this one.
I think I’m alright. I have plenty to offer someone I’m sure. I don’t think I’m a hideous person inside or out. So there’s no need to think I’m down on myself and wallowing. I’m not. I’m just honest.
Online dating doesn’t have the stigma attached to it that it once did. I’d still much rather meet someone the old fashioned way. But I rarely go out so we have a bit of a problem there. I’ve dabbled with Tinder. I joined out of boredom and not in seriousness. If you need a chuckle you really should join. It’s a dating app. Apparently. It finds you all of your local singles and you decide whether you like the look of them or not by swiping left or right accordingly. If someone has ‘liked’ you and you’ve liked them you get a ‘match’ and can then message each other. Or not. I did a tiny inward dance every time I got a match just because it felt good to think someone still thought my recent photos were likeable.
It’s terribly shallow and goes against my mantra of not judging a book by its cover. But it can be hilarious! One man had bright pink hair. Many others have photos of them on their wedding day. On a dating site! Wow she bagged herself a winner there huh. But the worst ones don’t show you pictures of their faces…get my drift? Classy.
So during an insomnia fuelled ipad session recently I joined Plenty of Fish. I’m just browsing you see. There are so many single men out there. Who knew?! Not me. I’ve hardly been out of the house these past few years. But I’ve found that more than a few are only after one thing.
Cue cringeworthy messages with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
I’ve been half honest and uploaded a recent photo (with make up!) and written in my ‘About Me’ section that “life hasn’t quite gone to plan since graduating.” I’ve had some nice comments about that bit actually. It kind of warmed my heart but there’s nice people out there, even if they don’t know the extent of what I’m hinting at. I’ve said I need a date for a wedding next year which is also half true. It’s my cover! I’m too chicken to even pretend that I’m actively looking for a relationship.
I’ve had quite a lot messages. Some nice, some normal, some not! Many of them ask “How are you?” Or “How was your day?” And I’m like waaaaah!!! How much do I say?! How do I answer that?! So I opt for “not too bad” and hope it don’t come across as too downbeat, or tell them I’ve had a good day because, well, for me I have. I’m showered and dressed for goodness sake! Woohoo!!!
I tell people I love sport and they say I must be fit. I change the subject. They ask what I do for fun and I’m not really sure what the answer is. What do I do for fun? Fun? What is fun anyway? I find it fun to be able to cook myself a tray of oven chips and fish fingers.
People ask if I like to travel. Hahahaha. Oh deary me. Life with a chronic illness seems so far removed from the rest of society. It doesn’t go down too well that I still live with my parents.
I skirt over employment questions. I’ve said in my ‘About Me’ bit that I’m currently unemployed to avoid having to answer the same question over and over. I’ve said I’m working on few projects at the moment. Meaning learning to sew and hoping to sell some of my makes, finding low energy hobbies, working on recovery. I don’t say I’m a blogger because they might ask for a link and I don’t want to jump in at the deep end.Yes there will be people out there who look past and even embrace my illness. But very few will understand that I might not always be able to reply to a text message let alone meet for dinner next Wednesday night for example. Urgh.
Some of the people I’ve met online have dug their own grave (so to speak) by calling me babe or hun or sweetie or suchlike. Urgh. Don’t do that. You don’t even know me. My name is Anna. Use it. Fool. (Edit – someone else just called me chick!) My energy levels dip in the afternoon so while it might say I’m online I’m not able to reply to any messages coherently. This could easily be misinterpreted. Being honest might solve the problem but why should I have to share so much about myself so early on? I gave my number to a couple of men and immediately just wanted to throw my phone off a cliff or something. I’m so out of practice! I have been single for even longer than I have been ill (poor me!) Maybe I’ve become too set in my ways.
A couple of others have asked to meet up. I immediately panicked. How do I explain that I can’t possibly go on a date until February because of Christmas and payback and fortnightly plans? What will they think? Now my M.E. is still quite severe so I couldn’t manage a walk or a trip to the cinema or an early evening meal that turns into a great night out. It’s frustrating! How does one explain that all they can manage is a twenty minute coffee somewhere quiet?
I couldn’t manage to drive myself at the moment so it’d be “Uh mum I have a date. Yes I know it might not be the best idea while I’m ill but could you drop me in town and wait in the car incase I come over all funny/he’s actually a massive weirdo?” I’m 26. I want to be able to take myself to such things and not feel like my 15 year old self on my first ever date at the ice rink. (That was kind of fun!) What would we talk about? Normal things I know but the majority of my answers would end in “but I couldn’t manage that because…” or “I don’t watch that because the suspense messes with my heart rate” etcetera etcetera. Gosh I would seem so boring! Even being upbeat about it, it’d become a drag quite quickly.
Beggars can’t be choosers but I’m not prepared to settle just because someone will ‘put up with’ my health issues. I deserve a proper lovely gentleman who’ll take the highs with the lows and likes me anyway. I want to be liked for being me. Sadly though my health has an impact on my personality. I’ve got to get my head around that before I expect/let someone else to have a go. I believe it’s hard to look past the illness when it is this severe.
I told a friend of mine a while ago that I need a carer more than I need a partner. He recently said it back to me and it made me sad. He deserves more! He deserves romantic happiness.
“Are we really in a hopeless situation?”
Maybe we should just date each other. When one of us was well enough to go out the other wouldn’t be! We wouldn’t be strong enough to push each other in our wheelchairs! Oh but we’d understand what the other was feeling. Who’s in?! Should we hold a raffle or work this out on a first come first served basis? I find it incredibly brave to enter into a new relationship while you’re chronically ill. I’m not sure I’m brave enough.