Self-Disclosure and a Pleasant Surprise
Chronic illness complicates a person’s social life, particularly when meeting new people. You’ve got to decide who, how much and when to tell others about your illness. Secrecy isn’t always the best option, but neither is laying it all out.
Impulsively shrugging off her lifelong silence about her illness, writer Laurie Edwards got an unexpected response. Instead of walking away, the cute and friendly guy she was talking to asked for her phone number.
“As a new couple, we survived our first dinner with my parents, our first real fight, and our first “I love you.” But soon into it, we also experienced our first surgery together, our first emergency room crisis, and a slew of messy infections.”
“I waited for the reality of it all to overwhelm him, for my illness to crowd him right out of our relationship. I told myself I would understand if it did.”
“‘None of this is ever going away, John. Wouldn’t you rather be with someone healthy?’ I asked one cold winter day. I spoke with the halting confidence of someone who knew the answer but needed to hear it anyway.”
“‘No, because then it wouldn’t be you,’ he said without hesitation.”