When do I tell a potential new partner that I have both COPD/Emphysema Stage 3 and PTSD from childhood?

Hello all. I am new here and so thankful to have found this group. As you see from my post, I am trying to get myself out of the house and back into the dating scene; however, I want to be honest that I'm now a bit "slow" because of the COPD, but certainly capable of most activities, and most importantly, do use supplemental oxygen for about 4 - 5 hours every day, in addition to my crazy meds (as I call Advair!) in the AM. In a nutshell, I don't want to be deceitful, yet, I don't want to "put it out there" immediately and have no chance at all. I am especially very self-conscious about wearing the oxygen cannula and extra sensitive about this, as my last partner appeared to be turned off by this, although would not admit it, making me feel even more depressed, and whom I thought would marry me after a 5 year relationship, left me as my newly diagnosed COPD, on top of my PTSD (which I regret ever telling him) essentially "ruined his future plans of happiness." He would not give up smoking, (I did...just passed the one year mark, but still on 1/2 nicotine patch...darn, darn, darn) and I was extremely depressed when first diagnosed, about which he had very little understanding. I am still "mourning" my "old self" and also that relationship, even though I think I probably deserved better.

I apologize for writing a dissertation, and do hope I've made sense. I'm 60 now and don't want to live this isolated, lonely life forever. Has anyone experienced this dilemma? Or at least one or the other?

P.S. Every partner I've ever told about my PTSD has somehow used that against me. With my last relationship, when we would go out anywhere, he would stare at and flirt with other women right in front of me, telling me I was wrong to feel disrespected or "small" as I tried to explain to him. I felt even crazier at that point! So, I've learned that lesson I guess. I will never tell anyone anymore about my childhood PTSD). Phew! Thank you for "listening" and I do look forward to any and all input, especially with regard to my COPD.

25 Replies

  • I don't think your on your own guess biggest boggy man/ women is social isolation guess dose make condition worse so is great your getting out about.

    I would live your life for you but I would lay cards on table from day one secrets lies never work in relationships.

    As to partners running of when you get ill ... Is quite common place SO would not worry or blame your self.

    Clearly they had problem not you SO on that I would say who ever you meet should accept you for you no matter what attachment accessory you might carry.

    Few have issues understanding being diseased is not like plague you just have to take things slower but is more enjoyable if that way inclined :)

    Anyway nice to meet ya and glad your getting out

  • Thank you for the quick reply JeffAjaxSmith. I do not like to assume that you are male; however, if that is the case, I'm thankful for the male perspective. I don't know your present situation, but I hope you are doing all right. Thanks once again!

  • Hi yer am male as you rightly guessed :) was it that obvious lol

    Have been diseased four years now AND don't really like it but it's who I am now ... I try to get out myself but being carer and ill myself is easer said than done.

  • You got there before me JAS. 😉

  • Got to be quick sassy but is good of same or near as opinion :)

  • JAS l meant the fact that you are male. Xx 😀👍

  • O .. Lol

  • Well, Moxie, you have been through the mill. What a history. But you have come to the right place. No rejection, no negativity about oxygen, no turning off/away when you want to moan. We do moaning, for ourselves and for others. We care, listen and listen. I know it is easy for us to say that those who have not been sympathetic are not worth wasting time on, but it is still very hard to develop confidence in that situation.

    Good luck to you.

    All the best


  • Thank you for your inspiring words, Katinka. They mean a great deal. I have suffered from low self confidence all my life (PTSD), and worked very hard at a 21+ year career which helped give me a bit of confidence, as my job helped others a lot less fortunate, and less than a year after retirement, the diagnosis of COPD Stage 3, was, as anyone here knows, a huge blow. (I told everyone during my week-long stay in hospital "never retire...your body just falls apart!) Yet, of course, through my humor, I was devastated, and even now, nearly two years later, I awake and think, "this can't be real." But it is. And I am trying.

    And, once again, I am so happy to have found this support group. I received two replies to my question already!

    I do not know your situation, but I do hope that you are handling yours okay.

    Thank you and take good care.

  • Hi MoxieMe, there is no question about it, you do deserve better than having him flirt in front of you like that. He ruined his own future plans of happiness! You are well rid of him, he would have dragged you down and even made your breathing worse.

    A tough question, how do you tell a prospective partner? I think perhaps you need to wait a little while and build up a little two-way trust first, none of us are innocent angels, wait until you have been given an admission of some sort of dark secret by them first, then the time might be right to make your own admission. Congratulations on giving up smoking, which must have been hard given the circumstances.

    Being self-conscious about wearing the oxygen cannula, think about it, if you had hurt your foot/leg would you be self-conscious about using crutches or wearing glasses? There is no difference, they are all medical aids to give you assistance. As a male I can tell you that we are not all the same, I do not find the wearing of a cannula an unattractive turn off at all, but then being a fellow sufferer, my opinion cannot really count.

  • Great post MoxieMe and nice to meet you. I am carer for hubby Pete who has sarcoidosis and COPD. He coughs a lot but doesn't need oxygen for now.

    I wish people could take others just as they are but they don't. I really hope you meet someone and enjoy life to the full.

    JeffAjaxSmith is male by the way.

    Take care xxxx😀

  • Hi MoxieMe, I'm Don 85 and had COPD for donkey's years. You sound very attractive, but you are too young for me. Sorry. ;-)

  • Scallywag.

  • i agree with Katinka,your behaving like Compo back in your van at once Bad Lad!x

  • After your recent antics you need to change your handle to Don Quixote-1605.cheers

  • I would have a ready made Sancho Panza then. Cheers. :-)

  • My opinion is you only need to reveal your (medical) intolerance of smoking at first. The rest will follow naturally over time.

  • I agree Moogle, it's no big deal in the scheme of things.

  • MoxieMe,Being the village fool on this site i couldn't resist a silly reply to your question.

    Tell him when you have his Lamborghini,Chateau in Southern France and the log book of his private jet safely re-registered in your name,Don't worry about the petty change in his safe deposit box in his bank.

    Seriously as hard as it may seem you need to get out and about,Strut your stuff.give it both barrells.get a t shirt with all your ailments,illnesses,phobias and fears printed on both sides(good opener for a conversation)and wear that Cannula with pride i think that you can rest assured that there is somebody out there that will wan.t to love you lock stock and barrel with warts and all.

    Alternatively you are obviously like me and quite sensitive to other peoples opinions and actions so chill that last paragraph down 90% and just try to ease yourself slowly back into society and that future partner will reveal themselves.

    Love from the not very diplomatic skischool

  • I met my current "other half" on an internet dating site 14 years ago when I was aged 53 and I actually stated in my profile about the COPD. Never put him off and we are very very happy. I am now on oxygen a min of 16 hours a day and whenever we go out so enjoy your life

  • See if there's a BLF Breathe Easy group near you. They usually meet once a month and include socials and talks and cups of tea/coffee and chats. Well worth a visit. I'm lucky with two near me, Hanley and Crewe.

  • G'day Moxieme

    Just read your post and from the outset I advise that I am a male albeit it should have nothing to do with the dilemma you find yourself in.

    This road we all travel on has many bumps, some we wish we could have avoided, some have shaped who we are.........If a relationship is to flourish it needs to have one common ingredient.....Trust.......and how can we achieve this if we are prepared to hide what eventually will be the obvious...so if we "tell all" at the outset and the other person walks away we have learned that this is not whom we want or need to be with.

    On the other hand if they are not concerned with the health, or for that matter, any reasons that you may disclose, then you have found someone special.......and isn't that what we all need...someone who knows our quirks and still wants to be here with us...That my friend is all we can ask for.

    One lie no matter how small leads to another and often bigger ones.....we not only hurt ourselves but can ruin friendships.

    Be honest and when that person says "I don't mind about your health issues" grab hold and hang on for dear life........

    There are some lovely folk out there who also are looking for companionship..you just need to take the first step......

    I pray that you will find the happiness you are seeking


  • I've just been reading through the replies so far, MM. Nobody seems to have mentioned that the longer you are with your friends, the less they notice the canula. They might see 'em, but they don't notice. I've just had friends stay over for a few days and one of them said that the only thing that reminded him that I was walking around with canula in, was the plastic oxygen hose snaking around the carpet that he saw, when he went from room to room.

    I think what I'm trying to say is that you might be more aware of your problems than your friends are. Not telling anyone about your traumatic time and PTSD is not keeping secrets, rather it's just something you don't talk about. COPD is much more overt and readily seen (and understood, in many cases)so really not something to be shy about. Time to get out there and enjoy life. Apart from Breath Easy groups, check out sailing, golf, cricket or whatever clubs are mentioned on the notice board of your local post office. You don't actually have to do any of these sports or strenuous activities (I've had COPD for ten years and don't, anymore) but they all need social members ! As soon as you become a member, you are a stranger no longer, and certainly no older than you feel.

    Good luck

  • Dear MoxieMe,

    Good morning. Your story was hard to read. I have much empathy and great understanding for you. I, too, have PTSD from childhood, COPD with emphysema

    I do not tell anyone about any to my illnesses!! It's no ones business. I have not had a relationship since 2001. I have not been well for years. Chemotherapy was very hard on me. I lost my hair and went completely bald. It grew back but was lost again. Also had radiation therapy on my brain. This time my hair grew back but with a mass of curls.

  • if he loves you tell him be up front if hes ok he'll stick around x

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