Patient Blogs | Atopic Dermatitis
How Eczema Affects My Relationship
photo of couple holding hands by the river Seine

Eczema is hard to hide. I scratch and flake on good days. On bad days, or when it’s on my face, eczema is totally visible. This means my eczema is seen by people around me and their reaction is almost inevitable. With my partner, I do not have to explain my eczema and I can vent about it comfortably. My partner has made it easier for me to deal with my chronic eczema, and I am grateful for his unconditional eczema support.

Dating vs. Long-Term Relationships

I’ve been in long-relationships most of my life, so I didn’t really have to deal with casual dating while flaring on my face or body. I’m lucky that I’ve had supportive partners, which includes my husband, who I’ve had a relationship with for 8+ years. When I feel like a monster, he still treats me like his moon. I really don’t know how he does it. He’s so encouraging and sympathetic. If I look my worst, he doesn’t act disgusted; he’s empathetic and supportive. He knows it will eventually get better and helps me until it improves.

If I were casually or online dating, I would be confident with my skin up to a certain point. When my face is severely flared up, I avoid meeting new people. It’s just too jarring for others and it’s physically uncomfortable for me, so I’d rather stay home. Thankfully, my eczema is not severe often. I’m OK with meeting new people when I just have mild to moderate flare-ups.

My Partner Sacrifices for My Skin Allergies

Romantic partners do not just look past the flare-ups and offer support, but they also make lifestyle sacrifices. When my husband and I began dating, he immediately stopped using products with my allergens (which include the fragrance ingredient!). On one of our earlier dates, I talked about my eczema and skin allergies and soon after, he gave me a few products he thought could help. It caught me off guard because I wasn’t expecting this response. In fact, I wasn’t expecting anything. I didn’t need him to buy me products or to stop using products himself. Looking back, I probably hoped he would accept me in general. So it was very sweet that he went well beyond that by offering his support from day one.

The biggest sacrifice my husband has made is the removal of all carpets and upholstered furniture, due to my dust mite allergy. I try my best to make my eczema and skin allergies as undemanding for my partner as possible. For example, I found special rugs that are machine washable for his office. I also bought a washable fuzzy bathroom mat for under his desk, so his feet can feel like they’re on carpet. I don’t expect my husband to give unconditionally. I want to give as much as possible and take as little as possible, with regards to my eczema situation.

Being Supported by My Partner

My husband is my eczema angel. He has helped me physically and emotionally. At my worst, he has washed my hair and applied ointments on my body, even though he has a strong aversion to touching creams. Just knowing that I don’t have to hide my eczema from him makes me feel much more confident about my skin condition. My partner makes me feel loved. He looks past my eczema shell and loves me unconditionally. Together my husband and I handle things well, considering chronic eczema is the third wheel of our relationship!

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Helen Piña

Helen Piña

Diagnosed since 1999

Helen Piña has lived with chronic atopic dermatitis (eczema) and skin allergies for most of her life. She’s committed to offering support, advice, and compassion to fellow eczema fighters through her Itchy Pineapple blog. Piña is married with two young children and is a marketing leader in the B2B tech industry. She lives in Houston, TX.

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