Being a survivor of a disease can feel like it sets you apart from other people. It takes a hard emotional and physical toll on your mind and body. You have to fight hard to overcome a grim prognosis and beat the odds. Many survivors find that they can’t go back to what was normal before they were diagnosed. Rather they learn to live with a new normal. Things are the same and yet they aren’t. For example, dating. You still get to go out and hang out with friends and feel grateful that they were there for you when you were ill. The dating scene, on the other hand, is completely different. It isn’t like it was before for you. So, you ask yourself, is dating a survivor only for mature people?
When you get diagnosed you spend a lot of time preparing. You prepare for surgery. You prepare for chemo. You prepare for constant medical tests. You prepare for the side effects of treatment. You ask your doctors and nurses tons of questions so you can be prepared for what comes next. One thing most survivors don’t prepare for is what comes after you are given a clean bill of health. Coming close to death changes your perspective on a lot of things, dating included. And this is where it can get complicated.
Some of the bachelors and single ladies out there are ok with dating a survivor. Some of them just can’t handle either what you’ve been through or the possibility of a recurrence. Everyone is different and all your potential dates will have their own reasons why they feel the way they do about dating a survivor. If you are a survivor, you will need to deal with both types. Those who are uncomfortable with dating a survivor may have fears – that the disease may come back, that they may lose you or it may simply be that they don’t want to put in the extra effort. As a survivor you need to find someone who is able to handle all of that and learn to be comfortable with it.
This leads us to role that maturity plays in dating as a survivor. What is maturity? Maturity is a term that has different meanings to different people. From most definitions, it appears that when someone acts without ego, is caring, can laugh at their mistakes and acts with dignity, they are mature. Maturity means responding to any situation in a manner that is age-appropriate. You don’t throw temper tantrums like young children or behave in an impulsive and hot-tempered manner. You are capable of making the right decisions on your own. Maturity, in this case, doesn’t have to be physical. Even young people can be survivors who are looking to date other young people. It does need to be emotional, social and ethical.
So, yes, we could say that emotional maturity is needed when dating a survivor. The people who deal well with the challenges of dating a survivor are generally quite emotionally, socially and intellectually mature. They understand that a survivor isn’t defined by their disease and that their battle with the disease has given more depth to who they are. They understand that a survivor isn’t damaged or less than. In fact, it shows great courage and spirit to survive a battle with a potentially fatal disease. Some illnesses are not like a regular bout of cold or flu that is cured in a few days. Fighting them is like a marathon, not a few meters’ sprint. So, if someone has recovered, survived and still has the zest for life, that is big feat in itself.
Survivors can try the following steps in order to date and find love again.
Connect with Those Who Understand What you’ve Gone Through
If you are a survivor, you need to connect with those who are in a position to understand you. Are you thinking, “Is dating a survivor only for mature people?” The answer is yes, it is for those who are compassionate, patient and understanding. If your romantic interest is someone who gets who you are and they are comfortable with the fact that you battled an illness and they treat you with patience, love and care, then you know they are the one. They have sufficient emotional maturity to stand beside you and support you through the journey called life.
Conquer Anxiety and Self-Doubt
Don’t be anxious and burdened by feelings of inadequacy. Don’t feel that you are in anyway incomplete. Being a survivor may make you feel different than you did before your illness. There may be things about your and your life that have changed since the illness, but it doesn’t make you any less than you were before it. Your ideal partner won’t exacerbate your anxiety. You will see in them the potential for them to calm your anxiety and build your self-confidence.
Find Happiness and Hope
You need to be confident that you will find happiness, that you deserve it. You have to fan that spark of hope inside you and keep it alive. It is only hope that keeps the world moving and gives you the courage to put yourself out there and date. That hope will lead you to the mature partner that a survivor like you deserves!