A Canadian life coach with chronic health issues offers personal stories and advice on handling dating and relationships in this self-help guide.
It took Lynne until her late 30s to get a better grasp on dating and relationships in the context of her “officially diagnosed conditions,” which include vulvodynia, or what she refers to as “pain in my undercarriage.” Previously, she would suffer through sex and regularly push beyond her limits, which only made her condition worse. In this guide, she shares her hard-earned wisdom, stressing that it’s critical to establish a “personal foundation,” or “the rules of your life that ensure you feel safe, comfortable, relaxed, healthy, happy, and rested.” She then discusses dealing with first dates (research the meeting place to anticipate physical challenges, etc.), the third date (where sex is classically expected, thus likely to require at least a conversation about your condition), sex itself (consider “your definition of sex”), rejection (don’t take it personally; reject those who don’t fit foundation parameters), and ongoing relationships (expression of emotions and open communication essential). She spends the last 50 pages of her book addressing partners of the chronically ill, putting herself also in this category (an ex had neck pain) and advising readers to take care of their own physical/mental health and recognize that breakups will happen (detailing some of her own). Overall, however, Lynne emphasizes hope in finding love and embracing one’s own life and purpose. In this debut book, Lynne’s powerful first-person testimony should make her highly relatable to her target readers and lends particular authority to her array of practical, helpful tips. While she doesn’t delve too much into the specifics of her own or other chronic conditions, she gets real about what those with lifelong pain must consider, including whether open relationships are an option and, as one of the subheads puts it, when to “Postpone, Simplify, Delegate, Eliminate.” Alongside this, Lynne delivers plenty of advice actually applicable to anyone navigating the relationship/dating scene, from the necessities of sexually transmitted disease testing to the motivational message of loving one’s self first.
Cleareyed and inspirational prescriptions for the chronically ill seeking love.