I had already felt the lash of men having a negative opinion of my being a single mother, the thing I am most proud of about myself. I felt like a burden. Even today, I sometimes wonder if being alone would be simpler. I know having a partner — the right partner — would be wonderful for the both of us. If I come with too much baggage. If I have too many issues.
Finding Love Online, Despite Health Problems
And I know what men say about single moms. What do I really have to offer? I can always keep searching and I can always stay hopeful, positive, and most importantly, be me. It was my attitude about the situation. So I worked on, and continue to work on, those issues. But by making those priorities, as well as through my advocacy, I find myself better able to move forward and be proud of myself. One awkward part of having an invisible illness is that, looking at me, you cannot tell I have two forms of arthritis.
Online dating has been the easiest for meeting people. Getting myself dolled up for a date brings even more challenges. Even on a low-pain day, trying on outfits to find something that is both comfortable and looks good allows that pesky fatigue to creep its way in — meaning that I have to worry about having enough energy for the date itself! Many times, I find myself ghosted immediately after they find out about my disability. But I refuse to ever hide who I am. Arthritis is a huge part of my life now. My illness may not be threatening my life any time soon, but it has most certainly given me a new perspective on life.
And now it forces me to live life differently.
I desire a partner to live that life with, through my adversities and theirs. I just have to accept that dating will more than likely be a little rocky for me. After all, I already have my knight in shining armor — my son.
3 Dating Apps Made for People With Illnesses and Disabilities | The Mighty
Eileen Davidson is a Vancouver-based invisible illness advocate and an ambassador with the Arthritis Society. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Eileen Davidson has rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. But as she writes, she doesn't let this stop her from being an amazing mom and advocate. When you have RA, any object that gives you comfort or reduces your pain is something to be cherished.
Here are a few things you should invest in. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, the last thing you may think you need in your life is a dog. But pets can help in all sorts of ways. Nothing I had written or shared was untruthful. I spoke from the heart and meant every word. I was me in every way I could be.
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But now the moment required I share more. If I shared my identity, it would be a whole two seconds before everything was out there on the table. My personal journey through illness. With a digital footprint revolving around this topic. Some people will never see me for who I am because they get stuck on appearances. I have experienced that before.
I Refuse to Hide My Invisible Illness While Dating
So I was afraid if I shared my whole story with this person I had just met via the online dating website, that would be all they would see in me. It was with absolute clarity that I knew. This was a life defining moment. Every person that enters our life provides us with opportunities to go to the next level of our personal evolution.
They can be a mirror reflecting wounds that need healing, a catalyst for new realizations or a reminder to honor our boundaries or reaffirm the soul based contracts we have made with ourselves, especially those that serve as testaments of self-respect and self-love. Part of me wanted to shrink back into mediocrity, play it safe. But the timing of the Universe is always perfect. Each lesson, always divinely orchestrated. So now I had to walk the walk. I had to rise up and own my story. I had to be myself and trust that everything would be ok.
More than one person has broken up with me due to my health status in the past. Many life long friends have disappeared into the distance too. For the longest of times, I believed that no one would ever love me or want me in their life because of my health challenges or what I was going through. And as quickly as I heard the mean girl talk in my head reminding me of the heartbreaks of my past, I heard another side of the argument…. Well this is your opportunity to be that person. You are not broken.
Because your authenticity and your willingness to back yourself is the ultimate act of self love. I have been through the toughest of circumstances, dug deep into the corners of my soul and done the inner work required to merge with my true identity. I have atoned wounds of the past.
I have shared my story in the media and come up against all sorts of criticism and insensitivity in the process. My true identity does that. That will always shine brighter. All these things are the real me too.
Finding someone to accept me — all of me
And you know what? I have earned the right to be me. I quite like her too. So, I finally did what I knew I had to do all along. And as I typed the sentences that revealed all to that particular human being on the other end of the keyboard, I took a deep breath for I knew that it was a game changing moment. My self-love was intact.
My intrinsic value as a human being would remain unswayed by the approval or disapproval of others.