Dating with an ostomy can be daunting and a little frightening. It’s hard to put yourself out there in the first place, and it’s even more difficult to let your guard down when you have a secret attached to your stomach. When you do find someone to start a relationship with, it can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Everything is new and exhilarating, but in the back of your mind, you know you’ll inevitably have to share your ostomy with this new person.
Even though the idea of opening up to another person can be scary, there is still a responsibility to inform your significant other of your ostomy. It’s part of what makes you unique. It is an integral part of your identity. Embrace it. Even though being vulnerable can sometimes lead to rejection, it can also open the possibility of a rewarding, compassionate, and loving support system.
In the beginning, you may experience fear that your new love interest is going to notice your bag.
This can be debilitating and distracting, deterring you from fully committing to dating. Worrying about an accidental leak, an awkward gurgle, an inconveniently ballooned bag, fear of rejection, or even fear of intimacy can be consuming and discouraging. It can be easy to make excuses for not putting yourself out there. Don’t let your bag stand in the way, life goes on, even after getting an ostomy!
When you finally take the plunge and enter the dating world, it’s okay to have reservations about telling your new boyfriend or girlfriend about your bag. It’s perfectly normal to have concerns and fears about sharing such a personal matter. Worrying about how your significant other is going to react to the news can be intimidating, but don’t let that discourage you from opening up about your ostomy. When you are ready, realize that sharing your story is a big deal and should be handled considerately. Don’t feel the need to rush anything, go at a pace that feels comfortable and right to you. At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that your bag is a part of you and your new lifestyle, so be upfront and honest about what you’re dealing with.
When you’re ready to tell your girlfriend or boyfriend about your ostomy, remember to be open and straightforward.
Honesty is the best policy. My suggestion, go in with a game plan. Planning what you want to say ahead of time can help ease some of the anxiety you may be feeling about sharing your personal story. Don’t let a fear of rejection keep you from being vulnerable. While you may occasionally run into a jerk who doesn’t have compassion or understanding of what you’ve been through, you’ll find that most people are kind and curious about your condition.
Don’t be alarmed if they ask to see your bag. Remember, this is new to them, too, and they will probably have a lot of questions. Don’t be embarrassed, you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Your bag has given you a new lease on life, and should be celebrated.