We Need to Talk

You are really interested in someone. You have had a couple of dates with this person, and you know that you would like this relationship not only to continue but to grow. In a recent last blog entry (1/16/12), I cautioned about putting too much meaning into early dates. But there can come a time when it is no longer just a date.

I will put aside the question of whether you should tell that special person you have PD because truth is always the foundation upon which a strong relationship rests.

How do you tell that person you are interested in that you have Parkinson’s disease? This is a personal matter but it is important to be frank and direct. Again, truth is the foundation of a potential relationship.

Your revelation is likely to come as a surprise, particularly if you have not had the disease for long. Signs of the disease may be subtle and well-managed with medication. Although most people have some minimal understanding of the disease, it is quite likely you will be confronted with many misconceptions about PD. This can be a stressful moment. It is important that you remain collected and provide as much information as the situation warrants and you are able to provide. It may be helpful to discuss what the disease has taught you about yourself and certainly discuss your desire to normalize your life. Be clear that you are living with the disease in the best way you know how.

What if the person says that they are reluctant to continue? Or worse, what if they say they understand and it doesn’t matter, but then never call? There is always risk in revelation of a chronic medical condition. As painful as it may be, isn’t it better to know where you stand? Moving forward under a pretense that nothing is wrong could well lead to greater pain later on.

There is risk but on the other hand, there is possibility. There are people out there who are able to focus on a person and not a disease they have. As with dating, take this moment for what it is - an opportunity for a deepening relationship. It is still too early to think about how permanent it might be but the odds have certainly improved.

It is possible for a person with PD to have a relationship. It is possible for that relationship to grow. You are more than your neurology. Don’t you think it is important that you live that truth?

Regards,

Dr. Paul

NOTE: Dr. Paul Short is neither an agent nor employee of ADPA or any of its affiliate organizations. The views expressed in this blog are the opinions of Dr. Short and do not represent the opinions or endorsement of APDA. The information contained on this site is for your general information only and is not intended as, or a substitution for, medical advice. You should also be aware that the information on this site may not reflect the most current medical developments, nor is it provided in the course of a physician - patient relationship. You should always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider or expert with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a health or medical condition. You should never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this site.

About the Author

Paul Short, PhD

Dr. Paul Short, The Parkinson's Coach, provides Internet-based coaching to individuals and famlies challenged by Parkinson's disease and helps them develop personalized plans for coping with the disease.