There were so many things my ex wanted to do that I just couldn’t participate in. I started to feel like I was a burden to him. As I think about the situation now, this might have been more based on the way I felt about my health than anything he actually said or did. We were living apart before our sixth wedding anniversary and signed divorce papers about a year after that.
I had loved my ex-husband, and I still do love him for the person he is. He just isn’t my person.
After that experience I decided I would never get married again. But life still had quite a few things to teach me about relationships.
The right person won’t get hung up on your diagnosis.
On my first night out post-divorce I met my now partner, Adam. I was sitting at a bar in Manhattan, waiting for my friend to arrive, when we struck up a conversation. He made a joke about how drinking beer means more trips to the bathroom, and I quickly decided to tell him I had M.S. I thought he might shut down and never want to see me again, but I figured if that was going to happen, it would be better to know right away than to keep talking to him.
So I blurted out the truth: “I use catheters because M.S. means I can’t control my bladder.”
Adam shrugged. “Okay. Is there anything I need to do?”
I couldn’t believe how casual he was being. “Well, no.”
“Okay.” He said. “So? Isn’t that kind of like needing glasses to see?” He smiled and ordered us another round of beers.
After my marriage ended, I continued to worry that no one would ever want me or love me because of my condition. It came as a shock when Adam thought it was one of the less notable things about me. Maybe the world could be a kinder, or at least more accepting, place than I was imagining. Maybe I could at least give people more of a chance to accept me, M.S. and all.
You can still have a love story with M.S.
I told Adam about the divorce and that I wasn’t looking for anything serious. But by our third date, he said, “You can do whatever you want, but we’re going to end up being together. That’s just the way it is.”
From that moment on, we were inseparable. We very quickly started spending every night together. He officially moved into my Brooklyn apartment about two years into our relationship, but we really only spent about 10 nights apart from the night of our first kiss.
I was so scared to make a mistake again and commit to the wrong person, but I couldn’t deny the connection we had. And every time Adam put his arm around me, it felt like a protective barrier—like it was us against the rest of the world. He was also hilarious. We shared a sense of humor from that first meeting at the bar, and to this day no time we spend together is lacking in laughter.