by RA Dater
If you’ve read my earlier blogs and/or have RA, you know how challenging it can be to broach the subject of rheumatoid arthritis while dating! I generally let potential dates know I have the disease before they meet me in person…and, to be fair, many people have probably never heard of RA. So, this blog addresses the events that occur when you have given that person time to do a little research on the disease (as in, taking three minutes to Google it). Ah, it is amazing how many of our dates fail hideously. Their loss. A few of my observations follow:
Location/venue for date:
RA-friendly date: He lets you decide where/when/what. It’s as simple as that! It is up to you to pick the time of day and the day of the week you feel the best. Don’t plan for a date for the day when you know you will be too tired from weekly RA drugs to enjoy the experience, and expect the second date to be with a man who “gets” that.
RA-unfriendly date: He invites you to bowl, fish, cook, help him decorate his Christmas tree, drive downtown at 10pm to meet at a bar and/or enjoy the dating experience in extreme heat or cold. Anything with short notice is a no-no for me – we take far more time to get ready/clean house/find clothes than most, so I refuse impromptu dates for that reason!
Response to my disclosure that I take injections to manage my RA symptoms:
RA-friendly date response: “You must feel horrible the next day, from what I’ve read.”
RA-unfriendly response: “Can I please inject you?” OK, this is just downright creepy – and more than one date has expressed this desire, which I view as either a pathological need to inflict pain upon me and/or see my naked hip. Either way, I will never feel that injecting my medication is fun foreplay. Sheesh.
Prior knowledge of RA:
RA-friendly date: “I have heard about autoimmune diseases; because you mentioned you had one I accessed the almighty internet, and have a rudimentary idea of what you are going through.”
RA unfriendly date: “My father/ex has/had RA and they seem fine and/or died and I just don’t care.”
Be forewarned: dating someone with a family member who has/had RA is never a guarantee you have met your match. I learned a hard, cold lesson this past year – even if my date has known someone personally that had RA, that does not automatically translate into them being any more understanding or empathetic of my situation. It is generally the reverse, at least in my experiences to date. Case in point: I had a long-term relationship with someone whose father literally died of RA, back in the day when there were limited drugs to control our disease. He and all his siblings said to me, “Oh, dear old Dad…he just suffered through it in silence.” Of course, my first thought was, “You people suck.” It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I came out of the relationship with my eyes a little bit more wide open. Yet another more recent potential date never got to meet me in person because he said in an email, “My ex of 10 years had RA, but I’m not an expert on it, and she didn’t have many symptoms.” Really? I will pass, thanks.
Above all – never, ever trust anything but your gut feelings on a date when it comes to RA. Look them in the eyes and ask yourself if they are compassionate, understanding, and intelligent – then don’t settle for anything less.
Best of luck to us all on finding love!
Want to read more stuff written by RA Dater? Check out Confessions of a RA Dater and her others musings here.
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