MS and Dating

This week Fergal Hughes reflects on dating and disclosing his MS online and offline!

I'm in my mid-to-late 40s, actually, ignore the 'late' part, I'm in my mid-40s ... and will be until I turn 50!

My ex-wife and I separated when I was 39 and I started online dating when I was 41.

I’ve found that ‘going on a date’ is like going for a job interview. A couple of minutes into the interview, I mean ‘date’, I relax and the following hour (or two or even three!!) is incredibly enjoyable, as my date and I learn about each other and even try to make each other laugh. Normal enough, I think.

Now the controversial bit:

Does my online dating profile include the fact that I have MS?

It does not!

Now, I’m not lying about not being up-front about my MS; i.e. there is no question on the webpage asking, ‘Do you suffer from a debilitating neurological condition’?

I’m not misrepresenting myself either. I’m only doing what most people do in online dating; that is ensuring my profile contains those things about me

(1) that are positive and (2) that I’m comfortable with strangers knowing.

Even in my search for a job, I do the same with my CV. The fact is my MS is not on my CV but it is something I will disclose in interviews.

I believe putting MS on my profile would seriously undermine my chances of getting a date, pure and simple. There’s nothing cynical about it. I’m just trying to give my personality a fighting chance. 

For me, the best time to tell a date about my MS is during the first date. That way, my date has met me and – who knows? – Maybe my sparkling personality and chiselled good looks will have offset the negativity of the MS!!

I’m being facetious, of course … although, the point about giving my personality a chance to impress is, I think, sincere and valid.

MS lost me a potential date!!

A year or two ago, me and a really cute girl I had been chatting with (via the dating site) were getting on really well and we had even set a date for our date.

Before our date, we swapped each other’s Facebooks (i.e. we ‘liked’ each other on Facebook – and note that, on Facebook, I publicly follow many, many pages to do with MS).

Long story short: within a day, she had unfriended me both on Facebook and on the dating site. Just like that. It devastated me, albeit on a miniscule level but still, it knocked me a little … to the point where it pains me to describe her as ‘really cute’ above.

So far, in my dating ‘career’, a date hasn’t walked out on me on learning of my MS. I’m a nice (or nice-ish) guy and can be quite witty, if I may say so myself. (How’s that for a glowing personal recommendation? Form an orderly queue ladies!)

Seriously though, it’s true that the majority of my dates have been ‘first dates’… but some actually did blossom into second and third dates, so there!


Would you believe, when I first started dating, there were some of those so-called first dates where I actually FORGOT to tell my date about the MS!! No, I’m serious. I didn’t avoid telling her, it honestly slipped my mind. I mean, MS hasn’t always been to the forefront of my mind in my life.

And since I mightn’t have wanted a second date anyway (as I’m sure she mightn’t have too), it turns out I shouldn’t have needed to tell about my MS.

Favourite date

My absolute favourite date (so far!) was back in 2012. We met at 8pm, we were both a little nervous to begin with but we proceeded to chat and charm each other.

Later, as we were leaving the pub, she asked me what time it was. I looked at my watch, expecting to see 11:00pm but instead it was 3am!! We had been chatting for 7 hours!!

As we were walking, she asked me what was wrong with my leg and I realised I’d forgotten about the MS. I remember I even said the words, “Oh yeah, I forgot, I have MS” … after which we chatted briefly and amiably about all things MS.

Now, seven years later, the girl is married to her long-term boyfriend (‘story of my life!’) … but we have remained good friends. We even meet up every now and then for coffee and to go to see old movies in the cinema.

For now it is time to sign off BUT here’s to continued success in my dating life!