One day you're married and planning your future, and then the next you’re alone and single. I’m not going to say that the relationship ended because of my MS. Nor will I say that MS didn’t play a part. Living with MS is tough enough when you are the one who has MS. I understand how tough it must be for people in your life to see you struggle on a daily basis and feel helpless. I get that. That being said, I don’t want to focus on the breakup. Quite frankly, I am not sure how to write about that. In that case, let’s talk about the future. And the future is dating! Yes, I am trying to get back into the dating game. I never thought I would be doing this again at 41, living with MS and disabled, but here I am trying to date and find my new partner in crime. Look out, here I come. Oh, boy, this is in no way scary.
Dating?! I’ve done that. No problem! Easy peasy! The first thing I wasn’t expecting was how the dating scene is completely different from when I was dating nearly 20 years ago. I wasn’t living under a rock, so I knew about the dating apps, but I wasn’t really prepared for how much they dominated the scene today and how foreign they would feel to me. For some context, the last time I dated the iPhone wasn’t even a thing. Yes, I am that old. How we used to do it was that we would have to leave our house to meet someone. You would go out on a Friday night with the thought, as The Smiths once said, that you could meet someone who really loves you. It was exciting! If you saw someone you liked, you would approach them, and within seconds, you would get the feeling if they might be into you or not. The exciting thing was that if they were into you, they might give you their phone number, which you would write down on anything you could find that could be written on. Scrap paper was like gold at the bar back in the day. If you couldn’t find anything, that old, crumpled-up KFC receipt that you pulled from your back pocket could be used. Later, you would go home and sort through your receipts, ripped placemat corners, or folded Heineken coasters at the numbers you may have been lucky enough to get that night. The next step was to wait a few days and give them a call. It was a simpler time back then, and that was all I knew.
Fast forward to today, and things have changed. Your Tinders, Bumbles and Hinges have replaced the crumpled-up receipts. I will admit that I thought this would be great, but many obstacles presented themselves when I first went on these apps. The biggest one was that I have MS. I walk with a cane. I stumble and trip sometimes when I walk, among the other things that come with MS. At a nightclub back in the day, it was out for all to see. I wouldn’t be able to hide it, but on the apps, I could control how I present MS to someone new, and quite frankly, it is something that does bring me anxiety when dating. Friends and family tell me it shouldn’t, but when you live with a progressive disease, it is always on your mind, and the elephant is always with you.
I make my profile. I put in all the usual fluff that goes into one of these profiles. You know what I mean. Travel is a passion of mine. I love music. I am a big sports fan. I’m looking for someone who has a good sense of humour and loves great conversation. The usual dating profile drivel that you would see probably 99% of the time. For me, though there is that one thing. Do I mention MS? Here’s that elephant again. For the most part, I have decided not to mention it in my profile. My thought is that I want someone to get to know me now and know that my MS isn’t who I am. Of course, it plays a big role in my life and would play a big role in any relationship I enter into, but I felt most comfortable doing it this way. I don’t know what the right answer is. I know it is my own ego getting in the way. Maybe I should just state it. However, I haven’t really had much luck on the dating apps to begin with, so my MS hasn’t really become an issue. I sure would still like to find someone who gives me that spark and that warm feeling. I think we all deserve that. MS or otherwise.
I have since gone off the apps for a few months and have tried to figure out how I should proceed with dating. I know that as you age, the more baggage you accumulate over time, so everyone comes to the table with something. Whether it be kids, divorce, or illness, that does give me a little comfort knowing that we are all trying to figure it out. I was just finding it hard to match with anyone and it became frustrating and demoralizing. I know I will probably go back to the apps sooner than later, but I have to get more comfortable with dating with MS. When I do go back, I think maybe I will be more upfront about my MS. Why not? It is a big part of who I am and will always be with me. I should own it.
I do feel like I will meet that special person. Maybe I am just a hopeless romantic, but I feel that if there is anything that we deserve in life, it is love. I don’t think my MS should prevent me from finding someone special. So, just to recap, I’m 41 years old. Divorced. Travel is my passion. I love sports. I’m looking for someone who has a good sense of humour and enjoys great conversation. Oh, and I have Multiple Sclerosis. That should do it. I hope.
41, Canada, Primary Progressive, DX Feb 2015