Chronically Single: Dating While Sick
I am terrible at dating.
I think to be good at dating there needs to be a modicum of giving a damn involved, and that is something I just do not have. I don’t want to pretend to be interested in some Tinder dude’s improv show. I just don’t have the time or energy.
I’ve always been bad at dating. The peak of my allure was in the eighth grade, where I think I had a total of two “boyfriends” with whom I slow danced to Ashanti in a gym. From then on, though, I could never bring myself to devote much time and energy to attracting a dude. I preferred to spend said time planning elaborate pranks with my friends or making puffy paint shirts with Dumbledore on them. Yes, I have always been this cool and hip.
So in all fairness, my lame dating history pre-dates my Crohn’s diagnosis, and there’s a solid chance that even if I were in full physical health, I would still be hanging out with a romantic comedy and a pizza on a Friday night. But as it stands I do have Crohn’s, and the being chronically ill thing? Definitely makes the dating thing a bit harder.
I know there are plenty of people out there with chronic illnesses who are in awesome, happy relationships. Maybe those people were better at dating to begin with, like Fonzi or Gigi Hadid, and now they’re found their unicorn person who takes them to doctor’s appointments and binge watches House of Cards with them on bad pain days. Maybe they’ve found someone else with a chronic illness, who really “gets it” and doesn’t get salty if they have to miss out on plans due to a flare. Maybe they’re dating a medical professional who has seen way too much to be grossed out or put off by their less cute symptoms. To those people I say: thank you for existing, and giving me hope I won’t be single forever. Please set me up with your doctor friends.
But as a chronically single 24 year old girl with a random disease, the “date” situation can get a little prickly. Especially in times like now, where I’m in a pretty aggressive flare. Not being able to ingest alcohol means I can’t go out for drinks, killing a key way of meeting and mingling with the opposite sex. I also can’t eat most foods, leading your average guy to think I’m maybe just on some fad juice cleanse. I also worry often about disappointing someone–– even if we go for coffee and they like me, will they quickly grow tired of the fact that during periods of bad health, I’m usually in bed by 8:30?
It’s hard, because you just want to scream “I swear I’m fun and normal!” But generally speaking, dudes don’t respond well to being screamed at by strangers? Like I said, dating is hard.
Among my many healthy single friends, an excuse I often hear for not going out on dates is “I’m just too busy” or “I don’t have the time.” While some people will call these excuses a cop out, they’re often legitimate. I’m friends with some badass women who are in grad school, running organizations, and working their way up the ladder in really cool companies. If they don’t have an hour to go for drinks with a CrossFit instructor who wears sandals, I will grant them that.
And so in a different way, I also find it hard to prioritize the little time and energy I have into blind internet dates. When your symptoms mean you only have about three hours of solid energy a day that’s not devoted to being at work, you tend to want to use it for more productive things like going to your doctor’s appointments, or cooking, or seeing a friend. And if that means it takes me a bit longer to find my made-for-me unicorn person, I’ll just have to wait.
So I suppose what I’m saying is, I probably won’t be finding true love anytime soon, unless that love is found in line at Whole Foods while I’m buying a salmon and some V8. Which would be a great meet-cute, so maybe get on that, universe?