Dating with a chronic illness is difficult, but not impossible. Obviously the first hurdle we face is meeting someone. Most of us spend limited time outside of our homes, and that time is spent going to appointments, possibly working, running errands, and using up all our energy trying to act like normal human beings and get home before our bodies completely shut down. When we go out, the last thing on our minds is meeting new people.
Online dating is a decent way to go about it, but it’s risky. There are a lot of horny weirdos on dating sites and honestly, sometimes I lack the emotional energy to deal with these idiots. My recommendation is to stay as far away from Tinder as possible. My go-to dating app is Bumble because women have to message first. I’ve also been on Hinge for a while and it’s pretty ok. For now, let’s just imagine we somehow manage find a decent human on the internet. Over a span of 5-15 business days we’ve vetted them, stalked their social media, and we’ve decided that the chance of being kidnapped or murdered is low enough to risk a date. Now what?
Well, that depends a lot on your personal illness situation and comfort level. If you’re like me and you bring up your illness to anyone and everyone you meet, and assuming the person you’re interested in isn’t a total horse’s ass about it, you can suggest a time and place to meet. If you’re not like me and you wanna keep your illness to yourself, all power to ya. you do you, boo. Regardless of how open we are about our illness, the illness itself will inevitably affect the date. Unlike able-bodied people, we have to strategize everything. We have to schedule the date for a day that has nothing else planned around it. Gotta make sure we do nothing the day before, to save our energy, then plan to do nothing the day after, because we’ll feel like death. Then, we have to try to schedule it for a time of day when *hopefully* our symptoms aren’t too high. For example, my symptoms are much worse in the evening than in the morning. Morning dates aren’t socially considered all that sexy but I’ve got to work with the cards I’ve been dealt. Then we have to choose a location that is accessible (close parking, no stairs, has food you can eat/drinks you can drink, yadayadayada etc).
After all that we have to hope and pray and cross all our fingers and toes that by some miracle our bodies behave themselves on the scheduled day. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go to shit, and I have had to cancel multiple dates due to my body being its unreliable self. Canceling a date for health reasons is actually a great test of character because if the other person is an asshole about it, you’ve just saved yourself a ton of time and energy which is awesome cuz we don't have time or energy to spare. However, if they’re nice, then maybe the date is worth rescheduling once your body is feeling a bit better. Alright I’m 4 paragraphs in and I haven’t even gotten past a first date scenario. In my opinion, casual dating while chronically ill is one thing, and relationships are another. With casual dating there are little to no stakes (y’know aside from a worst case scenario kidnap/murder situation). If you just don’t feel up to going out or to talking to people anymore you literally don’t have to. Ghosting and blocking people is super duper fun and I 10/10 recommend it. Relationships, however, are a whole other (more complicated) ballgame that I’ll write a different blog post about at another time in the interest of length and clarity.