8 Tips for Dating With Fibromyalgia

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  • Dating is difficult, even if you don’t have fibromyalgia. Trying to find someone whom you enjoy being with and who is accepting of you takes work even in the best of circumstances. However, when you add in the chronic pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, dating requires a bit more thought and effort, but you can make it work by remembering a few important things.

  • 1
    Plan ahead.
    Middle aged Caucasian woman on smiling with partner in field of flowers

    Dating is stressful. Meeting new people is stressful. And even dating someone you already know can take a lot of physical and mental energy—energy you simply may not have when you live with fibromyalgia. Make sure to plan ahead by resting up prior to a date. Until you really know how your body responds to being around someone, treat a date as you would any other major activity. Always put thought into what type of outing you plan and how much energy it may require.

  • 2
    Be honest.
    Young couple on date in coffee shop

    You don’t have to tell someone everything on your first date, but consider bringing up the topic early. Be honest about your life with fibromyalgia and how it affects you. By opening the topic and providing some basics about fibromyalgia and the limitations it brings, you can address any questions upfront. If your illness is going to be an issue for the other person, it’s better to find out early.

  • 3
    Communicate openly.
    Senior couple on coffee date at outdoor cafe

    Honesty about your life with fibromyalgia is important, both early in a relationship and once it’s established. Be open about how you are feeling, how fibromyalgia affects your abilities, and what you feel able to do at any time. Withholding information will only lead to increased stress, pain and fatigue. Explain from the beginning that fibromyalgia can often mean you must cancel plans at the last minute. Communicating openly helps set expectations and makes disappointment on either side less likely.

  • 4
    Encourage questions.
    Young couple at restaurant smiling

    As you discuss your fibromyalgia symptoms and limitations with your partner, encourage him or her to ask you questions. Chronic illness can often leave us feeling on the defensive, leading us to resist questions or to take questions as a challenge. But by being open to questions you can establish trust, which will help grow your relationship. Questions also help your partner understand your illness and learn how to best help and support you.

  • 5
    Take control of the date.
    Couple walking down sidewalk holding hands

    When dating with fibromyalgia, it’s important to stay within your limits to avoid increasing symptoms. Planning the date yourself will allow you to take control and stay within your comfort zone. This ensures you will not be pushed to do more than you can handle. Plan light dates that can be ended at any point if you are tired or simply don’t find your date a good fit. For first dates, consider meeting for coffee, dessert or a drink to give yourself the ability to leave whenever you feel the need.

  • 6
    Set expectations.
    Silhouette of couple on date at movie theater

    In any dating situation it’s important to set realistic expectations. When dating with fibromyalgia, this is even more important. These expectations include how much time you can spend together, what you feel comfortable doing, and how much energy you have to spare for the relationship. Don’t push yourself beyond your comfort zone just to impress someone else. Dating someone with chronic illness is likely new for your partner, so he or she has no idea how different it can be. Only you can help the other person understand what to expect in this relationship.

  • 7
    Focus on the positive.
    Couple playing in park in autumn

    When you live with the chronic pain and fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia, it can be easy to allow those symptoms to control your focus. However, it’s important that you don’t spend your whole date focused on your health. Discuss your positive attributes, what you enjoy, and who you are beyond your illness. Remember that your illness is not your identity. Also, make sure you spend plenty of time allowing your date to talk as well, so you can get to know him or her and determine if you want to see this person again.

  • 8
    Remember self-care.
    Young couple embrace

    Dating is a lot of work, so as you spend time and energy trying to find “the one,” it’s important that you remember to take care of yourself. Rest up prior to dates, take your time getting ready, and if you need to cancel a date because you don’t feel up to getting out, don’t feel bad for doing so. Your health is your priority and if the other person can’t understand or empathize, it probably wasn’t going to be a good fit anyway. Save your energy for someone who’s worth it.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2018 Aug 28
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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