How to Tell your New Partner about your Chronic Illness

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Dating seems to be portrayed as navigating a minefield of expectations and disappointments these days. Everyone seems to be looking for rules about when to talk about how many kids they want to have, or how soon should you text back after that first coffee together. The reality is that many people are simply looking for someone they can build a life together with, however that life will look. A date isn’t a test that you pass or fail. It’s simply a time where you each gradually put forth parts of yourself to see how each of you feels about a future with the other. This means that not starting with the ‘bad stuff’ all upfront is somehow lying or being unfair to the other person. Telling your new partner about your chronic illness might not be a particularly easy experience to initiate, but it’s an important part of building the foundation of a lasting relationship.

Accurately Represent Who You Are

Not telling someone immediately about your fibromyalgia diagnosis isn’t lying, but lying about yourself is most definitely, well, lying. It’s easy to want to present a version of you that’s always doing fun and interesting things, but that may give a very different impression to your potential partner what life with you will be like. For some individuals, constant adventure might be a top priority. Do you know what a great way to avoid disappointment is? It’s to not set unrealistic expectations. Remember, not meshing with another person isn’t a failure on your part, it’s simply having different expectations out of your day-to-day lives.

Be Proactive About Your Relationship

It can get a little frustrating for both parties to have date ideas turned down again and again because of limitations like chronic fatigue with Lyme disease. Being proactive might mean coming up with your own date ideas in the beginning, but it also means reassuring the other person that you’re not going to be constantly turning them down. In fact, they may get the wrong message about whether you want to spend time with them at all! If you’re comfortable discussing your specific medical restrictions on food or activities, try thinking of alternative ways to spend time together. Talk with the person you’re dating about what they enjoy doing and find the places where you overlap. Refocusing the conversation on the positives instead of the negatives can help guide you toward a happy future.

Be Confident In Your Self-Worth

Though your chronic illness may play a big role in your life, it doesn’t define you as a person. The person across the table from you isn’t going to be dating your fibromyalgia, they’re be dating you. The person you are right now may be imperfect, but that’s going to be true for every single one of us out there as well. Being confident in your value as a romantic partner is a great way to show the other person that you have plenty to bring to any relationship.


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