Dating & MS: Recent Realizations - Summer Edition

Over the past year, I’ve written a few pieces on dating with multiple sclerosis. It’s always an interesting topic, as for every perfect till death do us part couple out there, there are many who’ve had MS disrupt their relationships and make it difficult to find the person of their dreams. I am placed firmly in the latter category, and since I tend to lack much discretion, I’m going to share some more about my (tragic?) dating life. This time, I want to talk about a few of the harsher realities I’ve encountered in recent months of trying to be active on the dating scene.

Summer lovin', or not

Summertime is the perfect time to find love, right? I mean, I learned from Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta that “summer lovin'” is a definitely a thing. Will Smith wrote an ode to the season that promised to soothe and move romance. Even JT (or Justin Timberlake as most of you may know him), devoted a whole song to the subject! Turns out that summer lovin' isn’t for everybody though. I live in the mid-Atlantic United States, where the summer is extremely hot and humid. As we’ve talked about a lot around here, warm temps and MS, at least for me, do not mix. As is often the case when the weather warms up, I’ve been a plan-canceling machine. You know what’s not a good thing to do when trying to date someone? Cancel plans. Despite meeting some super understanding people, even I got tired of making and breaking dates. To the point that I eventually said, OK, I’m hanging up this dating idea until it cools off (I literally had a girl ask me to hang out, and when I had to decline and explain, she said “wait, you don’t date in the summer?” to which I had to say, "that’s correct"). So despite all the stories and musical advice, finding love is going to have to wait until the cooler months, which is OK by me. That’s just how much the weather affects me. Temperature hits us all differently, but for me, summertime is now hibernation time.

Back to the future

A more recent realization I’ve made has come to me by looking at my ex-wife (we’re still the best of friends). She and her now longtime girlfriend went on a long road trip this summer. I was so happy for them and followed their adventures via social media and through texts. While I was happy for them, it really made me think some about myself. While she never expressed it, was I holding her back? After all, traveling is a nightmare for me, particularly in the warmer months. We traveled a lot early in our relationship, but stopped over time because it became such an issue for me, all due to MS symptoms. While thinking about how my MS might have affected our relationship and the things we did together, I started to get concerned about what effect my disease might have on any potential future partners. It’s troublesome, as I’m not going to be getting any less disabled. I know, I know, the right person, yadda, yadda. Still, it can be hard to not think about that, hard to not think “why would I subject anyone to that?” It doesn’t seem fair, right? People love to travel and do things in the summer, and in general, I seemingly can’t.

Down but not out

So yeah, the summertime hasn’t been great for dating, mostly because of the way the temps have affected me because of MS. The season has not only shut me down but made me question past relationships and future ones. I may be out of the game at the moment, but summer is ending, and with it, cooler weather is on its way. Despite recent challenges, I remain undeterred, because at the end of the day, I know I’m a pretty good guy, and I have a lot to offer. Even with, no, especially with, MS. The disease has made me a better person, I firmly believe that. We all have something to offer, not matter what condition we are in, it just may take a little extra work to find that person (and maybe taking a season off). I’ll be back searching for love soon enough. Look out ladies, winter is coming!

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