One of the hardest things about having a chronic illness is dating and having a social life. However today I'm focusing on the dating scene.
I started getting symptoms of Crohns Disease my freshman year of college. I was dating this guy at the time, and I couldn't explain to him what was going on, because at the time, not even I know. I would have to cancel dates, cancel movies nights, and cancel just hanging out for what felt like no reason, other than I didn't feel well or was throwing up. It reached a point where I could tell he was not happy, which only frustrated me more. I didn't know why this was happening or if I would ever get control of it and him constantly being hurt by cancelled plans did not help. (I mean I can't .blame him).
When we broke up (for more reasons than just my illness), I really focused on trying to figure out what was going on. I ended up getting diagnosed with Crohns Disease and finally had answers, when I started talking to another guy. While I was happy to have answers, I was also terrified of what that meant for my new relationship that could be on the horizon. How long do I wait to tell him? How much do I tell him? Do I tell him my symptoms?
As I started talking to friends with IBD and other autoimmune diseases, this seemed to be a common feeling. Luckily, I had known him for seven years and trusted him with my life because we were already close friends, so it was a semi-easy conversation to have. Here's how I did it!
We were out for dinner and I told him I had something to tell him that I felt he should know before we start actually dating. Originally I was planning to just tell him that I have Crohns Disease and that means I have inflammation and ulcers throughout my digestive season. However, to my surprise, he wanted to learn more. He wanted to know how it affects me and how he can help when I'm in a flare.
We are in a long distance relationship and I swear the first few months we dated, every time I would go visit him I had a flare up. I quickly became familiar with his bathroom floor, as I was constantly throwing up when I would visit. However, he never got mad. He never got upset. He was perfectly fine just laying in bed and watching movies when I didn't feel well and would even run to the store to get ginger-ale or anything else I needed. He even started deep cleaning his bathroom right before I would visit in case I got sick.
He gave and continue to gives me hope. He shows me that it's okay to not be able to get out of bed sometimes and that I still deserve love. He shows me that I am stronger than my illnesses and have nothing to be embarrassed about. He has even told me that he sometimes appreciates my illnesses because it has made it easy to talk about anything and everything without feeling awkward at all (not that he appreciates me feeling sick. )
You deserve to be happy and deserve someone who will love you no matter what. Don't forget that you are amazing and deserve the world <3