Tips For Dating With IBD
This past weekend I did an interview and one of the questions asked what advice would I give to someone who is new to dating with IBD. When it comes to dating I am certainly not an expert, and especially so when it comes to dating with inflammatory bowel disease. I get self-conscious. I have my doubts. I'm not perfect, but hey, no one is. Dating with IBD is tricky.
Here are a few tips to make dating with Crohn's or UC a bit smoother
Whether you're new to dating or 5 years in, never lie. Really this applies for anyone. Not just those of us with inflammatory bowel disease. Honesty is always the best policy. There is never an exception to that rule. If there's a meal you can't eat or a place you don't feel up to visiting, let it be known. At the end of the day, we're all human, even healthy people have preferences.
Don't cheat your diet for a relationship! If your doctor put you on a special diet (ie: low fiber, dairy free, ect.) don't cheat! It's your doctor's job to keep your best interest at heart. Even if you haven't told your partner that you have IBD yet, please put your health first and avoid things your body can't handle.
Don't wait, or wait
No one can tell you the right time to disclose your condition. Be your own advocate. A huge part of advocating for yourself is being held accountable for every decision, not just in your health, but your life. If you're like me and want to be upfront early on, by all means, do it! But if you're more comfortable with keeping quiet for a while that's okay too! Do what works for you, not what works for someone else.
Don't downplay it
When it's time to share, I've found that how you treat and look at your condition is how others will look at your condition. You don't have to be over the top or give every detail of your health/life, but you also don't want to make it seem as if it's a walk in the park. IBD is serious. Your partner needs to understand the importance of your condition and the role it plays in your life.
You have IBD, IBD does not have you. Be yourself. Allow yourself to have fun and be happy. Happiness is a huge part of self-care. Just make sure you're being responsible and taking care of your condition along the way.
If you find yourself in a stressful relationship, try stepping back. Give yourself time to breathe. Really think about the issues going on. No one is worth your health. If your issues are worth fixing, fix them. Immediately. Don't allow yourself to live in stress and chaos for extended periods of time. Stress = Flares. If you realize a relationship is not working, end it. You don't need to be in a situation that worsens your mood and health. You and your happiness are the most important.
Have you completed the IBD in America survey? Answer poll for survey link.