It’s no secret that living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can take a real toll on your daily living, in all aspects including your love life. Navigating the dating scene is already challenging enough and living with MS can make it even more complicated.
Young people in their 20s and 30s are often seeking out a partner and for those diagnosed with MS, the idea of dating may raise some concerns. If you’re concerned with how MS may interfere with your love life, keep reading to learn how others have approached dating.
How can I date when my MS is constantly intruding on my social life? When do I tell a new partner about my diagnosis? How will the disease impact my sex life? Will anyone even want to date me?
If this sounds like you, know that you’re not alone and the above questions are common. Julie Fiol, a registered nurse, licensed social worker, and director of MS information and resources for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, has heard all of these concerns from patients before.
“MS is a complex disease,” she says. “It can be hard to talk about or explain [to a partner] why some days you feel fine and other days you don’t. It could make dating harder when you’re not sure how you will feel.”
Romantic relationships also tend to get physical. MS can impact sexual function and mood. “Not everyone can handle being in an intimate relationship with someone who has a chronic illness,” says Fiol.
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A common dilemma is being diagnosed at a young age while single and searching. At that point, a patient may question whether anyone would want to deal with it at all if they had the choice.
Some MS patients, like Chelsey Merrill, a 27-year-old accountant, will choose to take a break from dating. Merrill struggled a lot with when to disclose her illness to potential partners and how much information to share.
“It’s a really vulnerable thing to tell someone and a lot to unload on a first date,” she says, “but I also didn’t want to feel like it was a secret I was keeping.”
“There is no right time for everyone,” Fiol says. “It’s a very personal choice, and most often you will be