Dating isn’t easy. Regardless of your circumstance it isn’t always a walk in the park. Having IBD can make dating a little more complicated. I have been single a great deal of my life. My time as a single lady gave me the opportunity to date different people and explore who I am and what I want in a relationship.
It took me a while but I grew to finally be able to tell another person about my diagnosis without shedding tears. When I started dating post-diagnosis I would mention to people I met that I had Ulcerative Colitis. When they stared back at me blankly I would shrug it off and just say I have a sensitive stomach to help them understand, even though that really doesn’t describe even a fraction of what living with IBD is like.
As I matured and dated more I would describe having IBD in a different way. I would explain I have inflammation in my large intestine. I might even add in that it is considered an autoimmune disease. None of those men I dated had any clue what that meant for me. When I wasn’t feeling well I would just stay home. If I wasn’t feeling great while out with a guy I was dating I might pass it off as behind tired or my “tummy not feeling well.” I never included those I dated into my IBD world completely.
When I met my current boyfriend, De, in 2016 I explained I had IBD. However I still guarded what that truly meant for a while because I knew I liked this guy and I just wanted to “be normal.” There came a point where I couldn’t hide any longer. I needed to go back on my nightly suspension enemas which I administer right before I go to sleep. How was I going to explain this to the cute guy I started dating a few months ago when I need to do this medicine with him next to me. Instead of trying to hide this time I told him. I explained the entire reason why I have to use them and how embarrassing they are for me. He was so kind and understanding. If you don’t get a comforting response then you probably don’t want to be with that person anyway!
I slowly started letting De into my IBD world. I do not regret this one bit, and it took time. A lot of time. I didn’t unload everything I have been through with IBD on De all at once but I slowly began to include him more and more.
Now, do I think that means you should unload all of your IBD troubles on a first date…well certainly no. But what I am saying is be yourself. Don’t let anyone shame you. Share when you be with you, they will be. If they don’t want to go on this ride of life with you, they won’t, that gives you the opportunity to do what is best for you. At the end of the day you have to take care of number one and that includes when you are in the dating world. Don’t forget to be friendly at the grocery store, you just might meet the one.