Navigating the Dating World With Eczema
“And they lived scratchily ever after…” would be the perfect ending to my romantic eczema fairytale. But life isn’t a fairytale, of course, and eczema can seem like an obstacle on the path to meeting your person. Recently, I’ve noticed an influx of articles in which couples reveal what it’s like being in a serious relationship or married to someone with eczema. However, when it comes to dating with eczema, the wealth of resources is nonexistent. As someone who’s lived with eczema for decades–and who’s trying not to let eczema get in the way of her love life–I’ve got lots of tips to fill this gap. I have learned a lot through the years, and I’m letting my guard down and contributing some helpful advice based on my experiences.
1. Learn to exude confidence.
I’m a firm believer that confidence should be a required course in school, as well as taught inside the home. Confidence is the most attractive thing a person can have! Does that mean you have to be perfect? Absolutely not. In fact, the point is to love yourself despite–and even because of–your imperfections. Confidence comes when you know yourself well and you celebrate what makes you unique. It’s imperative to build your self-confidence so you can be in the right headspace to date. Confidence will help you conquer your fears and combat anxiety, especially when dating. The key here is to silence that strong voice of self-doubt in your head. Yes, your date might notice your eczema. But if you come off as confident and stay present in the moment, your skin won’t matter.
The stigma and physical effects of eczema can take a few swings at your confidence and feelings of self-worth, so be intentional about your journey to love and accept yourself. Take time to think about what you really want and need in a relationship. Remember, you’re dating to find someone who’s the right fit for you–so being yourself is the best thing you can do. When you’re trying to build more confidence, start by identifying your strengths, then working through any challenges that might be holding you back from accepting yourself as you are. And keep in mind: eczema is ONLY a hindrance if you make it one!
2. Be open-minded, as love comes in many forms.
By societal design, I’ve personally had preconceived notions about certain things when dating. Yes, I’m admitting that I am 100% guilty of being judgmental without getting to know someone. And chances are, you are too! Don’t worry, it’s not our fault. Throughout our lives, we’ve been influenced by outside sources–like Hollywood movies, advertisements, and pressure from friends and family–to value some attributes over others and to think there’s one specific ideal way to be.
At some point, you should be honest with yourself and realize this isn’t a great approach to dating. Similar to the reasons you don’t want to be judged based on your skin condition, you should apply this to judging others. Whether it’s political affiliation, physical attributes, nationality, education level, or something else, it’s best to keep an open mind and not make assumptions about someone you’ve just met. It’s also important to note that acceptance doesn’t mean you have to always agree with the other person. And although it may sound simple, it takes time to get to a place where you can truly be at this stage. But once you do, you’ll expand your dating pool and possibly explore different facets of life you may not have been exposed to before!
3. Rejection teaches some valuable lessons.
I’m just going to say it: not everyone will be comfortable with your skin condition and that’s okay. It just means they aren’t the right person for you. It always hurts when you’re rejected; however with rejection comes patience and growth. Every time you’re rejected, even though it stings, you’re given an opportunity to confirm to yourself that your self-worth isn’t reliant on someone else’s thoughts or actions.
With almost 8 billion people on this earth, the probability of finding someone you connect with is extremely high. And when the right person comes along, they’ll never let a skin condition such as eczema get in the way of true love. They’ll do everything in their power to help ease your burden. Everyone battles with something they cannot control; yours just happens to be a skin condition.
Try your best to relax and enjoy the process of dating and meeting new people. Are there complications with dating while having eczema? Yes! Absolutely. But please don’t let that hold you back, as you’ll be missing out on a lot of opportunities. Remember, honesty is ALWAYS the best policy. So let the person you’re dating know you have eczema. Explain that it can be difficult at times and may prohibit you from doing certain things, but you’ll never let yourself be defined by it. If you show them you’ve accepted your eczema and you’re not letting it run your life, they’ll follow your lead. So get out there and boost your confidence, be open-minded, and learn to accept rejection. You never know what awaits you once you get started.