Relationship ‘red flags’ I watch out for as someone with sickle cell, Part 2

What sickle cell warriors should avoid when pursuing a romantic relationship

Oluwatosin Adesoye avatar

by Oluwatosin Adesoye |

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Second in a series. Read part one.

In my last column, I outlined several “red flags” that people with sickle cell disease should be wary of when dating. These include partners who lack a mind of their own, exhibit violent behavior, believe they’re doing someone a favor by being with them, have selfish tendencies, or make unfavorable comparisons. Today, I’ll examine even more red flags.

For sickle cell patients, a major red flag is having a partner who’s unaware of your health status. I believe it’s crucial to disclose your condition early on in the relationship before things get serious. Lying to a partner is unacceptable. Not only should they be informed that you have sickle cell, but they should also take the time to learn about it so they can provide proper care and support.

Unfortunately, some sickle cell patients may feel the need to lie about their health out of fear of discrimination or rejection. Those fears aren’t an excuse for dishonesty, however; if you choose to lie, you must bear the consequences of your actions. For instance, your partner might lack empathy because of their ignorance, which you’ve caused. And if your partner later realizes the truth, the result could be distrust, which could end the relationship.

If someone dumps you because you have sickle cell, know that they don’t deserve you and wouldn’t take good care of you, anyway.

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I believe that genotype incompatibility should be considered a significant red flag if you plan to have biological children with your partner. Because sickle cell disease doesn’t have a cure yet, avoiding having children with the condition should be a top priority, in my opinion. While genotype compatibility is important to me, it’s not the sole determining factor in my relationships.

Even if partners have incompatible genotypes, there are ways to avoid passing on sickle cell disease. One option is to conceive through in vitro fertilization and undergo preimplantation genetic testing before conception. Other options include adoption or choosing not to have children at all.

A partner who verbally abuses their significant other is an alarming red flag for me. Verbal abuse can evoke negative emotions and severely damage our health. Because mental and physical health are closely intertwined, emotional triggers can cause excruciating sickle cell crises, so steering clear of people who engage in verbal (or any type of) abuse is imperative to preserving our health.

Partners with extremely controlling behaviors tend to demand complete obedience and often lack empathy for their significant other’s needs and well-being. An extremely controlling partner likely wouldn’t understand the limitations and challenges that come with sickle cell, and they could put the patient’s health at risk by demanding compliance with unreasonable demands. I avoid people who exhibit such tendencies and choose partners who are empathetic, supportive, and understanding of my specific health needs instead.

Another significant red flag for me is general compatibility. Incompatibility can lead to abuse and toxicity, making the relationship challenging and unfulfilling. A compatible partner shares similar values, interests, and goals that make communicating, understanding, and supporting each other easier and more enjoyable.

Having a partner who’s financially irresponsible or abusive can be a major red flag, especially for someone with sickle cell disease, as the condition requires significant financial resources. I believe both partners should be financially responsible for managing sickle cell and sustaining stability in the relationship. It’s also important to avoid a financially abusive partner, as they can be detrimental to a patient’s health.

Many sickle cell patients may overlook red flags in relationships due to the challenges of finding suitable partners who understand the condition. However, it’s essential to identify warning signs and take appropriate action to prevent negative consequences.

As sickle cell warriors, we have the power to determine our happiness. We must avoid settling for unsuitable partners out of desperation or fear of being alone, and instead learn to be content and self-sufficient with or without a romantic partner.

Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.


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