WHY FAMILY & FRIENDS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT RELATIONSHIPS WITH SICKLE CELL PARTNERS
The psychological impact for people with sickle cell disease and their families result majorly from the pain and symptoms of their daily lives and society's attitude to those affected. In my experience, it would seem that there is more concern and maybe even opposition for a daughter for instance, who has SCT or SCD dating a man with SCT/SCD as opposed to a son who has SCT or SCD dating. Boys are encouraged to date more easily than girls. But why is this so?
My sister has sickle cell disease and is 25 years old but it has never been a topic of discussion what her relationship status is. When I found out a couple of years ago that she had a boyfriend, I almost lost my damn mind...LOL. Partly because that's my baby sister and I couldn't imagine any boy messing around with her and even my late brother at the time wasn't a fan. She never told anyone in the family about him and when we asked her why she said she knew we would react the way we did. The 2nd reason why I went crazy at the thought of her having a boyfriend was because I was immediately concerned about her having SCD and what that meant for the relationship. She had a lot more severe complications than my brother did and I didn't know if this guy was aware or not and if she was just a casual fling for him. Either way, I was not amused at the thought.
My brother, on the other hand, seemed to have girlfriends left and right and nobody seemed to be bothered though we were concerned of course about whether any girl would want to marry him with his condition. He did have a steady girlfriend before he passed away and she seemed committed to him. Whether or not her family was aware of his sickle cell status is what I can not tell. In my own dating life, when I would have a relationship with someone who shared the same carrier status as me, in the back of my mind I knew the relationship would go nowhere because my family would be greatly concerned for my own emotional ability to handle the possibility of having children with sickle cell.
Perhaps boys/men are considered a lot more emotionally and psychologically able to deal with the realities of sickle cell in the children than girls/women would be. It is such an expensive disease to have and if a couple is not more than financially stable, then it may be worth it to part ways. In the African culture, particularly Nigeria, having your family's support when choosing a life partner is extremely important and when you do not have it, it becomes very difficult to continue with a romantic relationship. I know how emotions can be so strong for a partner that even if they had a terminal disease, the desire to stay with them supersedes the fear of loosing them to death.
If you have friends or family who are at the moment in this type of relationship, my only advise is to lovingly make your concerns known but still be supportive regardless. Easier said than done maybe but people are brought into our lives for different reasons and to fulfill different purposes, let us trust that whatever those reasons and purposes are will be made clear to those concerned at the right time.
Hope everyone is having a happy Easter celebration with loved ones and thank you for taking the time to stop by the blog.