Friday, August 28, 2015

Get Freaky Friday: giving 'the out'


Since I'm writing about sex and relationships over at CreakyJoints (new post goes up today!) let's add its own day here!

I was recently reading a story about a couple where the man was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) shortly after they had started dating. After getting diagnosed and receiving the prognosis, he his then-girlfriend an out with no questions asked. She didn't take it.

It made me think back to the Juvenile Arthritis conference earlier this year. During the young adult session on relationships, many in the room with partners had revealed they had done the same thing.

It's an incredibly sad and depressing testament to how often relationships break up due to illness that this becomes a common occurrence. The part of me that is involved in advocacy and rights knows that we are humans, just as deserving of love as anyone else. We can't put ourselves down like this.

And yet, I so get it.

When T and I met, I was upfront with him right away that I had 'this arthritis thing' which was incredibly naive. I didn't know much about my disease despite how long I had been ill. I don't ever recall a specific time where I gave him an out. There were a few, sure, questioning why in the world he'd want to marry someone that he will probably outlive and such. Most of the time I think it was more to hear him reassure me that this was the life he knew he was getting into and that we would figure things out.
The big questions like that really came after he proposed and after Laura passed away. I worried that he, like Laura's honey, would have to deal with a complicated family and cancelling wedding plans on top of me dying.

That doesn't mean that there weren't times I considered leaving him for his sake. He's so smart and handsome and, god, he's funny. I was afraid that my broken mind and body weren't worthy of him, and I spent a lot of nights crying myself to sleep while trying to figure out what to do.

In talking with a few other close activists, I was reminded how unfair it is for me to assume what he's feeling or going through. In truth, I think I was more frustrated with having to ask him for help than he was for getting asked. All of the things that I thought were annoying to him weren't even a blip on his radar... Here I was trying to figure out how to be the most fair to him without even asking for his input!

I wonder if the others in that JA conference session assumed like I had.


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