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05-14-2013, 09:23 AM   #1
LostPartner
 
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Unsure of how to proceed...

Hi Guys and Girls,

Firstly i'm here to maybe gain some insight into how to best proceed with my girlfriend. We've only been together for a couple of months now, and she's been open about having Crohn's from day one and i've just accepted it into part of being with her. She's suffered terribly for years, and is now on a prescription liquid diet as her body cannot handle solid foods anymore.

She's been constantly worried that her health will cause problems and ultimately be the end of us in the future, to which all I can do is reassure her that I love her.

Last Friday this has been put to the test, as she had a small incident of night time incontinence whilst I was staying over. For her I can't imagine a more embarrassing or vulnerable situation to be in, especially with a new partner. She ended up asking me to leave at 3:30am which I did, although this felt horrible in doing so. I've spoken to her since and told her that it makes no difference to my feeling towards her, I had already accepted that if i'm going to love and be with her then this is all going to be part of the journey.

Since then she's continued to shut down and push me away as her last partner couldn't cope with her illness and she's expecting me to do the same. She doesn't want me to view her as a patient, where in fact I still just view her as the intelligent, beautiful girl I first met, if not more so.

Having no first hand experience of an illness of this sort, and the stresses and anxieties it can bring upon someone I don't really know how best to carry on. I don't want to go anywhere, i'm too invested in her to walk away when something like this comes along. All it feels that I can do is just let her know i'm still here and that when she's ready i'll be there for her.

If anyone has any experience then I welcome any advice offered,

Many thanks,

Nick
05-14-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
Jim (POPS)
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Your a very good DUDE.

I guess all you can do is let her know you are there for her. Try to get with her and let her know by holding her hands and looking right into her eyes and telling her that your not going anywhere. I hope she understands.

You could also tell her that you found a great web-site (crohnsforum.com) and you are trying to understand how you can be a better partner with a girl with IBD.

I hope things work out for you. Maybe the girls her can give you a better view on what to do.

Jim (POPS)
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05-14-2013, 01:11 PM   #3
LostPartner
 
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Hi Jim,

Thanks for your kind words, it's good to hear from others that I seem to be doing what's right. I've had the deep, face to face conversation about it, and laid it all out there with regards to how I feel and what I want and that seemed to initially settle things, but the anxiety and embarrassment have taken a grip again and shut her down completely.

I hope some of the Lady members offer up some advice as the embarrassment she feels must be horrific for her and that seems something I don't quite grasp the extent of if i'm being totally honest.

I know this sounds more like a love advice post, but it's really not, I just feel I need to do as much as I can to learn some insight into the disease and how it can effect her not just physically but emotionally as well.

Thanks in advance guys,

Nick
05-14-2013, 02:57 PM   #4
Cat-a-Tonic
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I'm female, and I can totally see where your girlfriend is coming from. This is one of the least sexy illnesses there is so it's not surprising that she's shutting down on you. Depending on how bad her flare-up is, she may not even feel up to taking a shower. Dressing up nice and putting on make-up may be out of the question too. During my really bad times, I would do my nails, because it was one of the only things I could do to make myself feel pretty (it didn't require much energy and I could paint my nails while on the toilet ). I am betting that your GF is not feeling pretty or sexy, probably the very opposite. No amount of my husband telling me I'm pretty would make me actually believe it during those times. This illness can make you feel sub-human, and feeling pretty is almost altogether out of the equation at times. And having an accident in front of your significant other just adds to that "I'm forever icky" feeling. So she's probably not feeling romantic in the least and may even feel like she's a bad girlfriend to you.

As for how the illness affects us emotionally? I can only speak for myself, but having an illness like this changed everything about me. I feel like a burden on my loved ones. I don't always trust good days, because I am very suspicious that a bad day is right around the corner. I get nervous going to new places because I don't know where the bathrooms are. Sometimes I think things like, this is how my life is going to be forever and I'll never be totally well, and is life even worth living if it's full of so much struggle? On the other hand, though, this illness has made me really strong in some ways. I barely even register minor pains anymore and I try to see the humor in everything. When I go to the gym, I work out harder than anyone else there, because I know what it is to lose my health and I'm fighting really hard to get it back again. Long story short, your GF is forever changed by her illness, but it's not all bad.

You sound like a great guy, so my advice is to just be patient with her and don't give up on her. Help her out when you can - little things like cleaning or running errands for her will be a huge help! And I like Jim (POPS)'s idea of showing her the forum. Show her what you wrote, and maybe encourage her to join too. She's probably feeling isolated and alone and like nobody understands what she's going through, and I know that feeling well - but it's just not true. There are lots of us here who have been through the same/similar things and it might do her a lot of good to connect with us.
05-14-2013, 03:16 PM   #5
MissBG
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I don't have much to add here but I wanted to second what Cat-a-tonic said. Pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.
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05-15-2013, 05:50 AM   #6
LostPartner
 
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I'm female, and I can totally see where your girlfriend is coming from. This is one of the least sexy illnesses there is so it's not surprising that she's shutting down on you. Depending on how bad her flare-up is, she may not even feel up to taking a shower. Dressing up nice and putting on make-up may be out of the question too. During my really bad times, I would do my nails, because it was one of the only things I could do to make myself feel pretty (it didn't require much energy and I could paint my nails while on the toilet ). I am betting that your GF is not feeling pretty or sexy, probably the very opposite. No amount of my husband telling me I'm pretty would make me actually believe it during those times. This illness can make you feel sub-human, and feeling pretty is almost altogether out of the equation at times. And having an accident in front of your significant other just adds to that "I'm forever icky" feeling. So she's probably not feeling romantic in the least and may even feel like she's a bad girlfriend to you.

As for how the illness affects us emotionally? I can only speak for myself, but having an illness like this changed everything about me. I feel like a burden on my loved ones. I don't always trust good days, because I am very suspicious that a bad day is right around the corner. I get nervous going to new places because I don't know where the bathrooms are. Sometimes I think things like, this is how my life is going to be forever and I'll never be totally well, and is life even worth living if it's full of so much struggle? On the other hand, though, this illness has made me really strong in some ways. I barely even register minor pains anymore and I try to see the humor in everything. When I go to the gym, I work out harder than anyone else there, because I know what it is to lose my health and I'm fighting really hard to get it back again. Long story short, your GF is forever changed by her illness, but it's not all bad.

You sound like a great guy, so my advice is to just be patient with her and don't give up on her. Help her out when you can - little things like cleaning or running errands for her will be a huge help! And I like Jim (POPS)'s idea of showing her the forum. Show her what you wrote, and maybe encourage her to join too. She's probably feeling isolated and alone and like nobody understands what she's going through, and I know that feeling well - but it's just not true. There are lots of us here who have been through the same/similar things and it might do her a lot of good to connect with us.

Thank you Cat, that's a massive help as I can relate her varying behaviour a bit more to how she may be feeling at that time, as a lot of how you describe how you feel during the bad times I think she does as well.
She's had the illness long before I met her and she's learnt to cope with it on her own, letting someone else in I can imagine is the hardest thing, especially when you've been let down in the past.
I keep trying to put myself in her shoes and how I would react if the roles were reversed and I think I would probably be the same with a new partner, so I don't blame her reaction or have any negativity towards her, I think maybe it's just a typical guy thing of wanting to 'fix' an issue that causes my frustration.

I do help out where she'll let me, be it washing dishes or taking her kids to school/picking them up but I think she does feel like she's taking advantage even though she never asks, I always offer.

I shall certainly show her this forum and the support it can offer, even if it just allows her to vent and rant to people who will genuinely understand her. Although i'm being cautious with not being too pushy with new ideas and approaches all the time as I can imagine that being equally frustrating for her when she might feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks again for your replies and insight, it's appreciated more than I can show on a forum.

Last edited by LostPartner; 05-15-2013 at 06:50 AM.
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