Finding Someone to Love

Finding Someone to LoveLast weekend I had the great opportunity to meet Sara Nash (from the Single Gal’s Guide to RA blog).

She is as fun and funny in person as she is on her blog.  We spent time talking about dating and creating relationships, both romantic and other.  Sara shared her experiences, and some heartfelt questions.

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I will pass along some of the wisdom and humor we gathered together.

Loving and Being Loved is an Important and Essential Part of Life.

It can be tempting to believe that it’s “just not worth the effort” to extend yourself and create some meaningful relationships.  When you don’t feel well, or perhaps you see yourself as damaged, or compromised, it is also a temptation to believe you’re not worth it.

Finding someone to love — and being willing to let yourself be loved — is one of the greatest gifts we can receive or share.

Neither of those beliefs is accurate.

Finding someone to love — and being willing to let yourself be loved — is one of the greatest gifts we can receive or share.  It can take some intention, some willingness to risk, and a dash of humor, but a loving relationship is possible — and incredibly nourishing.

Commit Yourself to the Process.

Relationships don’t “just happen.”

There is often some tricky trial and error.

Sara and some others at our meeting talked about some “off” experiences — dates who didn’t “get” her, or who left because of the diagnosis of RA.

Well, isn’t that their loss????

It’s no fun to feel rejected, but sometimes these experiences are the only way to sort the keepers from the not-so-good ones.

Then it comes back to your own confidence — that you are a gutsy, interesting, many-faceted prize.

It’s no fun to feel rejected, but sometimes these experiences are the only way to sort the keepers from the not-so-good ones.

You are more than your diagnosis — it doesn’t define you, and it is not the most important part of your self-understanding.

It is piece of your life, a shade of your color, but not your dominant hue.

You may have some inner work to do to know you are lovable and have a lot to give — and if I’m talking to you, get started!

You may have work to do to put your intention out in the world, and put yourself in the path of relationships.  This requires some planning and some effort, but this is also doable.

Committing to the process is a good place to get started.

Manage the Unpredictable.

That sounds like a contradiction — how can we manage what isn’t known?

With a chronic disease — that has fatigue and pain as unwelcome companions — learning to manage and plan for the unseen circumstances can help provide a cushion of time, energy, and space.

As Sara said, “When you have a chronic disease, you learn you have to be very well organized.”

That’s part of it — and preparing for contingencies is the other part.

Do you have a quick three- or four-sentence description of your illness, if you would need to explain to someone why you take pills, or why you walk more slowly?

With a chronic disease — that has fatigue and pain as unwelcome companions — learning to manage and plan for the unseen circumstances can help provide a cushion of time, energy, and space.

Have you practiced some generic cover lines for times when you don’t want to disclose?  If you would need to end a date, or chose an activity that is a little less strenuous than a mountain hike, you don’t need to over explain or make yourself feel more vulnerable.

Everybody gets the flu, and many folks don’t like to hike or bike.  A simple “I don’t think that appeals to me,” or “I got an unexpected bug.  I enjoyed our time so far, and I’d like to call you tomorrow when I’m feeling better.”

Having some practiced words in your back pocket — and giving yourself permission — are two ways you can manage.

You probably have some I haven’t thought of, and it’s wonderful to share.

If you are beyond the dating and into a long-term relationship — most of this still applies!

We still need to commit — and re-commit — to the process of loving and being loved.  A relationship is a deep gift in our lives — and also requires intention, attention, and an eye to the unpredictable.

A relationship is a deep gift in our lives — and also requires intention, attention, and an eye to the unpredictable.

I wish you all well on your journey, and whatever your relationship status, bless yourself with a gift of appreciation and loving thoughts this Valentine’s Day.

A valentine from me to you, and a valentine from you to you.

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