Dating With Multiple Sclerosis

Whether you’re casual about it or hoping to meet someone you’ll settle down with, dating can have its ups and downs. Will there be a spark? Do you want to see that person again? Or are you tempted to text a friend to bail you out after 5 minutes?

With a long-term condition like multiple sclerosis, there can be another layer to it. Like, when do you tell someone that you have MS? What questions might your dates have about it?

You First

The better care you take of yourself, the more you’ll have to offer. You may have more energy to go out and meet people.

You may want to take stock of how you’re doing. Do you feel like your MS is under its best possible control? Are you having problems that you’ve got questions about? Do you have the support you need, whether from family and friends or a support group? If there’s anything about your condition that’s been on your mind, it’s a good idea to bring it up with your doctor. Because while you’re ready to date, it’s important to take care of your most important, longest relationship: the one you have with yourself.

Dating Apps

There are lots of dating apps, and some are specifically designed for people who have chronic health conditions. Of course, it’s completely fine to use any app you like, or none -- like everything else in dating, it’s about what you feel most comfortable with.

What to Say, When

The only right time to tell someone you have MS is when you’re ready. Some people list it on their online dating profile. Others wait until they feel safe or think the connection is promising. This isn’t unique to MS; most people need to feel comfortable before they reveal their most personal info.

Even if your symptoms are visible, you don’t have to be specific right away. Say something like, “I’m working through some issues with my arm” until you’re ready to talk about it in detail.

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How to Share

The more you know about MS, the easier it will be for you to explain it to someone else. You’ll want to be ready to answer questions about how it affects your body.

You don’t have to be able to explain the science behind MS. It’s good to share things in a relatable way. Say things like, “I might need to keep our plans flexible, because sometimes I wear out easily” or “I’d be more comfortable going to a show than taking a long hike.”

Be open when your partner has questions -- or health issues of their own. 

If It Doesn’t Work Out

If you’re worried that your date won’t be able to handle your MS, look at it this way: They probably weren’t going to be the right person for you. And now that it’s over, you’re free to find someone who’ll be a better fit. Remember: You’re much more than your MS. You can put yourself out there and you can have a rewarding romantic life, just like anyone else. 

If You’re Dating Someone Who Has MS

When you get the news, it might take you a little time to adjust.

Not sure what to say? Say that. Need time? Say that. Have questions? Ask if your partner is open to answering them. If it’s hard to find the words right now, simply thank your partner for trusting you enough to share their story.

You may want to read up on MS so you know more about the condition, or even offer to go along to some doctor appointments. Ask your partner how MS makes them feel physically and emotionally. Take your cues from them. Being considerate is a good idea in any relationship. It shows how much you care.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 19, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

MS Conversations: The Official Blog of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: “Dating and MS: Loving and Risking Heartache.”

Mayo Clinic: “Multiple Sclerosis.”

Momentum: The magazine of The National MS Society: “Finding love when you have MS.”

MS Society of Canada: “Single, ready to date and living with MS: What you should know.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Multiple Sclerosis.”

The Mighty: “These Dating Apps Are Made for People With Illnesses and Disabilities.”

Multiple Sclerosis Trust: “10 ways to help your partner if they have MS.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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