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Thursday July 19 2018 11:17 AM

‘Don’t let MS stop you from finding your happily ever after’… This week Ciara O Meara reflects on dating and disclosing her MS when she finally found the one!  

Dating is a pure and utter minefield! Your preparation for the field is diligent and precise. You approach the field with care and caution, as you have no idea where potential disasters lie. The field itself is exciting; it’s unpredictable and it’s nerve wrecking. And your exit from the field can be a calamity or pure serendipity. 

MS just drops a few unexpected mines into the field of mayhem!

MS never impacted on my dating life and it certainly didn’t do anything to lessen the amount of frogs that reared their heads along the way! When I was diagnosed I was in a relationship, but that ship was already sinking long before MS was mentioned. It was sinking at such a rapid rate that I never told him of my diagnosis- what was the point? It wasn’t going to make any difference to our relationship and I didn’t want anyone hanging around out of guilt or fear. Plus, I was excited at the thought of single Ciara returning to the minefield of dating!

I didn’t have the Tinder experience when I was single. It was late bars, nightclubs or a friend of a friend. I didn’t have the ‘liathróidí’ to approach anyone without an alcoholic beverage in hand. Give me some Pinto Grigio and I had balls of steel. There were once off kisses, numbers swapped, a regretful one-night stand, a date, maybe two, even three but MS was never mentioned and it never entered my mind. I had no visible symptoms of my MS and there was no indication that anything was wrong. I was young, free and single and playing the field and MS had no reason to be involved. 

Like I said, MS never impacted on my dating life, not until I fell in love that is. Ladies night out in a dodgy nightclub at home at Christmas- it was only meant to be one of those random drunken kisses. Numbers were exchanged, dates arranged and by month four we were ‘Facebook Official’ and I was falling and falling hard. I had told Dave I loved him long before MS was mentioned. Maybe it was fear, maybe worry, pity or embarrassment that stopped me every time from telling him. I thought if I told him that he would feel morally obliged to stay in the situation rather than wanting to be in a relationship. There were only so many excuses I could make for the perfectly circular bruises on my tummy and thighs from the Rebif. I wanted this relationship to develop and to do that I had to be honest about the uncertainty and unpredictability that this disease brings with it. 

When I told him he stared blankly for a few minutes, my heart rate increasing by the second. He looked at me, held my hand and said ‘Ciara, I fell in love with you and now that I know you have MS, I will love you even more’. 

I had made MS out to be bigger than what we had when in fact our journey together with MS would make us stronger. Six years on and a house together is testament to that. He’s there on the bad days, he’s there on the good days and he’s there to support me in everything I do. Everyone’s someone is waiting for them. Don’t ever let MS stop you from finding your happily ever after. Brace the minefield with open arms and kiss all the frogs that hop in your way- you never know which one is the right one!

Author: Ciara O Meara

Tags: ms, men, disclosure

Comments

Ciara

Thursday July 19 2018 13:52

Thanks so much for sharing. I was only diagnosed 3 months ago with MS and this has got to be the first article I have read that was actually positive and didn’t scare the bejesus out of me. Thanks so much

Declan

Friday July 20 2018 09:31

Really enjoyed reading this Ciara. Well done

Joan

Friday July 20 2018 09:42

Thanks for sharing Ciara. MS quite often prevents me from putting myself 'out there' for fear of what might happen. Glad you found a good one in Dave!

Nuala

Friday July 20 2018 22:40

Thank you ..... loved reading this

Willeke

Monday July 23 2018 16:13

Brilliant read, Gemma!

JulieA

Tuesday August 21 2018 13:28

Thanks for this! I was nervous about dating with MS (and indeed about online dating in my 40s). I told my now partner about it on our second date (figuring it was easier for me if he decided to walk away) and he was and is wonderful about it: really supportive but also never giving it any unnecessary priority in our relationship. I hadn’t mentioned it to other guys I’d dated casually, but just knew I wanted to with him. It’s nerve-wracking and I probably over-marketed it a bit, ‘Since I was diagnosed, I’ve changed my life for the better! I’ve become so healthy! I run! I cycle! I meditate! I eat so much fish! I appreciate all the good!’ etc. It took me a bit longer to admit to the fears I push away. But he’s great about everything. In short, get out there and date! You don’t have to tell before you’re ready, and you can have some fun along the way!

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