Ask The Advocates: How Has CF Impacted Your Romantic Relationship(s)?
Those with cystic fibrosis know that it branches out into every area of their lives. Unfortunately, dating and relationships are no exception. Many people with cystic fibrosis worry about relationships, whether it be from the first steps of dating to walking down the aisle in marriage.
We asked our advocate team how CF has impacted their relationships, and they had a lot to share.
Honesty and communication are key
Response from Marieliz Landa
CF impacts everything about my relationship. As a CFer, you get tired quickly and you have issues with side effects and the emotional aspects of handling CF. Intimacy is important in every relationship, but when you have CF, it’s important to be honest about what works and doesn’t. Honesty and communication should always be present because CF does and will impact your romantic relationship.
Cystic fibrosis influenced my dating life
Response from Cheriz K
I have always been very open about having CF, so my significant others knew I had CF before we started dating. I really wanted a partner who would encourage me to stay healthy, someone who wouldn’t be afraid of the future. Some relationships did end because of CF, either they wanted biological kids (something I was unable to do), or they didn’t handle my being in the hospital well. I knew I needed a partner that wasn’t upset easily, someone who wouldn’t worry and had the same positive outlook I had.
As far as dating itself, CF did influence my dating life a bit. For example, it made some relationships become serious quickly. When you go through a life-saving surgery with someone by your side, it does strengthen the relationship a lot very quickly. Also, day-to-day type activities are different. For example, I didn’t stay out late on dates (because of meds and needing to hook up to my stomach feeding). I couldn’t do sports, jogging, or anything super active or I end up in a coughing attack (not something I wanted to happen on the first few dates).
But I was very fortunate. I had a lot of great relationships and I learned from each one. Then I met Andrew (now my spouse), he was by my side through everything. He not only encouraged me to do my meds, but would help me get them ready without me having to ask. CF isn’t all that I am, but it did heavily influence my relationships, which I’m thankful for- since I found my perfect partner in life.
CF has tested our relationship
Response from Misty Roussa
Our marriage strains sometimes but we have to work hard and realize that it is from fear more than anything. Our marriage has oftentimes taken a back seat to cystic fibrosis and we have had to work to get it back where it needs to be. We have really learned to depend on each other in times where we are worried about our son. Having a child with cystic fibrosis is really a test in a marriage. You have to combine anxiety, the newness of caring for that child, the scariness of the situation, and the unknowns of the future.
Cystic fibrosis brings unique stresses
Response from Janeil Whitworth
CF isn’t the most attractive disease--if you get what I mean? Mucus, digestion issues, ports, hospital admissions, chronic coughing, and pills and treatments all have their necessary place in a relationship with someone who has CF. It can make dating hard and intimidating at first. Revealing and coping with CF for a couple can be overwhelming and difficult as well.
I have been married for 5 years (and with my husband for 8) and we are still learning how CF impacts our lives and partnership. There are times I feel guilty that CF causes us extra stress most couples don’t deal with.
It’s difficult to try to plan for a future and ensure my partner will have a typical relationship and milestones with me. I can’t promise those things to him. In reality, no one can know what’s to come in the future, but it feels more in your face with CF. Plus, there are times where our romantic life has to take a backseat when I am sick or exhausted from the daily drain of CF. Yet, every season he learns how to better support me, and I learned to ask for help. I am lucky my husband has always viewed CF as just another part of our lives.
Finding someone who values me
Response from Katelyn Harlow
I only had two or three boyfriends before I met my husband. I had a number of first dates and I was always upfront about my cystic fibrosis (me taking enzymes at dinner usually provided a natural segue to the subject). Some men were upfront about not wanting to have to deal with it and others ghosted me.
My husband, though? He took the information, processed it, and proceeded to read every article he could about the illness. Come to find out, his family friend from childhood had CF and he had no idea! He was able to ask someone he knew about it. Thankfully, they knew our value and told him that, though it can be hard, it is worth it!
What about you? Has CF affected your relationships? We should love to hear about your experience with navigating the dating world with cystic fibrosis. Share in the comments below!
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