by RA Dater
Ah, yes – the holidays are upon us. As we fight our way through tinsel, trees, family guests and shopping, do we have enough energy left to date? How does a single woman with RA date – or even survive – in the holiday season? A few observations from my perspective as I head wearily into 2012:
Turn down invitations that will cause RA pain/flares:
This includes, but is not limited to: Being out in the cold – no way, no how. Say you hate cold weather, and ask them for their jacket while they freeze – works well. Never agree to help a date put up their Christmas tree, attach ornaments to the Christmas tree, or – actually, just anything to do with Christmas trees. I always say “Don’t hand anything to me if you’re going to cry when you see the tiny shattered pieces on the ground,” and that clearly includes Christmas ornaments. If a date wants to come to your house and you haven’t put a tree up this year, tell him you lost all your priceless decorations in the “Unprecedented Storage Unit Fire of 2011” and appear shocked when he says he’s never heard of that tragic event. Also, pick and choose date times based on your energy level and interest. I have used the “that cookie/ornament party with my girlfriends went into the wee hours last night, so I can’t stay out later than 8pm tonight” twice this week. White lies are ok…
Many single men are lonely around the holidays:
This revelation has come as somewhat of a surprise to me – I think it’s actually a perfect time of the year to have a first date. There’s no pressure to exchange gifts because you’ve only just met recently! It’s a wonderful scenario for talking about your past holidays and family holiday disasters. Who of us couldn’t talk about past Christmases for hours? It’s an easy way to bring up RA and how you love the holidays, but wish the cold weather didn’t make your hands hurt. I have been trying very hard lately to listen back about dates’ health problems – everyone has health issues. Your date will very likely say there is something, anything about the holidays that causes him stress/joint pain/work pressures. I have been on a lot of dinner dates lately and love just looking at the Christmas lights because I don’t drive myself at night – I find it’s a wonderful time of year to look around at the sights, and really enjoy talking to men who are also alone in the holiday season.
Everyone has a story – probably not a painful RA story, but it’s worth listening to because pain and joy come in many varieties. I’ve yet to date a man with RA, but I can always find a connection if I try – music, movies, where they’ve been in the world – very critical in my opinion to focus on shared likes/dislikes – and you can’t find a better time than the holidays to find a common thread.
Be fierce and take a chance:
Ask a man out. Several men. There is nothing like a New Year on the horizon that inspires me to take a chance. I might even take a man up on his offer today to ride on his Harley downtown for New Year’s Eve date at a blues bar (Hey, it’s a nice bike). When I grow weary, I remind myself that love isn’t going to come knocking on my door.
Take time out for yourself:
Remember to relax and pace yourself – if you are in severe fatigue from meds or RA itself, there are many built-in excuses for backing out of a date commitment. “Aunt Edna just arrived unexpectedly from Idaho, and is sleeping over at my house…” Easy. Or, if you’ve have a date that wasn’t ideal and you need an excuse out of the next one, you already have plans for the next two weeks due to holiday commitments.
You are never, ever alone:
It’s been a long, long time since I didn’t have a husband or date for Christmas/New Year’s, but I refuse to let that fact put a dimmer on my holidays. Embrace your friends, your beloved pets and your family – it’s a good time of the year to reflect, enjoy and relax. Above ALL, do not attach any significance or importance to having dates this time of year – dating with RA is hard enough without all the tinsel and snow on top of it.
Wishing you all wonderful dates and true love in the New Year!
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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