Dating… Whether you are a serial dater who loves the social scene or a bit of a wallflower who finds it difficult to engage others, the dating scene can be fraught with both the good and the bad. With too many horror stories to count, dating can be a bit daunting, even for the most gregarious social butterfly. So imagine the prospect of dating for someone who suffers from a neurological condition. For those people, a whole new set of questions and concerns color their dating experience. Neurology Now recently published a piece that examined dating with a neurological condition, tackling some of the considerations that are unique to their situation.
The number one take-away from the article was to be sure to “wait until you are ready”. While this may seem like simple advice, it is imperative. When diagnosed with a neurological condition, Rosalind Kalb, Vice President of the professional resource center at the National MS Society says, “There’s a period of adjustment, grieving, and adaptation. You have a lot of questions about what this means for you in your life, who you are and how you will be perceived by others. It takes some longer than others to put their toes in the water. And that’s okay.”
In addition, it is advisable to reveal your condition early, but not too early. First dates are for getting to know one another, you have no obligation to share more than you are ready to.
Honesty is always the best policy. To be fair, that is true in any situation, but once you have decided that you like someone enough to spend time with them, be open and honest. As Kalb says, “Secrets and half-truths are not a solid foundation for a good relationship.” If you’ve come to the point where you have shared your condition, be ready to answer some questions. Teaching moments are valuable ways to connect and help one another understand more about how the condition may effect them.
In the dating game, rejection is a very real possibility for all of us. Learning to handle rejection is imperative. And finally, make sure you are comfortable being your own caretaker first. Giving up that control and depending on a caretaker too soon can lead to the loss of not just a romantic relationship, but also a caretaker if the relationship doesn’t work out.
Perhaps most importantly, Kalb reminds us, always remember that a disabling condition in no way rules out the possibility of a satisfying, long-term relationship.”
To read Neurology Now’s article, “The Dating Game” in its entirety, please click here.