Dating With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

It has been bought to my attention over the last few years, just how hard many inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients find the whole dating scene.

When you first begin dating someone new, essentially that person is a still a stranger. How much of your soul do you need to bare before you even know if this has any sustainability?

Dating is hard enough for healthy people, right? Wondering, “Does he like me? Did he mean to touch me then? In fact, do I even like him? His nose is a bit big…”

I have a j-pouch, which is difficult enough to explain, “No, unfortunately I am not available for a passionate encounter this evening, as I have vast quantity of medication to take before bed. I also don’t want to have to get up and go for a poop in your toilet in the middle of the night, or worse still, sleep through the ‘getting up’ part.”

So how do we, as “IBDers,” “Ostomates,” “Pouchies” tackle the subject?

Personally, I am more of cards on the table right from the very start kind of girl. Living with IBD means that I have limitations; I often don’t feel like going out after being at work all day.

It is small things like this that could affect even the early on stages of dating that I like to get off my chest sooner rather than later. That way, it will soon become clear apparent whether there is any compatibility. These may be small things, but they occur regularly and could present a problem in terms of the outlook for the relationship.

If you want to buy me food, I am well up for that. In fact, you may now be well on your way to becoming my favorite human, but make it a takeaway so I can eat in my PJs at home, OK?

Cinema – no problem! Just make sure you book me an aisle seat so I can escape quickly if the need arises.

Living with a colostomy bag or having hefty scars on your body should not be an issue, but personally I would rather these be known from the start, because you will soon find out whether your could be “Mr. or Mrs. Right” is in fact, “Mr. or Mrs. Shallow,” and nobody should waste time on them.

Of course, I have had my, “Who is going to want me now?!” meltdowns, but I am a great believer in not settling for anything less than you deserve. I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that anybody who is shallow enough not to want you because you have an ileostomy, does not deserve you. You need someone that see’s past that and see’s who you really are and what makes you tick, and that connects with you on a deeper level than, “You have a great butt.”

I once saw an advertisement on Facebook promoting a dating site specifically for people with IBD. My initial reaction was, “Why the hell should I only be allowed to date people with the same disease? That is completely ridiculous, and will just serve as a constant reminder that my body is knackered and on a desperate search not be alone I’ve had to resort to just looking for others with IBD.”

After my initial outburst I began thinking about it more rationally. In no way do I believe that people with IBD should feel they have to date other people with IBD, but it would sure save a lot of explaining. There would be no need for awkward explanations about toilet trips and trying to explain that fatigue is not the same as when you are just tired.

The only thing that bothers me about having a relationship coupled with IBD is that I have an uncontrollable feeling of guilt. Entering into a relationship knowing that I will be sick, moody, and and putting someone else through it, when in reality it’s not their problem, is a great source of guilt. But, if they date you, they date all of you, IBD and everything.

The thing about dating is, there are no rules. I think we’re all just winging it really, but being yourself will mean that you have a clearer image of who can fit in to your life, and more importantly, who will help carry your baggage.

Just keep the faith, and never let anyone make you feel like you aren’t enough, because you are. Don’t settle for second best and go with your gut. (Excuse the pun.)

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