The Medication I Take Makes Dating Difficult. She was a cat lover dating ink cotton-candy-colored hair and obnoxious tastes in music but similar politics to mine. While texting on Tinder, she suggested I might get to play with her kitty. We agreed that we would take her cat out to the park some time but that we would start with dinner and a drink.
Sitting together at an Italian restaurant, we got past the cat conversation and progressed to politics and music, jokes and laughter. We were communicating freely and enjoying each other’s company — pretty much everything I wanted out of a first date. As the waitress picked up the check, my date invited me back to her place. I still didn’t think anything was going to happen until we were going to settle in to watch a movie and she changed her clothes right in front of me. She asked to see my tattoos — I’ve got a lot of ink, even for a Marine — so that happened too. But not everything happened, and probably not as much as she expected.
I explained about the injuries, the PTSD, the medication. We eagerly agreed on a second date. If we don’t, it’ll bug me. Like I’m not hot enough for you, or something. So many veterans’ stories begin with them coming back home to find it’s a place with which they no longer identify. I don’t want to overstate my problems, but as a man who went to Iraq as a proud Marine only to realize what was happening there was nothing short of catastrophic, I started to rethink where exactly my heart aligned with my nation and where it fractured and split.
My heart, though, was not the only part of me in need of repair. I need medication to keep post-traumatic stress disorder from completely overrunning, and ending, my life. Before the meds, there was drinking and drugs, but those led me nowhere. Eventually I found out that the bottoms of bottles and barrels look a whole lot alike. Not that the pills make life easy. These are the problems you read about in veteran tell-alls of every sort.
But another is less often shared: the pills I take to manage the symptoms of these conditions kill my libido. So I was prescribed Viagra — pills begetting pills. I don’t need it every time, but in case I do, I have it. I entered the online dating world, hoping companionship would bring a bit of pain relief and sanity.