When I was 17, I was suddenly diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic illness affecting the tissue of my large intestine. I didn't know what it was, in fact, I never even heard of it. Nor did I know what a blessing it would be to learn how I should be treated and accepted by someone.
I wasn't much into dating at that time. I was focusing on myself, my health, and school. That basically took up most of my time. Though one thought did linger on with me, as it does with many other chronic illness warriors. And that was, will this be a burden? Of course it's not a burden, but it is a very real thought that occurs. Will the person I am with deal with my illness or will they judge me for it? From any decent person, the answer is no, they will not judge me for it. And that's how it should be.
I am currently in a serious relationship, with the man that I see with me for the rest of my life. On our first date, I chose to open up about my chronic illness, get it out there in the open. He knew that I had Ulcerative Colitis solely from the blog page on my instagram. Though, he hadn't heard it from me, which was an important part. Reading someones blog is not the same as hearing their struggles directly from them. I was a nervous wreck that date, and even more nervous talking about it. I didn't say much, but enough for him to understand that it was serious and a part of me. He made sure to reassure me that it was okay and that I didn't have to tell him more than I wanted to. And I think that's important. You should feel comfortable to open up about your chronic illness while you're on a date, but it's also okay not to if you don't feel comfortable.
If you're the person on the date without a chronic illness, but your date wants to talk about it, let them. Make sure to acknowledge everything they are saying to you with understanding and compassion. More than likely, this is really hard for them. They want to be accepted and not make it seem like they are only talking about their chronic illness. Be there for them. Even if it doesn't work out in the long run, make sure they feel heard on that date.
I've been dating my boyfriend for 7 months now. In that time, he has done the absolute most for me and made sure I was taken care of. I follow a mostly gluten free diet; I say mostly because I cheat and snack on some foods when I shouldn't. Anyways, my boyfriend tries to accommodate my eating as much as possible. When we first started dating, he would constantly ask if I can eat that, not to nag but to know whether or not I could. Whenever I said no, he made sure that there was another option for me. He still asks, of course, but now he knows more about gluten free foods and which foods are safe for me to eat. He even bought gluten free flour to keep at his apartment for whenever we are baking and cooking together. Basically what I'm saying is to make sure your partner is aware of your food restriction and accommodates them.
Another thing he did, one that I was actually surprised by, was when he asked to know all of my medical information. This was that in case anything were to happen, that he would have all of my info on hand to give to a medical professional. I thought that was extremely thoughtful. So then I opened the notes app on his phone and added all of my information.
It is possible to find someone who will care for you and your chronic illness. To them it's not a burden, but just simply a part of you. They are there to take care of you when your tummy hurts and rub it until it starts to feel better.
This blog will consist of IBD related content, including its side effects. If blood, diarrhea, or any other symptoms of IBD are bothersome for you, refrain from reading some of the content.