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Dating someone with M.E

(42 Posts)
Doingprettywell Tue 28-Jun-16 16:49:10

I have met someone with M.E, he is lovely, very kind, clever and my sort of man. We've only known each other a couple of months, we're not in a relationship and we're taking it slowly.
I am a fiercely independent single mum having had several relationships with useless and needy men. Been single for 4 years and not in a rush to start anything. I think at this stage in my life I have become pretty good at sorting out the wheat from the chaff menwise but this one throws me.
He has not worked for about 5 years but has very active hobbies and does a lot of diy.
I feel like I'm being selfish if I reject him for having M.E but I was really hoping this time around to find someone who is capable of looking after me (not that I need looking after) I'm not sure what the reality of living with someone with this condition would be like.
Would this put you off?

PlatoTheGreat Tue 28-Jun-16 17:05:18

I have ME and my answer is It depends!

ME can affect people at different levels. It is possible he will never be able to work but some people manage to work part time (like me) or have gone back to work full time.
There are some stuff I can't do (eg long walks) and sometimes, when things are bad, I end up relying on DH to look after the dcs, the house, me.

He us obviously able to look after himself but it is possible that he roukdng be able to support you if you needed it (either physically or emotionally if he is too low on energy). But really again it depends on how bad his ME is.

What isn't an issue us to say 'this doesn't work for me' the same way that you would say it doesn't work if you are a sort enthusiast and the other person hates any sport at all.

adora1 Tue 28-Jun-16 17:08:56

Yes it would put me off but we are different, my sis in law has it and it's hitting her hard now at the age of 55, my brother is constantly having to look after her, it affects her balance, her sleep, just about everything.

It's a hard one cos he sounds lovely but personally, I'd look for someone healthier tbh.

Doingprettywell Tue 28-Jun-16 19:03:00

Thanks for your replies.

I have the gut feeling that I don't want anyone else to rely on me and at the same time I feel guilty and selfish for thinking that. I think that is something I have to work on. I give my children a lot of time and energy and also work in a caring profession. I'm ok at the moment but I think if I needed to "give" any more I would be drained. In fact this is what happened with my previous relationships.

He is ok now but who knows what the future brings. I guess this is true for anybody healthwise but more so for him.

stareatthetvscreen Tue 28-Jun-16 19:07:23

i would say treat it like any other relationship

see how it goes - its not a degenerative illness.he will have ups and downs.

anything could happen to anyone at any time.

whattheseithakasmean Tue 28-Jun-16 19:12:33

At my age, with children, I wouldn't touch anyone with a barge pole who didn't have a job, or some form of employment. That is me though, others will feel differently.

ImperialBlether Tue 28-Jun-16 19:16:35

If he's so active then why can't he work part-time? I have a problem with long-term unemployment as I think it's so difficult to motivate yourself into work afterwards.

I know what you mean about wanting someone to be a support to you. You're responsible for two children and you're working - that's tough. It sounds as though he's a nice guy but perhaps not what you want at this point in your life.

ImperialBlether Tue 28-Jun-16 19:17:37

And how can you be selfish for not wanting another person to care for, when you're in a caring job and caring for your children? That's reasonable. It's different if you're in a relationship and your partner becomes ill, but that's not the case here.

Anicechocolatecake Tue 28-Jun-16 19:58:46

Very active hobbies = probably only mild M.E so I wouldn't write him off just yet. M.E can be horrendously difficult to manage in a relationship. It can also pose few problems. It depends on the M.E and the person.
It's much better to walk away if you feel this man isn't right for you. It's far better in the long run and kinder to both of you. But equally I have M.E and I've had men dump me because of what they perceive I can't do and actually they've judged wrongly. I still have lots to contribute to a relationship.

Somerville Tue 28-Jun-16 20:04:13

The biggest issue is not having a job, whatever the reason for it. I'd really struggle to date someone who didn't. It would keep bugging me, at the back of my mind. Things like, if it worked out long term, how we'd ever afford to retire one day on only one pension.

Having cared for a partner with a serious long term illness (very different to ME) I've felt the effect of this on my own health, and seen the pressure on it of my kids. So I would avoid getting together with anyone who had a higher chance than average of needing me to care for them.

Somerville Tue 28-Jun-16 20:07:00

Also want to say that it's not selfish to want to put your role as a parent first.

If I didn't have kids I wouldn't have an issue with being with someone like you describe, if everything else were great. But it's different when you've got kids who are whole reliant on you, ime.

PlatoTheGreat Tue 28-Jun-16 21:06:23

Hmm ME can mean still been able to work full time (but then having little energy for other things after). It can also mean not been able to get out of bed.
So yes it's not a life threading condition (normally) but it can be a very serious chronic illness too. It depends of how severely he is affected.

I'm very careful about the 'has some active hobbies' but 'doesn't work'. It actually doesn't say how badly affected he is. I have met people with ME who have 'active hobbies' (let's say they will do an afternoon gardening) but that's because they don't know how to manage their energy and will just collapse for the next 3 days afterwards.

Having said that, it doesn't mean he will only be burden to you. He might well be able to help with the dcs (let's say after school or when they are too ill to go to school). I have ME and I hope that my DH (and the dcs!) hasn't written me off completely re looking after the dcs or helping him when needed (eg when his mum was in hosp for open heart surgery).

PlatoTheGreat Tue 28-Jun-16 21:07:31

What would be totally logical to me is to not want to be in a situation where you have to look after him too.
But, as he can look after himself and live on his own, I assume he is able to do that and to not rely on you!

BeYourselfUnlessUCanBeAUnicorn Tue 28-Jun-16 21:50:17

I'm very angry at the posters who would be put off by someone for not having a job because of ME. He has a chronic illness ffs, not some layabout on the dole. And we aren't talking depression where it's hard to motivate yourself. You can be desperate to do things but your body just won't let you. What a load of shit 'advice'. It may be a good idea to not post this crap when you clearly don't understand.

I have ME and don't work. Ok I don't have active hobbies but there are things I do and I look well mainly, although a few people around me can tell when I'm struggling, most just don't see it. I'd be extremely pissed off if I thought I was being judged in this way because I just wasn't motivated enough to get a job or doing the limited things I can do and working around my energy at that time meant I should be working. angry

OP, I'd see how bad he is. I couldn't be with someone with it, because I have it and know what it's like and there are times when I rely on DH, but that's to see to our DCs. If it was just us 2 he wouldn't need to look after me as such. I am capable of looking after myself and DCs and DH most of the time. It's a case of balancing it and knowing your limits and knowing where to stop. It's a hard thing to learn tbh, especially when you are used to being active.

Honestly, someone on the more severe end, no I couldn't do it. It's a horrible horrible illness and the one with it needs support. However there are people that have it mildly or moderately and manage ok, as I do. Don't assume it means you will have to look after him. I'd have a chat with him and find out where he is on a scale (there is a scale counting in 10s to 100 where you can place yourself and see how bad/well you are) and go from there. I know a few people with it, most have partners, a few of them work, most have friends and hobbies. Yes it limits us but we are the best judges of what we can and cannot do. If he is active then that is good, he isn't house or bedbound and it sounds like he can look after himself. It's probably a case of balancing activity and rest and not working puts him in a much better position to be able to do that.

whattheseithakasmean Tue 28-Jun-16 22:06:33

I would be put off by someone not having a job, whatever the reason. I wouldn't want my partner to be financially dependent on me, when I had children to support. That is just how it is for me.

Doingprettywell Tue 28-Jun-16 22:19:16

I think I need to delve a bit more into it with him. So far I have avoided asking him too much because I didn't want him to think it was an issue for me. But I guess it is, isn't it. I wouldn't want to judge him without knowing more. Also I'm aware that I may only be seeing him when he's got lots of energy not flaked out after he's exerted himself?

Having no job worries me too for the reason you said Imperial I don't think it's good longterm not to work, well I know it wouldn't be for me.
Even if he is in fairly good health now it would be a bit of a gamble getting into a relationship with him because he may end up relying on me? What a minefield!
I'm really glad no one thinks I'm selfish!

MsMims Tue 28-Jun-16 22:28:11

If part of the reason you're hesitating is because he doesn't work (has been mentioned a few times on this thread) please don't make him aware of this. People with M.E. have usually been very hardworking and driven, and some even first become ill because of a culmination of the pressure of performing to high standards. The cruelest part of M.E. is that your personality doesn't change - but you're trapped inside a body that won't do what it used to. It's heartbreaking, and as someone who used to be very active and hardworking, I would be very upset to have not being able to work used against me when it's something I want so badly to be able to do again.

Doingprettywell Tue 28-Jun-16 22:30:43

I don't think he's a layabout at all Unicorn it would bother me personally if I didn't work because I like the structure, independence and social interaction it brings. Do you think you would work if you were single and had no DC?

MsMims Tue 28-Jun-16 22:32:00

OP this scale is a good indicator of how severe someone's M.E. is. Would definitely be worth asking this man where he fits in as it is a condition that varies so much.


AndNowItsSeven Tue 28-Jun-16 22:33:26

Reading these post I guess I am looking I got married before I became chronically ill. This thread is really upsetting, the guy is ill/ disabled not some layabout.

whattheseithakasmean Tue 28-Jun-16 22:38:24

I don't think anyone is suggesting he is a layabout, but on a practical level, the OP has a family to support. Does she have the emotional and financial resilience to take on someone who cannot support themselves financially, possibly to the detriment of her own children? Sorry, it is a no brainer, for me, my kids needs come first.

BennyTheBall Tue 28-Jun-16 22:41:33

It would put me off - sad, but true.

Your children should come first.

It would be different if you were already in a relationship with him before he became ill.

Somerville Tue 28-Jun-16 22:47:29

I personally didn't mean any offence to anyone who has ME, or any long term medical condition. I didn't read anyone else's posts that way either, though obviously can't speak for them.

Listen, the OP's circumstances are already tough. Lone parent. Full on job. I'm in that place too. Starting a new relationship means giving as much thought to the practicalities as to the feelings involved. At least, it has done for me.

My DH was being treated for cancer for a year before he died. It's a very different illness, of course, but having lived through that once - absolutely willingly for the man I loved - and seen the effect on my kids, I couldn't walk into a new relationship where I thought there was a high likelihood of further caring responsibilities. And from what she explains of this chap - that he's so affected by his ME that even while single with no kids he isn't well enough to work, sounds to me like the hurly burly of family life would be a lot for him, and impact on his health further, and lead to those caring responsibilities.

So I was very much coming from that perspective to the OP. That it's not selfish of her to want to put her kids first.

I did say that if I were single and met someone in this chaos situation it wouldn't put me off. But with children it's different.

Again, no offence intended. I know from how my DH often felt that the fear of being a burden can be awful in long term conditions. But I was in love with him and married to him and I wouldn't for a moment have left him to go through all that on his own. It was awful, but we still loved each other through it and laughed and had fun, and his life had value until the very, very end.

Dontanalyseit Tue 28-Jun-16 22:48:07

I have a family member with the condition and they are as far from lazy as you can get but they struggle with the exhaustion to such an extent that they can barely do a thing some days. In some ways I am patient and understanding and although it's not very nice to admit, it is also frustrating.

I couldn't start a relationship with someone with ME if they suffered like my relative. I know there are degrees of it and some people recover well but I still wouldn't. Surely you want someone lovely, kind and clever who is also well enough to commit to a relationship.

Somerville Tue 28-Jun-16 22:49:44

I don't know where the chaos came from in the penultimate paragraph, BTW. Just situation.

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