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Dating - When is the should I tell him I have MS

Hi all,

I was hoping that you may be able to offer some advice to me on the best time to tell someone you are dating that you have MS.

Bit of background - I am a 30 year old female and I was officially diagnosed with RRMS in January of this year although my first symptoms started in September 2011. I am very lucky in that I recovered fully from any relapses and pseydo-relapses I have experienced to date and these have been fairly infrequent and have not interfered too much with my day to day stuff but I do accept that this can change. I have been very accepting of my diagnosis and if I am honest it was a relief to know what was actually up instead of my GP telling me that all was fine when I couldn’t feel my legs! Taking vitamin D is the only change I have had to make at the moment and my Consultant supports my decision not to start DMDs yet.

Back to the question in hand, I have met a great guy, we get on really well (unusual for me as I have always been quite fussy about who I date), altough we have only been on two dates it feels like we have known eachother for ages and we can just chat for hours about anything and nothing. On our second date I wanted to tell him that I have MS but as we had had a few drinks I didn’t think it was the best time for me to do this but I felt like I was keeping something from him which made me feel uncomfortable. He works in the medical sector and actively campaigns for people with disabilities so I am hopeful he may be able to handle my MS, but you never know.

Is it best to tell someone sooner rather than later in your experiences? I am of the view that I should tell him the next time I see him as if it is an issue for him it would be better to know now rather than a few months down the line.

Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Chrissie

Title should be When is the best time to tell him I have MS - got distracted whilst typing!

Title should be When is the best time to tell him I have MS - got distracted whilst typing!

Given his job, it sounds like it wouldn’t frighten him off so to be honest, I think I would tell him (in as casual a way as possible rather than a heavy, sit down kind of way). So hard though when it’s early on, I was married already when I was diagnosed so wasn’t an issue.

This is obviously already weighing on your mind so I think, that from your point of view, this will become the elephant in room and the longer you let it go on harder it will be to start the conversation.

Also depending on how many other people know, it’s possible someone else may inadvertantly let it slip.

If he’s the man you think he is he’ll take it in his stride. If not, then he still wouldn’t be the man you hope he is if you wait a few weeks or months.

Thanks for the advice! I will find a way to casually bring it up, I don’t think I could bear a heavy sit down announcement. If it’s too much for him to handle definitely better to know about it now but either way I will probably feel better for being upfront about it.

Hi Chrissie

I can speak from both sides really, my husband told me on the night we met that he had MS - then 4 years later I was diagnosed with MS. There is really no way to predict how someone will react - but if it were me I would do it sooner rather than later before my head got all muddled with emotions and feelings. From what you type he sounds like the kind of guy that would take it in his stride. He obviously knows a good bit about disabilities if he actively campains and works in the medical profession. Sometime s I think it is the fear of the unknown that makes people uncomfortable/shy away. When I met my husband I had absolutely no idea what MS was so I cant say it changed anything, I later researched it once I knew I wanted to hang on to him!

Good Luck! Keep us updated?

x

I would think sooner is better. It’s not fair (imo) to keep it from someone for too long. Of course it’s not nice to think that someone would reject us because we have MS but that’s life. It can and does happen.

I am also a single parent so even before I was diagnosed I had the whole “when to tell them” conundrum about my child. I found sooner was better back then because it stopped me wasting time on guys who were never going to want to date a single parent (as is their perogative).

I was dating someone when diagnosed and he ended it. Couldn’t handle the whole thing I guess.

I went on one date since where I was open about my child and my MS. The guy was very understanding and spoke about his disabled mother and how brave I was etc etc…and I never heard from him after the date ended

People all have their own “deal breakers” and they are entitled to them so yeah, tell him soon so he can make up his mind if this is what he wants.

Hi Chrissie,

My names Leighanna, i was diagnosed with RRMS at the end of March.

I also had the same worry, I was dating a guy since the beginning of Feb and we were getting on great! I had been quite open with him apart from the possibility of maybe having MS as it had been previously discussed with my Neurologist. About a week after we met I had to go into hosp for a Lumbar puncture and he had picked myself and my sister up from the hospital so obviously he had few questions but I still didn’t feel it was right to tell him at that time. The on the 21st of March I was diagnosed and we had actually made it official that we were a couple so I openly told him that I was going to hospital that day for my results. When I left the hospital all that could go through my head was that he was going to leave me if I told him and I seeked advice from Friends and Family on what I should do. They told me that if he was a decent enough guy then he would understand and be there for me, I told him but in stupidness I said to him I’d understand if you didn’t want to stick about (Which I shouldn’t really have said). He never asked anything about it and didn’t really provide much support and two weeks later he finished with me with no reason. Things were great so I was a bit lost and I did blame the MS diagnosis but he said it had nothing to do with it. I was pretty gutted and it’s made me more weary for the future but I think being honest from day one is the best way as it shows a persons true colours but as a few people have said above everyone is different.

Leigh x

Hi Chrissie,

My names Leighanna, i was diagnosed with RRMS at the end of March.

I also had the same worry, I was dating a guy since the beginning of Feb and we were getting on great! I had been quite open with him apart from the possibility of maybe having MS as it had been previously discussed with my Neurologist. About a week after we met I had to go into hosp for a Lumbar puncture and he had picked myself and my sister up from the hospital so obviously he had few questions but I still didn’t feel it was right to tell him at that time. The on the 21st of March I was diagnosed and we had actually made it official that we were a couple so I openly told him that I was going to hospital that day for my results. When I left the hospital all that could go through my head was that he was going to leave me if I told him and I seeked advice from Friends and Family on what I should do. They told me that if he was a decent enough guy then he would understand and be there for me, I told him but in stupidness I said to him I’d understand if you didn’t want to stick about (Which I shouldn’t really have said). He never asked anything about it and didn’t really provide much support and two weeks later he finished with me with no reason. Things were great so I was a bit lost and I did blame the MS diagnosis but he said it had nothing to do with it. I was pretty gutted and it’s made me more weary for the future but I think being honest from day one is the best way as it shows a persons true colours but as a few people have said above everyone is different.

Leigh x

Hey Chrissie

I’m a 35 year old single woman with MS at a similar level to yours (it’s there, hard to ignore, but doesn’t interfere too much yet, and certainly not obvious to those who have only just met me). Telling someone is hard and totally makes you feel vulnerable - like you’re handing someone a really good excuse to run for the hills. However, I have yet to have a bad experience with mens’ reactions.

What I’ve found difficult, however, is believing that they even know what it is. It’s one thing for someone to go “stink for you, but I’m not bothered”, but unless they’ve assured you that they either know someone else who has it, or have done the research, I worry that they have no clue what they’re actually getting themselves into. There is a Soap Opera here in New Zealand where one of the characters has MS, and so the general public understanding of MS is based on this character. Unfortunately they portray her symptoms as a bit of tiredness that comes and goes. Don’t we all wish!!

The worst reaction I’ve had was a guy about a year ago, who wanted to date me to “redeem” himself for not being there for his father when he was dying. Like I was going to right his brownie-point score with the Universe or something.

I have been single for four years (since diagnosis). A part of me genuinely thinks that no man will pick me (long-term) over a well woman. But it’s not stopping me from having fun along the way. I am definitely going to make the most of being single while I can still walk and be independant.

Good luck!

Maria

Thanks for the advice and for sharing your experiences everyone! Good or bad outcome it is better to know now than let it fester for a few months I figure. I will keep you updated! x

Hi Maria, I know that he will know about MS because of his line of work and that actually makes me feel a bit less anxious about bringing it up but I get the point about vulnerability! As far as no one wanting you or I long term over a well woman I just think that anything can happen to anyone at any point in their life, MS or not we all live with uncertainty so the task is really meeting someone who views life similarly. I have hope that this can happen for anyone and there are awesome people out there!

I know this post is a few months old but I just felt like writing to you. I’m 26 and I was diognosed with RRMS when I was 23. When I found out I was had MS I was single, the thoughts of telling someone I was seeing was a big concern of mine.

The first time I told someone I was seeing that I had MS he acted totally supportive, for about three weeks … The second time I told someone I never saw them again. And the final time I told some was over a year ago, it was on a first date.

I figure that it’s better of to find out the people that are not interested early on because theres no point in wasting time. When I told this guy that I had MS I did not make a major issue out of it as it was a first date, but I still wanted to make it clear that this was something that I had and It was not going to change. As he was of different nationality to me (Spanish) , there was a few translation errors which made light of the topic that we were talking about. He had heard about MS but did not know the ins and outs of it. From that very day he completely informed himself about MS, showed active interest for MS Ireland, and has showed 110% support to me. We have been a couple for over one year and I am truely greatful for his openess, relaxed, realistic approach to MS. He knows that I have it and he understands Im not going to be this healthy forever but is more then aware of this and this does not change a thing on his side.

I think the best thing is to be honest about MS , there are some grea people out there that would not be fazed by this. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect whether if they have an illness or not. At least by reveling this from early on we are illiminating the people that are not worth our time.

I would love to hear how things have gone for you.

x