This is a very important topic and one I get asked about quite often, just wasn’t sure the best way to approach it. Disease is a very personal thing, but how soon does it have to be disclosed when dating? Does it even have to be disclosed at all? I’ve reflected a lot on this topic. If you’re not the vision of perfect health, how soon do you disclose disease when your dating? Here’s one question I got …
Dear Single Dating Diva,
I have an illness. It isn’t life threatening but it does affect my quality of life. Sometimes I need extensive treatments that knock me right out. Other times I’m fine and can live my daily life normally like everyone else. Yes, my life is like an emotional roller coaster ride, but I’m not an overly dramatic person. I just want to find someone to share my life with that will understand and be supportive. Most men I meet aren’t willing to walk along this troubled path with me and frankly I don’t blame them. My question is should I disclose my illness right away to the men I date or in my online dating profile or should I wait until things progress between us before I tell them. I don’t want to be judged unfairly, I just want to be loved for who I am, despite my disease.
Desperate to Date
Dear Desperate to Date,
Thank you for your question, it is a very important one and a topic I discuss with others quite often. First and foremost, remember that your disease doesn’t define who you are, it’s a part of you but it isn’t you! You’re so much more than what is going on in your body. You need to be true to you.
Disease Disclosure and Dating
Before you think about full disclosure, these are some things you need to ask yourself:
- Is your illness physically obvious?
- Can your illness be transmitted?
- Does your illness drastically affect your quality of life?
- Is your illness going to get in the way of normal dating activities?
- Is your illness life threatening?
- Do you require lots of support during your treatments or difficult times?
- Will your illness affect your partner’s quality of life?
If you answered “no” to all of them, then you can disclose when you’re ready. For example, I have certain food intolerances for health reasons, these aren’t deal breakers for 99% of people I date, so I disclose when the issue comes up like making choices for going out to dinner. If you had diabetes (for example) and it was under control, you don’t need to disclose that right away. However, if you answered “yes” to ANY of the above questions, then you need to disclose your disease right at the beginning of your dating. Online dating? Then put in your profile that you have a condition that will require a modified dating life or however you want to put it. Let your potential dates decide to go out with you knowing full well what they are getting into. It’s not fair to you or to them if you keep this vital information from them.
If someone doesn’t want to date you because you have an illness then good, you don’t want that person in your life. Why would you want them? Don’t you want the person who wants you regardless of your illness? Think about it logically. Be true to yourself … your illness is part of who you are, nothing to be ashamed of, hiding it will only hurt you and others in the end and I know you don’t want that. Think of it this way, wouldn’t YOU want to know?
Disease disclosure and dating? I say FULL DISCLOSURE. Open and honest at the beginning will make for a better relationship in the end. Plain. Simple.
Readers, what do you think? How soon should disease disclosure take place when dating? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
Great topic and one that could definitely use time in the spotlight!
I had a stroke almost two years ago but it hasn’t drastically affected my quality of life. It’s affected my balance and I use a walker. I disclose this before the first date, though, because I don’t want to waste my time getting to know a guy who’s going to have a problem with such a minor thing. As you said, why would you want to be with someone who’s that shallow?
Thanks Lisa! Exactly, might as well be upfront and weed out those who you really wouldn’t want anyway!
“Remember when I said ’till death do us part’? I probably should have mentioned it, but that will be a week from next Tuesday.” — an example of waiting a little too long to disclose.
Fundamentally, I agree with what you are saying, except possibly for the online dating part. If I meet someone once, and have no interest in ever seeing them again, I don’t really want them to have that kind of information about me. I’d think in that scenario I might hold off until planning date #2 (or maybe the very end of date #1 should I want to aim for a d2).
Thanks! Yes, some things you don’t need to share right away but, if there is something very evident physically that will put them off when they first see you then you need to disclose.
Disclosure is always a tricky situation. If you’re disabled it drastically decreases the likelihood of meeting someone anyway, however, it might be that people who you might well get on with pass you by when they see you’ve got a disability on your on-line profile.
I think your list is a good one, and definitely worth a discussion.
Well done for managing it in a sensitive and open way.
Thank you for your comment. It is a very sensitive issue and we don’t realize how difficult it really is.
I have M.E. and I have been single for a couple of years. My symptoms are very mild, so I don’t disclose straight away – I find its usually best to let my dates to see how I am over a few dates, so that when I do tell them, they are not imagining someone that sleeps all day! It’s always complicated, and the the idea of the illness seems to put people off much more than the reality does. I don’t consider it significant enough to put in an online profile though – I work part time, and I’m a dad too – and if i did i think it would put everybody off!
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