[RA & Dating] RA-friendly Versus RA-unfriendly Dates by Confessions of a RA Dater

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RA-friendly versus RA-unfriendly dates: (Also known as – the deciding moment where we choose to accept a second date or crawl through the restaurant bathroom window to freedom.)


by RA Dater


Dear Reader

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!

RA Dater


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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5 comments… add one

  • Lina

    March 10, 2012, 9:03 am

    I already had a boyfriend when I got diagnosed. Now he isn’t really the type who “gets it” and I knew that when I was diagnosed so sometimes it’s hard. But luckily he does try and I’m not one to pretend I can do something when I can’t just to make him happy, even though he thinks I’m exaggerating. It’s sweet when he ties to do things I used to like (like plan an adventours day out) even thought I do feel sad when I have to explain that I can’t. So I guess what I’m saying is it’s important to find someone who tries even if they fail sometimes.

    • RA Dater

      March 12, 2012, 10:22 pm

      It is sad to me that I have found only 2 types of men: those who “get it” even though they know nothing about the disease, those that have prior experience and could care less. I still after over a year of divorce send my ex my clinical summaries showing I am disabled and a sick, sick chick. I am beginning to think it’s more a personality thing – and the level of which someone really loves. I have sort of found my way into thinking that if they aren’t supportive, screw ’em. Good luck to you, honey!

  • Brooke Viau

    March 10, 2012, 7:14 pm

    I was engaged when symptoms started, and I immediately noticed things were different. After a year of feeling guilty and terrible about things that happened in addition to his anger, I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke it off and pretty much ran away to start a new life. I am now happily married to someone who is compassionate, caring, and truly loves me. Never settle. Truth be told I was happier single than with a man who was upset about my sickness and didn’t understand. I only upgraded from being single once I found the perfect man for me. Truth be told, I wish that I figured out that truth without having to be super sick.

    • RA Dater

      March 12, 2012, 10:28 pm

      I am so glad you ran away – I have done the same. Ex is only supportive to the extent he wants disability payments for our sons, and ex-boyfriend with father who had RA was a complete a-hole about RA. I know it’s difficult for anyone to look at RA in their partner and think…well, she’s not going to work again. I really appreciate your comments, I think I pissed someone off saying I would rather be with someone with only a little knowledge rather than someone with prior experience, and I guess the lesson is: there are men that care enough to be worthy of us, and men that aren’t! Sounds like you found yourself a true soulmate, and I am happy for you :)

  • Lauren

    December 19, 2012, 10:47 am

    I was very recently diagnosed with RA, after about of year of knowing something was *seriously* wrong but not knowing what. I can’t even imagine going through that process without my fiance. He actually proposed to me while I really beaten down by The Mystery Ailment and when I mentioned how much that meant to me, said “That didn’t even cross my mind but if that means a lot to you then I’m glad”.

    Keep looking, ladies. The sweetest men imaginable are in fact out there :) Don’t ever settle for less.


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