DM Shepard

Jul 25, 2021

5 min read

I Can Fix You!-Dating with a Chronic Illness

Beware of Mr. Fix-It, almost worse than the Ghoster

Returning to the Dating Vault. A Guy I Learned to Dread Almost More Than the Ghoster: Mr. Fix-It

I was single in the infancy of online dating, but I still have plenty of peculiar stories. From what I have seen, it has only gotten weirder out there. At the same time, I was also dating with MS.

I’m not going to lie, it was tough trying to find that right point in the dating process to let a guy know that I had a chronic illness. I rarely did the “big reveal” on the first date. You don’t talk about the deep, heavy stuff like exes, politics, religion, babies, and other things. Why bother going through the gut-wrenching emotions of my chronic illness for a guy who is never going to call again after you just meet for coffee?

Sure, at one point I walked with a cane, and the smarter amongst them knew something was up. The classier men held off on trying to pry, especially if they knew they weren’t even going to call me back. The nosier, ruder guys tried to dig. Once we were a couple of dates down the road, I definitely let them know what was up. It was only fair at that point. I knew from experience I didn’t want to get too emotionally invested just to get ghosted. And I didn’t want to lead someone on if that might be a deal breaker for them.

But as time went by, I also learned there was another type of guy that was almost worse than getting ghosted. A guy I like to refer to as Mr. Fix-It.

As soon as you confess about your chronic illness, his eyes glisten. Not with empathy, as you with learn with time, but with anticipation. Before you are even done talking, he will usually spout off something along the lines of:

“My (insert vague friend/relative) had that too. I cured them by helping them change their diet lifestyle. I can fix you/save you!”

And I truly do believe that on some level, they mean well.

But do they understand your medical condition?

Absolutely not.

To them your medical condition isn’t real. They don’t even really want a relationship with you. They want a relationship with your chronic illness. And you become the ultimate project, a little wounded bird they are going to save.

Awe, they’ve found the ultimate project. A little wounded bird they are going to save.

And dammit — they are going to save you from yourself and your bad habits.

NO MATTER WHAT.

Warning, Mr. Fix-It will take control of EVERY ASPECT of your life almost to an abusive level. To say they have control issues would be a mild understatement. They LOVE control. And managing your health becomes an obsession. Because you know, it was YOUR bad habits that destroyed your health. In their mind, they are the knight in shining armor, coming to your rescue. You were just lost and helpless, destroying yourself before they came along.

And it is seductive when you have a chronic illness, because you do cling to hope that some miracle will stop the progression and the pain. Eventually you learn the hard truth, but sometimes desperation makes you believe people like Mr. Fix-It.

Don’t worry, he’s here to save your from yourself

I laugh to this day about my Mr. Fix-It and the time he tried to make me eat soy ice cream because it was healthy. He threw a hissy fit I threw up afterward then refused to eat it ever again.

When his plan to rehabilitate fails you and your medical condition takes a turn for the worse there’s no empathy or understanding.

You obviously failed.

You didn’t follow is immaculate plan.

Your condition isn’t real, it’s just bad habits.

In my case, toward the end of our rocky relationship when I had multiple issues and needed to be hospitalized, Mr. Fixer-Upper accidentally let it slip that his side girl (yep, he was cheating on me — what a gem) thought I was too needy. Needless to say, we immediately broke up.

It was a valuable lesson to learn about myself, my health, and how I deserve to be treated.

And my instincts. I knew we were doomed after the soy ice cream incident (that is not ice cream, and I stand by that to this day!).

Moral of the story, I have MS, but it doesn’t have me. I don’t need to be fixed or changed. And I did find someone who loves me and accepts me as I am. If you are dating with a chronic illness or any other issue, don’t accept people who want to make you into a project. You’re not a project, you’re a human being deserving of respect — and someone will love you just the way you are.

Thanks for reading!

I joined the Navy at 18 to escape a small town in the Mojave Desert. A diagnosis of MS disrupted my dreams of becoming an astronaut or a super spy. I made limoncello from my lemons and became a super electrical engineer instead. My fascination with live high voltage drew me to Alaska. I came for the job, but stayed for the adventure. I enjoy blogging about my journey as a woman working in STEM, my experiences dealing with everything MS has handed me, and the wonder of the Alaska wilderness. My husband and I have undertaken the task of turning 30 acres of remote land into an off-grid retreat. I write stories about unique women in STEM who save the day and the hot guys who sometimes help along the way, as well as historical fiction about the Klondike Gold Rush. Teasers for these stories can be found on my website. I self-published my first horror novella, The Dark Land, on Amazon in May of 2020. I released the sequel, The Devil’s Valley, in May of 2021. Both stories are set in the wilderness of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, and draw on the Athabascan “Head Waters Peoples” legends of the Cet’ann, or “The People With Tails”.

Some places were never meant for humans to trespass