I Have Rheumatiod Arthritis. How Honest Should I Be About This?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader Question:

I was diagnosed with aggressive rheumatoid arthritis two years ago. I am very honest in telling my date about my disorder.

I am a very attractive professional and you could not tell just by looking at me. But my honesty has constantly cost me to lose all my prospective dates or relationships.

How honest should you be when you have an autoimmune disorder and you’re dating? Is there a dating website for people like myself?

-Shar (Florida)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Dear Shar,

I’m sorry to hear about your health problems, and I hope you are doing everything within your control to manage your health and make positive lifestyle choices.

One of the best things for one’s health, as you probably know, is a secure relationship, so I applaud you for making the proactive decision to find the love you deserve.

While there are no hard and fast rules about when you should tell a prospective lover about your health, I can tell you this: People who self-identify with their illness are sometimes perceived as unattractive because they appear like a victim.

Individuals with positive attitudes think of their health issues as merely a speed bump on the road of life.

I’m not saying this is you, but I am suggesting how you communicate information is sometimes more important than the information itself.

As for when to tell a romantic interest, I might suggest waiting at least a few dates, but definitely explain before the onset of the sexual relationship.

Build some trust and friendship before you disclose too much and deliver the news with a positive “I’m taking charge of this challenge” attitude. Good luck to you!

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