1. Myth: I’m gonna tell you on the first date.
Although, obviously, anyone I’m dating should know about my bleeding disorder, it can be an awkward subject to breach. I’m going to wait until I feel comfortable. It is an important part of me, but not something I need to divulge to every stranger who buys me dinner.
2. Myth: I’m going to bleed to death from a paper cut.
People with hemophilia do not have to worry too much about simple scrapes and bruises. Despite the fact that I may have a bad ankle or bum knee, or my bones might creak louder than is age-appropriate, I’m generally healthy. I take medicine a couple times a week, but mostly there’s not much to worry about, besides occasional bruises and bleeds that may cramp my style. And, I don’t bruise that easily.
3. Myth: We can’t talk about it.
I’ve lived with hemophilia my entire life. I’ve talked to friends, teachers, doctors, even senators about my disorder. I understand that the person I am dating has questions and fears, and it’s OK to talk about it and keep an open dialogue—because if I have a toothbrush at your place, I should probably have a dose of factor, too. If we’re dating seriously enough, you may even want to learn how to infuse me!
4. Myth: I need to be babied.
I know my limitations, and anyone I am dating should not try to push me to do something I shouldn’t do or tell me I should not do anything I think I can. Likewise, I’m not going to be bashful about saying we need to take a cab if my ankle starts hurting. Although I think it’s very sweet of you to help me ice my joint or put on a bandage, I don’t need to be overprotected. I mean, I wouldn’t plan a skydiving trip anytime soon … but I guess if the chute doesn’t open, it won’t really matter who has hemophilia and who doesn’t!
5. Myth: Our children will be bleeders.
A big misunderstanding for many couples is that their kids will inherit hemophilia. A father with hemophilia and a mother without the disorder will produce daughters who are carriers, but sons will not have hemophilia. And who knows what the technological advances in medicine will be by that time. Personally, I’ve always dreamed about adopting a child with hemophilia and teaching him or her how to confidently manage the disorder.
What you didn’t know:
I don’t really resent having hemophilia. It’s part of who I am, and although it doesn’t define me, it has made me the person you’re dating. So embrace it ... and me, too. (And here’s a great pickup line: “So, are you missing factor VIII or factor IX?”)
[Steps for Living: Dating When You Have a Bleeding Disorder]