Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Dating Game

Dating with MS is definitely an adventure of its own. At what point do you tell the person you have a chronic illness? It adds to the multitude of unknowns in any relationship. You know ... the questions of when do you tell them that you're really falling for them ... or when do you call after a date ... or any of those silly quandaries that we manage to create for ourselves. After three dates? Three months? We do make things complicated, don't we?

I live with a sense of fair play that others sometimes find a bit ridiculous ... but really ... don't you think someone should know something like this before they've totally committed to a relationship? Don't you think they should know what they're getting into?

You see ... in many ways, I am incredibly fortunate. To the casual observer ... and sometimes even the not so casual ... MS is virtually invisible in my life. An outsider can't see my fatigue ... or know that the pain in my neck and shoulder are making focusing on the simplest things difficult. Even that invisibility is double-edged, though. It means that I have the benefit of not having an instant strike against me when people first meet me. And as much as I would like to believe that a wheelchair or a cane or weakness in an arm or leg don't produce bias in others, I don't really believe that. Now, don't get me wrong ... I believe those are hurdles we can overcome ... I just find it unfortunate that the overcoming is necessary. Who I am hasn't changed because I have MS and my intelligence hasn't been diminished by my time keeping its company.

Oh, and the fear that comes along with the decision to tell! The wondering if the person will bolt in fear ... or treat us differently ... or judge us for not telling sooner ... or a million other things. And the immeasurable joy of having someone merely say "Oh, okay" and treat you no differently.

Your comments and contributions on the topic are eagerly anticipated ...