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Happy Valentines Day lovely readers! I am not a huge celebrator of this day but I had to mark the occasion as it is always a good idea to spread some more love in my opinion. I have teamed up with the fab people at Gutsy Dating for this post and am really pleased to get to share more about them with you.
Gutsy Daring is the first dating app catering for those with digestive health problems. Over 700 million people worldwide suffer from gut health issues and it can be really difficult to find a partner who really understands. Heading out into the dating world can be scary enough – without having the added concern of disclosing about a health problem.
Gutsy have created their app as a safe space for people to come together and meet. It is an environment where you can feel comfortable sharing about your issues with people who understand.
I get asked about dating a lot. From when to disclose health information to what to wear with a stoma to how do I explain what my stoma is – I have had them all! One place I would recommend people check out is this app as a safe and gentle way of meeting people who already understand you and your lifestyle.
So the last few weeks I have been collecting all of your dating stories – the good, the bad and the smelly! I had a great response and want to thank everyone who replied to my social media posts and shared their experiences. Enjoy!
I’m quite lucky, I found my partner to be so understanding. When we first started meeting I hadn’t mentioned the fact that I had IBD to him but posted about it on my socials. It was only when one of my friends said he may think you are dying, posting your drips when you haven’t told him what’s wrong with you! I did end up telling him I have IBD. He just said that’s OK and asked if I had had any surgery. His molter is an endoscopy consultant so I guess he knows things from her. He is so sweet and caring and if we are going out to eat, it’s always my choice as he says I need to be careful – his words not mine. Even if I stink the house out he doesn’t bother – just replies with I can do one better – which leads us to have farting competitions. Disgusting right, but this is my life and I stink the house out!Robyn
Pat and I started dating in 2012 and I was diagnosed in 2015. We found out I needed my bag just 6 months after my diagnosis and he was scared of it. He wouldn’t go near me, wouldn’t sleep in the same bed, was afraid it would smell or that I would break – a bunch of insecurities controlled him for the first few months. My mum stayed with me for three months to help me recover and take me to all mu post-op appointments. He started to come around about 4 months after my surgery. Now 5 years after getting Stella Von Toots (my stoma) he has seen everything including a midnight blow out that covered me, him and our cats! He cleaned it up and remade the bed while I sorted myself out. He now even offers to help me with bag changes and has come such a long way – Leelo.
This is a funny one. I was only dating someone for about a month and a half when we decided – hey, it would be a great idea to go on a trip together. We booked a flight to Iceland the following week. We were driving in our rental car to the city and I needed to pull over and make a pit-stop in the winter tundra – not uncommon for people in our position. The real fun was once we got into the city and business struck again, as well as nausea. Here I am, on a date and I start vomiting and let;s just say, the force of which made some pressure on the other end that required a new pair of underwear and some cleaning up in the bathroom! She took it totally in her stride though and although we aren’t dating, we have taken 3 trips together now – Matt.
I was 19 when I had my first surgery and I was quite poorly with an open wound and a problematic stoma. My boyfriend at the time was amazing. He would help me clean myself up and one time my naughty stoma (named Moby) literally moved and was aimed at my boyfriend before squirting and getting him. He swore (he never swore) and I was mortified but within half an hour we were laughing about it again. “He put up with a lot of shit whilst with me” was one of our regular comments!
We went out for dinner once and could hear a popping sound as we were eating. Turns out it was the prawns from my starter popping into my bag!
My IBD (and related) could often ruin fun times but my boyfriend took it all in his stride. He even spent Valentines Day watching Red Dwarf and eating a Chinese takeaway with me while I was in hospital!Sarah
I was quite blunt with my fella and said I have this, this and this, if you can’t deal with any of that then let’s not bother! No point in wasting mine and his time and emotions – Erin
I had one date with someone I met in the gastro outpatient clinic. We competed for the highest number of toilet trips during the date and exchanged stories of dealing with student doctors, rubbish phlebotomy nurses and being stuck in the lift at hospital trying not to soil ourselves (this has happened to us both at different times).
At the other end of the spectrum was a blind date set up by a former work colleague. She had already had a couple of drinks when I arrived, turned up late and was obnoxious to the staff. She said she had IBS and couldn’t eat X, Y and Z so I felt quite safe to bring up about my IBD. At this point she screeched – you’re diseased – gave me a filthy look and dashed off to the ladies. I apologised to the other diners and staff, paid my half of the bill for my half eaten pasta and left. I called my colleague and asked to never be set up again! I woke up to a barrage of voicemails from my ‘date’ saying some vile stuff, one comment was I should be locked up so I can’t spread my filth as well as berating me for leaving her to pay for her 2 glasses of wine, steak and a cocktail. She’s obviously continued eating after I left as she had only had one glass of wine and the steak while I was there! I shared these with my colleague who was very shocked. It took a while after that to try again, but I did return to the restaurant about a month after for a friend’s birthday and the manager recognised me. I apologised again, but he said I had nothing to apologise for. I was later pulled aside by one of the wait staff who lifted up her shirt and showed me her stoma bag – the whole experience had led to a lesson for the team about IBD and gave her the confidence to talk abut it with her colleagues – Ben
So my third date with my now wife… she suggested a curry which I thought was a bad idea but in for a penny and all that! She had agreed to stay over with me that night as I was house-sitting a friend’s house. I had forgotten that his bedroom backed onto the bathroom! We get back, had a bit of the other and then boom! My belly needed to let rip! So I am laying there praying she falls asleep, feeling like I have held this shit in forever. Once I thought she was asleep I raced to the toilet and let it all go. Then to my horror I hear her get out of bed! Went back in and asked if she had heard all that – she was like yep!
Another time, with an ex I really liked, I would make excuses to go to the petrol station through the night so I didn’t have to shit on her toilet. One night I must have gone about 8 tines. On the last time I got back and she wanted to know what I was playing at, convinced I was talking to someone else. I then had to come clean!Jam,es
I have been with my partner for 5 years this year and he is great but I do remember one occasion that might make you smile. We were having some fun and all of a sudden I got an awful tummy ache and it started gurgling. I thought it was just gurgling so ignored it and tried to carry on It wasn’t until things got a little more frisky that the gurgling got worse and then I let out a huge fart! I went bright red and apologised as much as I could, wishing the ground would just open up and swallow me. My partner just laughed it off and we are still together. It was absolutely mortifying at the time but does make me smile now – Anon
Not long after being diagnosed with Crohn’s while I was still getting used to all the medications, I was seeing a girl and things were going really well. We’d been on a few dates and she invited me to stay over – a slumber party obviously, nothing more haha! I woke up in the night with debilitating abdominal cramps and then realised I had shit the bed – no point in tying to sugar coat it. So I ran to the bathroom and showered myself down. I was trying to think of a way that I could sort the issue without her ever knowing. I looked for a pair of scissors to cut the bed sheet without waking her, I thought about doing a runner and emigrating, I thought about pushing her out of the bed and rolling the sheet up quickly before burying it in the garden. All of a sudden she came into the bathroom and started apologising. I was completely baffled as to why she was saying sorry to me. She said that she was really embarrassed about shitting the bed and it getting on me. She then told me the reason she doesn’t usually drink a lot of alcohol was because she has IBS. She thought I had got in the shower because I was covered in her shit. I did want to correct her and explain about my Crohn’s but found myself saying – it’s ok, don’t worry about it. I felt so guilty abut it but not guilty enough to admit the truth. It didn’t work out with her but we have mutual friends and I eventually owned up to her about three years later. She (thankfully) saw the funny side of it and we have kept it as a private joke ever since – Dan
Last but not least I thought I would share my other half’s story – the romantic (soppy) git!
My story is romantic and it’s about the day I met you! We had been talking for a while and had decided to meet up. As she was in Essex and I was in Halifax we xhose Birmingaham as it was about half way. I knew I fancied Natalie butwasn’t going for anything more than to meet a friend. There was a but of a mix up at the astation as we arrived on different platofrms, O tried to get on her platform bu was stopped by the guards and she ran out of phone battery! Eventually we found easch other and everything started to click. I have never seen a more beautiful woman in my life andnow, nearly 4 years on I still remember the exact outift she wire, how she had her hair and how her makeup ws done. It siunds cheesy but I knew from that moment I eanted to be woth her from that moment on! I felt clumsy and awkward, like a teenager with my first crush! It took me ages to hold her handetc. We had the most amazing stay, went to the cinema and watched the new Ghostbusters, took a walk aroynd Burmingham and had afew drinks and went to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant for dinner. This was where I proceeded to take tge muckey out of Natalie’s arms…by accident though! At the time I didn’t realise she couldn’t fully straighten them due to her arthritis. Although this first weekend we were both meeting as friends I think we bith left knowing it was something more. We have grown closer and closer and today we are still here after many, many hardhips we still have each other and are strnger together – Ste
He does remember the exact outfit (I checked) and we are still together. This year will make 4 years together in fact. Me and Ste both have stomas and IBD and are an example of why being with someone with similar issues can work so well. It does have it hard parts – we spend ALOT of time in hospitals between the two of us and we don’t always time our ‘bad’ days right and end up not great together. The understanding we have for what the other is going through though is so worth it and makes life so much easier. One thing that will always stick in my mind is the first time I had a bag leak in bed. I was staying at Ste’s (one of the very first times as well) and woke up covered. I was mortified but he was brilliant. He had had his stoma for a few years by then whereas I had only had mine for about 6 months. He got me up and to the bathroom so I could clean myself up. I had a little cry but went back to the bedroom and found him sat on clean sheets with a cup of tea for me. He had put the dirty sheets straight in the wash and just handled it so brilliantly, I will always be grateful for that!
I hope you can have a giggle at some of these stories and I hope they show that some good (or at least a good joke) can come out of the worst situations! If you have a story you want to share please do, in the comments below, the more the merrier! Have a fantastic Valentines Day and thanks again to Gutsy Dating for working with me on this one,