What Happens to Your Sexual Market Value When You Live With a Chronic Illness and What Can You Do About it?
This post was submitted by a supporter.
The basic idea of sexual market value is generally easy to comprehend but if you or a loved one has a chronic condition of some kind, there may be a hurdle in the way of acceptance.
Let’s take the example of an autoimmune condition that one develops in childhood. The person with this condition knows they did not do anything to bring this on themselves. They might be offended at the idea that their sexual market value has been lowered through no fault of their own.
Nevertheless, reality must be dealt with. In the case of an autoimmune condition, you have something that has a higher genetic susceptibility to be passed down to your offspring and no one would argue this is a positive thing. Also, you may have higher associated medical costs and perhaps drains on your energy, appearance, capabilities, and vibrancy. Your mood may be affected, too.
I live with a serious chronic illness since childhood and can vouch for just how tricky life can be when you want to retain your energy, looks, mood, overall health—you know, your perceived value to others, in the face of a medical condition.
Recently, a woman who has the same condition I do got on social media to tell the world about her boyfriend leaving her. He was tired of dealing with her health problems and wasn’t up to life with her plus her condition. Quickly members of the community vilified this man, telling the woman that he was scum for ditching her. I didn’t blame him. He has the right to his decision.
I couldn’t help but think back to the way that my relationship with my husband, while we dated, really motivated me to manage my health as best as I could in part because I was essentially competing with healthier women (even though we exclusively dated). I would think to myself at night, “Why would anyone want me with all my baggage?” I became incredibly inspired by his attention towards me and the fact that he was a virtuous person. It’s extremely flattering to have a good man’s attention. I began to improve my health in the ways I could. I also lost weight and worked to be as sweet, useful, and thoughtful as I could. As a result he remained interested and eventually proposed. We’ve been married 10 years now and I have never had to doubt his loyalty.
One thing that was in my favor, which I’ll mention, is that I was in my early twenties. I recommend women and men search for their partner while they are younger and stronger. I know that for myself, it was easier having children as a young person with my condition than if I were to attempt it now in my mid 30s.
There are a few things I’ve noticed my husband and I both do which brings us success in light of my condition:
1. He never pities me, but he does show compassion and empathy.
2. I take responsibility for my health and my choices. I do not blame my behavior on my condition and how “unfair” it is. I focus on being empowered and responsible and in charge of my health. My husband respects this and thus any burdens on him regarding my condition are strictly limited. As a result, when I need him, he’s more than happy to help me.
3. He values how much I care about my health, his health, and our children’s health and appreciates how much knowledge I’ve gained through my own struggles which I use to help all of us thrive.
4. I do not listen to or hang out with those who share my condition unless they are positive-minded. The last thing I need is to have feelings of victimhood infiltrate my mind. It can be easy on hard days so I’m proactive by keeping company with people who specifically choose to be empowered and who realize that we all have personal challenges. Those who rise above are always looking at what is in their power to do versus complaining about what they can’t do.
5. I watch my spending very carefully. I know I cost my family quite a bit due to medical costs.
I am most frugal when it comes to myself. I buy second-hand clothes and minimal make- up. I learned how to curl my hair without any expensive or time consuming tools and learned how to do my own nails, waxing, haircuts, and hair coloring. I don’t go to the gym, I do daily workouts from home.
My advice to others in a similar position is to focus on all the great things you have going for you and to maximize your health as best you can. One of the things my husband loves about me (which grew out of my experience with this condition) is that he knows that whatever challenge comes my way, I’m not going to wilt or run away. I’ll meet it head on and do what it takes for us to thrive. You too, may have the advantage of knowing how to get through adversity with more grace than most.
The point is you can still get the highest quality partner you can stand to get. Make the most of yourself and vet him or her well.