Arthritis and relationships

Nixxy Member Posts: 23
edited 4. Mar 2012, 07:34 in Living with Arthritis archive

Apologies if this is already covered somewhere but I couldn't find it.

In reading lots of the posts in all the forums I notice how many people really value, if not rely on, the support of their partners. I'm 32 and have been single for 3 years after a long term relationship broke down at least in part due to the limitations my RA puts on me.

I would love to meet someone and start a new relationship but am worried at how off putting RA is for potential partners. I know that I wouldn't want to be with someone that wasn't supportive but it would be naive to think that it doesn't require someone to make big compromises.

I just wondered what other people's experiences are both of looking for love and in coping with RA alone. It seems another challenge to have no one to offer a helping hand (you can only ask friends for so much) or to offer that daily moral support.

Any thoughts, experiences, suggestions more than welcome!!

Hope I've posted this in the right place and sorry for the waffle, it's just so good to finally have found somewhere to say it!

Nix :?


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,211
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Nixxy, you’re in the right place and it’s not waffle.

    I can only give you my experience. I met Mr SW at uni when I was 3-4 years into RA. It wasn’t bad, mind you, until I had a flare at finals. I think blind ignorance helped both of us. It never occurred to us that we wouldn’t be OK. It’s been very tough at times. Sometimes it’s tough together and sometimes it’s differently tough for each of you and that can threaten to pull you apart. You have to be sensitive to each other’s needs and hopes. There are times, with a disease like arthritis, when you have to take a lot so it’s very important that you also give a lot as, when and how you can. Some people will be put off by your arthritis which is quite good cos, frankly, would you want to end up with someone like that? It’s a good sifter. The ones with no substance, either friends or boyfriends, will drop through the holes. The decent ones’ll come to the top. I wish you luck.
  • sulkycat
    sulkycat Member Posts: 71
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you thank you for posting this!

    I am single, I live alone and manage alone, no friends nearby (my daughter works full time and pops round when she can).

    How on earth I will ever meet anyone I simply don't know, as I don't go anywhere! I am not in any rush, but maybe one day. But at the moment I don't go out anywhere and have no idea how anyone would cope with my illness. I have accepted that going to see bands, my wild punk excesses etc are pretty much a thing of the past (except the pink hair!) so I am glad I did it all when I could.

    I do believe that if someone can see past the stick, exhaustion and illness then that's a damned good indicator of them being a decent human being.

    A friend who has RA has a fabulous partner - she was ill when they met and he has been an absolute star throughout, so there is hope!
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    My arthritis began three months before we married (having been together for nine years before that) and yes, it has produced strains and stresses (which are mostly manufactured by me :roll: ) but not once has he bolted for healthier pastures new. Good partners are out there, finding them is not so easy. I think it best to be honest from the start and I agree with sticky, those who are put off are far too selfish and not worth the hassle. Meanwhile, we're here! :) We're supportive and understanding - and we don't snore! :lol: (Well, not that you can hear.) I wish you well. DD
  • purpleunicorn
    purpleunicorn Member Posts: 67
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You voiced what I have been thinking.

    I'm 43, and a single mum of 3. Having been in (and escaped from) a seriously abusive relationship both towards me and the children I decided to wait until a time when I and the children were ready to allow someone new into our lives. I'm finally ready and yet undiagnosed but debilitating and seriously impacting on doing everyday things.

    It's hard enough to find a man who will take on 3 children (youngest is only 7) but then to deal with whatever it is I have...I do kind of think I have resigned myself to being single forever.

  • valval
    valval Member Posts: 14,911
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    i am lucky and am in a stable relationship but i feel that it so hard these days to find a stable relationship, so add in arther well it will not be easy. if you do not get out any where even supermarket then there is little chance of meeting some one but who knows who will be sat in hospital waiting room thinking the same thoughts.
    but life must go on as positive as posible having a partner is lovely but who knows what the future holds for any of us the future is not ours to see we can hope wish etc but good friends can go a long way to helping us at all times good luck i am sure some one is out there waiting to find you val
  • Colin1
    Colin1 Member Posts: 1,769
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Nix its been a long time since this subject was covered and back then it was aimed at those in relationships I’m sure before long you will find people who fit the criteria your looking for. However now I’m here ill ramble on a little if you don’t mind.
    I’m assuming your a little on the down side because you don’t have a partner sorry for being so blunt. I don’t want to bang the drum for the likes of myself who has a wife who cares for and loves me for what I am and what I have been regardless of what the future holds, I don’t think that would be fair. However reading your post makes me feel like I’m the lucky one.

    Long term illness is hard to cope with and being alone gives you more time to think and dwell on things not just relationships but your illness to. You sound so nice and so understanding it must be so difficult for you. I have no advice but just wanted to reply to you post. Your really brave posting this subject, Love and relationships is so important to all of us yet some find it hard to be open in these forums.

    I’m just an old married man but can see where your coming from and how challenging it must be for you coping with your feelings and your illness. I wish I had a magic wand or one of those love potions where you see the man you love and slip into his glass of wine. RA is such a bitch. Are you getting out and meeting people, do you work, ill bet your one beauty and would be a fine catch for any man.

    Well ill get off and give the ladies a chance to post for you I think it is the right place and a subject you will get much response to, good luck to you Nix and I suppose you realise your are going to have to keep us posted on your future and any men you meet LOL
  • Nixxy
    Nixxy Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi guys!

    Oh it's so great to know I'm not the only one contemplating these issues! I'm delighted that many of you have partners in your lives that offer such valuable physically and emotional support.

    SW - you are absolutely spot on, it is a sifter and whilst that brings some painful losses they turn out to be gains in the end as we are all too valuable to share our lives with people that don't understand or support. I've recently lost a friend who frustrated with me for not dressing up in 4 inch heels for a night out, no part of her could understand how much my feet hurt in flats let alone towering stilettos! Good riddance I say!

    Sulkycat - I'm sorry to hear that you too are struggling alone, I know it's not easy but there is always hope. The lives we lead now may not be that of our past or the ideal but there are still options and ways to get out there. I think pink hair needs to be shown off!! Happy to chat about strategies for getting out and being social even when it feels impossible!

    DD - glad you snared a good'un! Sounds like you deserve it! Thanks for your support, means a lot and already has me smiling!

    Purpleunicorn - Im so sorry to hear that you are struggling too with venturing into the world of romance but wow, look how much you've already achieved! Getting out of an abusive relationship is one of the hardest things to do, especially with children, and you've done it! You've clearly got inner strength that many people would be envious of and you deserve to have some hope. Illness may be an obstacle but not an insurmountable one. Have hope and faith and hopefully there are a couple of hot, supportive men (or women - you didn't say!) just waiting to meet us as valval says! I'll be scouring xray and waiting rooms from now on!

    Colin - thanks for taking the time out to write such a thoughtful and helpful reply! I'm committed to staying positive (even when its hard) and know when I struggle I've now got an outlet here to express myself. Hopefully that positivity and my stunning looks (haha!) will attract the right person. I'll be sure to keep you all updated on the trials and tribulations of my search for love and companionship (and the rest!)

    Thanks all!

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have indeed snared a good 'un but I didn't know that when we met. He 'failed' on one - or rather what I thought to be one - major criteria: I am five inches taller than he. Always have been and always will be! My ideal man is at least 6' 7" (first boyfriend was 6' 10"!) so don't stick to rigid ideas, 'cos honestly they don't work. :) DD

    PS And never think you can 'change' someone: if that is your thinking then boggy ground is already present.
  • Nixxy
    Nixxy Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Wise words DD, when you feel that you are disadvantaged from the outset because of illness or anything else it's easy to be prepared to accept second best with the misguided belief you can change the not so great bits. Experience confirms that is a dangerous starting point and rarely, if ever, results in happiness. Let's aim high ladies and wait for the right one not just a compromise that needs changing. We have to believe we are worth it.

    Height is only important when standing up and most fun things involve sitting or laying down so who cares about a few inches! We all know size doesn't really matter! It's the other stuff that counts and it seems like you've got that covered so good for you. Here's to looking beyond the superficial!
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Nixxy,
    I met my husband when I was 3 years into RA. I didn't say anything at first, because I didn't know how serious we would become and I didn't really want to start such a sad and serious conversation so early into the relationship. I used to take my pills in the bathroom and wince when he squeezed my hand too hard. After a few months I told him I had RA. I started with words: I need to tell you something important. He thought I was going to dump him :lol: ! So when I said I'm sick he was kind of 'relieved' and accepted the fact quickly. He even said that he was suspecting something, because I was so delicate :) . That same evening he asked for some leaflets about RA, so he could read about it and understand it better. We married after less than a year from meeting each other and are together for 5 years now. That's my story. I was and am incredibly lucky. As you can see there are men (and women) who will love us no matter what. Our illness is just a kind of test, if they pass it, they must really love us.
    I hope, that like me, you will find someone who will love you no matter what.
  • Dazztee
    Dazztee Member Posts: 17
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hey nixxy iv had this thought goin over an over in my head for the last 2 months, that because im single this RA is gonna keep me single , i wonder who would ever wanna be with someone like me now , spent most of my life being fit with muscles , working the door on many a club etc an now im gonna sell my weight training gear an become unfit, my heads all over the place right now , evrythings seems to hav happened so quick, im lookin forward to all these wonderful meds to kick in lol , the steroids are just adding to many inner frustrations at the moment lol
  • Nixxy
    Nixxy Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Steroids do suck, there's no doubt about that! But they also help. I've put on a lot of weight as a consequence (I'm naturally greedy so the combo of steroids and reduced exercise is a killer!!) and that's really dented my self-esteem. BUT I have had two long-term relationships since being diagnosed and made some life long friends so it's not all doom and gloom!

    As other people have said, it is a sifter and it weeds out the people who don't have the capacity to understand or care but there are people out there who do.

    RA doesn't mean you have to be unfit, you just have to do things a bit differently. It's early days so don't rush to solve everything at once! There are often solutions and compromises that you don't see at first but you'll adjust even though it's hard. We're all here to chat to so you're never alone!!
  • Colin1
    Colin1 Member Posts: 1,769
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Guys i just come back for a ganda at whats going on but the post from Daz is rather sad so i hope you dont mind ill drop Daz a line here.

    Daz RA is not the end of the world i hate it when people say to me to be more positive when i'm doing my best with all i've got but somehow there always seems to be that little bit extra . Dont get shut of thr gym stuff your going to need it in the future even if its just for phisio. People come through lots worse than us but its all to do with the mind, get the mind sorted and the boddy will follow yes it may well be full of pain but it will follow. I enroled in the activity for life programme boy thats hard its free for 12 weeks through your GP the 12 weeks are tailoed to you and its all about you the people are great and you go at your own speed. I'm never going to be the man i was but i am a better man than what i was 12 months ago and i'm meeting people and making friends. I guess your a lot younger than me but ill tell you no person has made the life changes i have made. Offten there is no choice you have to change but you can do it your way and try to come to terms with it. You take care Daz and love and respect yourself people love is like your illness you cant see it but it will come when you least expect it there is always someone. Keep your chin up and try not to dwell on negative stuff i know how hard it is
  • applerose
    applerose Member Posts: 3,621
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    My RA has been niggling for about 2 years now. Nowhere near as bad as a lot of people. I was in a relationship and, although he was understanding about it, he still sqeeezed my hand or insisted on staying in bed watching tv till lunchtime on Sundays even though I told him I needed to keep moving. I started to feel as if I was always having to tell him.

    I'm on my own now (my choice and nothing to do with the RA) and do wonder if I'll find someone else. Not in any hurry though as I like my own company. It would be nice to have someone to cuddle, although I still fidget and have to keep stretching out which must be annoying, and to talk to in the evenings but I'm quite happy doing my own thing.

    I'm glad for those of you in happy relationships and, for those of you looking, I'm sure someone will be along when the time is just right. In the meantime, do the things you enjoy but will find more difficult to do when there's someone else to think about. Find something positive every day, no matter how small and smile. :D