Endometriosis Made me Lower My Standards But Not Anymore

I’ve said this countless times before. Dating in this modern world is tricky, and dating with a crippling chronic condition, is even more so. When I first began dating apps, I would spend a whole afternoon tweaking my profile.

Carefully selecting what statements would let my personality shine through, wondering if posting another selfie would make me seem self-obsessed, and writing and rewriting my bio.

I may have been “bigging myself up,” choosing my best version for others, but I was not choosing the best for me. I was lowering my standards.

Spending my time with people I didn't like

I went on several dates with people with whom not only did I have no spark, I didn't like them much. However, instead of admitting that these relationships were not worth pursuing, I continued anyway.

Because they liked me, chronically ill and all, I believe I had to try to like them.

To make matters worse, I excused certain toxic behaviors and ignored red flags. I never once asked myself whether certain personality traits were something I wanted in my life.

I knew that being rejected terrified me, so I performed like a pro. I hid all my symptoms, went into the people-pleaser mode I often find myself in, and forgot to check in with myself.

Self-worth and endometriosis

When my long-term relationship ended, my head was full of questions, trying to figure out how I could have prevented the heartbreak. One day I was told my disease had become too much, that I had become a burden.

As I write this, I can’t help thinking of that moment and feel my throat tighten. On the day, it felt like a sucker punch. Long-term, it led to a narrative that I was faulty and lucky if someone chose to put up with me and my ill body.

I never wanted to be chronically ill. Years before my diagnosis, I fought this disease with every part of my being.

I took myself to doctors seeking solutions. Desperate to hold down a job, I swallowed so many painkillers I ended up impacting the lining of my stomach.

I happily went to therapy. I worked hard so that this disease would not define me. Yet it made others define me.

If someone cannot see past my disease, it's on them.

I excused bad dates who behaved inappropriately because, deep down, I didn’t believe I deserved better. I’ve also endlessly apologized on behalf of so-called friends who have repeatedly behaved in ways that were not good for me.

Yet, not anymore.

Reducing a person to an illness, to a biological malfunction, means looking at us with unfair, narrow eyes. If someone I am dating or hanging out with does that, it reflects their limitations, not mine.

Staying mindful of new relationships

I know I have to continue to work on myself and shake off this idea that I am less worthy because I live with a chronic illness. Having endometriosis has given me the resilience of an athlete.

It has gifted me with the empathy few have. I am generous and kind and have an incredible sense of humor.

Which is why my standards should be high. Very few should pass the test because very few genuinely deserve me. That is not arrogance; it’s self-love.

The same can be said of each person, living with the same excruciatingly painful symptoms as I do. You, too, deserve the best.

Do not lower your standards, not for a second or anyone.

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