This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
Psoriasis can be a difficult condition to have and it can also affect family and friends of those who have it. It is difficult to see someone you love going through the physical and/or emotional pain that can come with the condition, yet it can also be hard to know the best way to support someone with psoriasis.
It’s difficult for some people with psoriasis to form new relationships with friends or romantic partners because they may feel self-conscious or embarrassed about their symptoms or they may be worried that the other person will not understand their health condition.
I know this feeling all too well. When dating I had highly visible psoriasis. It was on my face for the world to see and there was no hiding from that. I was worried that people would be concerned or make comments about my psoriasis being on my face. I worried that if they thought of it badly on my face, how would they feel about it being on other areas such as my legs and genital areas.
Last year all of these feelings and thoughts disappeared when I met David. At the time, the majority of my psoriasis was clear due to medication and I had no worries, but over time it started to come back on my face and genital area bringing back all too familiar feelings of dread and worry. I knew I was going to have to have 'the psoriasis talk' with him. Luckily, I need not have worried, David has taken all of the psoriasis symptoms, associated illness and me generally feeling rubbish about my skin in his stride and made me feel amazing about my psoriasis.
Below, I have some tips on how to approach the subject whilst dating and the steps I took to tell David all about my psoriasis.
Tip One – Educate your partner
When I was first diagnosed with psoriasis, I had never heard of the condition and had no idea about the condition, side effects or treatment involved. So, if your new partner doesn’t have or know anyone with psoriasis it’s likely they don’t know anything about the condition either. This means it is up to you to educate them about what psoriasis is.
If someone is interested in becoming a part of your life, they will also be interested in learning how to support you with your psoriasis. Just like you want to learn how to support them in other ways.
Tip Two – Honesty is key
Psoriasis probably isn’t something that you want to be talking about on the first date, but sometimes there is just no avoiding it. Maybe your psoriasis is visible or you are going through a bad flare up. The best thing to do is be honest about what psoriasis is.
When my psoriasis was bad I had a large part of my face covered which meant that it was going to come up in conversation at some point when dating. I would be really honest when the subject did come up and I would use it as an oppurtunity to educate them about what psoriasis was.
If you aren’t feeling confident and don’t want to talk too much about the condition on the first date then prepare an answer in case it comes and then casually change the conversation. If they bring it up again then be honest and say you aren’t comfortable talking about it – you don’t have to explain your condition or medical history to anyone if you’re not comfortable with it!
When I told David about my psoriasis it was a few weeks in. I brought it up because my scalp psoriasis was slowly working down my forehead again and I was worried about it flaring completely before our next date. I explained the condition, how it affected me, the medication I was currently on and the side effects as well as comorbidities I had due to the condition such as depression and anxiety. As I said above David took it all in his stride, looking up the condition and asking questions about how and if he could help.
When I first told David about my psoriasis I was worried I had told him too much and put him off, but when I saw his response I was so happy that I had been so honest with him. By being open and honest, I was communicating that I wanted him around in the future.
Tip Three – Express your emotions
It can be a little awkward bringing up emotions in a new relationship, neither person wants to say the wrong thing and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Your partner will also know that psoriasis is a complex subject and not want to seem misinformed or seem insensitive.
Psoriasis may also make you feel anxious about being intimate with a new partner. To prevent you from feeling anxious and your partner from feeling hurt or rejected, explain how your skin feels when your psoriasis is bad, preferably before having a flare. Talking about how your skin can sometimes get in the way of your desire to be intimate with your partner helps them understand how you are feeling and not to take it personally.
Don’t forget, your feelings are coming from a real place. Acknowledging them, and work through them together will help your relationship grow stronger.
I hope these tips help you when it comes to new relationships. The most important thing to remember is that psoriasis is part of you and if someone has an issue with your psoriasis or any of the things that come with it, then that person isn’t right for you. You deserve someone who loves every part of you.
UK/IE MAT-18807. Date of Preparation: August 2018
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma