Dating with any type of skin problem is never fun – especially when you have eczema. The most traumatizing thing about having eczema is how unattractive it makes people feel. So how do you go about dating and being in a relationship when you are suffering from eczema?
Dating or starting a new relationship is tough enough as it is, but throwing eczema into the mixture can be frightening. For me – I remember that all my fears and insecurities came out, and it was terrifying. I even recall feeling that my significant other must’ve been repulsed by my skin (read my story here) – but, man, was I wrong! I mean, it wasn’t the prettiest sight in the world, but I remember my boyfriend (now husband 😀 ) asking to see my eczema wounds, and he’d ask, “Can I kiss it?”.
I was scared every time he asked – but it truly made a difference.
And here we are today – married! 🙂
So in today’s video/blog post, you’ll learn:
– What it’s like dating someone with eczema
– How it feels for the person with eczema to be in a relationship
– Tips for your partner in coping with your eczema
– How eczema affects both parties in a relationship
– Personal stories from me and my (now) hubby!
I’m excited to share this with you because I remember struggling so much with it – and the amount of support you receive from your partner will really make the world of a difference when you’re battling with eczema!
And, in most cases, it shouldn’t hold you back from trying to find love, either.
My Experience with Dating and Eczema
Sometimes I’ll get emails with readers telling me they’re afraid that their partner will leave them if they have eczema. Well – that’s totally normal! I remember having the same fears too. I remember being so scared that Bryan (my husband) would leave and that I would be such a burden to him (since we weren’t dating for too long).
I also remember that I started to hibernate more and retreat from social hang outs, since I didn’t want anyone to see my skin all flared up. I couldn’t see healing in sight, and I remember wanting to feel “normal” so badly; in fact, everyday that I made it through the flare up was a triumph to me. While dating, my face didn’t even look like my “normal” face anymore because it was full of rashes and redness. It was hard not to be in a bad/depressed mood on most days – and I know that really affected Bryan.
There were times I’d lose my temper on him (which he didn’t like – and you should avoid doing, too 😉 – but thankfully – Bryan turned out to be the most loyal, kind man that I could ever imagine. Whenever I stayed over at his house, his parents would sweep and vacuum the flakes of skin that I was shedding. His mom treated me like a daughter and got everyone to pray for me, and Bryan would also surprise me by making me breakfast, smoothies, and all kinds of healthy foods that I never imagined!
He also began eating the same way as me – adopting my lifestyle. I was surprised and I felt beyond blessed that someone would do that for me. He kept reassuring me that he wouldn’t leave me – and it was during my darkest, most painful times, that he first whispered that he loved me.
I guess this sounds cliche – but that’s when I knew what true love was, because I had hope. I knew he wouldn’t leave me and he’s the type of guy I was praying for my whole life! And he really represented God’s love to me. Prayer really does work!
I know not everyone’s significant other will be like this – so here are some tips for you (and if you’re the partner of someone who has eczema in the relationship, scroll down to read tips for your situation!)
Tips for the person with eczema in the relationship
Embrace their love: I’ve heard so many stories about people being scared their partner will leave them. While, yes, there is that chance – the more you’re afraid, the more you may push them away as well. Make sure to embrace their love. If they’re willing to walk with you and support you – then, hey, that means they care for you and they want this to work out with you. Embrace it.
Have fun and enjoy life. Don’t let the eczema overtake you; no one likes being with a crabby person 🙂 Remember to enjoy life, relax, and learn to laugh again. Your partner likes to see you happy, smile, and in a good mood! No one likes being with a grumpy person all day. It’s hard on your partner (and family) as well.
Be confident. You may not feel pretty or confident – but sometimes you gotta just try to be confident. Like they say: fake it till you make it. Eczema ruined so many of my relationships growing up – I couldn’t even look people in the eye. I want you to learn from me and not do what I did: act confident even if you don’t feel it inside. Smile, laugh, start conversations, and make eye contact. You may not feel comfortable at first (and you might be downright terrified), but the more you do it and you see the way people respond positively to you, you will naturally become more confident.
Start loving yourself. Build your self esteem by speaking positive affirmations to yourself. Being kind to yourself and engaging in activities that you’re passionate about will show you that you have a lot of great things about you that has nothing to do with how you look. Your partner or someone of the opposite sex will notice too. 😉
Talk it out. If you’re dating someone and you reach an awkward point where you’re wondering if they notice (or are bothered) by your eczema, get brave and talk to them about it. Sometimes the secrecy, wondering, and hiding creates more insecurities and fears. Plus – you want to be honest with your partner. Communication is key (and – you’ll probably find that they don’t care and love you for who you are, and it will be a huge relief!)
Tips for your partner in the relationship
Just as the person with eczema probably feels that they’re the only person suffering in the relationship – surprise surprise, your significant other feels it as much as you do. Maybe not physically (or with the insecurities and all) – but they get just as burdened by it as you do. Because they care for you. Ever see your partner try to discover new things that might help you? Yep, that’s them trying to do all they can to see you get better. You’re not alone in this – they’re with you too!
Since I know it’s hard for significant others to go through it too – here are some tips for you:
Always be encouraging. This is a time where your partner’s self esteem will be low (especially if their eczema has flared up). Your partner may doubt themselves, be stressed, and feel their insecurities come out. You are their greatest cheerleader. Their voice. Their light in a bleak time. Your encouragement will help your partner persevere until they see healing.
Find support. Talk to someone so that you have an outlet of people to support you. It’s not always easy (depending on how bad the flare up is), but you need a support system as much as your partner does so that you don’t get over-burdened. For my husband, our church was our biggest support. Bryan would regularly talk to them to get the support and outlet he needed.
“Don’t think of it as a limitation – but as a new possibility.” This is one of my favourite lines from Bryan. Even though new lifestyle changes in helping your partner cope with eczema can feel very limiting (e.g. if you’re trying out a new diet with them) – try to think of it as a new possibility instead of a hindrance. For Bryan, this meant he had to cook more restrictive foods – but this made him a better cook, and it made him eat healthier too!
Do something you love. If you’re like my husband and you’ve felt like you’ve been consumed with the burden of helping your partner’s eczema, then it’s not easy on you either. Remember to go relax, pick up a new hobby or do something that makes you come alive. Life is more than just fixing worries – it’s also about your dreams too 🙂
Be adaptive. Your partner will have to make some lifestyle changes to help their eczema improve – and this may affect you as well. You will need to learn to be adaptive and flexible in order to help them adjust and overcome. Partnering with your significant other will make their life easier. And be careful about telling your partner to stop scratching – it can actually make a person more anxious and make them scratch more! 😉
The truth about dating when you have eczema
All in all, if you have eczema, but you happen to also have a lot of other amazing qualities that they find attractive, not everyone will judge you by your skin. In the end, people just aren’t holding out to date the model with perfect skin. If they were, people would get really lonely.
Plus, when you like someone, no matter what their physical flaws, they always become more beautiful. Eczema is one that can definitely be transcended. And when it comes down to it, if someone finds somebody that they really liked, it may not matter so much to them. My husband is the perfect example – he stuck with me not for my skin, but because he saw something more beautiful inside.
Since having eczema is often worse for the person who has it (than for your partner), you may not always realize that you may feel shy, distant, and ashamed. Remember that people can sense your shyness and insecurities – so remember to exude confidence. It is the ultimate trump card for everything else.
I once heard someone say, “I have eczema one way or the other. So I could be that sad, lonely person with eczema, or I could be outgoing and confident with it. Which one is going to be better for me?”
Any stories of dating with eczema or any tips you have? Please share below!
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Abby is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who helps clients achieve optimal health. She is passionate about seeing people use health and nutrition to transform lives. She hopes that her experiences and knowledge can help educate others on natural remedies that will help eczema. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube for more updates!