Dear Ms. Meniscus:
I’m 32 and decided I want to put myself out there and start dating instead of sitting home and being alone. Do you think I have to say in my online dating profile that I have rheumatoid arthritis?
Wendy in Wisconsin
Brava to you for choosing dating over loneliness and isolation. Dating isn’t easy for anyone, yet nowhere is it written that one must provide upfront disclosures. Madame is one who believes one ought to give those early embers a chance. Just imagine if people were to list any old thing: I enjoy reading and travel, and I’m OCD over germs and cleanliness, and I have my mother for dinner four nights a week, and my dog is more important than any human. Madame isn’t trying to scare you, she is simply saying that there are plenty of “conditions” out there and you are quite thoughtful in considering your approach.
Now unless it’s obvious that you have RA and you don’t want to surprise a date then you can say so up front and there are ways to handle that. If you’re not ready to reveal this part of your life then you’ll know when the appropriate time comes as you become better acquainted with, and interested in, a particular person. Do keep in mind that aside from RA there are a multitude of “deal breakers” or serious considerations. Perhaps you don’t want someone who drinks every day, or has three ex-wives. The dating business is a two-way street, so remember dear Wendy; the details won’t only be about RA. While it’s important, so too are the potential issues he may bring into your life.
When the time is right you could simply say: “In addition to my interests in history and architecture, I’m a resilient and positive person. I deal with an inflammatory condition but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying life.”
Madame leaves you with the reminder that you are not your illness (though she knows you already understand this.) You have interests and you have decided to broaden your horizons to allow love into your life. That’s beautiful. Madame hopes that before long your heart is brimming with happiness.