RA & Dating

This might be a weird post and might seem trivial to some and I apologize, but I could really use some advice. I want to be clear that I'm not here trying to look for dating advice, it's just the nature of this particular situation ties into my RA, so more or less just advice on dating with RA.

I am 31 year old female with RA. It's pretty well managed with medication and diet/lifestyle changes. I was single when diagnosed last summer and just recently started dating a man my same age, who I thought was a mature adult. We dated for a few weeks and things got progressively more serious as far as developing feelings, so finally on Wednesday I told him the big secret: I have rheumatoid arthritis. I explained what it is, how I manage it, etc. I was as positive and upbeat as one can be when announcing they have an incurable disease and even told him about the good RA has brought into my life like changing my lifestyle and diet for the better.

I didn't want to wait TOO long, but I also didn't want to blurt it out in the middle of our first date. I was afraid to tell him because I'm still trying to navigate what my future looks like with this disease, but after becoming comfortable with him and being under the impression that he was a decent person, I told him. He was supportive and said the right things, but I could tell almost immediately he lost interest. I don't know how to explain it, it was a complete shift and he ended the evening abruptly. I knew from the second I got home that it was done and over with, even though I tried to tell myself I was being paranoid.

But no, he's a goner. Hasn't spoken to me since and we had daily communication up until Wednesday. I haven't reached out to him, even though I think it's completely rude to disappear on a person you've spent time connecting with and we all deserve better. But for a minute or two I was mad at myself for telling him and then I thought, well that's silly, this is a part of who I am. And then I was mad at my RA. I know that he wasn't the right man for me if this is such a problem, but now I don't even want to date anybody again for a long time. I'm so aware of how melodramatic that sounds, but I'm just exhausted.

What is the best way to go about this next time I decide to try again? Should I bring it up sooner? Has anybody been in the situation of dating with the RA diagnosis and how did you go about telling the person you were dating? I know the right person wont care, but I feel like the odds of finding the "right person" now are just so slim, it isn't even trying. As if dating before RA wasn't annoying enough.

37 Replies

  • Hi Kari lynn, yes I learned to tell it right off the bat. They run. I do talk to a man now but he doesn't ask me out or text hardly . I feel he's afraid to bother me due to my flare ups . Im.nit stable on my medication so I been ill almost sense I met him. I don't no what to do. And I was on a,dating site and saying I had ra attracted men that thought I was a easy mercy date. Ha ha I don't no what to do. I'm alot older and been alone awhile, it would be nice to find a male movie friend or dinner buddy but I don't think he interested . I tryed to motivate him, but I just stoped. Maybe I depress him more . I thought we could have things in common I to get depressed. Oh well I wish you love and luck. There are good men out there a,real good guy wouldn't run.

  • thanks for your response. I am sorry to hear about the men who run off, but you are right that a real, good man wouldn't do such a thing. I hope everybody finds that, including us! :)

  • Thank you . L

  • Well I know where u coming from i dated someone for about 2 months than finally got the balls to tell him I had lupus and R.A first thing he than text me "what are we doing " I reply with huh ? He than text this is wrong we should break up before we end heartbroken at the end so guess the heartbroken one was me lol. I'm sorry to hear ur story. We will find someone who understands.

  • Hi your post is not Wierd or trivial....I really feel for u...... Like u said dating is hard enough without ra........

    Remember it is a condition but I know plenty of people who have epilepsy/ add/ mental health problems etc who go on to find an amazing partners ..

    Don't think of it as disability but think of your positive attributes- I am sure u have a lot to give!!

    I am sorry to hear he scampered- he sounds like a twat!!! I have had plenty of relationships since being diagnosed with ra ( when I was 18 and I am 42 now) for most men it wasn't an issue........no one is perfect!!!!

    My current partner who I have been with for about 8 years......I told him I had ra about 2 weeks in cos I wanted to be upfront and he said so??!!!! Love him!!!!! He has been amazing in supporting me when I have been really ill... Don't know what I would d without him.....

    If you really liked someone and found they had a health problem I am sure u would sympathetic like any decent human so don't worry about the shallow bloke that has run off... He isn't worth your time.....keep us updated xx

  • Thanks so much for the response. I am glad to hear that for most men it wasn't an issue. I'm also so happy to hear that you found such a wonderful partner who is so supportive. Gives me hope!

  • I Love that response... "So?"... THAT's a good man

  • Hi- I read your post and thought what an idiot he must have been to have disappeared! You sound very well-grounded and a positive person. I understand that there are RA meetings sometimes - maybe you should go along to one of those- who knows where that might lead? Maybe start a blog? What you have to say will definitely hit home with a lot of people- go get 'em girl!

  • Thanks for responding :) Yes, he's definitely an idiot. But then again, now that I am analyzing it all, I think there were some red flags I might have ignored. He definitely was very overly enthusiastic and charming at first, which I am starting to realize are the type that tend to vanish into thin air. Great idea on the RA meetings! Thanks again :)

  • If you start a group or blog I'll follow , we can laugh together .

  • I'm thinking what a lucky escape you e had! Our energy is an issue at the best of times, best not to waste it on an idiot like that; his loss, not yours!

    I do understand where you're coming from though. I e not been in that situation since diagnosis and the fact that I have 10 inch scars on both hips and both knees, all over feet and ankles, does make me more aware of how I may look to someone else but I just think, take me or leave me - there are people out there who can see past all that and see the whole person .

    Good luck with things and remember, you're worth a thousand of those who judge or fear x

  • thank you! I feel as though I have been spared now, as well. At first I was really sad, but a few days have gone by and sadness turned into mostly anger and then relief because clearly I dodged a bullet. It's just upsetting to be discarded like a piece of garbage. I don't understand how a person can just disappear without saying anything, but it speaks volumes about his character. Onward and upward :) "Take me or leave me" - that is definitely the truth right there.

  • You sound to me like You have a good perspective karilynn. This whole RA thing is such a learning curve, isn't it. I feel when we value ourselves then we don't sell ourselves short and attract likeminded people. I've no doubt that you will get what you need.

    When one door closes etc!


  • " It speaks volumes about his character" that's it in a nutshell. You did dodge a bullet, no mistake.

  • He may have honestly just been afraid that he is going to end up "taking care of you" or something, and I can tell you that even good men get nervous at that idea. Then again, maybe he was just a flaming jerk.. =)

  • Thank you take care

  • Hi Karlynn

    Sorry you had a bad experience with this guy ( what a jerk!) you had a lucky escape in the end though I feel for you going through his rejection.

    Don't feel uneasy about posting on here post about what ever you like! We want to help and we understand.

    I had just moved in with my boyfriend when I was diagnosed at age 25. I was fine for the first 2 years then bam! Huge flares, he could have run a mile but instead asked me to marry him. That was 21 years ago. There are good ones out there, brush this one off, hold your head up and go mingle.

    Let us know how you get on

    Big hugs

    Kiki x

  • Thank you Kiki for the support here. It's nice to have this outlet. Sadly I don't know anybody in my personal life who also has RA, so my friends and family just don't really get it. I am so happy to hear about your wonderful relationship. Definitely fills me with hope that someday too I could find somebody who will stick around and support me.

  • Your welcome Karilynn

    Also you don't know for certain it was him not wanting you? Perhaps he felt so inadequate in. Ring able to support you that he thought you'd be better off without him? Who knows.

    This forum is good support and you can ring NRAS and they will arrange for someone to ring you for a chat. I do that. There are also lots of support groups around the country who meet face to face so it would be worth going into the Nras website and seeing if there is one near you.

    I think Arthritis care do this too.

    There's also a Facebook group.

    Take care


  • Thank goodness you found out before you got too attached to him! Of course you feel let down, but better sooner than later.

    And it's perfectly possible to find someone who will be there for you, just as you will be there for him. A partnership is like two trees growing up equally beside each other, neither shading out or leaning on the other. Sometimes even intertwined around each other in mutual support.

  • Thank you! I totally agree with you. I'm glad it happened only a few weeks in and that I had only invested that much time instead of a few months or even years with somebody like that. Thanks for the nice words here :)

  • I was married for 20 years before being diagnosed with RA -I was diagnosed 3-4years ago and he- my husband- told me that I was a failure/ useless/ fat/ ugly / no-good for anything. Ive been on my own for 14 months and loving it NOW. To begin with I was so so very upset, sad etc etc. Now Im doing my GCE Maths , Work full-time and off to Italy this year - I havent had a holiday for nearly 9 years . Im sure there are caring men out there but I dont know any

    I think I would tell men on the first date before you got to involved emotionally.

    I have in the last 6months been 'asked out' 3 times but I really dont have the time now

    good luck with whatever you do.

    ps Im nearly 70 years young xx

  • Thank you so much for your reply. I am so sorry to read about the relationship you were in and I can't even tell you how happy I am that you were able to remove yourself from that toxicity. It sounds like you are busy living a wonderful life. I will follow suit and live my life and see what comes. And I think you're right, next time I will be upfront right off that bat so I can avoid this heartache again. :)

  • Awww lornaisobel - That is so crazy. Ok, maybe I can understand him getting upset and maybe, maybe even running away, but to accuse you of being "a failure / useless / fat / ugly / no-good for anything" just sucks. It had to be hard, but it sounds to me like you stood up and went right past him. Good for you!

  • Wow, what a jerk your husband was to you! You are so inspiring that you've turned that heartache around & are so happy now! I've had RA for 13 yrs, been married 28 years now & am blessed to have the most understanding & living husband. I cant imagine having to deal with being diagnosed with this awful illness & then having to cope with a huge betrayal! You are awesome!

  • thanks for your lovely reply - I think having RA makes you focus on what is important to get through the day - having someone shouting at you is definitely not important. Take care xx

  • I think what I was trying to say is that really if I was truthful my relationship before RA wasnt that good and since getting RA I didnt have the energy to put up with nonsense but I thought being on my own would be awful ie - someone was better than no-one - which isnt true no-0ne is better than crap, Life is good when on your own being on your own isnt the same as being lonely ( sometimes I am but even that is better than being lonely in a relationship)

    You take care - have fun - do amazing things you only have yourself to think about - be wonderfully selfish and be for ever grateful you could have married that guy and got RA afterwards

    I shall think about you struting your stuff


  • Please don't apologise for posting, anything.... that's what we're here for & it's relative so no need, even if it wasn't relative.

    Honestly? I think you're well rid. How come you were ok before you told him & not when you did? No, seems to me he wasn't the one & thank goodness he showed his true colours before you invested time & started to have real feelings for him, that would have been far worse so it seems your timing was right. As it is he was a wrong un for you, you can do better, you deserve better.

    The right one who'll love you for you, RD & all, is out there, don't you worry about that. x

  • Honestly, you are so right. This guy was over the moon for me before I told him. Maybe a little too much, now that I am looking back. I think that maybe he had some fantasy he was projecting onto me and when I brought him back into reality with MY reality, he woke up from his little dream. I think I knew the whole time what was going on, but I will admit that I got caught up too. Who doesn't like that attention and affection? It's hilarious because the night before I told him, Valentine's Day, he went over the top with flowers, took me out to dinner, etc. The next night? Bye bye. So, I'm not really sad over losing him, nor did I feel like I missed out on my soulmate or anything like that, it's more or less that he just vanished and I feel rejected. But you are totally right by saying he was the wrong one!

  • I'm really sorry for that. I've been married for a long time and have had the advantage of both us having issues with health, so we tend to accept each other as we always have.

    So, I would guess my advice is worthless in your situation. I just wanted to tell you how bad I feel for you. A good friend of mine has a similar issue. She had breast cancer (cleared for years), but she always wonders when she should tell someone. And there are superficial people out there that can't deal with anything they don't know.

  • He obviously wasn't emotionally invested in YOU the person. The flowers of Valentine's Day have lasted longer than he has.

    You can either tell people straight away to give them the out or not tell them at all until they declare feelings then it can be your little acid test of whether the feelings they profess are genuine.

    Try and look at this experience in a different way, having this happen can actually free you of the burden of telling people you have a chronic disease.

    Remember young men are programmed biologically to look for healthy breeding females to carry their potential offspring even if actually children are the furthest thing on their minds.

    If you find yourself having an exclusive intimate relationship of some months then that would be the time in my opinion of approaching the subject by asking them to do a little bit of reading, not giving a huge reveal of ' sit down, I have something serious to tell you'

    We all have stories of ignorance about RA from friends, family and colleagues to share.

    Even if the bloke who wined and dined you and bought half of inter flora had shown an ounce of maturity and asked you to really explain what this means in lay mans terms and then having listened to you asked to meet you to say he couldn't go further in the relationship you would have been able to respect him more.

    His behaviour is shabby but not so hard to imagine. He was obviously a total man child with no backbone and would have been really rubbish in a war!

    I understand you needing to lick your wounds a little but I would say take a little time then get out there and be your gorgeous best self and don't let this disease define you especially when it comes to matters of the heart.


  • Hi karilynn85

    I've noticed that all of your replies are from the fairer sex (as far as I can tell 🙂) so just thought I'd give you a male perspective. He's a twat.

    Whatever his reasons are for doing a vanishing act, at the very least he should have had the decency to explain them to you.

    Personally, and maybe it's because I'm one of 'them', I don't believe it is a gender issue. There are good men and bad men just as there are women. I'm in a different situation in that I was in a relationship when I first became ill with RA, but since then my (at the time) girlfriend has become my wife and is now the mother of my children.

    I'm not gonna lie, she has struggled to know how to deal with all it brings at times, as have I. It has tested our marriage and we are still together - for better or worse. I could list all of the things that p*ss me off about her, but it would be churlish because at the end of the day she is still with me. And I know life hasn't been how she'd probably imagined when we were younger. She's seen me at my lowest points, watched me cry like a baby and put up with my crappy moods (I've had a lot of back problems too), but chronic pain does that to the strongest of people. She's watched as I get wheeled down to theatre on 5 seperate occasions and looked after the children when I've been unable.

    And I'd still say to you that she doesn't 'get it' sometimes. But then I don't 'get' MS or COPD etc. I'd like to think I'd try to though.

    I'd like to think that if the situation was reversed I would have done the same for her. I'd like to think that if I met someone that I genuinely cared for, it wouldn't matter in the slightest what medical conditions they may have. But I guess until we are tested we just don't know.

    To me there are far more important things than someone's apparent health. None of us know how we will be in 5 years time, not one of us.

    I have often wondered what life would have been like if I hadn't had a partner when I became ill, all of the things you mention are things I have wondered about. When would you tell them, where would you meet them, what would you tell them etc.

    As others have said, you seem like you have your head screwed on. You will meet someone and having RA will not spoil things with the right person. Love is deeper than that. Nobody has a perfect relationship (whatever their Facebook profile says) and overcoming adversity together can strengthen a relationship as well as test it.

    Some people are naturally 'caring' and would instinctively want to help someone that needs it. Others are shallow, self-centred, narcissistic fools. Sounds like you found one of the latter types, but please don't think all men are like that.

    I've always found that love happens when we stop looking for it. At least that's what has happened to me. Live your life, enjoy yourself and you will find someone - if you want to.

    Good luck.


  • Hello Pfkaade, excuse me for squeezing on in here. I just have to say, your wife is one lucky lady! Many blessings to you & yours.🌻

  • Ha ha. Not sure she'd agree with you there, but thank you. 🙏🏻

    It's funny, it often occurs to me that our relationships and interactions with other people are largely what make our lives worthwhile, but apart from the usual 'no one gets it' (and we've all felt like that at some point) posts it never seems to get discussed much on here.

    I found it interesting that the only replies in this thread were from women. Maybe because OP is female, or maybe cos all men are.....😝

  • Hmm that's a good point. I'm not sure either. But it is wonderful to see men express themselves on here. Not that I'm happy u have RA. Also U made me think. I think u would be great at starting a blog about interactions & relationships. It's very clear that u have this sensitivity & capability. Just a thought. I've even thought of putting up some beautiful wilderness pictures & fun activity ideas that we could all enjoy. I'm not very computer savvy, so I need a lot of practice first. I was told if I need help learning about computers to just get any 10 year old to help u & it would get done. That is so true too. Well, enjoy the rest of your day $ take care.🌻

  • Yes Karilyn 85, I know I would let them know right up front. That way you don't waist your time on him if he's a itty bitty boy who runs away. Plus u don't get attached to him & then he runs away. Less stress for you. Don't give up. Plenty of great men out there.🌻

  • Hi I'm sorry to heard that there's some insentive people, and you should know that you deserve better then that, better know then latter , and I'm sure there's the right man for you and it will come , I'm 47 got marry for the second time 3 years ago and got diagnosed 1 year after I got marry, and my husband is the bigger blessing I could ever ask for, have faith and never give up!! Good luck.

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