Following The IBD and Ostomy Support Show conversation, talking about body confidence and dating with a disability got me thinking, how is dating with a disability? The real answer is that it really isn’t any different at all. Many people struggle with body confidence or putting themselves ‘out there’ for love because of their illness(s) or disability.
Before having any disabilities, I lived life as normal and dated and never even gave illness a thought.. that was until the age of 17 when I got poorly. However this didn’t change finding love or having relationships. The problem was that the people I gave my time to didn’t give me their time back. After surgery for a stoma I wasn’t given the right support and he only came into hospital once on valentines day 2015 then dumped me on the way home when I was discharged just a few months later. It wasn’t until after my surgery for my stoma that I truly appreciated my body, including my stretch marks and flabby parts! I wanted to know what people’s advice is for people looking for love with a disability..
This is what they said!:
Louise with Crohn’s Disease and an Ileostomy: “Be honest. No point in beating around the bush, getting attached and then revealing your secret and having them turn around and say it’s not worth their time!”
Kaz with Ulcerative Colitis: “Patience and understanding. Be prepared to be cancelled on short notice- offer alternatives- if not we’ll enough to go out, maybe offer to go to theirs and cook- they’re probably exhausted and feeling awful for letting you down and that offer could really boost them up!”
James with Crohn’s Disease: “Let people know that your condition can change at any time for example one minute you can be okay but then you can become really ill in a short amount of time.”
Hanna with Ulcerative Colitis, an Ileostomy, PSC and Fibromyalgia: “My main advice, don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Jonathan with an ostomy and Crohn’s Disease: “Best thing when dating is to be honest and just be yourself. If anyone has a problem with your stoma then that’s they’re problem! I have had Crohn’s Disease since the age of 16 and got my stoma at 26.. 10 years later and I am planning my wedding day!”
Annie with Fibromyalgia, Colonic Inertia, Crohn’s Disease and Bile Salt Malabsorption, Ankylosing Spondylitis: “Don’t be an ass!”
Laura with Crohn’s Disease and a Colostomy: “The disability isn’t who you are. I was completely honest with my now hubby when we first met and we sat and chatted he asked lots of questions, some which I thought were brilliant and I needed to ask myself . BUT I did also burn lots of amazing strong smelling candles too should I have to dash off to the loo! It also helps if you invite your partner along to your consultations. “
Theresa with an ostomy: “Honesty and having a sense of humour.”
Jennifer with Painful Bladder Syndrome, Depression, Anxiety and PTSD: “Patience, Compassion and understanding. Just because we have done something before doesn’t necessarily mean we can do it every time and that our ‘days off’ will likely be interrupted or structured around hospital appointments.”
Sahara with Ulcerative Colitis and an Ileostomy: “Just being honest at the start. There’s no point wasting your time dating someone, only to find out a month down the line that they can’t deal with it. So be as honest about how your condition affects you as you feel comfortable early on. That’s what I’ve always done.”
Murk with an ostomy: “Being open from the start is probably the biggest thing. Some people might not be able to accept it so it’s best to get it out there so you don’t waste your time with them.”
Tim with a J-Pouch: “Try not to be defined by your pouch it’s not so much a *disability*, it is more something that enables you to live more normally!”
Vivian with an ostomy: “Honey, never forget how to flirt! Even if that’s all we want to do!!”
Jack with Crohn’s Disease: “Be open minded!”
Dustie with an ostomy: “Dating can be a fun learning opportunity and lead one to finding a match made in heaven. My husband still loves me— Zebra or not. I am still super awesome, sexy, funny and his wife after all we’ve been through with my health. He wouldn’t change a thing about his decision to marry me and have baby zebras to have avoided my health issues interfere with our lives. I also realized that for me to stop feeling like I’m a burden to those around me, I have to stop believing I am one. My family and friends would rather have a disabled mom/daughter/sister/wife/bestie in their lives than no one.”
Katie with IBS and Damage of the Sphincter through childbirth: Honesty – I had a wheat and caffeine intolerance but when the man of my dreams asked me out for a pasta and coffee meal deal I couldn’t refuse! Needless to say I spent a lot of time in the toilet so had to confess. He didn’t mind though and he’s now my husband!
Sue with an ostomy: “I love being single…disability or non….❤️”
Myself with Behcet’s Disease and Vasculitis: “be accepting of your swelling, stretch marks and imperfections.. it makes us who we are!”
I think these are some fantastic tips to give to someone who is either dating with a disability or dating someone who suffers from a disability. It is so important to listen to one another and to definitely be honest with the person at all times, and explaining things they may not understand. If it’s something you don’t really understand yourself, there are lots of facebook groups or websites available which can help answer those questions. Be respectful to the person that is suffering and not being ignorant towards illness or disability is key!
If you are looking to date and have a digestive disorder of any kind, please sign up to Gutsy.Dating!
Hope you all have a fantastic valentines whatever you choose and whether you have a partner or you are single!
-Alannah A.K.A Glitterygutsx