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Tips For Explaining IBD To Your New Boo

Explaining what it’s like living with a chronic illness is almost like pulling teeth. For someone who’s never really experienced the pain of your body operating against itself, it can seem almost impossible for them to understand. Explaining IBD can be even worse.

You have to be prepared for people to not understand

When you’re living with a condition that largely impacts your digestive system, you have to be prepared. Not only symptom wise, but support wise too. 90% of the people I am surrounded by have recommended some kind of diet or “magic pill” to me before. People think it can be resolved by things like acupuncture or weed. While those things may improve symptoms and make life more tolerable for some, no treatment is one size fits all and IBD has no cure. While it’s possible to achieve remission, and many people will achieve that in many different ways, nothing my friends have found on random un-credible websites is going to “heal” my gut.

It is no different when it comes to dating

Dating, unfortunately, is no different. We have to understand: people generally care about our wellbeing. They want to see us happy and thriving, so they try to do what they can to make us feel better. Even if those efforts are in vain, they should still be appreciated. I try to show appreciation to people even when they don’t fully understand the severity of my condition. Of course, education is key, so when the time does come up, we do have to remember to be patient and educate our loved ones, but understanding is the first step.

Tips for explaining IBD to your new Boo

  1. Education is key, but don’t feel the need to over explain: Education is so important. Especially when it comes to spreading awareness. You want to share accurate information, but also remember, this person is human (too), this is all very new to them. Don’t feel pressured to explain every fact about your disease in one conversation. If this is the person you’re meant to be with, you’ll have a lot of time in the future to discuss things further.
  2. Be patient and understand, they may not show support in the way you want (or need) // Tell them: Not everyone is going to support you in the way that you want or need to be supported. That’s okay. Instead of getting frustrated, try remembering a time when you were put in a similar situation. Trying to help someone in need, but not quite sure how. Remember to be patient. If you need more from this person or you need a different form of love and support, tell them. Communication is so key when dealing with chronic illness. Especially when it comes to relationships.
  3. Take Your Time: Once again, if this is the person you’re meant to be with, things will work themselves out. Don’t feel like you need to tell everything as soon as you meet a person. Give yourself time. If you’re not comfortable, don’t have the conversation. Yes, you may be sick, but you’re also human. You deserve respect. You deserve your privacy. There’s no rush.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Julie Marie Palumbo moderator
    3 months ago

    I LOVE this! Especially #3!

    I met my husband 3 weeks after my colectomy and chose not to reveal my Crohn’s Disease until after a month of dating. My reason was that previous relationships (obviously with the wrong guy) had suffered because of it, but when I told my husband he replied “well, we all have something” and that was it. He didn’t care. Those who truly love you love ALL of you and it never was an issue in our relationship, despite the many colonoscopies he has picked me up from, colonoscopy preps he has been present for (talk about true love!), my restricted diet, and everything in between.

    However, I was happy to talk to him about it on my time, when I was ready, and not a day sooner. Thank you so much for this!

    –Julie (Team Member)

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    7 months ago

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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