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Eczema's Impact on Relationships

Vent about a time or situation where your eczema impacted a relationship (romantic, family, or friends)!

  1. I’ve found that a lot of people who don’t experience these sorts of flares don’t realize how uncomfortable, painful, and prohibitive they can be. I feel I’m constantly having to choose between being social and taking care of myself… fragrances and dog dander cause me to flare immediately, and these are difficult to avoid. My boyfriend of a decade and I moved to be near his parents, but they have two large dogs and I flare immediately if I go to their house. It’s such a part of their family culture to spend time together at home, and despite having tried to communicate what’s up, there’s a lot of awkwardness around my reluctance to spend time there. I feel constant guilt and also disappointment—I love their dogs, and I used to be able to be around them—and I also worry that my boyfriends family don’t understand the severity of the impact flares can have on my health and might be thinking that I want to avoid them. Our families have different communication styles and my boyfriend isn’t always the best at helping us understand each other when we might unwittingly get our wires crossed.
    It’s also just difficult with friends of friends or acquaintances—so many people wear fragrances that I have to think twice before accepting a social invitation. I’m not going to ask someone I’m not close to—or a group of people for that matter—not to wear fragrances just to accommodate me, but if I’m stuck in tight quarters with them for a while (ie at a restaurant) and I’m allergic to whatever fragrance, aftershave, etc they’re wearing, I’m SOL. This has happened many times. I really dislike being the squeaky tire—I *want* to be able to do what others want to do, I enjoy giving that small kindness—and when I’m in a position where I have to explain why I can’t do a certain thing, I start to second-guess whether the flares are really that big of a deal for me, so it’s difficult to communicate that they are. It’s only once I’ve done the thing and am suffering that I realize I wish I’d taken better care of myself.

    1. these situations can be difficult to navigate. Of course, you want to be sensitive to others, and not hurt anyone's feelings while also taking care of yourself. It's so true what you say, many people who have never experienced this before misunderstand how eczema and allergies are impacted by things like fragrance, aftershave, dog dander. We are glad that you have a place here to come to share your challenges. Perhaps other's in the community here can chime in, with some things that have helped them when in such situations. One tool that I have learned to be very helpful when trying to navigate tricky interpersonal conversations, is to speak from a place of "I feel" instead of things like "when you do/say...." Sending hugs and positive vibes! Chava B. Wald ( moderator & contributor

    2. Thank you for sharing this. A lot of people who don't have this condition may or may not be understanding to how severe it is and how much it has an impact on our everyday life. My eczema too has affected my relationships with family and friends especially with those with dogs. This was a turning point for me where I was able to find a community ( like this one) where I was able to express my thoughts and feelings without being judged. I hope you will continue to find ways to navigate through these situations. Thank you for sharing this and happy healing.

  2. I can say that so far, my eczema affected all my relationships; it has made me feel less confident.
    I was in a relationship a while ago until I saw that my partner was embarrassed of me and my face. I found out that he never told anyone that I was his girlfriend and that we were in a relationship. He just told everyone around that we are good friends, and he feels sorry that I have a face like that, and he just wants to be a nice person since I have no friends. How did I find out about that? He was checking his messages on my laptop and forgot to log out. Then, when I was using my computer, I was bombarded with those messages.
    I know that many people think that I won't find anybody, and it was stupid from my side to break up with him, and he was my only chance. But I can't spend the rest of my life with someone who's embarassed of me.
    At least he motivated me to start digging for a solution to my skin problems.

    1. , that is such a difficult thing to have someone you care about say to/about you. No one should spend their life with someone who can't accept them and is embarrassed about them, you are more than your eczema and I am glad to hear you moved on and it motivated you in a positive way. All the best, Sam S. (Atopic Dermatitis team).

  3. I’ve been with my partner for 6 months and have discovered im severely allergic to his cat. My eczema has gone crazy - I can’t avoid it as it’s on his clothes. What do I do!!

    1. Hello dear , your question does pose quite the challenging situation. It gives me pause to ponder. I have found open communication is key to all relationships. Coming up with a mutually agreeable plan would be best. Perhaps the plan could include some boundaries for the cat and its hair when you two are together. Here is an article from a colleague that offers some tips that may be of interest: I wish you well as the three of you start this journey together... Please stay in touch...
      Sending healing hugs to each of you, Liz - - Site Moderator

  4. less is more.. natural is better then putting on more chemicals and lotion on my skin.. yep lets stop picking my eczema too

    1. Hello again, dear , I couldn't agree more with your wise words! As a youngster growing up, my family's motto was id some is good more is best!! Wow, how I have changed as I matured and learned about my skin and health! So many in our community concur with you as you can see in the following: Please let us know your thoughts as we sincerely care about you and your wellbeing... Sending healing hugs, Liz - - Site Moderator

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