Dating Young people's experiences of dating and relationships were very positive on the whole. Most we spoke with said that having epilepsy hadn't had a negative impact on their experiences of dating or going out with people. Most of the girls I've been out with have been, they've okay with it. They've been understanding, they've been like yeah now that's fine. The mistake that I have made, is sometimes I've told them too soon, and they've maybe thought, 'He's telling me this because he thinks we're gonna go out, and we're not going out yet' that kind of thing.
So that can be something that's like they think is an indicator that I want to go out with them, and in actual fact I'm just trying to be safe.
So that's been a bit, it's never been like a deal breaker, they've never been said oh this is too weird it's too much and then walked away from it. Sometimes they can be interested but they've never, no it's never really been an issue. Epilepsy has never really influenced my relationships in any way. I have to remember to take my medication with me and that kind of thing. And if I'm sick in the morning from alcohol it's not nice if you're with your girlfriend or whatever, but everyone's been pretty you know okay about it and people understand. Has it been easy to talk with them about it, or have you talked about it?
Yeah, I think if I do have relationships I'd like people, to choose people who have like good communication skills. I don't like to go out with people who would be awkward talking about it, because I'm not awkward talking about it.
I think that comes across so it's fine. I have had people who like last one was a little bit kind of she wasn't that approving of like the drinking and that kind of thing, of what I was doing, and missing half the medication like if I have really kind of a live night. She was like, 'I think you're doing the wrong thing,' and we'd have an argument about it, but not to any great extent. They have pamphlets on relationships I think from epilepsy people, I've never had to use any of their advice and I think I can deal with that part pretty much on my own.
Quite a few people said that, since their diagnosis, they had become more cautious or careful about who they ask out or develop a relationship with. Many preferred to get to know people as friends first, before getting involved more seriously. This way, people didn't need to feel awkward about when and how to tell a new boyfriend or girlfriend about epilepsy because they were already aware of it.
I was like you know there's something I haven't really told you 'cos I didn't see there was any point of saying anything. And he was like, 'Oh, what, why? He said yeah, he says, 'You're quite controlled in that way aren't you'? I said yeah, I said, 'There's a reason why that is,' and he was just like, 'Oh why, what's the matter. I just had to see you were alright with it. No, you know, you know, I don't want you to see me I was looking I was looking like rubbish.
So there are days when I don't really want you to see my like this and you know he was just like, 'Oh okay, okay then, are you sure? He said, 'Right I'm coming round and make you lunch,' and he bought me a bottle of 'feel good juice'. So yeah he's been really good with it. I feel like it was mistake to sort of burden an ex-boyfriend with it, I've tried to sort of be good with it and everything and plus what with it being controlled and he was just like.
He's actually seen me have a fit now and he says he was absolutely fine, he says, 'Don't worry about it, he says you know, you knew it was coming on, you told me, I got you in a safe place, and you're fine. A few people said they felt less confident about dating now than before their diagnosis. Some also talked about how, because of frequent seizures and lack of social networks, it was difficult to meet new people. One woman said epilepsy had knocked her confidence so much she didn't want to ask anyone out because she feared being rejected.
At the minute I feel like I'd rather go out with someone that I know very well, or that I know, at least know quite well because then the epilepsy for a start won't be more of a problem, they know more about me. I'd feel horrid about going out with someone, like on a first date, if I didn't know them very well.
Dating Someone With Epilepsy | The Mighty
When do you bring it up? When do you tell them? What point do you tell someone that I have epilepsy? And by doing so, by actually sitting down and telling them are you make too much of a big deal about it? And I think in that way it's made me very afraid. It's made me very afraid of getting involved in a relationship because you bring up a whole great heapful of things that you don't necessarily want to tell someone that you're not very involved with yet. And yes, it has made me kind of afraid, but what can you do? It's just the way life is.
So getting the balance right, when to tell and if you do tell, is it gonna scare them when you don't yourself know them maybe? I think it's changed the way that I think about relationships with people and I think the reason that I'd rather be friends with someone now before going out with them, is that I've kind of tested them, because you know at a certain point in my friendship with people it does come out.
Relationships and epilepsy
It just comes out, why don't I drive? Why don't I drink? I tell them and if I've known for a while then they have kind of passed the test, so I then I don't mind going out with them. I've got much less to lose. So it has changed the way that I get involved in relationships a great deal and probably for the better. You know it means that I'm lot more picky. But it is good. Many people felt that, if their boyfriend or girlfriend couldn't cope with their epilepsy, then they wouldn't be the right person for them anyway. One man said that epilepsy was a part of his life so any girlfriend would just have to 'take it or leave it'.
It is difficult when it comes to relationships but at the same time, I suppose in a way it's a risk you gotta take really. It is a bit of a pain as well when, a couple of times I've done this, you know the whole talking to a couple of a girls and the whole charm, really putting the effort in, giving it my all, and then, bang [clicks fingers] I go down and you think, 'ah God it was all wasted for nothing,' [laughs].
In certain cases they've come back to me and said, 'It's broken the ice a bit more. A couple of people who hadn't yet dated much, said they were a bit worried how epilepsy might affect their future relationships or finding a partner. Relationships Young people who were in a relationship talked about their partners being the most important source of emotional and practical support for them.
- 13 Things You Should Know If You're Dating Someone Who Has Epilepsy;
- Relationships, sex and epilepsy | Epilepsy Society;
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Several described how their partners had been their 'rock' and a source of 'unwavering support', especially when they were diagnosed. Emotional support from partners was extremely important to young people and a few said that they'd rather talk about epilepsy and their feelings with their partners than with parents or family. He's [boyfriend] really good.
Without him I wouldn't have, I'd just be sat in this room still, upset, on my own, wouldn't go out, but he's amazing. He's helped me through it. How has he helped you so much? Like he's the one, like basically I can't go out without him, because if I have a seizure, he's the one, he knows what to do.
Relationships and sex
He trained in what to do just for that. I'd only been with him a month when I was diagnosed and I thought oh no, he's gonna run away, I've got this thing, and he totally understood about it. He talks to me about it with everything, he asks me like how I'm feeling. And if I'm gonna have a fit he'll like take me somewhere out of the way so that no one can see me.
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What training did he have? He basically learnt like to put me in the recovery position, all stuff like that, and if like, you know and if the fit is more than five minutes, he knows what to do, just in case something goes wrong. How do you feel about that? Very safe, that's why I won't really go anywhere without him, or without anyone that knows what they are doing, just in case.
But I'm really happy that like he's taught, like he learnt all the stuff like that, just for me. I think it's definitely brought us closer together. I mean we were really close anyway, we talk about anything, he does everything for me, I do anything for him. I think it's a good relationship anyway but because of that it brings us closer together. We can talk about things, like before I wasn't really good talking about stuff, but since I've had this I've had no choice otherwise it'd all be locked in my mind and it would drive me crazy if I didn't talk.
So now we can just talk about anything, talk about epilepsy, talk about what not. He understands that like it drives me crazy in that I can't drive, and he'll try and get someone to take me out somewhere or he'll take me out for a meal, take me out to the cinema just to take my mind off things. He's really good [laughs]. I want to go home and see my girlfriend again, I've got a girlfriend.