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Questioning a Relationship's Future

I'm in a bit of a tough situation. I recently started seeing a man who has advanced stage Lyme Disease. He does not work full-time and primarily lives on disability benefits. Although we have only been dating for a little while, in the beginning this did not bother me. However, things have since changed. While I'm ashamed to admit this, lately, I've been questioning if I should continue seeing him because of his situation. I've been starting to think about what it would mean for our future and it has me worried. I never pictured myself being in a relationship where I'd be the primary earner, and more so, I don't know what to expect as his disease progresses. I'm afraid I won't be able to cope and will make for a poor caregiver, as I've never looked after anyone other than myself. I'm also afraid of what others would think of him. I know there is a lot of stigma surrounding people on disability. This all being said, my conflict is despite all said above, I can honestly say I've never met a man like him in all my life. I have a history of tumultuous experiences with men (I am both a sexual assault and abuse survivor), and for the first time in my life, I feel like I have found someone who genuinely cares for and respects me. He is warm, funny, supportive and I absolutely love being around him. We have a lot in common and can spend hours on end just talking and laughing. I just can't seem to get past his situation and am really struggling with how to proceed with this relationship. What should I do? Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Re: Questioning a Relationship's Future

It sounds like you're looking for a future with a partner, and while this guy seemed interesting at first, after dating for three months, you have some concerns about compatibility. You don't need to feel ashamed. You have questions about his illness and a potential life together, and this is the perfect time to talk to him about what you want to know and don't. In fact, the three month mark of dating anyone is when you decide whether or not you want to continue dating them. So you're right on schedule! ;)

So, lose the shame -- it's not really serving you. In fact, it's holding you back. You have to be honest with yourself when you're dating. Otherwise, you'll misrepresent yourself and create drama. Talk to him about Lyme disease and ask questions. He'll probably be relieved that you're bringing it up and want to know more. If you need to know more, there are Lyme Disease organizations and information outlets that specialize in disseminating information with authority -- and these would be great resources for you now.

As for dating someone who is on permanent disability and does not work full time, do some soul searching while you're dating. Talk to him about how this might work in the future and how anyone he may wind up with possibly having to be a primary bread winner. It's very healthy to get this out and discuss it with him. But bottom line -- you have to learn about you and what you want. There are people who don't want kids and have to break up with single parents they're dating and love -- because kids are a deal breaker. There are people who only want to wind up with someone of a particular religion or income group -- and they have to make tough choices, too. Do what is right for you -- because that's really what is going to be right for him, too. ;)
April Masini is a relationship and etiquette expert, author of 4 books and the #1 relationship advice forum, blue-chip corporate spokesperson and preferred go-to source for the world’s most prominent media and news outlets.