Searching for love when you have a chronic illness is a challenge — an often lonely challenge. Telling someone you are chronically ill is not sexy. Telling them you have an “old lady” disease is even more unattractive.
My diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis at 29 isn’t uncommon. I’m not alone in my search for love while living with chronic illness. I’m not even alone in my search for love while living with chronic illness as a single mother. Almost half the population of North America lives with a chronic illness, which doesn’t stop at the 120+ forms of arthritis. There’s diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, lung disease, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease — the list goes on.
Many of these are diagnosed during our peak dating and childbearing years, which means we have to talk about our diseases with those we date.
Rheumatoid arthritis has made me take a long hard look at my life, my behaviors, my attitude, my lifestyle, my wants and needs, and what is truly important to me and my son. My diagnosis created a transformation in me, it made me blossom into a stronger and better version of myself. Yet, I have a chronic and progressive form of arthritis — and I am disabled.
This can be hard for a potential partner to look past.