What Is It Like To Date Someone With Asthma?
To answer the question, it's wonderful dating and living with my partner! He is kind, funny, and one of those most interesting people I have ever met. He also happens to have asthma. When we first started dating, I was nervous to find out that he has had asthma since he was an infant, and has almost died from it. I really liked him right away and didn't want to do anything that might trigger his asthma. There are certain discussions we have that we might not have if he didn't have asthma. There are also a few things that I have learned to be mindful of to make my partner feel supported in our relationship.
My experience dating someone with asthma
We are a great match because of our mutual sensitivities to fragrance! Before I started dating someone with asthma, I was already mostly fragrance-free. Many perfumes, candles, and strong artificial scents give me a headache. Scented lotions, soaps, and laundry detergent also irritate my skin.
Strong artificial fragrance is one of the biggest triggers for his asthma, so it worked out perfectly. I didn't have to adjust much when we started dating and then living together. We both could agree on brands like Seventh Generation & Dr.Bronners. Occasionally, I just need to get his approval for certain essential oils that I wear or diffuse.
Getting a pet
My partner is allergic to cats, some dogs, and horses. I love animals and have been wanting to get a pet for some time now. Cats are my favorite, but that is pretty much out of the question due to his allergies. We both love dogs, and he isn't allergic to certain breeds. This is how our conversation about getting a pet typically goes:
Me: “Hey, are you allergic to goats? What about rabbits? Oooo porcupines are cute too!”
Him: “Umm no? I don’t think so. Wait, a porcupine?”
Me: “How cool would it be to walk my goat on a leash around the neighborhood? I guess we could just stick to a bunny or two for now though”.
Him: “Or a dog. I think both of us can agree we love dogs....”
For now, I think we plan on getting a dog in the near future. I will keep you updated if we end up getting a goat, rabbits, and maybe a porcupine.
Keys, phone, wallet...inhaler!
I don’t know about you, but it seems like my partner forgets or misplaces his inhaler when he actually really needs it. His asthma is well-managed but, of course, certain triggers still catch him by surprise. At this point, I've learned to ingrain "inhaler" into my mental checklist before we leave the house.
Leaving so soon?
I’m sure you’ve had to cut a visit or social meetup short due to your asthma before. When we’ve gone to visit my dad, my partner has had to hang out in the backyard. My dad has a lot of cats and 2 dogs, which means there’s pet dander all over the place inside his home. Needless to say, we really can’t visit for long.
If we're at a friend's house for the first time, sometimes a cat will pop out from behind the couch. We politely explain his allergies and leave shortly after. If we're grabbing a beer on an outside patio, we may have to go inside because there may be someone smoking a cigarette nearby. Or, if we're inside at a restaurant, someone's cloud of perfume might cause us to switch to a table outside.
Cold and flu season
Even before I started dating someone with asthma, I took flu and cold season seriously. I hate being sick, and I'm a borderline germaphobe. I learned very quickly that if I got even a common cold, my partner would almost certainly get it, but it would be 5 times worse for him.
The best way to avoid his asthma exacerbation is for both of us to just not get sick. We try to keep our immune systems strong all year by eating a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, getting outside every day, being active, and limiting stress.
Dating someone with asthma
Looking back, I haven't had to change too much to accommodate my partner's asthma. If anything, I've just had to become more mindful of my everyday actions. We value strong communication, and it's important for us to discuss things like pets, traveling, visiting friends and family, and even small things like cleaning the house. I appreciate bringing more awareness into my life, especially if that can make my partner's life easier.
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