In Search Of: prospective significant other with debilitating illness, who will most probably need increasing amounts of care throughout the years. Must frequently go to doctor appointments, take various medications and supplements that are difficult to keep track of, and require some sort of mobility device.
Yeah, that never happens. But it is one of the fears that weigh down people with chronic illness. Those that are single tend to fear never being wanted by someone else, and those that are married often fear that they are or will become an unwanted burden on the ones they love.
I feel blessed to be married to a man who loves me no matter what my physical condition and who puts up with my ever-changing health status, ability to do things, and patience levels. He even sticks around when I'm on prednisone and unleash on him all the anger and frustration I've refrained from expressing to my children throughout the day. He wrangles children through my myriad doctor appointments and when I have my post-Remicade crash. He laughs with me, and perhaps at me, when my brain is malfunctioning and is learning to understand my sense of humor about my body, which tends to have its own opinions about how it's going to function and changes its mind on a regular basis.
What to tell people who have yet to find a life partner who loves and accepts them, uncooperative bodies and all?
I'm not sure.
I do know that what makes people most attractive is having a positive outlook on life, a sense of humor in difficult situations, and being comfortable in your own skin. Living with chronic illness gives us ample opportunity to practice all of these things.
Soon after my diagnosis I realized that I'd found a new Life Partner. In recognizing this, I came to the conclusion that I needed not only to get to know my new life partner, but to get to know myself with this life partner. Whether this life partner is a debilitating illness or chronic pain or both, feeling comfortable in your new role is essential to kindling the spark within yourself that will attract others to you.
Before you go in search of love, love yourself. Then everything else will fall into place.