Bad Experiences Disclosing Multiple Sclerosis When Dating

Finding out that MS is a "deal breaker" for people you are dating can be rough.

While I would love to tell you all that everyone will see past your multiple sclerosis (MS) and be enraptured by the wonderful person that you are, that is not always the case. Usually, in the case of (the majority of) friends or co-workers, I would expect acceptance and support to varying degrees.

However, dating is so different from other relationships – it is a fragile situation, where people can be entranced or repulsed by the slightest things.

I asked people with MS to share their advice about the timing of disclosing their MS to dates in the article, When to Disclose Multiple Sclerosis to Your Date.

Having received numerous reports about what happened when people did reveal their MS status, I decided to share the real-life experiences that some people have endured when disclosing their MS to someone whom they are dating. Here is what they shared:

  • Once I tell people that I have MS they run for the hills. I usually tell them before I meet them in person, so I guess I can't blame them.
  • I'm 23 and I've had MS for 11 years. Dating has been hard, I'm a private person and I don't share the fact that I have MS with too many people (although I realize it is no secret). However, I agree it is best to disclose it as soon as you can and I usually end up doing it on the first "real" date with someone. Lately, guys have been acting like they understand or that it really doesn't bother them, but I learn otherwise when an attack comes along. Sigh. I KNOW there are great guys out there that will praise me for what I've been through, I just can't wait to find them!
  • I was engaged when I got diagnosed and only 4 months away from the wedding when he told me it just wasn't going to happen. He said he "could not envision having to take care of someone who might someday be disabled.” After enduring many months of heartbreak, anger, major depression (requiring hospitalization and therapy), I thank my lucky stars that this happened before we were married.
  • I met someone online. Well, actually, I didn’t actually ever meet him. The night before we were supposed to meet for dinner, I told him about my MS. A funny thing happened. He called me the next morning and said "something came up," and he had to cancel our dinner. To each his own, I guess, but I certainly learned my lesson. Next time, I will meet the person first, so they can see I'm an actual human being!
  • I was in a relationship for 8 years. In May of 2011 my doctor told me I have MS. That was 3 days before my 51st birthday. I got home and told my girlfriend what the doctor said and she cried. Two days after my birthday she told me to leave, because she did not want to be a mother to me. Now I find myself on Internet dating sites telling them about my MS. Most of the time they never gets back to me or they tell me that I am looking for a mother. This gets me upset to no end because of their lack of understanding of what MS is.
  • I am 39, single and have been diagnosed for 2 years, and except for some initial shakiness, MS hasn't really had a major impact on my life. I met a guy through the Internet a couple of months ago in a whirlwind and disclosed on the third date, granted after a couple of beers. He seemed to take it ok at the time, and I admit one of my key reasons for disclosing when I did was that I was aware of the bruises on my body from the injections. We had a good chat about MS on a subsequent date, about how it had affected me, the positive changes that I had made and the support I had received from family and friends. MS is just part of my life, but doesn’t define my life! I thought things were progressing well, until this last weekend when he decided he couldn’t be serious or have a family with someone who might end up in a wheelchair! Kind of took my breath away! While I accept that my MS could get a whole lot worse, I certainly don’t plan my life assuming that will happen.
  • My opinion is say something as soon as you know you like them. Try to have faith in the goodness of others. However, personally, I got tired of hearing "you have too much baggage," so I don't date anymore.
  • I had been dating a wonderful man (so I thought), and things were progressing and feeling were developing for both of us...we were totally into each other. I decided I needed to tell him that I had MS after he had disclosed that he had a episode with caner. I thought him of all people would understand. I was WRONG...we had spent a incredible weekend away and then when we returned on Monday...everything was great UNTIL 1:30 that afternoon, when I think he had the ability to do "research.” That's when I got the text saying “I'm just not feeling the way I should. I wish you the best.” I felt I had to be honest because I thought I saw this relationship going somewhere. This is the second time I've had someone RUN once I told them. I know that they weren't the person I thought they were and who knows what could happen to any of us today. I'm giving up on dating for now - it's just too hard.

    Bottom Line: Okay, so these stories are not the most hopeful – however, I hope that they make you feel less alone if you have had a similar experience. In the spirit of believing in the greater good of humanity, please read my article, Good Experiences Disclosing Multiple Sclerosis When Dating.

    Read more about talking about your MS: 

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