Community Thoughts: Dating with RA

Dating can be a challenge all by itself, but an additional challenge when dating is making the decision to disclose that you have RA. So, we asked our Facebook community for their thoughts on the subject! See what people had to say in response to the questions: When is the right time to tell someone? How much do you tell? Do you have tips for dating with RA? Read on, and add your thoughts in the comments!

Tips on dating with RA

I tell people sooner rather than later

  • I let my significant other know as soon as we started having true feelings for each other.
  • There is no point in trying to hide or postpone explaining an invisible illness. When I told him, I knew it could either go two ways. He would leave or he would be understanding.
  • Three years ago when I met my partner RA came up in conversation on our first date. He has been very understanding and supportive of me too.
  • It does hang over you though - the fact that sooner or later you are going to have to explain fully.
  • Immediately. Why start a relationship with a lie, and why waste both of your time if the person can't deal with it. Be honest and then move on if necessary.
  • Recently, I just realized I'm worth it! Dated a guy for awhile and RA didn't bother him. Do not give up on yourself or the possibilities of finding the love of your life.
  • It's never been an issue for me to disclose information.
  • I tell them at the get-go. I'm a big guy and might look tough but RA can break me down sometimes.

I wait for a little while before sharing

  • I explained my issues with RA after 3 months of talking... I figured best get it over with. He said "it's part of you" [and was very accepting].
  • I disclosed my RA to my boyfriend as soon as our relationship took a serious turn.  It's a learning process for both of us but I think overall we are doing very well. I am happy I disclosed it as soon as I did.
  • I've told all of my long-term partners. The biggest hurdle is helping them understand the obstacles that come with it.
  • Leaving too late is selfish, best to wait a few dates then see if they stay or run.
  • It's not a lie [not to tell right away] and I wouldn't expect him to give me information that's too personal about himself at the beginning. If you dig each other after the second third or even fourth date and you want to mention it, that's fine.

I just let people deal with the information

  • I'm sick. Get over it.
  • My significant other left after 17 years. I'm not looking for another but if something would happen and someone would come into my life I would be totally honest with them!! If you can't take me with my disease then I have no time for you. We only live once and I'm just going to make the best of it.
  • I just tell anyone straight away there's no point in prolonging it, it's not going to go away, and they can make their choice but if they can't deal with you at your worst then they don't deserve you at your best.
  • Different diseases and conditions it's part of life and if people can't support you through it then they are not worth having around you.
  • My physical limitations are not the only thing I am. I am... whatever I want to be. Don't lose hope.
  • The problem isn't being frank from the begining, it's the partners fully understanding and awareness. Not many people can come to terms and understand the limitations of this disease - partner-wise.

I'm focusing on myself

  • If a person can't handle it, then I would rather not waste valuable spoons on him.
  • Lately, I have felt like dating is just not a priority. I'm too focused on myself right now. And I need to have this time and space for me.
  • It's funny if I were advising someone else I would tell them that they deserved to be happy and that there is someone out there that would love them for them, etc. but for some reason I can't quite seem to sell myself on that one. I guess it's just one battle at a time- focus on your health and having the best life/most joy you can have under the new normal, and if a relationship is meant to be part of that equation great, and if not, that's okay too.
  • Now, I find it hard to imagine how a 30 something year old that lives at home because she's too sick to manage day to day activities alone could possibly have anything to bring to the table in a relationship.
  • Unfortunately I've always had relationship problems because of my RA. So I decided to stay alone…
  • In the last 3 years I've gotten worse and I feel now it would be unfair of me to be with someone else as I would only b a burden and haven't got much to offer the way I am.
  • I don't get involved in relationships so I don't have to tell.
  • I've never had any luck in the dating department as soon as I mention I have RA they make excuses and I never see them again. I've decided to stay single

From a spouse's perspective

  • Being a husband to an RA spouse (8 years), I am NOT going anywhere! The way I feel/think about it is this: Life can get real tough at any time for any of us (we can't see the future). Since life has become tougher for my spouse it means I have to love her more, not less! I call out these ex-spouses who give up as cowards! They know nothing of love! You don't want those people in your life anyways if they give up. The truest measure of any person is the decisions they make when the s*** hits the fan! That's when people can truly prove their love. The key to being a successful supporting spouse in an RA relationship is being true to myself while giving support. My feelings still matter even though my spouse may have more intense ones. I make it clear to her that I get to complain about life too and that she needs to listen as well! Also, be realistic about your routine in what you can do together. Finally, if I want to do something my spouse can't, I still deserve to do it without her. If I go out Friday, then I give us the entire Saturday. Knowing I still have my choices is the ultimate key in keeping the relationship.

How about you - would you like to share your experiences on dating with RA? Please share in the comments!

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