Psoriasis and managing relationships

Psoriasis is a highly visible condition because it affects your skin – the largest organ in your body. Many people are uncomfortable with psoriasis because they do not understand what it is and they are afraid that it might be contagious.

In your day to day living, it is inevitable that you will encounter social situations which may be a little awkward and uncomfortable. Psoriasis may affect how people react to you but you should not let their reaction make you feel negative towards yourself or affect your relationships with them.

Here are a few tips to help you.

Have a positive attitude

Stay positive and live life. Take control of your disease – don’t let it get in your way of having a relationship or doing anything you want .ix

Coping with psoriasis is tough, but some sufferers make it even tougher because they focus on the worse possible outcomes. When they start having flaky or angry, red patches, they tend to hide because they think people will stare or turn away from them.

Don’t give in to the urge to hide. Once a person behaves this way, the associated psychological impact of psoriasis will get worse. Their perception of how other people will react to them will be exaggerated in their minds and turned into distorted realities.

Be direct, deal with it early

In the dating game, it is best to get your condition in the open early. By addressing the issue right away you will defuse the person’s fear or anxiety and leave no room for their imagination to work overtime. This is especially important if your psoriasis is visible. Be direct, say, “I want you to know I have a skin condition called psoriasis. It’s not contagious but it can look worse than it actually is. If you prefer to meet when it clears, I’ll understand.”

The power of being proactive

By being open you are also saying some very positive things about yourself. You are honest, and you take the initiative. You are considerate about the other person’s feelings and their preference is important to you. The more control you take, the less likely you will be thrown off by situations you can’t control.

Humour helps

You don’t need to be Jim Carrey but sometimes humour can put people at ease. But if you don’t know how to tell a joke or if your timing is off, it can seem contrived. So if you want to use humour, no harm practising a bit of role play at home before you do so.

How do you explain what psoriasis is?

One simple way is to say “my body produces skin cells more rapidly than the average person”. It explains the condition in a nutshell so people realize that it’s simply '“your body producing too many skin cells” and nothing contagious.

Dealing with intimacy

Physical intimacy is the natural next step in most relationships. It is important to be honest and direct. The last thing you want is to deal with negative reaction from the person if they see you with your psoriasis for the first time without having prior knowledge about the condition. Don’t try to hide it – tell them. Start by telling them that psoriasis is not contagious. Some people might take time to get used to your condition. Tell them you understand if they are a bit squeamish but assure them you’re dealing with the condition.

Psoriasis and Managing Relationships