Relationships are tricky enough to manage without the added extra of a chronic illness like epilepsy. On social media, it’s pretty common to see people looking for advice on dating and relationships with epilepsy. It can be discouraging seeing so many people struggling with relationships and dating with epilepsy.
The truth is that yes epilepsy might strain some relationships, but there are plenty of people out there in happy, loving, healthy relationships or enjoying themselves dating while living life with epilepsy.
Having epilepsy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy dating or have a happy relationship.
It simply means that like anything when you live life with seizures, you take a slightly different approach to it.
When do I tell them about my epilepsy?
If you’re not sure when to tell the person you’re dating about your seizures, you are not alone. It seems that a lot of people struggle with this because it brings up the fear that epilepsy might ultimately bring an end to the relationship, especially if you’re still getting to know each other.
My advice is to tell the person sooner rather than later, but make sure you feel comfortable and confident to tell them (note: this doesn’t mean you won’t be nervous).
By sharing that you have epilepsy early on, you’ll know if that person really is right for you.
For some people, a relationship with someone who has epilepsy might be too much for them to handle at that point in there life and that’s okay. Don’t take it personally and remember that you are not your illness; you are not your epilepsy.
Rest assured, not everyone will react this way. There’s so many people who won’t be phased by the fact you have seizures. They’ll be interested to learn more, or might even have experience with epilepsy already.
Be brave and get it off your chest. If you’re dating you’re already putting yourself out there, so don’t stop now.
Epilepsy can make your relationship even stronger
A life with seizures can be challenging, whether you have multiple a day or once a year. One thing we all need is support, emotionally, physically and spiritually – a relationship can provide this, and you can support your partner too.
Epilepsy making your relationship stronger might sound mystical but hear me out. Speaking from personal experience, here’s how epilepsy can make your relationship unshakeable:
Talk, talk and talk more
Epilepsy and relationships force us to have conversations we might not be comfortable with. Seizures can hit at any time, meaning that epilepsy impacts every aspect of your life in some form.
Most importantly, your partner will need to know seizure first aid: how to keep you safe and what to do if you have a seizure. We all know that this can be life saving, so as you spend more time together, it’s a conversation definitely worth having.
Almost as important is talking about how you can help each other. As much as epilepsy cam drain you, remember that supporting you can drain your partner too. Talk about how you can support each other. You’ll probably know what type of support you need, but learn how you can support your partner. Do they need time alone after you’ve both gone through a rough spell with your seizures, or would they love it if you cooked dinner and ran them a bath? You don’t know unless you ask, and it could make a huge difference.
Your date nights become more creative
Considering you can make certain lifestyle changes to better manage seizures, things like drinks at a bar, staying up hours later than usual or indulging in potential triggers like lots of sugar probably isn’t an ideal date night.
This means you have to get creative with your date ideas which shake things up from the usual dinner date and drinks. You have fun in new ways and this makes any relationship stronger, not just romantic ones.
It also gives you both a break from thinking about your seizures, even if it is only for a short while.
Why not try out a few of these ideas:
- A trip to the zoo or aquarium
- A picnic in the summer sun
- A weekend away
- Cooking a romantic meal for each other
It’s a reminder that you’re a team
Epilepsy and relationships can be challenging, there’s no doubt about that. But facing that challenge is a hell of a lot stronger when you’re working together, supporting each other.
You get to enjoy your relationship and live fearlessly with epilepsy at the same time. If there’s no cure for epilepsy (yet), to me this sounds like a pretty good option.
A life with seizures still means you can date and enjoy relationships
You deserve love no matter what and epilepsy doesn’t change this. Find someone who makes your life better and you can do the same for them. Epilepsy might be there, but it isn’t the only aspect of you, your relationship or your dating life.
Carry on putting yourself out there and be brave. Have fun with dating, love and relationships and live fearlessly with epilepsy.
Until next time
p.s. The Epilepsy Society UK offers a free and confidential advice line if you ever want to talk to someone about epilepsy and relationships
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