It’s been a while since I wrote about a topic that has to do with relationships and dating. Recently I’ve been told how many males in particular have trouble with this topic and don’t have someone to connect too. The IBD and ostomy communities have many more female advocates than male advocates sharing their stories. This is why I want to be as open as I can to help others, without sharing to much of my personal life while helping others.
This past weekend I had an event which I wanted to share to hopefully help IBD patients with an ostomy, not only males this can help females as well. For many of us we battle with an IBD for years before making a decision about getting an ostomy. During this battle with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis we go over every scenario in our head, about how an ostomy will make it tougher to date, even be the end of our dating lives.
Many of us go even further in creating more scenarios that are likely to never happen. We think about the worst case events only and not how it will give us back our lives in many ways. We don’t think about how a large percentage of days will be much improved with an ostomy.
We think of a stoma as something so abnormal that not one person will be okay with it. I’m here to tell you that this isn’t true. It’s completely natural to not want to show someone your stoma right away, but when the time is right chances are they won’t care about it nearly as much as you do.
I’m telling you this because I recently showed my stoma to the second girl I’ve dated seriously since my surgery. I had an unexpected leak after a long day at her place and needed to change my ostomy. It was frustrating and to be honest I felt embarrassed a bit. After a little while I calmed down and we were talking while I was in the shower. I made the decision to just ask her if she wanted to see it and make a move forward so I wouldn’t have to debate when I should show her anymore.
Her reaction “You make a much bigger deal out of it than you should. That’s not a big deal at all.”. Now I was a little scared a nervous showing it to her, but just like every other girl I’ve dated since my surgery, whether it be serious or not they don’t care.
An ostomy doesn’t define a person and it won’t define a relationship. Just last night my girlfriend told me that she has never been treated so well and sweet by a guy in her life and how it meant so much to her. She wasn’t thinking about how I go to the bathroom differently, she wasn’t thinking about how a leak might happen eventually, SHE WAS THINKING ABOUT ME AS A PERSON.
Now I’m not saying it’s easy to date with an ostomy. I’m not saying that I still don’t have my mental battles with it at times. But I am saying that you shouldn’t let it control your dating life or control your relationship. In the 2.5 years since my surgery I’ve dated some amazing girls, who were really beautiful and not one cared about the fact I go to the bathroom a little differently. Don’t think that anyone you want to ask out or date will think of you differently because of your ostomy either.
Never Stay Quiet!