Living with Chronic Pain
6 Tips for Dating While Living With Chronic Pain
Source: Arthritis Foundation
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Dating can be a challenge, especially for individuals living with chronic pain. However, it can also be an enjoyable experience that improves mental and physical well-being.
Six tips for dating while living with chronic pain include the following:
- Avoid letting chronic pain be a defining feature. Chronic pain is just one aspect of a person’s life. Individuals with chronic pain should define themselves based on their personality traits, hobbies, passions, and other strengths rather than their chronic pain condition. Having this mindset builds confidence and allows others to appreciate the person as a whole.
- Be honest. While chronic pain should not be a defining feature, it is important for individuals to be honest about their condition, such as any potential limitations due to their condition and how they feel on a daily basis. Dealing with chronic pain and maintaining a positive attitude is admirable; individuals shouldn’t feel the need to hide it.
- Look for someone with similar interests. Physical activities like hiking, skiing or surfing may be out of the question for individuals with chronic pain. Dating someone with interests incompatible with chronic pain limitations can make the dating process more challenging. While differences in interests are normal, having some interests in common is a good starting point for any relationship.
- Be creative and adaptable. The classic “dinner and a movie” date may not be possible due to an individual’s dietary restrictions or the inability to sit in a theater seat for an extended period of time. A date that requires a lot of walking, such as visiting a museum, may be out of the question if a flare up of pain occurs. However, a movie night at home or a virtual visit to a museum are also enjoyable options. Thinking outside the box and being flexible when needed can make the dating experience a more positive one.
- Look for someone who is compassionate. Individuals who are compassionate and caring are more likely to be understanding when a date needs to be canceled or modified due to pain levels. They are more likely to be willing to learn about a chronic condition and the needs that surround it.
- Avoid taking rejection personally. Dating is a trial-and-error process. If rejection occurs, individuals should avoid taking it personally or thinking it is impossible to date with chronic pain. Sometimes, relationships just do not work.
Additional resource used to create this article: Patient Empowerment Network.