1. Ask yourself if you’re ready to date.
Before getting too wrapped up in others’ impressions, ask yourself: “Am I even in a position to date?” If you cannot love yourself, you should not attempt to love others. People can be cruel, and sometimes it is hard enough to accept what your body is doing to you on your own. Keeping your symptoms manageable under judging eyes is an altogether different prospect to manage.
2. Ask yourself if you’ve honestly come to terms with your HS.
As with every illness, on some days life feels very “touch and go,” and on others you are primed to conquer the universe. If you are at ease with your HS, others will be too. HS should not define you, as it is just one part of you. As long as you recognize this and embrace the fact that you deserve love just like anyone else, you’ll be in a good position to date.
3. Don’t rush into divulging everything.
Every illness plays a role in a relationship. There is no need to rush into telling someone everything about your skin condition. You should not attempt to keep it a secret forever, but you should also take your time in explaining every single detail.
4. Don’t lie if the subject is raised.
Even if you are uncomfortable discussing HS at first, don’t lie about it. As soon as you’re comfortable enough, your significant other deserves to have some information—particularly to be reassured that HS is not contagious and that they are safe.
5. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information at once.
For starters, provide the basic facts. Try to act cool and collected as you explain HS and also encourage them to do their own research. Do not have this conversation in bed, but share your concerns about being intimate while you’re experiencing a flare-up. Doing this in the right way can actually be a bonding experience.
6. Know when to give someone space.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and sometimes that means that having all the information does not make things easier. Not every relationship is going to work out, whether or not you’re suffering from a skin condition. So try not to take it too personally if someone decides that HS is a deal breaker for them. If that happens, rest assured that there is always someone else around the corner who will come along and see beyond the flare-ups and the scars. This person will see you for who you really are, beyond your diagnosis. If someone does choose to walk away, it does not mean there is something wrong with you, and it does not make them a bad person either.
7. Know what you want, and what you deserve.
You deserve someone who accepts you for who you are and everything that comes along with that. A prince who not only understands your “baggage,” but carries it with pride. You deserve someone who can adapt to the situation depending on the day. Someone who will suggest activities that are a better fit on the random day HS decides to rear its ugly head unexpectedly. You deserve someone dependable. You need to be able to rely on your significant other, even if it’s just to run to the corner store for a gallon of milk, some extra bandages, and a chocolate bar.