Moving In With Someone When You Have IBD
When you live with a chronic illness like inflammatory bowel disease, so many things come up over the course of your life that you probably never would have imagined would be a source of stress or anxiety. An example that comes to mind now is moving in with someone or changing your living arrangements. Whether it be taking the next step in your romantic relationship or living with a new roommate, a lot of emotions and fear can creep in.
While there are specific things people who suffer from Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis need to concern themselves with, it is important to remember that everyone has something they are insecure about. Even if it is something that seems silly or meaningless to you, it is probably a source of great angst for that individual. I am certainly not trying to compare but merely stating that nerves are common in certain life-altering situations. So, if you are in the process of or thinking about making some changes to your living arrangements, just remember that everyone has their sensitivities and fears.
I moved in with my significant other almost five years ago
Prior to that, I had only lived with my parents and brother. I was honestly petrified that I wouldn’t feel comfortable living with anyone outside of my immediate family. I always hoped I was wrong but the thought of letting my guard down in front of someone I was romantically involved with was something I thought I’d never been able to fully do. I had boyfriends and dated throughout my teenage years and early 20’s but never lived with anyone. When things got too difficult health-wise, I would just go home. It was my escape.
I never imagined I would be able to just be me in a home that I shared with someone I was, for lack of better wording, trying to impress. I worried that someone wouldn’t find me attractive if they saw me in my pajamas for a few days straight. Or, if my stomach was making a lot of noises, they would find it gross. If I was having issues with my ostomy, I always thought I would have to come up with excuses. I couldn’t imagine being honest and telling someone that stool was all over me and have that person still want to be in a relationship with me.
As corny as it sounds, I am happy that I was very wrong. I have learned that if it is the right person, there will still be adjustments, but everything can be worked through. As someone who was diagnosed at the age of 13, I can tell you that you will find the right person. And when you do, taking that next step will be an exciting one. I wasn’t someone who was married or in a serious relationship at the time of diagnosis. I was in 8th grade so as you can imagine, my romantic experiences were limited.
Some suggestions on how to make moving in with someone easier
Be you from the start and be honest about it.
If you normally walk around the house in pajama pants because you are more comfortable, do that. If you only like to eat at a certain time, don’t make changes unless YOU want to. Your significant other needs to see you as you really are; not as a person you are pretending to be. In my opinion, it is the only way true understanding and acceptance can come from both parties. It is also the only way I personally see being able to move the relationship towards marriage. After all, you can’t really get engaged or be married if you are still trying to hide parts of who you are.
Have an open conversation about your insecurities.
Allow your partner to show that he/she cares and will help you through them. If you are honest about some of your anxieties and fears, it is likely your partner will make every attempt to be extra sensitive and understanding. That, as a whole, will help you to feel more comfortable being you.
Define certain expectations within the home.
For example, if you feel it is your responsibility to do the grocery shopping but it is too difficult for you, share that with your significant other. The two of you can then hopefully come up with a game plan that allows you to share the chores in a way that isn’t detrimental to your body (or relationship.)
Do you live with someone? How was the move? Was the transition as difficult as you imagined? Is living with a romantic partner something that worries you? If so, is there something specific? Have any tips for those new to this? The more open we can be with one another, the better it is for all of us.
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