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The cold sweat dripping from my forehead made it feel like I hadn’t even taken a shower.Though I had considered canceling our date, I opted not to.I could potentially faint without warning, forcing them to take care of me.

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Where before I’d revealed my POTS to potential partners with trepidation, after college I started finding a way to bring it into the conversation just to see how they’d react.

Most of the time, whether I mentioned it online or in person, it was essentially that they’d disappear.

Kaylyn knew about my illness, but she hadn’t yet seen it. And if I hadn’t changed my dating standards after realizing I was chronically ill, it could have taken so much longer to find someone like her. Diagnosed when I was 19 after a series of unexplained fainting episodes, I was referred to a cardiologist.

I wasn’t sure how she’d react and was scared she’d be like past women I’d dated: awkward, unsympathetic, and, ultimately, gone. On our date, Kaylyn quickly noticed I wasn’t well despite my attempts to hide it. POTS is a disorder that causes my heartbeat to increase 30 beats or more per minute or exceed 120 beats per minute within 10 minutes of standing, causing my blood pressure to drop. Currently there’s no known cure for POTS, but it can be treated.

This time, I was nervous because I hadn’t felt well all day.

I felt dizzy, nauseous, and achy, my finger too swollen to put my ring on.After coming out, I was eager to explore my attraction to women but quickly realized that I had no clue how to date, let alone find bisexual and lesbian women.I couldn’t just assume that basically every woman I ran into was queer the way I’d assumed pretty much every guy I wanted to date was straight.I’d known it deep in my heart for some time, but it was as though my POTS diagnosis had upheaved my life in a way that made me finally ready to accept another major change too.I don’t know which was a bigger adjustment—learning I had POTS or realizing I was bisexual.The most valuable thing I learned was that I’d meet someone worthwhile when I stopped putting impossible standards on myself by wishing I could magically be completely healthy and started holding others to higher standards.

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