Don't let arthritis keep you from dating, love, sex and intimacy.
It is challenging enough to talk about intimacy and sex with a spouse or longtime partner. But if you are single and have arthritis, it can be intimidating to even think about going on a date. Here are some tips on how to look for love in all the right places.
1. Love yourself first.
Living with a chronic condition like arthritis can be challenging. Some days are going to be physically and emotionally worse than others. However, you are more than your arthritis and you should not let it define you. Remember, nobody is perfect, so don’t let your arthritis get in the way of developing friendships and relationships.
2. Fish where the fish are.
Online dating is hugely popular, so why not try it for yourself. One of the potential advantages of online dating is that you can start to form a bond based on your personality and common interests. (As always, follow common-sense safety rules when getting together with anyone you’ve met on the Internet.)
3. Practice an honest, but lighthearted, explanation of your disease.
Honesty is the best policy. Talking about your arthritis, helps other people understand your condition and your life. As you are more than a person with arthritis, raise the subject when you feel it is the right time. This probably, won’t be on the first date, but once you are forming a meaningful relationship.
When explaining arthritis be realistic, but also focus on the positives; what you can do and how you manage your condition. Try and put it into terms that other people can relate to, like your soreness may be like what they feel after completing a hard workout at the gym.
4. Discover what makes you amazing and flaunt it.
We’re all very complex people, full of a variety of strengths and skills. Discovering what makes you tick and sharing your passions in life with others can only help your love life blossom. For example show them that you are fantastic cook or a super cyclist, it will keep both of you from focusing on whatever weakness your arthritis may cause.
5. Be open to developing a relationship you already have.
Whether you have arthritis or not, love can work in mysterious ways – so don’t ignore romantic signals from or feelings for people you already know.
6. You’re not alone.
You are not the first or last person that will be facing issues about forming relationships and having a chronic health condition. Just like there are cookbooks to help us prepare great meals there are also self-help books on relationships, including specific ones for people living with a chronic illness. So, go to a library or shop online for extra help. One such book is The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness (Cleis Press, 2007)