I was getting tired of making the MS speech to every man that thought he was interested in me, having to explain the disease and how it affects me, then waiting to be judged worthy dating material.
I wouldn’t have to make that speech to a man with MS.
As a 56-year-old woman with MS who is on the dating scene, I am now starting my second year as a single woman.
I have been making the acquaintance of able-bodied men, and the challenges I’ve faced are pretty much the same as those I experienced as a single able-bodied woman prior to developing MS at age 41.
It’s hard enough trying to find the right chemistry, someone who possesses the qualities I need and desire and whose life path runs parallel to my own. Add a set of disabilities to that challenge and the equation seems to balloon to a level of complexity that would leave Einstein scratching his head in utter confusion.
But a new set of thoughts has sent me in another direction.
The first step in figuring out how to deal with MS in your personal interactions is to recognize that the disease affects all of you — whether you have the disease or care about someone who does.
Though it is not as major a conversation as, say, treating MS, it's important to acknowledge that multiple sclerosis may give rise to some insecurities, uncertainties or issues when it comes to your dating lifeand your comfort and happiness are too important to overlook.Important relationships take effort and energy — even without the challenges of MS.While MS does pose some additional adversities, it can also enrich relationships and bring people closer together.To so many folks diagnosed with a chronic illness, dating never even comes into play.So many of us are not diagnosed with our disease until we have established lives, spouses, kids, careers, etc.There is a built in support network when you have these things, and so something like dating seems trivial to people in this situation.But to those of us (like myself) who were diagnosed younger, dating may be one of our top priorities, and one of the biggest fears we have relating to our disease. It’s hard enough being young and healthy and looking for a potential mate.My first fear when the doctor said “Multiple Sclerosis” was that my dreams of motherhood and family were over.How could anyone love someone who is chronically ill?No two people feel exactly the same about disclosing their MS to others.Keeping in mind that once the information is out there, you can’t take it back, the key is figuring out when disclosure is in your best interest and when it is not.