I was in a relationship for almost 5 years. During that time, my chronic pain got much worse. I went through 2 surgeries. I spent two summers sat on my couch not being able to go anywhere. I lost days of my life to my chronic pain and my joints. I never even realised though, that my chronic pain was causing me so much distress. My chronic pain hadn’t been that much of me when he met me. It was a thing, but it wasn’t obvious. I wasn’t so much aware that actually I wasn’t being crazy, and that my pain was real.
So, I never encountered the awkward talk of my chronic pain. I never had to mention to someone what to do if my knee dislocated. I never had to bring up the awkward discussion that if it did happen, they’d have to call an ambulance, and I think it would put them off me… for life. That relationship, though, didn’t grow with me, so my chronic pain was never too much of a thought for them. They never asked about it or worried about it. So it was never mentioned.
When I started dating, it opened a whole can of worms I had no idea existed. I had to actually tell people, I had to kind of explain what it was. I prayed to f*cking god that it would not put them off me.
My chronic pain feels like this massive cloud over my head. Some days, it hangs around and it’s just there. Other days, it’s raining on me. Sometimes, there is a ginormous storm, with a chance of much crying. It’s really hard to explain chronic pain to someone. I think it’s the kind of pain that would send people to the doctors if they had it. For me, it’s my pain. And sometimes, it is so bad that I go to bed at 7 and lay there until I can finally get some sleep. I’m typing this at 20 to midnight because my pain is still there; it won’t go.
Dating is awkward enough, but the scars on my legs are a totally different story. I have worn shorts to nightclubs and had guys slip into conversation what I did. I should tell them I did it whilst I killed a man… wonder what would happen then. Someone once tried to chat me up whilst I was using crutches. “Hey, I’m using crutches too, broke my leg”… yeh, great Bill, but your leg will fix itself, my legs will just stay fucked up. My crutches are not your fetish.
Additionally, how do I chat someone up with crutches? I used to find that so awkward when I went out using them. Sometimes, they make me feel like I can’t do things. Obviously, though, we’re no different to anyone else. However, my younger self was very stupid, and very keen on impressing the men… cue the cute guy in my life who constantly tells me men are trash, and then tells me I’m a Queen… he may be a keeper.
I quickly found that chronic pain really is a bitch when it comes to dating. How do I bring it up when we get to the bedroom? How do I tell them that, yes I am bendy due to my weird joints, but also that position really hurts. Sometimes, I have woken up in the morning, dying from the night before. It is like my body is trying to punish me for wanting a normal sex life.
I can’t go on date night without the aching in my back, or the cramp in my legs. How do I tell him that my back is killing me after our date yesterday, but it’s nothing to do with him? That I enjoy spending time with him, and I never want him to leave. It is not their fault; it is my fault.
Dating with chronic pain really makes you feel alone. And I mean alone- not lonely. I feel alone even when he’s in bed with me. I feel alone even when I’m snuggled up next to him, and his arms are wrapped tight around my body. Maybe, he loves what he sees, but not what my chronic pain really does. I imagine what my chronic pain would look like if you could see it. It is a monster. It is a monster that I don’t want anyone in my life to ever have to see, or ever have to feel. I would not wish this on someone. It’s a sad fact that even when I am feeling loved by those around me, my chronic pain does not make me feel it.
It puts me in terrible moods. I try to be happy all the time and I try to mask it, but sometimes it is difficult. How do you explain to someone that you are prescribed painkillers, and not look like a wimp when you take them? My body feels like it is on fire, but I don’t want to take what doctors give me because I might look like I have an issue. I can physically feel my bones actually aching, but I still don’t take painkillers, because I want to look strong.
My life is a constant threeway. Me, him and the chronic pain. Even watching a film, in the comfort of my own house, I have to move constantly to keep comfortable, because sitting in one position for too long hurts my legs. How do I say that and not look high maintenance? Chronic pain is constantly the other person in my life. I can’t feel secure when there is this constant worry that someone will not accept me for who I am.
The chronic pain in my life was never a worry until I started dating, but now I have to figure someone out before I even mention it to them.
I mean, will they stick around once they realise the real me?
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