Hands up who has a chronic illness and has spent more hours than they care to admit worrying about their partner or being able to find one? I see lots of hands in the air, including mine.
Like good vs evil or batman vs superman, we are all left pondering the battle of relationships vs singledom. I speak to countless women who are worried about how their illness affects their partner and their emails ooze sadness and worry.
Relationships are hard at the best of times without throwing chronic illness amongst the hormones, arguments and bed hogging. Instead of concentrating on ourselves, we constantly worry about how our illness affects our partner. There’s the guilt of changing their life, not having a regular sex life and the thought they would be better off with someone healthy. All self confidence flies out the window and no matter what our partner says, there’s always the nagging doubt he’s secretly looking for a one way ticket out of the madness.
Compare that to someone who is single and your mind is consumed with thoughts of living alone in a cattery because no one in their right mind would take you on. You don’t have the guilt of changing someone else’s life but you live with the thought that the only thing you’ll ever share your bed with again is a hot water bottle.
So what’s easier, being in a relationship or being single? I’ve had a taster of both but still don’t have the answer.
Before I was diagnosed with IC, I played out countless conversations in my head telling him to leave because I couldn’t bear to put him through dealing with my broken bladder. Now, I play out countless conversations explaining my tale of woe and it always ends with dust in my face as they sprint in the opposite direction.
One thing I do know is whether you’re in a relationship or single, you need to have one thing…faith.
Faith that your partner loves you and wants to be with you. Would you leave them if they had a chronic illness? I’ll take a wild guess at ‘hell no’. So stop worrying about coming home to empty wardrobes and put that energy into healing yourself.
Faith that someone will fall in love with you regardless of your illness because you are pretty fucking awesome. There’s much more to you than medication, pain and heat packs. The right person will see through all of those accessories and won’t think twice about being by your side through the hospital appointments and sleepless nights.
A relationship with chronic illness third wheeling isn’t conventional and Disney haven’t made their millions writing about it BUT love isn’t a fairytale.
It’s not easy to stop worrying, in fact it would probably be easier to win the lottery but imagine if you did, what you could fill that extra head space with? In my case, probably just thoughts on how I would spend all the money but that fantasy sure beats thinking about something I have no control over.