My Experience on Dating Someone with Hyperhidrosis

Happy New Year!

My boyfriend had been talking about writing a guest blog post for Just A Little Sweat for a while, and on Christmas day, he surprised me with his beautiful and inspiring take on his experience dating someone with Hyperhidrosis. His words mean a lot to me and show me how supportive he is of me and my blog. He also shows support for you, my readers, and that is just as important to me.

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It’s probably not Hyperhidrosis. Caryn says it might be food induced HH but I’m not entirely convinced. Sweat pours down my forehead when I eat spicy food. I don’t eat it very often but when I do, I constantly have to wipe my face from becoming such a mess. It’s not really a hindrance though. I can easily stop eating spicy food (not that easy to give up chicken wings). I could just eat it in the privacy of my own home so people don’t see the sweat on my head. If only it was that easy for Caryn.

I don’t claim to understand Hyperhidrosis. But as silly as it sounds, it’s my small attempt in putting myself inside her shoes. (Which is a lot to ask for since she has a lot of shoes.)

I never heard of Hyperhidrosis until I started dating Caryn. And as hard as it must have been for her to tell me, I feel awful that I don’t remember the first time she told me about her condition. I probably didn’t even ‘get’  how big of a deal it was when she told me. But what know now is how much it affects her in everyday life and how she’s managed to overcome those struggles. Yes, there are some days that are easier than others. Her hands get more wet when she’s anxious and since she’s even more anxious when her hands are wet, the situation practically snowballs from there. But despite all of those things, she reels in those feelings, adapts and keeps moving forward.

It wasn’t always easy for her though. Well, I can’t say it was ever easy for her at all. There were times where I simply didn’t “get it” to completely help her in some situations. But what really helps her is having solace to all those who read this blog. Sharing her experiences with all of you has such a positive impact in her life and outlook on HH. Before this blog, she was afraid of letting anybody know about her condition. But after writing a couple of entries, she became braver and more inspired. While she didn’t tell every stranger out in the street (it doesn’t stop her from talking about it out in the subway though), she managed to muster up the courage to tell her closest friends. They’ve all been supportive and I feel like it gave Caryn the relief she always wanted.

Coming from someone who doesn’t have it, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be to tell someone about HH. Caryn once gave me hand lotion that stayed wet for about 5 minutes. It was definitely uncomfortable and it’s probably the closest experience I could equate it to. But what I can say if you’re someone who hasn’t told your closest friends and family, mustering up the courage to tell them offers more support than what you thought you had. In Caryn’s case, she was so worried telling some of her friends that when she finally told them recently, she forgot that some of them already knew. She didn’t realize she had the support all along and she just needed to open up to people.

My friend once told me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard: “People aren’t judging you as much as you think they are.” It’s slightly different than ‘stop worrying about what others think’ because this outlook shows that people aren’t as negative as you think. If shaking someone’s hand makes you embarrassed with what they think, chances are they probably didn’t think much of it. If you think people can tell your hand is getting sweaty, chances are most people aren’t even paying attention to it.

If HH is preventing you from getting close with anyone, remember that HH doesn’t define you. Just like how I said people aren’t judging you as much as you think they are, that special someone will get past it, accept it and love you for who you are.

In the beginning of our relationship, Caryn kept asking me if her hands grossed me out. All I would have to do is hold her hand tighter to show that spending time with her was more important than her hands. Besides, who else could laugh with me when I sweat profusely while eating chicken wings?

Sweat and Chicken Wings

Hi All,

I recently received a question from a reader about how HH impacts my dating life.

Well, from my previous entries, you all know I’ve been in a long term relationship for a while.

My boyfriend’s name is Francis and we have been together for 4 years. We were long distance for a while, but now we are happily in the same city- New York City!

Although my boyfriend and I are now very comfortable with each other, my HH still plays a big part in our relationship. Just the other night, I asked him again (for the umpteenth time): “Are you sure my hands don’t bother you?  “It’s not gross when I touch you?”

Thankfully, Francis has always been fine with my HH. I am lucky to have found him!

Other than the physical aspect of HH, he understands when I get very frustrated and emotional due to HH limitations. I try to be calm, but sometimes I can’t help it. He talks me through it or gives me a hug.

Francis is also very supportive about my goal to help others like me with HH. He encourages me to blog and to talk to people. It feels really good to trust that Francis isn’t grossed out by my HH and he is someone I confide in all the time.

We don’t let HH limit our relationship. We go out, stay in, watch movies, go to dinner…we are a pretty normal couple. If we’re talking about HH, it’s usually about ideas for my blog or ideas for future non-profit organizations for people with HH. We don’t like to let HH bring us down, although it’s okay to feel sad sometimes.

My advice to you is: Don’t settle. There is a guy or girl out there who will be accepting of your HH and you deserve to have that person.

And you never know- that person may just have HH themselves. Or a version of it.

I will go out on a limb and say that Francis has secondary HH. Secondary Hyperhidrosis is different from mine (primary) because it is caused by something. For example: taking certain medications, being overweight and/or having other medical conditions can cause overactive sweating. Francis’ cause happens to be spicy food.

The first time I noticed the sweating was when we ate chicken wings together at a dining hall on our college campus. His forehead had broken out in a sweat and had started dripping. The back of his shirt was starting to get wet.

I felt more comfortable mentioning the sweating because of my own condition, and Francis told me that it always happened to him when he ate spicy food.

Since then, this has been a normal and frequent occurrence. We both really like Thai food, and sometimes it can get spicy. He will sweat right there in the restaurant, and sweat way more than me! His forehead will sometimes get really sweaty and he has to go through a bunch of napkins to mop it up.

I have never had a problem with spicy foods and sweating, so I don’t really understand that aspect of overactive sweating. However, I know that Francis has a much better idea of my HH through these experiences.

I recently asked him if he made social decisions based on his spicy food sweating episodes. He said that he probably wouldn’t eat anything really spicy out in public, but it doesn’t bother him too much if he sweats just a little bit since he really likes spicy food.This is similar to people who suffer from primary HH because we make social decisions based on our HH all the time.

Francis did not know what HH was before he met me. I didn’t know he had sweating tendencies when eating spicy food. Since we started dating, I have slowly taught him what it means to live with HH. I know he still learns new ways I am limited by the condition, but he has a much better sense of what my life has been like.

If it’s any reassurance for the future, I notice that my sweating has decreased when around Francis because I am now more comfortable and relaxed around him. Dating always made me nervous, and nerves will create more sweat.

Don’t hide your HH. If it comes up, talk about it. HH is a big part of your life and a big part of who you are, whether you like it or not. The right person for you is going to love you for everything you are.

All my best,

Caryn