The relationship women with PCOS have with their bodies and appearance can be a precarious one. Throw in a physical/intimate relationship with a member of the opposite sex and you’ve got yourself a potential minefield.
I’ll be honest. I’m a whole lot of dysfuctional in my relationships. Half of that can be attributed to the PCOS, while the other half is caused by a whole slew of other reasons. The PCOS part of the equation is a doozy though. It may be only half of the puzzle, but I would go out on a limb and say that mentally it makes up for more than ninety percent of the internal turmoil I find from dating/relationships. I guess when you break it all down it looks a lot like this:
Stephanie + Relationships = A Big Freaking Mess
I’ve never actually been forthcoming about my PCOS in my past relationships. This isn’t exactly shocking or surprising if you read this blog, since you know that I had never told anyone up until recently. I spent too much time trying to pretend that I was like everyone else and naturally I would never actually be honest about what I was going through. I see this a lot from some of the young women I’ve heard from on this blog and who I’ve read at other PCOS message boards. They keep the PCOS a secret. They act like all is well with the world and their bodies. A common concern seems to be – I can’t tell him because then he won’t like me anymore. I can’t be what he needs. I might not be able to have children and I’ve got a laundry list of funky things going on with my body. If I tell him, he will leave me and find some perfect woman who can be and do all the things I am not.
And so, some women stay in the relationships and keep their pain a secret and do a fantastic job of putting on this façade. They get up early before their partner and they make themselves up and attempt to mask all that is going on. They attempt to be normal. This is especially hard for those women with PCOS who suffer from depression. And since you can’t let your partner know what is going on – how can he help you and be what you need? He can’t. And you exist in a vicious cycle.
I find myself in a better, stronger, place in my life, particularly as it relates to trying to maintain a healthy relationship. Certainly more so than at any other time in my life. But the fear and the pain is still there – despite my protests to the contrary. And when it suddenly manifests itself and makes it presence known – it can wash over you and immediately take you back to the dark place that you once inhabited. And the scary thing is, you don’t know it’s happening until you find yourself in tears and loathing the image staring back at you. This is exactly what happened to me this weekend.
I don’t know even know how it happened. I went to a BBQ on Saturday night and I spent the evening talk to this guy about a whole bunch of random stuff we had in common. It was nice and maybe, just maybe, I found myself thinking I kind of liked him. So totally not a big deal at all. This kind of stuff happens to people all the time. But then the next day happened. Or, I should say, the reality of the next day happened. And that inner voice inside my head – the one I’ve done a really job of muffling as of late – made an unwelcome comeback. The Voice (as I shall refer to it as), wouldn’t allow me to just have the simple thought of owning the fact I had a good time talking with someone. Instead, it could only focus on the absurdity of my having such a thought to begin with. Why? Because I am not allowed to have these kinds of feelings and/or thoughts because it’s completely futile. There is no point.
It sounded a lot like this:
Stephanie. Reality check. Have you looked in the mirror lately? Who are you fooling? No one would chose you. Have you seen the options out there? No offense kid, but it’s not happening.
Clearly, The Voice is not my friend. The Voice prides itself on being a realist and giving me the truth. And so, even though I know deep down I am not the miscreant I make myself out to be, I have to agree with The Voice on this particular matter. I have to agree that no one would ultimately want to be with me because there are simply so many other, better, options out there to chose from. This isn’t The Voice being cruel – its simply stating the obvious. Nothing wrong with that.
And this is why I went from having weeks of feeling “okay” to suddenly feeling totally not okay and loathing the image staring back at me in the mirror. I went from feeling worthy of good things to suddenly feeling like I would never have any sort of normal, healthy relationship because I was so different… I was so hideous.
And yes, I do know that deep in my heart, this isn’t true. But it doesn’t mean I still don’t think that. That I still don’t feel it. That I don’t hear The Voice playing the tired old song in my head. I like to think I’ve been lucky enough to be able to start listening to other, gentler and kinder, records. But somewhere out there, that old song is still playing. And when I find myself too complacent with my new tunes, it shows up. It comes blasting through the airwaves – where it remains on repeat. And I am left to wonder how long I will allow the song to play until I choose a different tune.