Something that has always irritated me is the assumption that my chronically ill little life only became a happy one after entering into a relationship with Mr Tree Surgeon.
Not only that, people would state that my progress was down to his love and support, and the happiness he’d brought into my life.
Hand-in-hand with this comes the idea that, if nothing else, at least I’m married now. The number of people asking after me dropped dramatically once people heard I had a boyfriend and then was married. Strange. Is that really all we’re meant to aim for in life?!
Now don’t get me wrong, he’s awesome, but he’s not a magician. He hasn’t been able to magically improve my physical health. Or fix it. Or cure me. He has undoubtedly supported me unconditionally. I’m aware that plays a part. But, as I’ve said before, my health had to have improved enough to even be able to contemplate dating. This is a point I will keep trying to drive home!
There’s the implication that my life must have been nothing until I met him. Oh please!
He has indeed made my life so much happier, but it was more than happy enough before.
I was single for over 5 years before I met him. And while those 5 years were dominated by M.E, they were still happy years. My ability to cherish the simple pleasures in life and the snippets of freedom away from my bed made for a contented life. It still does.
Give me some credit. Yes life was unpleasant and very hard for the most part. But that doesn’t automatically equal Bad.
It is certainly better now with him, but rather than filling some hole that people assume was there, he has been an incredibly wonderful extra bonus piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is my life and my support network.
I was whole before I met him but ironically I didn’t know that until he showed me. It’s like being with him has allowed me to reach a level of true ‘Anna-ness’ that I didn’t know was attainable.
He’s not a martyr for ‘taking me on’. (Well, not because of my health anyway! I can be very bossy and stroppy. Just try to tell me I can’t eat a Terry’s chocolate orange in one go and see what happens…) My illhealth is a huge part of my life. If you want Anna, you have to take the M.E. too. He has never, ever, made me feel like my health is an inconvenience.
He was the first person I bravely let into my life since being ill. Everyone else either knew me before I was ill and stuck around, or were new friends from the chronic illness community. It did me a lot of good that he just jumped right in and took it all in his stride. For the first time in years, I wasn’t seen as “the one with M.E.” – I was just seen as Anna. The good that has done me!
I always worried, or perhaps just wondered, if people would think I settled for the first person that came along. But there really was no need to look any further.
And, although it did take awhile, I see now that I have had as much as a positive impact on his life as he has on mine. We are equals.