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  • Dating and relationships: When do you mention CF?

    Posted by jenny-livingston on September 28, 2020 at 10:15 am

    When I was young (and arguably, rather dumb) CF had little impact on my dating life. I was quite healthy, had never experienced major health issues, and could easily “hide” my disease if I wished. I dated a bit throughout high school and got married when I was very young (19 years old). He knew that I had CF, but at that time, even I was unaware of how much it could and would affect our lives.

    About a decade later, I found myself divorced, going back to school, managing my health (which had become much more precarious and a full-time job in itself) and raising a child on my own. Entering the dating world seemed more daunting than exciting at the time. I could no longer hide the fact that I was battling CF, nor did I want to. I’d reached a point where I was completely comfortable discussing the many aspects of this disease. My ex-husband struggled to deal with the challenges we faced because of my health. I needed to know that a potential partner was aware of how much CF could impact our lives and that we’d be able to work through those trials together.

    When I joined a dating app, more than once I was ghosted as soon as I mentioned CF. When I met my current partner, I was very upfront about having CF. In fact, I was fairly certain that I had overshared on our first date and that he’d never want to talk to me again. Instead, he took it upon himself to research and learn all that he could about CF. It wasn’t long before he asked if he could attend a clinic appointment with me. Four years later, we’re still together and he is my biggest supporter. It turns out, the right person for you won’t shy away because of something like CF! But I understand that it can still be scary to open up about it.

    I know that some people choose not to disclose information about CF right away. Others want to share that information immediately. There are many valid reasons for either approach. When did/do you talk about CF in a new relationship? Has a relationship ever changed when you mention CF? Do you think there is a “right moment” to talk about CF with a potential partner? 

    William replied 8 months, 2 weeks ago 7 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • paul-met-debbie

    October 2, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Perhaps the best thing is not to focus on talking too much as a means of conveying information. Words can only convey little and confuse much. Just be as you are and do what you do. Sharing time together while dating (give it time and don’t rush into a relationship) will inevitably disclose your health routines and give rise to questions about that from your date. Tell what is appropriate to the questions that arise naturally. Don’t make it bigger than it is. Let him or her form his or hers own opinion about the situation. Your picture of it is not necessarily better.

    Always stay in the present moment. Don’t let yourself or your date phantasize about future problems or situations. You are no fortune teller. You don’t know anything about how your (or his/hers) health is going to develop or who will outlive whom. Don’t even try to adapt expectations for that. Nor can you predict with any degree of certainty if and for how long your partner will feel good about a shared future. Or you for that matter. Health is just one of the factors involved in that and not the most important one.

    Don’t hide anything important, nor over-emphasize it. If you put too much emphasis on your (bad) health, you might attract a partner who is attracted to you because of that in some way, perhaps unconsciously. For instance he or she might have notions of being the noble helper, one that is coming to your rescue (but only for a certain time). This will create unhealthy dynamics that in the long run won’t work. Or you might scare him or her away unnecessarily.

    Don’t ever underestimate yourself, don’t think or feel inferior to your potential partner in any way because of your health and don’t compromise for that. It is far better to be single than to be in an unequal relationship. If you have feelings of being inferior, work on that first before entering a relationship.

    I think health, good or bad, needs not play a major role in the quality of a relationship. If a relationship seems to get into trouble because of health problems, mostly there are other far more important issues that were not adressed, possible they were already present from the start.

  • tim-blowfield

    October 6, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    As a person who does not have CF but who married a girl who does have CF but did not know it. Indeed did not know it for almost 40 years though suspected it for the last 10. Not sure how I would have reacted had we known. But since we have known (she was diagnosed in 2009) our determination is to stay and support each other continues. There were times during our marriage when it was very difficult but I did promise to love and support her ‘for better or for worse’. That determination does bring rewards and while we need to be open and frank we do need to be determined. We have sought counselling at times – some of it good some less so and our Christian faith and understanding has been important.
    I love Tevye when he asked his wife Goldie ‘Do you love me?.’ She answered with a list of thing she does for him but he asked again. Finally he concluded ‘I suppose you do!’.
    The eternal questions ‘What is love?’ and ‘Do you love me?” are alive and well. The answers impact profoundly on any relationship. A determination to serve one’s partner come what may is at the heart of a good relationship.
    Go for it!

    • tim-blowfield

      September 8, 2023 at 7:14 am

      Hi All,

      The last 2 months have been just horrendous. First mid June my wife had a viral infection that put her in hospital for 4 days, then 2 weeks later her chronic discomfort became severe pain so sought out an emergency GP to get better pain relief. During the triage exam the nurse called in the GP who on examining her immediately referred her across the road to A&E. By days end they found multiple infarcts in the spleen which they attributed to an inadequate dose of Apixaban. After 2 weeks in the CF ward trying to get the pain under control she was transferred to Cabrini where further tests showed clots had blocked not just arteries in the Spleen but legs as well. Pain was slowly got under control and Yesterday a device was placed in her Left Atrial Appendage to block it off (That was the source of the clots). It has been a testing time for us both, a huge test of my love. Very difficult watching my love suffer so much, being supportive through all. Our faith has been tested, yes but has been so very important. Cabrini has a hugely supportive Christian ethos and wonderful pastoral support.

      • William

        September 8, 2023 at 2:55 pm

        That’s absolutely scary, but the important thing is that she received the help she needed and is taking the right path to getting better.

  • jenny-livingston

    October 7, 2020 at 10:12 am

    @jpaul I concur that if health is a “problem” in a relationship, it’s more likely a symptom of the real problem. In my previous marriage, my partner’s struggles with my health were indicative of much deeper issues in the relationship. You’re also completely right when you talk about feelings of inferiority. For too long, I tolerated behavior I shouldn’t have because I believed I was a burden and that I owed him something for being there. I’ve since worked on that self-stigma and perception of being a burden, which has paved the way to much healthier relationships.

    @timb this is a beautiful perspective. Thank you for sharing!

  • ron-holdren

    September 5, 2023 at 7:55 pm

    When I met my future wife I was upfront with her because I wanted her to be informed and that she could make her own choice to walk with me down that path or choose another path. Either way, I was not going to judge her. We have now been married for 20 years and she has stood by my side all the way. I am thankful to God every day for the love and support she shows me. She truly is my Angel.

    • William

      September 8, 2023 at 2:56 pm

      I know the feeling Robert. Congratulations on 20 years!

    • William

      September 8, 2023 at 2:56 pm

      I know the feeling Robert. Congratulations on 20 years!

  • Timothy Bransford

    September 7, 2023 at 2:40 pm


    Good to hear from you again.  Hope all  is well.

    I wanted to respond to this  one with my history.  I was diagnosed with CF at 34 years age.  By 36, I was divorced.  I never used a dating app (way to techy for me).  Instead, I met someone while taking an evening class at the University.  She sat by me one day in class (total shock because, well, she was a beautiful woman).  After 2 quarters sitting together and talking after class, I asked her out  for coffee.  On this first date, I downloaded all  the negative stuff I  could think of regarding my CF life.  I wanted to  give her  the worst case scenario.  If she was still interested after that, I  would be happy to continue developing a relationship.  We dated for a few  more years and she saw first hand what I had warned her about.

    We just celebrated our  28th anniversary.

    It could have gone either way but sometimes things do work out for the best.

    • William

      September 8, 2023 at 2:57 pm

      Congratulations on 28 years!

  • betsy-w

    September 8, 2023 at 7:22 am

    I have always been outright about having CF, for better or worse, as young as grade school. My entire graduating class knew, and I’m not sure the impact that them knowing had on the dating pool but I also did not date until almost the end of my senior year of high school because of medical reasons anyway.  Overall I have not had many partners but the ones I’ve had all knew I had CF

    When I started dating again on apps and meeting dates through others I had a “date 2” rule – vetting the date as a person past date 1 and then on date 2 starting the CF talk so they knew and it was not a bombshell secret months later or if I ended up in the hospital. Some people knew a little about CF, some never heard of it at all. One person asked a lot of questions and seemed like a good person, but by month 2 of dating decided to tell me at the end of a date that he couldn’t see us going anywhere serious together if I, quote “was just going to die on him” which was gross. Bullet dodged

    After that nightmare date I tried one more round of meeting someone online, and decided if it also was bad I was going to take an extended dating break. Instead I met my current partner and we’ve been together almost 4 years

    I told him about CF on date 2, and he saw the CF tattoo I have on my arm and asked questions about it and has not stopped asking questions or trying to understand or hear how it’s impacted my life before I met him. He wore my Vest and did an entire round of therapy in it, he’s encouraging of and open to me talking about therapy I’ve been undertaking to heal from a lot of trauma from CF. He’s taken me to the ER twice, he’s seen me sick and seen me CF Sick. We bought a house together and have been living together for a year now, and he has been truly the most loving and understanding partner while we’ve had to navigate changes with CFRD and other endocrine issues from CF that have really beaten me off of an amazing streak of health since the modulators changed a lot for me almost 5 years ago

    We’re still figuring a lot out on a daily basis with current health ups and downs. And navigating normal relationship things like communication and chores and holiday sharing with families. When I asked him if he still wanted to have the future we talked about together, even with the health issues and uncertainty on where all of this will end up or for how long it’ll be scary until we can treat things better, he didn’t hesitate when he said always; he knew I had CF going into all of this, nothing about any of the changes is changing his mind on anything about us or our future or scaring him away

    I’m genuinely so lucky to have him in my life. He is my best friend and I love him more than I could ever express in any form of writing or art, and I’ve tried in poems for him

    There are always all kinds people who will be understanding, loving and all in  through good days and bad days and normal days through a lifetime – it’s so hard and discouraging and can be terrifying to bring up CF to someone romantically, but it’s important to try if you do want to date. Not letting my health be something that stopped me from looking for my person (even when I was anxious every single time I had to start the CF talk) was the best choice I made for myself. Find someone who isn’t afraid to learn, will not put you in a box, or let you put yourself in a box – you’re always more than your CF and the good ones will see that. Let them show you that they see you, not just the CF you

    • William

      September 8, 2023 at 2:59 pm

      What a lovely story, Betsy! You definitely dodged a bullet with that one guy. Best of luck in your future with you and your partner!

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