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Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Partners, Family, Friends & Caregivers » New here - unsure how to deal with partner with Crohn's


10-06-2012, 08:03 PM   #1
luvinstorm
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
New here - unsure how to deal with partner with Crohn's

Hello everyone,

I've been seeing a man for three months now. He has Crohn's. While I knew he had it from when we first got together (a mutual friend let it slip), I didn't bring it up or mention it until he did, about 2 weeks in. We had a very intense initial connection and I had made background research to educate myself, so when he mentioned he had it and asked me if I knew what it was, I said yes. He said the only difference it made for him at the moment was that he had to use the bathroom more often and watch what he eats.

Of course that's not the only difference the disease would make to him and over the course of our discussions I've been able to tell that it has profoundly affected him, to the point where he hates when people bring up his disease because he doesn't want to think back on the pain. He's admitted that, if he knew he had to go through the pain again, even knowing he'd come out of it fine, he would strongly consider killing himself instead of going through it.

We started getting intimate very early into dating, but up until recently he wouldn't take off his shirt because of the scars from surgery. After it happened I made sure to let him know I still find him just as attractive as before, even a little bit more so. He smiled and thanked me.

I try my hardest to be supportive - when we're out on dates and he has to lengthily excuse himself I don't mind, when we have to stop halfway while being intimate I don't mind, when I buy food for myself and I know I'll be seeing him I pick foods that don't contain stuff he can't eat just so I can share some with him if he wants.

The problem is that, since he has made it so clear that he doesn't like talking about it, I tend not to bring it up. For instance, I don't know what kind of Crohn's he has, or whether he is currently taking medication, or when his last flare-up was. Lately when we've been together he's had to use the bathroom more and I don't know if that's a normal fluctuation or possibly something worse. All I know is what foods he can't eat, and I feel bad bringing it up (such as "hey, that might contain milk, you sure you can have that?") because I know it's got to be annoying - at the same time I'm coming from a place where I don't want him to be in pain.

The situation is further exacerbated by the ambiguity of what we are - we're not officially girlfriend/boyfriend but we spend a great amount of time together, are not seeing anyone else, and the couple of common friends we do have tell me that even though I've only known him for a short time I "know" him better than the majority of people. It's frustrating to me then that I know so much yet have no idea what to do in the face of this horrible disease.

I'm sorry I've made this so long - my succinct question I guess would be, should I bring it up and ask him for more details? Even just ask him what he wants me to do? Or just follow what he said once that he doesn't like people talking to him about it (the context was a discussion about euthanasia, how people who don't understand what pain is like would be more likely to be against euthanasia because they just can't grasp it) and trust that he will tell me what I need to know?

I just want to be supportive as best as I can. He's told me he thinks the world is a better place just by virtue of my being in it so I know he cares about me and wants me around still - I just don't know how to handle knowing he has Crohn's yet knowing so little about it (directly pertaining to him). Any insight would be appreciated.
10-06-2012, 10:06 PM   #2
connecticut
 
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In time, he will come forward with more. I have been with my girlfriend for 2 1/2 years. She knew I had it, but knew nothing of the condition. I had no flare-ups for the first two years of our relationship. The last four months have been a medical rollercoaster for me, and only now am I comfortable to let her in on more. I still go to my appointments and whatnot on my own, because that's just how I feel.

Just be respectful and give him his space. He will honor and respect you for that, and approach you more. Most people don't understand the disease at all, and write it off. It is very serious.
10-06-2012, 10:47 PM   #3
Jennifer
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

Glad to have people on here who are willing to support others and learn for themselves about IBD. So far you're doing a great job at supporting him by simply learning and listening.

Your thought of, "maybe I shouldn't nag him about foods he probably shouldn't eat," is spot on! Yes we all get sick to death of people mothering us. We're adults and can make these decisions ourselves. I know that in a relationship its hard to not try and protect them when it comes to food and exercise etc. but we hear that stuff from everyone like family members, friends, teachers, employers, coworkers random hobos on the street... You get the idea. :P

As mentioned it takes time for people to open up. I'm sure with many more months and hopefully years under your belt you'll know him inside and out eventually.
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Diagnosis: Crohn's in 1991 at age 9
Surgeries: 1 Small Bowel Resection in 1999; Central IV in 1991-92
Meds for CD: 6MP 50mg
Things I take: Tenormin 25mg (PVCs and Tachycardia), Junel, Tylenol 3, Omeprazole 20mg 2/day, Klonopin 1mg 2/day (anxiety), Restoril 15mg (insomnia), Claritin 20mg
Currently in: REMISSION Thought it was a flare but it's just scar tissue from my resection. Dealing with a stricture. Remission from my resection, 17 years and counting.
01-17-2013, 10:02 AM   #4
jaymo
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Hey my boyfriend (well now ex boyfriend ) has crohns disease. He broke up with me on sat. On fri night he started being funny with me on the phone and he said he wasnt feeling well as i new from before when he feels like this he gets depessed and pushes people away. He has only had crohns for a year and he says he is really depressed and bitter as he is worried about what the future may hold and also cz he cant do the same things he done before. Anyways i got off the phone to me on fri and on sat when he phoned he still sounded depressed and he said he couldnt meet me as he wasnt well. He also said he was annoyed cause i told him the night before that i was stuggling with money and he was worried i would say at the last min i couldnt go on hol in the summer. He was basically picking at everything on the phone to me all silly things he cut off so i left him be as i new he was annoyed cz he wasnt well and was taking out his anger at me. Then he started texting me saying if things where gonna b like this he couldnt do it anymore. I asked what he meant and he said are relationship was shit. Then he went on to text to say it was over and that where not meant to b together. I left him till two days later to calm down and he is still saying it. He would always have silly fights with me its as if he just tries to push everything away from him cz hes scared and upset.. Like he mayb ended it cz he was being horrible to me and he new id mayb leave him. I just wanna know is it cause of crohns his behavour is like this? i dont wanna give up on 7 months esp since the day before all this he said to me we where right togeher. Im the only one that new indept how he felt hes confided in me loads about being depressed and ive told hime to get help, could any of yous help me plz xxxx
01-29-2013, 10:57 PM   #5
Ya noy
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I've been ith my husband for a number of years and he STILL prefers not to talk about his health issues. Even goes so far as to tell me "it's a guy thing".

At least with my husband, having to talk about it doesn't make him feel better. What makes him feel better is doing other things, that divert his attention away from having to think, feel, and deal with, the pain.

We've been together for enough years to know he's telling the truth about this, so I don't try forcing the issue--unless I absolutely have to.
01-30-2013, 05:53 AM   #6
Pie-Guy
 
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Like he mayb ended it cz he was being horrible to me and he new id mayb leave him. I just wanna know is it cause of crohns his behavour is like this? i dont wanna give up on 7 months esp since the day before all this he said to me we where right togeher.
Crohn's doesn't cause people to be irrational or break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend i.e. it doesn't change the chemical makeup of the brain causing strange behavior. Some people may be secretive about their Crohn's etc. but the issues with your ex-boyfriend are the same issues that all couples deal with. Crohn's has nothing to do with it and if he claims it does you are probably better off without him.
02-02-2013, 04:18 PM   #7
sanni
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Pie-guy, I think you are wrong with that. Crohns can cause depression and I know when I feel bad about myself for being sick I too push people away. You can't maybe blame it all on the illnes but some for sure.


livingstorm, I would say tell him you are willing to talk about his crohns when he feels like it and that it will not make you uncomfortable and that you want to know what he has been through. As for nagging on food same advice as crabby: don't. Sometimes some food might be so good or tempting that a little stomach cramp may just be worth it. Let him be the judge to that.
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Crohn's diagnosed in -93 (age 12)
I have had several operations with the result in short gut syndrome.
Ileostomy (2008).
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Hypokalemia (hypopotassemia) and hypomagnesemia.
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02-03-2013, 09:55 AM   #8
2thFairy
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Crohn's doesn't cause people to be irrational or break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend i.e. it doesn't change the chemical makeup of the brain causing strange behavior.
The pain of any chronic illness can change the chemical makeup of the brain.
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05-23-2013, 12:06 PM   #9
tazmania
 
Join Date: May 2013
My boyfriend has Crohns and even though he is open to me about having it, I can tell he is uncomfortable about it. It's hard because sometimes I want to ask questions or see if he's okay but I'm not sure how to proceed in case he pushes me away.

He recently had an infusion and since then he's been more tired than usual and he keeps taking his anger out on me. All I can do is be supportive but I don't know what to do?
06-02-2013, 03:01 PM   #10
LuxxaVibez
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
I'm just going to echo what others have said. From my long history of relationships, I can tell that when a man says he doesnt want to talk about it, you wont gain anything by forcing the issue. Be patient, attentive, and kind...he will let you in more and more over time.
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