I have seen a lot of questions and discussions about this topic. Crohn’s Disease is such a private and sometimes gross disease. Many people ask “When in a relationship should I tell my partner that I have Crohn’s?” On top of this, I hear “How do I tell my partner I don’t feel sexy/want to have sex?” For women, in my opinion, this is easier to deal with then men.
First let’s tackle the first question. A lot of people feel ashamed about having IBD. Whether it is Colitis or Crohn’s, a lot of people don’t want to talk about it for feel that people will look at them differently. When it comes to dating, this is a real big issue. I know women don’t want a guy to know because they don’t want to disgust them or turn them off. When you first start dating, for a woman, they want to feel and look sexy. But what about a guys view? What does it say to a women when a guy has to go to the bathroom 5 times during a date. The first thought might be, “He’s doing drugs”. Another thought is, “Maybe he doesn’t like me and is calling another woman”. Truth is guys have the same thoughts and feelings as women. We want to look good also. We want to feel strong in a woman’s presence. Most guys want to be able to take control and treat a woman right. We can’t do that if we are in pain or running to the bathroom. We can’t do it if we are constantly feeling sick.
So I say, as far as telling that new person, tell them right away. It is a lot to deal with, but a lot of times IBD will run our love life so let them get used to it. I wouldn’t tell them when I first meet the person, but talk to them on the first date. Let them know that if you have to run to the bathroom..it isn’t their fault. Let the other person know you want to be there to talk to them but you have to leave for a brief moment. If your a guy and your want to look strong, then telling the truth is being strong. Opening up to a women is being strong. Honesty is the best policy. It will help strengthen the relationship.
Now, if the other person gets scared at this and runs..well then it really wasn’t meant to be. You should know if the other person can handle your disease right away. Now I don’t think you have to tell your whole life story with the disease on the first date. Just let your partner know what they can expect. You can go into details another time.
Now, later on in the relationship (or marriage) IBD and sex will come up. There will be times you won’t want to have sex because of the symptoms. Again…be open and honest. If your having sex, then you should be in a place in the relationship where your partner knows your disease and can understand it a little. Let your partner know, it isn’t their fault that you don’t want to have sex. For a guy this is rough since we are made to look like sex addicts…like we want sex 24/7/365. Truth is, there are plenty of times we don’t want to have sex. There are times our arse hurts and is sore. We might be sick to our stomach. We might have joint pains. None of this is going to make us want sex. And these symptoms can last for days and weeks. That is why I say be open and honest with your partner. If you aren’t having sex for weeks, and you don’t talk about, your partner may wonder what is wrong. They may feel like you aren’t attracted to them anymore or worse…is having an affair. Let your know partner know it isn’t them.
So, overall..be open and honest. Don’t be ashamed of your disease. You are going to have it the rest of your life. Let your partner into your life and let them know that they are in the relationship with both you and your disease. I have found that overall, if the person can’t handle it…they aren’t worth being with anyways.
This is a great post. I am just scrolling through some of the things you posted to get a better sense of you since you left such a warm comment on my blog. It is nice to read these types of things from a guys point of view. I know one guy- not sure if you know him, or even where you live but he started the Intense Intestines Foundation – and he also mentioned that it is more women who are writing about these types of issues relating to their illness. Thank you for sharing your opinion on this topic.
I don’t know Brian from IIF but I have spoken with him via email a couple of times. He has a great website and really shows that IBD doesn’t have to slow you down.
Bravo! This is the first post I’ve read on these topics from a male perspective and you knocked it out of the ballpark!