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Crohn's Disease Forum » Surgery » Fistulas, Fissures and Abscesses » New love interest - how to tell abt temporary ileostomy?



 
03-30-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
Thirdtime
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Another update... New love interest - how to tell abt temporary ileostomy?

I'm new here (female). I've recently met someone that I really like in the dating world. He seems to really like me too - we've only gone out on 2 dates but a 3rd one coming up. I'm in the middle of rectal/vaginal fistula repair and have a temporary ileostomy. Probably have another interim surgery coming up as there still seems to be a fistula that is present. I cannot be reconnected until this has healed.

I have yet to tell my date that I've had this health issue... I don't feel that it defines me at all. I expect to be reconnected this summer (if all heals) and hopefully will be able to resume what I call "my normal life". (Had colon removed in '89; have an internal pouch. Only colitis diagnosis - not crohn's as far as they can tell). Anyway, this is my 3rd ileostomy, my last was for fistula repair too and held for nearly 10 years.

How can I tell him and make it a "non-big deal". Any of you out there that have successfully made this admission and came out of it OK - meaning, they weren't scared away? I feel like he has a right to know, especially if we are going to keep dating. I thought I should for sure tell him by the 4th date...

I welcome advice. Thank you.

Last edited by Thirdtime; 04-12-2012 at 03:22 AM. Reason: add parenthese around female and update title
03-30-2012, 11:11 AM   #2
Bld
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Sorry I can't help as I have never had surgery but welcome to the forum!
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03-30-2012, 12:12 PM   #3
mickey
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I would suggest that you keep this health issue private, until you both have decided to have a monogamous relationship. That is the time when the emotional intimacy is needed. If he can not understand at that point, then you have the wrong person anyway. No need to divulge something so private until you are at a point when you have both decided you really want to spend time together in a monogamous relationship. Hope that helps!
03-30-2012, 12:34 PM   #4
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I'm really torn about telling him. I value open, honest communication so really want to choose this timing well. Even though we have only been on a couple of dates, we communicate daily and have talked for hours on the phone. I worry that my not telling him soon will come off as some sort of betrayal of trust.

I've thought about saying something like: "I have surgery coming up in the next couple of months and thought you'd want to know. I'm dealing with a female/digestive issue and expect that I will be all healed up by summer / end of summer. It's sort of complicated to explain but I can share more with you at some point - if you want to know."

How does that sound? Is it to vague? Is it enough. I'd rather not explain about the ostomy at this point.

Thanks again for weighing in. It really helps me not feel so alone in all this.
03-30-2012, 12:54 PM   #5
mickey
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I agree that candid conversation is good, but only you will know when the timing is right for both of you. However, since it is such a private matter, I would highly suggest you save that for a time when you have emotionally committed and are ready for the next step. Otherwise, you could be looking at rejection (easier for him to run when there is no commitment, than get to know you and accept you for who you are, thus also risking him spreading the word about such a private thing) that may not be truly indicative of the reality. As in any relationship, before you have that physical intimacy, get to know him and decide if he is someone you want to get to know further. A rule of thumb I used to use was a least 3-6 months of dating before considering sharing intimate details of one's life. Hope this may help. Again, only YOU know when the timing is right.
03-30-2012, 01:03 PM   #6
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as a blokes opinion i would def date him more longer on a casual basis yet three dates is still very early days.. wait a bit longer him may run of at the start but getting to no him a lot better outrules that risk
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03-30-2012, 01:35 PM   #7
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Hmmm... as I listen to you (the last couple of posts on this), it makes me think I can afford to wait just a bit longer. I do not plan on an intimate relationship for quite some time so that's not what I'm worried about. I may even be having surgery in April and there's no avoiding it at that point. Have an appt on the 11th and can see my surgeon wanting to operate soon thereafter. Maybe because I've been dealing with this ostomy since Aug (and it's my 3rd time) I don't feel this is all that big of a deal, I don't feel that I have to bring it up right now. And,other than an occasional bout with this problem, I'm very healthy and even ran a U.S. marathon a few years ago. I hope to run one in the next year too. My tendency is to minimize all this I guess. I'm not on any medication but do drink Aloe Vera juice and I think that is helping... I've also thought about trying food grade hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) ... I digress. Thanks for helping me try to sort this out. I just want to do the right thing. Also, a part of me feels that if he would reject me over this, then maybe he's not "the one" for me.

Still wondering if my verbal approach above is a good way to present this.

Thanks again.
03-30-2012, 01:58 PM   #8
mickey
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Sure, face to face is always the most appropriate. Glad to see you are holding off a little. When it is time for surgery, and if you are dating more than once a week and speaking every day, you can tell him when the date is closer, about the surgery. How he responds will tell you much about his ability to be compassionate and truly whether there is a true interest in you and your well being. Take one day at a time and when the time is right you will know it. Good luck! So glad to see a male chime in and give you a good perspective.
03-30-2012, 01:59 PM   #9
Emily
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Just thought I'd throw in my thoughts, I think what you wrote about planning to say to him is perfect for sure. Just that I'd wait maybe 2 or 3 more dates. But when the time comes, I think you have a great plan of what to say.
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03-30-2012, 02:13 PM   #10
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This advice is very helpful to me.
03-31-2012, 03:55 PM   #11
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...just wanted to say, good on you for dating despite everything!

i too have an ileostomy- mine is permanent.

i had a recto-vaginal fistula- then an mri showed crohn's round my colon so i just got it removed.

i agree with some others on not mentioning the ileostomy at all, yes, mention surgery but don't go into detail. keeping conversation casual like you said is good too. mention you have a digestive disorder and that you need surgery.

good on you girl! good luck with the surgery!
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03-31-2012, 04:22 PM   #12
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I'm with LFB on this, dont mention it yet. YOU are who YOU are. And that is a unique individual who deserves to be known for who you are. If you dont want an intimate relationship yet, then it's perfectly fine not to discuss your temporary ileostomy.

If he's only interested in one thing, you need not worry anyway. He wont wait. If he is interested in you as a lovely young woman who he genuinley likes and respects, then he wont have an issue. If you do have upcoming surgery in April though, it might be a good idea to drop a hint that you need some issues sorted.
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03-31-2012, 04:59 PM   #13
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THANKS Terrier and Littlefree... helps me to know how to handle this. Yes, an ileostomy is not daunting to me (anymore) but to someone new, it could be overwhelming. I think I have a pretty good read on this guy - seems to be a true gentleman so far. We'll see. I'm going to keep this on the down low for now but after appt on the 11th, I'll probably mention that I have to have surgery. No - not planning any intimacy... not for a long while. Thanks again!!

gosh - am I glad i found this place. Everyone has been so kind... and I feel welcome.

BTW - not that it matters at all - but I'm English, Irish (more than half) and German. Love my roots.
03-31-2012, 06:26 PM   #14
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The problem with this sort of situation is that, the longer you say nothing and the more involved your heart gets, the worse it hurts if you eventually find that he /she can't deal with your health issue. Personally, I certainly wouldn't leave it until I was ready to have an intimate relationship. I wouldn't force the issue, but would take opportunities as they arose.

And remember that, if he can't deal with it, it doesn't necessarily make him a worse person. We live with this stuff every day and have come to accept what many people in the world out there find disgusting, unmentionable...

My heart goes out to you and I hope that this relationship flowers.
03-31-2012, 06:54 PM   #15
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I want to do the right thing. He's a good man... and if it was I, I think I would want to know sooner rather than later.

I will be cautious about this. Our schedules have conflicted so it's kept us from getting together often. He's traveling for nearly the next 2 weeks, but I will see him on Monday...

I know what you're saying about getting close and possibly getting rejected. It could happen... I would understand and I also think if he did reject me because of this, then it wasn't meant to happen and he was probably rejecting my "health situation" and maybe not so much me.

We'll see... I'm the sort of person that the more time that goes by, I feel guilty not saying anything. He already knows that I'm not training for marathon right now and now working out "hard", but he doesn't know quite why yet.

Thank you for your advice. I appreciate it. Truly.
04-04-2012, 11:40 AM   #16
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Well, most of "the cat is out of the bag". Monday night I had my date and thankfully we came upon the topic of running, training for events, etc. He is participating in a triathalon in May. I told him that I want to try barefoot running but will probably have to wait until summer or late summer. Perfect lead in...

His question was: "Why do you have to wait?"

Pefect. I then told him that I have a surgery coming up and that I need to get through that and heal and then I should be able to train. Before he could say anythinge else, I told him that I have a "female/disgestive issue I'm dealing with and that in late Aug of last year I opted to get it taken care of. I had surgery and it's more than a one-part surgery. The 2nd part is coming up and my body is "healing" waiting for that." He was intrigued and started asking a few questions. I told him I colitis when I was younger (I'm in my 40's now) and really this is a complication from that. Then... I told him that it's not cancer or life-threatening. But I do have healing to do. I told him I can still run, but you wont' find me doing 12 mile runs right now. He asked when my next appt is and when I'm having surgery and I told him about my appt on the 11th and I said I'll know more after that. Then I said that I would tell him more as I got to know him better.

At first I think he was a little taken back. For those of us that have ostomys no one would ever know really, unless we told them right? I saw him relax after that and he seemed fine. However, I was not fine. I could tell that I felt uneasy and then I was not quite myself for the rest of the night. I'm sure the guy was thinking... "hmmm... what is this all about and wonder why she didnt' mention this on the phone or on our last 2 dates. All I can say, is that I'm glad I told him at least some of it right now.

He seems to be an affectionate person and I was very aware if he would touch my back or even come near my waist on that side. I worried that he would get close to where I have "my friend" and I just didn't want that. Again, I won't be having sex any time soon - not my style or personality and this makes this easier too - although he doesnt' know that yet but is probably figuring it out. I'm old fashioned and don't believe in sex w/o commitment... anway...

For those that gave me advice on this - thank you. I had the courage to say "something" even though I didn't feel I had to say "everything" just yet. Will we go out again? I don't know. He's on vacation right now and before he left he did ask if I had any time for coffee but I couldn't get away from work. So, I would say my chances are pretty good that I'll see him again.

What to say next and when... I don't think I have to worry about that until after the appt with the surgeon.

Again, thanks for the advice. You all guided me well. I'm sure I'll write about this again...
04-04-2012, 11:52 AM   #17
Terriernut
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I really applaud you for telling us about this. I am afraid I will never date again anyway, but I think you are giving me some food for thought at least.

I think dating with an ostomy (even if it's temporary) can be a very scary thing indeed. And you are handling it very well methinks!
04-04-2012, 11:58 AM   #18
mickey
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Sounds like you handled it perfectly! Good job!
04-04-2012, 12:14 PM   #19
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Hi Thirdtime:

Wow, that's a lot going on! Congratulations on getting some of the issues on the table. Hopefully, his being on vacation will give him some time (and distance) to mull things over. The fact that he asked you out for coffee is a positive sign!

I'm of the ilk to get things out in the open lickety-splickety. I suck at being heartbroken, but I love falling in like, falling in crush and falling in love.

Interesting, I'm doing some writing for my dissertation, and my supervisor told me that I needed to write to "entice" the reader, and to "not put all your cards on the table right at the beginning." I don't know how to do that, and as I read your posts and other members responses, I realize that my supervisor's comments are a metaphor for how we all live our lives and how we are in relationships.

But while my writing has to be more "mysterious," I think I'm with you and willing to pull the band-aid off in one quick move rather than slowly tearing at it...

I wish you all the best. It seems obvious that you like this man, and at the end of the day, have faith in your instincts. Despite all the troubles your gut has given you, it's also a great fountain of wisdom!

Looking forward to hearing how all this unfolds for you.

Kismet
04-04-2012, 12:37 PM   #20
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Thanks so much for the comments!! Life is such a journey and all of our journeys are like snowflakes -no two alike. But it is so helpful where we have common ground to get advice.

So far... so good. Before I came here for advice I was pretty much prepared to tell him everything. I think... had I done that... it would have been too much. At least now, he knows I'm dealing with something and he knows there's more I have to tell him... he can make choices - choices he couldn't know he needed to make prior to knowing this.

Love what your teacher told you about your writing Kismet... thanks for sharing that!

And yes, I'll keep writing about this...

And Kismet, interesting too, I'm an aspiring writer so I take special interst in your comments about writing. I have one short book written - not yet published or even attempted yet (non-fiction) and I have another started, but that one is fiction. Writing is good for the soul... and even better... writing and connecting with others is the BEST.

Thank you again for the replies and comments.... this next "reveal" will be the tricky one. I have to admit, I'm NOT looking forward to telling the rest.
04-04-2012, 04:51 PM   #21
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at least you will be able to put your mind at rest once you tell or if you tell the full story must be very frustrating
04-12-2012, 04:01 AM   #22
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Dating with a temporary ostomy is... "challenging". It's hard to feel relaxed... normal. So far, as I posted above, I have gone out with this man 3 times and on my last date with him told him that I had surgery and have to have another. Said I was dealing with a female/digestive issue... but that was the extent of it.

This gentleman is healthy and a runner. He's a health nut which makes it a double challenge for me because admitting that you're suffering from something like this where they don't know the cause can be confusing and even worriesome. (I had colitis in the 80's had my colon removed. They have deemed me "indeterminate" for Crohn's but never officiallly diagnosed me with it. Fistuals (this is my 2nd time with them) make me wonder... but they don't know if I have crohns).

Anyway, my date went on vacation last week - stayed in contact w/ me through email and text. He came back to town and didn't contact me right away but when he did, we spoke on the phone for a good hour. He has asked me out again for this weekend and I do plan to go.

OK... how do I relax? How can I say a little more about "all this" without really coming right out and telling him that I have an ostomy? I don't want to let him get too close... Part of me wants to suggest that we just get to know each other as friends, let me get through this surgery stuff and then we could look at something more serious if our relationship goes that way. But - all of that is unnatural. Isn't it? And wouldn't he think it really odd if I suggested such a thing?

I'm told that I'm attractive but having this issue makes me feel insecure... how can I be myself and let myself relax around this very handsome man? I worry about him hugging me and being able to feel this "contraption" on my body. Ugh... I don't want to scare him away and I'm worried that that is what will happen if I explain all this. Come late summer, if my healing continues like it is, I should be rid of this ostomy. I will have scars but should have nothing more. I wish there was a pause button and I could put him on a shelf.

There's a part of me that thinks I should give up on the idea of dating until I've gotten this all taken care of but I want to believe that people aren't so shallow and that a relationship can still bloom in light of this. If this ostomy were permanent, I KNOW I would not give up on finding Mr. Right.

I wish I could somehow tell this man that what I'm dealing with will prevent me from being intimate in any manner with him, at least until this is "done" healing. I would like to call it a modern day chastity belt and make light of it... I think his interest in me goes beyond the physical; we have a lot in common and converse really well (when I'm not worrying about this issue). But... he is a man... and he is a gentleman. It wasn't until the 3rd date that he even kissed me and he told me that it was worth the wait. (Nice). So, I know he is or can be patient. I know he does like me and has made it clear that he is attracted to me... "...you're easy on the eyes" he said. Sweet huh? Ha!! I don't think he would think the rest of me is so easy on the eyes... if he knew.

If I had my way, I wouldn't get physical with a man until we were solidly committed and engaged. I don't plan to... but...

So... date 4 on its way. I'm still not comfortable explaining all this and I don't want to yet. He knows I'm dealing with "something" but has no idea about what redesign shape I'm in.

So again, if anyone has advice as to how I can approach this next date without divulging all of this to him, I really welcome your advice. Thanks for taking time to read this. It's not easy to talk about.
04-12-2012, 11:39 AM   #23
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Really applaud you for having the courage to tell your date this so early. I can kind of relate, kind of.

I was in Year 8 of High School when i was diagnosed so that was 8 years ago. I'm now in my second year of Nurse training at University. But i was diagnosed with Crohns following a Colonoscopy and was off school from Easter through to the following September with it. I was first put on the fortisip/fortijuice diet, 8 drinks a day which i couldn't hack and was put on a NG tube diet for 8 weeks to build my weight up....didnt really work and was eventually put on Azathioprine which has kept me in remission for pretty much 8 years barring a couple of small flare ups but the biggest thing during my bad spell was my confidence.

It just got totally knocked, when i had the tube in i thought everyone was looking at me and it took me a while when i got back to school to be confident again. Probably still affects me a bit now, my confidence isn't sky high now. But as a young teenager going through the diagnosis of Crohns as well as puberty at that time was tough and kids aren't very forgiving at that age. I tried to hide it and even up to a couple of years ago i was pretending i had a weak bladder if we went out, just as a precaution if i needed the loo. But also around that time i was getting questions about girlfriends when i was also finding out who i was at the time and that i was into guys, not girls. So it was one thing after another. I never really looked at all for a relationship, i just thought it was too hard with Crohns to do so but through fate perhaps I met someone in a bar, the night England was playing in the World Cup 2010...and he brought me a drink and over the next few dates i had to go through the explaining you have. Mine isn't quite as severe as yours, for instance you'd only tell i have Crohns if i go to the toilet a lot which is rare too but in nervous situations i get the feeling i need to go but when i get there i don't. Frustrating. So yeah that happened, and i explained, he was a bit woah- taken aback i think at first but he was understanding and now 2 years on is still really understanding and we now live together and literally live in each others pockets so i totally understand what your going through, you've been brave i think, its so hard to build that confidence up and I hope it goes so well for you.

Sorry about the essay which basically turned into my whole story. haha
04-12-2012, 11:57 AM   #24
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Wow... thanks for sharing that. Yah... I guess a person is going to go "whooha" when they hear all the details huh? I need to prepare for that at some point.

What you are telling me here though is that it may be OK... I'll just have to see.

Thanks for sharing your story and giving me a little more confidence about all this. Really appreciate it.
04-12-2012, 12:00 PM   #25
Terriernut
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4th date coming up! Well, clearly he thinks you are attractive, and that you have something in common. You definetely fancy him. Now I can certainly understand that it is now getting very scary indeed.

I have to say, in my opinion, I'd just blurt it out. At this point, you are at least I hope, friends. As for not dating until it's sorted out again, why? You may have a keeper on your hands, you may not. But by being cagey, you wont win respect. (i didnt mean that harshly, i mean that its human nature)

He may be healthy and an athlete. So, does that equate that is all he is as a human being? Because if it does, either he's very shallow or you may not be giving him credit for depth. I can only assume you are a christian because of your comments about marriage, so I must assume that he feels the same as you about this? In this case, I must also assume that he wants to know you as a human and spiritually first as well?

I understand your confidence is on the floor. I get that because mine is as well. I cant hide my problem, due to a horrific hernia, so it's 'in their face' so to speak. Needless to say I wouldnt date, but then again no one would ask. I think about the 4th date, I would definetely lay my cards on the table. Might as well. Before either of you commit to anything else. But that is me. You are dealing with a temp ileo. Someday it may be permanent, and you will want someone by your side who 'gets you' and will be there through thick and thin.
04-12-2012, 12:02 PM   #26
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Randy....sounds like you found a keeper!!!!! Thank you for sharing your story xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
04-12-2012, 12:08 PM   #27
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My new friend, I want to encourage you... as you have done for me here. You mention that you probably will not date... my dear, I'm sure you're quite loveable and there's no reason for you NOT to date unless you don't want to. Yes, it's hard maintaining confidence with all this going on, but in the end we all are more than the book cover right? We are the inside of the book too and that's the BEST part. Eventually, in our 80's, we are mostly all that right?

Don't sell yourself short! You are loveable... and if you want your Mr. Right, he's out there for you too.

Is this guy my Mr. Right? Have no idea... there's more to my story of course, but right now, my focus is on this 4th date.

Thanks for weighing in. I really, really appreciate it!

I'll think about the "blurting it out" stuff... yeeshh - it's making me nervous just thinking about the words!
04-12-2012, 12:24 PM   #28
randy.stand
 
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Wow... thanks for sharing that. Yah... I guess a person is going to go "whooha" when they hear all the details huh? I need to prepare for that at some point.

What you are telling me here though is that it may be OK... I'll just have to see.

Thanks for sharing your story and giving me a little more confidence about all this. Really appreciate it.
Yeah some do, but not because they think of you as something wrong or repulsive, because Crohns or Colitis is a lot of info to take in. its not like '' Ive got asthma and i take inhalers'', it affects so much more.
04-12-2012, 12:26 PM   #29
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Thanks sweetheart

I'm old enough not to care too much anymore though!!! Women after all are 'retired' after 45.

I dont meant blurt it out bluntly, but to just say, by the way.....my surgery for a reversal is such and such date. Nothing to worry about, all in hand...no big deal....yadayada...and how was your day?
04-12-2012, 12:32 PM   #30
randy.stand
 
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Randy....sounds like you found a keeper!!!!! Thank you for sharing your story xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Thank you, i think i have too. That's no problem, happy to share my stories, its good to share experiences, makes you know your not the only one in this, were all in it.
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