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15-Sep-2019 17:49

“I have a dream to be married, have children, and establish a stable family.

I’m not interested in hook-ups, blind dates, or the getting-to-know-you stage of relationships. Add the fact that I have a chronic gastrointestinal disease to the mix, and dating feels like work.

I don’t look like what the average person thinks someone with arthritis looks like.

There have been points where I’ve wondered if anyone love me. One awkward part of having an invisible illness is that, looking at me, you cannot tell I have two forms of arthritis.

My new strength, which I thank arthritis for helping me discover, doesn’t mean I am not still lonely and that I don’t desire a partner.

I just have to accept that dating will more than likely be a little rocky for me.

I spent most of the time confined to my apartment, hanging out with my son or meeting doctors and medical professionals, unable to escape the chaotic whirlwind of chronic illness. I had already felt the lash of men having a negative opinion of my being a single mother, the thing I am most proud of about myself. Even today, I sometimes wonder if being alone would be simpler. In today’s world of dating, they could easily just keep swiping on to the next better match without illness or child. It wasn’t always my child or my illness that would at times send men off in the other direction. It still takes tremendous effort to keep up with the self-care that’s necessary when living with a chronic illness: medication, talk therapy, exercise, and a healthy diet.

But raising a child and living with this disease isn’t easy. But by making those priorities, as well as through my advocacy, I find myself better able to move forward and be proud of myself.

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