Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

Dating (or not) with a chronic illness

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Sundress, inside

Today I had a first date. I put on a sundress and eyeshadow to match. I ignored my slight headache. It wasn’t so bad and my new medicine has been keeping the pain from growing to incapacitating levels. Perhaps a healthy person would have cancelled immediately, but if I cleared my schedule every morning I felt a bit unwell, I’d never get to see anyone but the grocer!

We’d arranged to meet a bit far from my house. I was a bit nervous and excited about the date, so I left my house early. The sun seemed bright and the sound of twittering birds made me angry. By the time I’d gotten to the bus stop, the light was sharply painful, even through my special sunglasses and with the protection of my hat. The cars rushing by sounded like a waterfall, overwhelming and painfully loud. I thought I might vomit.

I stepped back into my cool, dark, quiet apartment and sent a quick and apologetic message to my date. It was just an hour before we were supposed to meet. My date sent a message back, clearly annoyed, chastising me for not telling them sooner.

I’m used to the abuses and indignities of online dating and can mostly laugh about them. But I was surprised and hurt and disappointed. In my profile, I make it clear that I have a chronic illness, that cancellation is part and parcel of dating me. Usually by the time I decide to go on a date with someone I expect that they’ve at least read my profile. While I don’t expect that they’ll necessarily be a good partner to a person with a chronic illness, I expect that they’ll at least show compassion and courtesy to someone with one for the first date or two. Apparently not.

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