Epilepsy And Dating

When should I tell someone I’m dating that I have epilepsy?

There is no simple answer for this, as each situation is different. Dating is sometimes awkward….but it can be even harder when you are living with a chronic health condition , no matter what it is. Telling them you have seizures isn’t going to be easy, but it shouldn’t be a big deal either.

Although it is a good idea to discuss epilepsy with your date, it is reasonable to wait until you feel comfortable and develop a level of trust with that person. But, yes, it is important to talk about it sooner rather than later especially if you are worried about having a seizure. If you keep putting off telling your partner about your epilepsy, because you are worried about how they may react, you may find that when you do tell them that they handle the news well and if they genuinely care about you they will be interested in knowing more about the condition.
 

How should the first conversation go?

The first discussion should be simple but informative. Talk about the basics on what to do when a seizure happens. People feel they are able to cope with situations better when they know what to expect. You don’t need to stay on the subject for too long, most people will ask questions if they want to know more. And this may occur in a gradual way (over days or weeks). You can talk about epilepsy however you want to, so if you are matter of fact and don’t make a big deal of it, then there is a good chance your date won’t either.

When you feel OK talking about your seizures, it’s likely others become more comfortable. People are usually interested in finding out what happens during a seizure, and real friends understand. Once it is clear that you are not afraid of epilepsy, others won’t be either.
 

What if my date doesn’t handle the news well?

Unfortunately, sometimes people do not cope well when finding out that the person they are dating has a health condition such as epilepsy. This can be due to a variety of reasons including not knowing anything about the condition, or being ignorant (ill-informed) about what it is like to live with epilepsy, or being worried about what to do if their partner does have a seizure whilst on a date. It is helpful to let your date know what it is like to have epilepsy and that having epilepsy does not mean you cannot live a normal life.

By late teens some of you will have developed quite close relationships with your partner and hence the transition into adulthood which may raise worries about intimacy issues. Here we answer some of your questions.
 

Can teens with epilepsy have normal intimate relationships?

Of course they can, just making sure their partner is aware about their epilepsy helps build encouragement and support in the relationship.
 

Click on the play button to hear Libby talk about her experience of telling her new partner she had epilepsy.

“Early on in the relationship, I recall deliberating whether or not to tell him that I have seizures. When I finally decided to, I was surprised at his response. He looked at me and simply stated, “I know that”.”

 

If you want more information click on the videos to see:

Dr Maria Kangas gives a talk about telling your new partner you have epilepsy.

Teenagers discuss what it’s like to be in a relationship when you have epilepsy.


 

Other links

http://www.youthhealthtalk.org/Young_people_with_epilepsy/Topic/3392
https://www.epilepsy.org.au/living_with_epilepsy/lifestyle_issues/relationships