Telling a New Partner about Endometriosis
It is hard enough to explain endometriosis to family and close friends, but how do you approach telling a new partner about it? Endometriosis affects us in all sorts of ways, not only when we have our period. For example, there is the fatigue. Not everyone suffers from that, but a significant portion of people with endometriosis do. Your new partner may want to go out all the time or may be very sociable, and you can’t always make the dates. Sometimes, you may have to cancel at short notice, which might not go over well. And then there is the sex thing. Yes, sex is wonderful, but also a bit nerve-wracking with a new partner. Things can be a bit awkward at the best of times, let alone when sex can be rather painful.
It can be quite a minefield. After all, you don’t want to scare off your new partner, but you also don’t want to give them the wrong impression. Besides all that, endometriosis is still not a well-known chronic disease. So not only do you have to tell them you have a chronic illness, but you also have to explain what endometriosis actually is.
Set yourself an intention to talk to your new partner. The timing of this talk is up to you, but I wouldn’t leave it too long in the relationship. Living with a chronic illness is difficult, but hiding it from the person you love makes things needlessly complicated. Make sure you have a list of websites handy so that your partner can learn more about endometriosis from an objective source at their own time. You’ll be able to explain it well enough, but sometimes, it helps to go away and digest.
Be open to questions
As with anything, communication is the key. Explain how endometriosis affects you personally rather than giving general statistics. Explain how it has impacted your life so far and how you think it may influence your relationship. Your partner may have quite a few questions, so make sure you set aside enough time to answer their questions and make sure they feel like their questions are welcome, and not stupid.
Talking about endometriosis is never easy. And especially so if it's with someone who you would like to build a future with. You may be worried that you will scare them off. After all, endometriosis is not curable and there is the fear that your new partner might not want to deal with that.
If your new partner reacts badly to your news, they simply weren’t worth your time anyhow. If you want to build a future with someone you love, you take their good days and their bad days. Telling them you have endometriosis shouldn't make a difference to their feelings if they truly love you. After all, you can’t hide the illness from them forever. Much better to come out with the truth before things get too serious.
Don’t hide your endometriosis from a new love interest. Sure, you may not want to tell them on your first date, but if they truly care for you, they will want to know your life - warts and all.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?