“The course of true love never did run smooth” – that may very well be true for people all across the world, but it’s a pretty safe bet that living with a chronic illness like PsA can make it an awful lot bumpier!
Meeting someone new is challenging enough, but throwing a fatigue-inducing, skin flaking, chronic pain causing condition into the mix means that it’s no wonder dating can suddenly feel so much more intimidating. But we’re firm believers that PsA shouldn’t stop you from doing anything you want to do – and that includes having a fun, healthy and fulfilled dating life. It can take some getting used to talking about PsA with a near stranger that may potentially turn into the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, so we’ve created a 4 step guide to nailing ‘that’ conversation.
It’s one of the cheesiest, but also one of the truest facts of life: You need to love yourself before anybody else can.
Don’t feel like you need to bring it up on the first date
First dates are about fun – the initial spark and excitement of getting to know someone new. There isn’t an obligation to bring up crazy relatives or guilty pleasures on first dates, so neither should there be an obligation to bring up your PsA. We’re not saying to treat it like a big secret or actively avoid talking about it, but don’t feel like you need to explain or bring it up if you simply don’t want to.
Practice how you preach
When you do want to talk openly and honestly about your PsA, it’s totally normal to get a little anxious about the other person’s reaction, so the trick is to practice how you’re going to explain it. Stick with factual phrasing and don’t try and second guess what the person opposite you is going to say. Sometimes a bit of humour can be helpful in breaking the ice and putting both of you at ease; it sets the path for an open conversation.
When they know, be honest
It’s important to be up front about what living with PsA is really like, but focus on what you can do, as well as what you can’t do.
Some people also find it helpful to talk about specific symptoms in ways that people can relate to, like fatigue being like the world’s worst and most awful hangover. Again, this is a really simple tip that immediately puts people at ease, and can help spark a much more open conversation about PsA.
And if they can’t handle it – find someone who can
In a perfect, rom-com movie world, everyone would be super understanding of what it’s like to live with PsA and other chronic conditions. They’d always know exactly the right thing to say and be freakishly in tune with symptom flares. But sadly that just isn’t always the case, and some people (however great they might be otherwise) simply can’t get their heads around the idea of being in a relationship with someone with a chronic illness. It can be so easy to take this personally, but remember: That is not about you. They just aren’t right. Now put your shoulders back and go find a person who deserves someone as fantastic as you.