Many persons are turned off by psoriasis. Just ask model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne who lives with the condition. In 2015, she revealed to British newspaper The Times, “People would put on gloves and not want to touch me.” That reaction is usually due to a lack of knowledge and it can make the already nerve-racking experience of dating even more intimidating for someone with psoriasis.
So, how can anyone struggling with psoriasis confidently and successfully jump into the dating pool? Here are 6 tips that are sure to help.
1. Choose The Right Time to Disclose Your Diagnosis.
There is no universally right or wrong time to let your date know you have psoriasis. The timing will depend on many factors, including whether the patches are visible, your level of self-confidence, and whether the relationship seems to be headed in the direction of intimacy.
For example, if your psoriasis patches are located in areas where they can be covered up, you may choose to hold off letting your date know about your condition. On the other hand, if the relationship does progress, it would not be wise to wait until it gets to the point of intimacy to tell them about your condition.
2. Take Control by Sharing the Knowledge.
Once your psoriasis is noticed, a good move is to immediately clear the air about it. Most persons will need reassurance that it is not contagious. Your confidence as you simply and clearly explain what it is will help. You might even be surprised to realize that your date knows a few facts about it already.
If talking about it makes either of you nervous, you could also try injecting some humor into it. Something like, “My skin is kind of an over-achiever!” could lighten the mood. The bottom line is to help your date understand the condition and how it affects you. Avoid dwelling on it, however, or letting it dominate the conversation.
3. Approach Intimacy with Honesty.
An April 2015 article by the National Psoriasis Foundation reported on the findings of dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Clay Cather based on a questionnaire completed by patients with psoriasis. It reveals that “More than two-thirds of patients reported that psoriasis had at least one negative impact on their sex lives.”
Remember that your happiness and pleasure are important to someone who cares about you. If intimacy is on the cards with your new significant other, share with them any insecurities you might be having with body image. Let them know, too, that having psoriasis can make intercourse painful for you. They will appreciate you being open and honest with them about how and where you prefer to be touched.
4. Don’t Lower Your Standards.
Having psoriasis does not make you any less of a person or any less deserving of the respect and happiness we all seek. Do not decide to go out with someone or to continue seeing them if they display insensitivity to your condition. You are probably already dealing with the effects of psoriasis on your self-esteem. You don’t need to be around someone whose negative reactions make you uncomfortable and constantly conscious of your psoriasis. You deserve better. There are persons out there who can see past your skin to the inner qualities that make you who you are.
5. Try Dating Sites That Cater to Persons with Psoriasis.
We all have a natural need for companionship and intimacy – having psoriasis does not change that. It does, however, make it so much more difficult to fulfill that need. This is where dating sites specifically dedicated to persons with psoriasis come into the picture. Many regular dating sites, such as OK Cupid, also have sections devoted to persons struggling with psoriasis or other chronic conditions.
These online sites are places where you can meet someone who totally understands what your condition is about because they are experiencing it too. You can both look past the psoriasis on the outside and focus on what the other person is like on the inside.
6. Take Care of Your General Health.
While stress has been shown to exacerbate psoriasis, exercise, meditation, and eating healthy foods have all been shown to lower stress levels. Being healthy in mind and body, therefore, carries multiple benefits for you. It lessens psoriasis flare-ups by reducing stress; gives you a healthy glow from the inside out; and helps to take some of that stressful edge off of venturing out onto the dating scene.
Your mental health is another important part of your overall wellbeing. It can be boosted by surrounding yourself with a strong support system of family and friends. Consider, too, joining an online support group of persons facing the same challenge you are dealing with: dating with psoriasis.