Dating and Psoriasis - Relationship and Emotional Intimacy
Growing up with psoriasis I figured it would be impossible for me to find someone that I was not only comfortable with enough to show my skin, but someone who would also accept my condition. I didn't date much in high school. I was a bit of an "ugly duckling" so to speak. I was tall, bony, had really big lips, suffered from acne and to top it off I had psoriasis. Let's just say I wasn't the ideal beauty back then. I didn't have any real middle school or high school flings. I do remember dating a guy in high school for a short period of time who broke up with me without ever telling me why. My guess is my looks and disease had something to do with it, and I assume the teasing from other classmates probably became too much for him to bear.
Things started to become better once I went off to college, I dated a lot more, and there were more options for a potential mate. I told some guys about my psoriasis, but for others I didn't deem it as necessary. At this point I was semi-comfortable with discussing it with a potential boyfriend but I still wasn't comfortable enough to show it until I met him.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at my work study in one of the coolest places on campus; the Student Union. One of my guy friends approached me to inform me about a party he was having that weekend. He had a friend with him whom I had never seen before, we made eye contact and gazed at each other for a few seconds. Taken back I quickly looked away and put my focus on something elsewhere. Soon after my friend and I made our closing statements and he walked away. Standing next to me was my best friend who I looked at and said, "Yeah I bet that guy will ask about me". We giggled and about 30 seconds later my male friend called me to ask if he could give his friend my number, of course I said "yes". We went out that same night and became inseparable!
I didn't know how I was going to tell him about my psoriasis and honestly, I was scared to death. My thoughts were "What would he think? ...would he stop dating me? ...would he look at me differently? " My mind was racing. I didn't want to make it an awkward situation or big reveal so I had to come up with something creative, and that's when I thought about the "Question game". We asked each other a series of questions to get to know each other better. He asked something to the effect of "What's your biggest fear, or what's the one thing you would change about yourself? " I can't remember the exact question. However, the game was how I introduced him to my disease. I remember him being very understanding and assuring me that he didn't care and still liked me for me.
Even with that said, a part of me still didn't trust him. It was a process to reveal my whole self. I remember going to his house and watching movies covered up from head to toe. He asked if I would put on a short sleeve shirt, reluctantly I obliged. He then took my arm and kissed my spots and said "See that wasn't so hard now, was it? " From there I became more comfortable.
He later became my husband. He had seen the worse parts of my disease, the flaking, the blood, the scales, the pain, the depression and mental stress. We became one when it came to my disease. He had seen the parts of me that my family members I've known for years were never aware of.
Although 2 years ago my husband and I decided to go our separate ways and were divorced (for reasons unrelated to my disease), he was GREAT when it came to dealing and supporting me with my condition. If there is one thing I learned from my failed marriage it's that someone can and will love you despite of your psoriasis. Honestly, he gave me hope for not only being myself but for others dealing with psoriasis.
Being newly divorced, I have experienced those same thoughts I did when I was 16 years old and first started dating, but as I reflect on my past relationship, I do have hope.
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