Chronic online dating

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My health has always served as an extra filter for my relationships, romantic or otherwise.

One man asked me to be his girlfriend on a Friday night and then broke up with me on Sunday, citing his desire for biological children as the sticking point.

• Don’t settle for someone because “they’ll have me.” You can end up in a very unhealthy and/or abusive relationship by believing it’s better to be with somebody then to be alone.

• There are people that look for partners with health issues so they can be in a relationship where they “can take care of you.” I could do a post just on this type of individual.

One patient shared that his teenaged girlfriend broke up with him because she thought it would be too difficult to be more than friends when he died. If I went on a date, would I have to disclose that we couldn’t talk about kissing for another six months? As with most aspects of “normal life” I believed were permanently over after my transplant, I was wrong.

Soon after my heart-lung transplant, I asked my nurse practitioner how long I had to wait before kissing someone on the lips. On average, transplant centers advise waiting six weeks for intimacy with a partner, and encourage kissing much earlier than that, as long as they’re healthy (and ideally brush their teeth)!

I was listing my hobbies — making art, cooking, playing board games — when my date interjected.As a woman with chronic illness, I envy those who never worry that their partner might leave them because they want biological children, or because they don’t ever want to be a caretaker, or maybe because they’re just not that into chests covered in scars.But healthy women should envy me because I get to begin a relationship knowing my partner will remind me to take time-sensitive medications, buy me pasteurized cheeses, and tell me I look good in a hospital gown.My ideal partner acknowledges my health challenges and makes space for me to talk about them when I want to, without letting them define me or our relationship.Some guys can’t hang with my dark transplant humor, so when a guy takes a photo of my dissected sick heart in stride, simplifies “heart-lung transplant” to “switcharoo,” and starts quoting my blog posts (mostly to tease me about being a “fall risk”), I know he’s special.

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