I must admit I haven’t since 2015 it also means I’ve been celibate since then too in case you’re wondering.
Even before my lymphedema developed I was awkward at dating. As a male I’m expected to make the first move to be the pursuer. Having the conference to do that hasn’t been a strong point for me. I’ve clearly recognized I was different from others since I was very young . I was born with Noonans syndrome which manifest in some physical characteristics that makes me look different from what maybe considered normal. My first clear memory of this realization goes back when to my first memories of being in school. I can recall of more than once being tested to see if I had any intellectual disabilities.
This realization that I was different more than likely fed in to my lack of confidence. As scary as it was for me I’d try anyway to date with little success. Then in my twenties (at 23 to be exact) when a most are enjoying their new found freedom regularly going out and dating. I would receive a new blow to my already thin self-confidence and self image. I was diagnosed with lymphedema a condition that would further push me away from what I considered to look normal. This blow was to crumble what was left of self confidence I had. Effectively shutting down what little dating life I had well into my thirties.
Shirley & Me 2014
Then in 2013 I unexpectedly met Shirley an enchanting woman. This which was exciting brought a new set of worries. What to tell her, when to tell her, what will she think of how I look naked. Thought of being nude with someone was absolutely terrified me. See at time I was still hiding my condition and wasn’t quite ready to bare it all. She in fact would become a big part in me bearing it all.
We had been seeing and talking to each other for almost a month. I knew I want it to be a more serious relationship between us. Before I asked her to be my girlfriend I knew I needed to tell her all about my condition, all it took to maintain. Still not being the most confident I texted her and told her. I wish I’d done it face to face but that how I felt comfortable at the time doing it. A couple days later I went to see her and showed her what it looked like. She was very sweet and accepting about the whole situation which was a great relief.
We spent a wonderful year and half together. In that time I got to experience a lot I missed in my twenties and early thirties. Going on dates, figuring out how sex would work with how my body was it was awkward at first but fun just the same, even getting engaged. She help me build the confidence I’d wasn’t able to by myself. I credit her loving and excepting me unconditionally. That give me what it takes to live openly with my conditions. I will forever love and be grateful for to her that.
Unfortunately this time with her wasn’t meant to last as my love pasted away in March of 2015. As I said since then I haven’t seriously tried dating. I know I won’t be easy when I do try again but I also know thanks to my experiences it will be worth it.
So now I some advice from some who is still kinda scared inside but still willing to try. That’s just it get out and try also be open, honest about who you are. There’s no reason to hide any part of you. Anyone not willing to except you fully isn’t worth wasting time over. Remember always love yourself.