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Finding A Mate


Ernie
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Hi,

When you leave your spouse to find a new life, do you find it easy to find a new mate? I know most men think that sick women are damaged goods but I wonder if there exist men who are willing to take a sick woman and love her anyway?

What do you think?

For those of you who found your spouse after you got sick, would you mind sharing your experience?

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This isn't quite on the same plane, but I found my long-term boyfriend after I got sick. We're both 20, in college. I think it's nice to know that even a guy in college is willing to stay in some nights and watch a movie or go to bed early because I'm too tired to do anything else. Again, it's not marriage, but we've talked about a long term life together. He worries about health insurance (with all of my meds and such) if we do marry, but he knows what to do to take care of me. He knew what he was getting into from the beginning and even though I lost basically all of my high school friends and a boyfriend being sick, he's stuck it out. (I'm quite proud of him!) He does get frustrated some times, but more with the disorder than with me. So, after a bit of rambling...I think there is hope. I'm young and maybe naive but I have to think that there have to be men (and women) in the world of all ages in all places that can see an actual person, not a sickness.

Meg

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Ernie,

I haven't been on the forum in ages! And wouldn't you know that a topic much on my mind lately was the top post? Yours! And it is Valentine's day here after all! B)

I would really like to hear what others have to say on this topic and also how they approach discussing the nature and scope of their illness with a potential date/partner, etc.

At what time is it most appropriate to bring up this information?

I have just begun a journey of trying to do some internet dating/corresponding but so far I just joined and am just getting started.

I am struggling with feeling like it's a horrible thing to put myself out there and men are interested in my profile--but don't know that I am sick. And when I tell them is it a total 'deal breaker'? And how do I tell them. Am I just playing a mean trick on them by even putting myself out there.

On the flip side, I'm trying to believe that I am worthy of love, and that I have a lot to give as a wife. I also don't want to look back on my life and say "I never got married' and feel sorry for myself, when in fact, I did not even give it a TRY. So, I am givign it a try.

I'm not in any hurry to be married, so I think the internet dating works well for me as a way just to interact with men and overcome many of my fears of men and dating (I've had some bad experiences in the past).

I also wonder about the issue of sex and sexuality...I know that you have a high sex drive, but I think sex would land me in the ER right now! So, I do wonder how to approach that issue.

I am torn b/w feeling it is time to accept my illness as a part of who I am and accept that healing may or may not come. Either way, I want to feel that I am deserving of love. I used to feel that I only would try dating or looking to marry when I was 'better'. Well, what is 'better' and will 'better' ever happen? I'm not going to wait for that.

I'm only about two weeks into joining a website and so I really am just beginning to learn things. It's very interesting!!!!! LOL.

I think maybe there are great guys out there but it may take time to find them?

I worry about being seen as a burden and a financial and physical drain on someone.

Yet, I am so full of love and life and spirit...so I'm hoping that's gonna get their heart first and then we'll deal with the sick stuff? Who knows.

I hope others will share on this topic. It's been on my mind a lot and I had thought about posting.

I know those of you who are married find strength in your spouses and in your children--but you also struggle with the feelings of burden and guilt. So, I realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence! I just know that I have always wanted to be married and always, always, wanted to be a mom. But, that part I will have to let go of for now.

Sorry I've been so quiet! I pretty much stick to blogging if I'm on the computer these days! It's hard to keep up, as you all know.

I miss you all!

Emily

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Like Meg, this isn't quite the same because I wasn't married before, but I met my husband AFTER getting really sick. He knew exactly what he'd have to deal with in terms of my health, and he still eagerly dove into it. He's been and continues to be the most wonderful and supportive man I could ever imagine, and makes me feel so good about myself, not like I'm a burden because I'm sick. There are amazing guys out there -- ones who see your personality, not everything else. They fall in love with who you are, not what you have, and nothing can scare them away. They ARE out there, and I know that you'll find someone. To be honest, I found my husband at a time when the LAST thing in the world I was looking for or caring about was love, and when tons of friends and a very serious boyfriend had abandoned me due to my illnesses. Sometimes you find exactly what you need when you stop looking. Life is wonderful that way.

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Sometimes I think it's not a question of whether or not there is someone, but rather, are we willing to make ourselves vulnerable enough to find out? I think when we have been sick and mistreated, we just naturally develop trust issues and build walls. Add any type of traumas and it starts to feel like a mine field out there in the world of relationships.

That being said, however, I think there are people out there for everyone. Not everyone finds their "soulmate" but certainly someone to share your life with and be very content with it. The fireworks are nice, for sure, but remember that fireworks burn out quickly. I was reading an online advice column yesterday and this gal was saying she met this guy and everything was perfect except for one thing. He doesn't like opera or something and she does. So should she stay with someone who doesn't share that particular love with her??? If this is what we strive for, absolute perfection, we will never attain it.

There are plenty of good hearted loving people just as willing to deal with our warts and all, as we are open to dealing with theirs. With as much as I have been hurt in my life (and believe me it's a lot) I still believe in love and that we can all find it, usually when we least expect it. We just have to put ourselves out there and leave ourselves open to whatever comes. Easy to say, so much harder to do.

I have been married to Dave for 27 years. At times he drives me crazy and I know I do the same to him. I am certainly no picnic to live with, but he has remained steadfast in his love and faithfulness. Even more so in these last few years.

So I say to Emily and Ernie, yes, there are good men out there, or women, or potential significant others, so never give up! Some people say they are quite content to be alone, but I don't really think we are creatures that are meant to be by ourselves.

I believe there is someone there for you, and you need to believe that too. There are so many people that are willing to look past our limitations and see what we are inside. We tend to get tunnel vision I think, but sometimes to get what we want and need, we have to get brave enough to go outside the box.

You are wonderful special people and and there are fellas out there who are meant to see that. morgan

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I can?t say it better than morgan already did. I think love and companionship are very possible for anyone who is open to it. It is such a natural element of being human. I know people with chronic illness who have found strong, lasting relationships while also struggling with the illness. (I know of two POTS patients who got married last year, for example (not sure if either of them use this forum?I know of them through my mom).) I agree with Kate that love can emerge at the most unexpected times or situations in life. Searching for it doesn?t hurt, however! It does require having an open heart and mind, and as morgan says no perfectionist expectations?there is no such thing as a perfect relationship/there is no "perfect person for you" out there (in my opinion)?committed relationships are work?but can be very fulfilling and joyful work.

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The reality is- it adds harder to the hard. I am someone who is overweight anyway and then you add all this on to it. I'm trying to lose weight to find a mate and have children before its too late. I don't think I have to go into the rigors of exercise and a high sodium diet with you guys. It is mission impossible.

Unfortnately, it took the illness for me to realize that endless school and endless fast food did not lead me where I wanted to be.

I am finding it hard to believe that a spouse can be found under such conditions. I just can't compete and most times I've lost my interest anyway. Don't get me wrong- I'm not a hag or anything but compared with the kinds of girls that can rock-climb and wear just about anything in this state- I wouldn't even call me!

That said, at least if love can be found while one is ill- you can be assured that it would be a far more profound love than ever was born under perfect circumstances on a perfect day. Love on a perfect day is easy, but true love in the middle of IV poles and no makeup is the kind of love that would last forever.

So, that is what keeps me going to the exercise classes, online clothing shopping and tan-a-colada!

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Be very cautious with online dating...never use real names...use a cell phone or borrow one for first conversation...meet in public place like coffee shop. Been there done that...too many kooks for me but I did get one strictly platonic male buddy out of the deal (Like I need another one of those) Some guys 'pretend' to be looking for one thing but are really players.

Ernie and others, if you do Internet dating or meet somebody with potential, DO LIST in your profile you are learning to live positively with a chronic illness but not looking for a babysitter/care taker. Mention your illness in passing to get it out of the way but DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT!! Tell them you'd rather discuss other things for now and if necessary, you can fill them in on your ANS issues later. I always engage the men in conversation but if they constantly monologue about themselves and never ask about me, that can be good...but too much is bad...as they are self absorbed. That's a good clue by the way..never asking about the other person.

If you actually go out, you can share the illness in bits and pieces. but the biggest red flag is yammering on about our daily lives. You must be able to tapdance about that issue and my sense of humor helps out IMMENSELY. I often make folks laugh out loud in my real life and can be griping or sharing a horrible day and make it humorous.

I found way TOO MANY GUYS online pretended to be serious but were 'on the make' for one night stands...also many older guys loved bragging 'they felt younger' and were always jogging/hiking/biking/boating/motorcycle riding/traveling/dancing...sheesh.

I was looking for a homebody (not an agoraphobe! LOL) and somebody who I can just enjoy the old fashioned art of CONVERSATION (sadly, a lost art)

And somebody who was happy just hanging out and doing NOTHING together...maybe watching tv or being in the same room while reading magazines/papers or online.

Common interests are great but so are separate. Common values are more important and OUTLOOK on life.

That's my two cents. I have not gone out enough to be in situations to meet singles but have recently rediscovered a band I like that plays 10 minutes from me...but play in restaurants...so you never know. One guy commented that I had a great smile one night as he was leaving the restaurant (My male buddy was in the men's room) He said I was sitting in his line of vivsion and could not help but notice me..I understood that but he was clearly not my type and no 'chemistry' and for what it's worth I feel chemistry with girlfriends..by that I mean I click with somebody. So I thanked him and he said he could tell I was REALLY enjoying the band "which I was and they stroll the tables playing their music sometimes and I ate that up) I told him I had followed this band YEARS ago and just hooked up...so who knows, at least I got somebody's attention....he was no George Clooney but hey..ya never know.

With men there is the extra 'somethin' somethin' chemistry' but I base my relationships on friendships first.

But use CAUTION with Internet dating for sure.

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Hi..

Loved our responds morgan..

i did meet my partner when ill, I was in a small "better" window at the time. Meaning that i was abel to a bit sosial etc.. i told him early, and if i hadnt he still would have known caus of the fainting all ower bitt..=)

He was actually the first one i talked about my illnes to, so he would know what he was entring ( he says he still didnt understand a bitt,had to know me for a long time to gett the pic)..

He is a wounderfull man. And i have to confront my fear of himm leaving me caus of my illnes. I whant us to become parents, but i am to ill to be a mother, and soon the window closes.. He does not whant to discuss this topic (children).. but all relationships have its challenges.. Like being singel also have..

When it comes to internett dating i agree stronglee in being open at the gett go, not in detail, but ust mentioning it.. people dont like feeling desived..

I hope the best to u in relationships and u that are singel... love is all around..=)

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Dating is really hard for anyone - I see my healthy friends struggling - but it is extra hard with a chronic illness. It takes a lot of energy to meet the right person and in the meanwhile there may not be much reward....which makes me feel like I'd be better off exercising or spending time with friends. But I do want to find a relationship and will slowly keep at it as best I can.

I've actually been on a lot of dates since having POTS and dated 3 or 4 times for longer periods - a few weeks or a couple of months. I usually don't mention POTS unless things go beyond a first date. I don't think it's worth the effort of gettting into such a personal topic unless things look like they're moving forward - and honestly, there are probably things the guy is not telling you up front either. When I do talk about it, it has usually just come up in conversation and it doesn't seem to have affected things - but I'm not sure how it would affect things in a serious relationship. I sometimes wish I could just meet a guy with a minor chronic illness - at least he would understand.

I think Kit hit the nail on the head - psychologically it's hard. I feel like I'm not a lot of fun since there are many limitations on what I can do, and wonder why anyone would want to put up with that. But I'm glad to have this topic - it has given me a different way of thinking about things.

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My son is 26 and has been sick since he was 11 with arthritis. It is progressive and he has many other problems associated with it.

He went out with some friends the other night (he has never had a girlfriend, because he is afraid to put himself out there, so cautious) and said, mom you will never guess what happened. He was talking to a girl he had gone to school with and she told him she had arthritis. The same kind he has (she was unaware he had it) he said No Way, because he's never met anyone his age with the same kind of problems, let alone a girl. She, of course, thought he was questioning whether she was really sick. She got annoyed and told him to "look it up" it's real.

He realized she thought he didn't believe her and quickly cleared that up, and they had a good time. Her's is a new onset, he's had his for 16 years now. He knows what she is facing, but didn't say anything, except he understands.

My point here is, (and I do have one) when we are ill, it becomes very easy to misinterpret or become defensive, when people say things. She obviously doesn't look ill, but very obviously has had people say that, so automatically assumed my son was invalidating her.

I guess this is what I'm talking about when it comes to walls and things. We assume no one will ever accept us as we are, sick, pudgy, shy, afraid, whatever. I believe we have a right to be defensive, as we tend not to be treated well by doctors and sometimes family and friends. But that sure doesn't mean everyone is going to react that way. You never know when you are going to meet someone, who's going to say No Way! And it's because it's okay, they get it, or at least don't care that you have it.

If the girl had been comfortable with her illness, she may have just waited a moment and given him time to explain he had it too, or not taken it as an invalidation, but I think we reach a point where we assume no one believes us or could ever love us. That just isn't so.

As hard as it is, we have to sometimes stop and figure out whether we are over reacting or not actually hearing what the other person is saying, just what we believe them to be saying. Open minds.

Have I made my point? Maybe not, articulation is not one of my finer points anymore. I guess I am saying, never assume stuff. Give a person a bit of the benefit of the doubt. My son never thought he'd meet someone who understood and obviously this girl didn't either. But there you go. He came home knowing he wasn't alone and feeling better about himself. So, you never know when it's going to be an opening and not a slammed door, so we can't assume all is a slammed door.

Sometimes we get very lonely, but we get so comfortable being lonely, it's too scary to think about not being in that place. So we assume things that aren't true to justify staying there. it's very hard to let our guard down and leave that comfort zone. But I have seldom had regrets over the times I have, whether it turned out well or not, because i know I at least tried. That is not to say I haven't cried an ocean in my life, but looking back, I know I have learned from my experiences with relationships, whether they worked out or not. So keep your mind open and the door in your heart cracked and peeking. You never know when when it's going to want to burst open! morgan

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I am so grateful for this post!

I want to write more, more, more...but I must take a bath and rest! I'm pooped!

BUT, the last post by you, Morgan, had me smiling and crying and well, you know how much I have a special place in my heart for Jake--so I just wanted to say how happy that story made me. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you all for you wisdom, I will try to write more later--but I really appreciate Katherine and Morgan really saying what they said. It was what I needed to hear for sure.

Also, Sophia--I want to assure you I am being very, very safe! :P I'm using eHarmony, which makes it very, very easy to keep yourself safe. They even have a 'secure call' thing so that you don't give out ANY phone number. And you can email in the open communication stage for as long as you want on their site, so you don't give out your email or anything. I also like the Guided Communication set-up and the ability to close a match, so no one can pester you if you decide they are not respectful.

BTW, can people trace your cell phone number now? I thought I heard there was a reverse search now (but you have to pay for it)?

I actually know of a few couples through friends who have met on eHarmony and are engaged right now! :ph34r:

Sometimes I laugh a little b/c I feel like I have been 'mothered' by you all so much and I'm so grateful for it. You all watch out for me and so many others.

This topic came up at the most perfect time in my life.

Thank you all,

Emily

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dear ernie,

i am sorry things are working out this way and hope you are able to find a good and safe place for yourself. and although i would want you to have a (soul)mate right at this time, i do think you might need some time to come to terms with everything. and what i think is most important: make (or be) best friends with yourself at first. when you are, i am sure your best mate is around. unfortunately i wouldn't know how to meet him (or her) but i found out, by others telling me, that they are often closer by than we think.

best of luck on your journey, this goes to all who need it!

sending you love and a big hug,

corina :P

(and you know ernie, feel free to call me whenever you want, or need!)

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I was already quite ill when I met Teri... in fact, I was on medical leave of absence from work, and the first week we were dating, I was in the hospital.

There are people out there who are willing to accept people for who they are, faults and all. It may not be easy to find that person, but don't lose hope.

Nina

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Hi,

Thanks for your answers.

When I found my husband I was relatively healthy. I don't know if I am living in the real world or a dream life but I would think that if we have charisma, nice personality and something to offer we can find a mate.

There is a movie that came out recently about two people who meet in a cancer class. They are both dying from cancer and they are getting together to live the end of their life together. It is very touching.

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I actually think that that there is more than one person out there that can be the "rigth" one.. even for cronicall ill persons..=) USt have to try to keep hope and and open mind to life (its not always esy)...And somthimes a good cry is ust the best ting to open up.. i somthimes burn my fears etc litterly.. write them down and burn them..

best of day to u all

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