What is Your Relationship Status?

Even though I am only 21 years old I’ve still had my fair share of dates, flings, and relationships in my life so far. Having Crohn’s Disease has been a huge part of me dealing with this aspect of my life. This post isn’t just for those of you who have Crohn’s it is also for those who have a significant other with this invisible disease. I want to help each side of the relationship better understand dealing with this, specifically through my experiences. First of all, Crohnies, you need to know what you deserve and the type of person who can deal with this. Not everyone can deal with someone who is sick, and you have to realize this is okay because there are people out there who can. We just have to sift through all the fish in the sea. I can almost compare this to dating someone who already has a kid, it is a package deal.
holding hands
I’ve had boyfriends who didn’t know exactly how to deal with this. Which isn’t there fault, they don’t have the disease. At the time I probably should have been a little more understanding but then I think about it and I did exactly what I should have. I need physical, mental, and emotional support from someone (which any relationship should have) and I wasn’t getting it. For instance, I was admitted to the hospital for a kidney infection, kidney stones, and a Crohn’s flare up and was on watch for emergency surgery. At the time I had a boyfriend of only a couple months. He simply didn’t realize how serious it was so wasn’t there for me, and I took it hard. Clearly the relationship didn’t work but I think that it was the best for the both of us. I had to deal with the truth and be honest with myself as hard as it was.
The embarrassment of having to go to the bathroom countless times a day or the pain that comes along with it can be overwhelming to you when trying to meet someone new. It is probably the most embarrassing situation we can find ourselves in. I suggest breaking the ice ASAP. This is so important for a relationship you think is going to go somewhere. It is going to be an uncomfortable situation but figure out a way that is the most comfortable for you whether it be a joke, serious conversation, or being straight out blunt about it. You will know with the response you get how this person is going to deal with it. We have days and weeks of exhaustion, joint/body pains, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bleeding, along with a lot of other things. A lot of people think we are “lazy” because we are exhausted a lot of the time when sick. They need to understand our bodies are drained and it’s even frustrating for us. We have countless doctor’s appointments, are always getting stuck for our blood, getting tests done, hospital stays, and even surgeries. Someone with patience is key. Sometimes we don’t even have enough patience to deal with it ourselves never mind worrying about someone else.
I think overtime I have kind of been through a lot of guys on dates for the simple reason of I have this disease. It is hard to tell someone and at times I thought it was easier to just stop talking to them so I would push them away. But now, I’m coming to the age and point in my life I’m looking for a serious long-term relationship. And actually, it is the perfect timing for this because the past year or so I’ve learned how important it is to be open about having Crohn’s. I’ve had some great experiences with people dealing with me, it isn’t always bad. When I was in the hospital at one of my many stays, me and my ex were on good terms and friendly with each other, and even though we had gone our separate ways he was still there for me. I was in the emergency room for about twelve hours and he was right by my side. This is what we need, Crohnies. We need someone who is a caring person and more importantly who shows concern.
Everyone deserves someone who will walk through the rain for them. Meaning, they will do anything for you. In our situation though it is more of someone walking through a monsoon for us. Being sick I think I have learned to be extra sensitive about things in life and also very observant. I put my all into relationships and the last thing I want is someone who doesn’t accept me for who I am or doesn’t seem to care. I’ve adapted the attitude that if you can’t handle it or aren’t giving me the support I need you can walk right out that door, because I don’t need someone in my life like that. I look at thinking like this as a positive thing. I don’t want to settle. That is really what it comes down to.
Relationships have a lot of different aspects to them. One being the physical part of it. Some people put more emphasis and believe sex is more important than others. But, having Crohn’s Disease, this can be an obstacle. It is hard thing for some a lot people to understand. Pain, discomfort, exhaustion all play a part. Understanding from your partner is vital. They need to know the reasons and an explanation which is our responsibility to give.
To me, being comfortable with someone is huge as it should be in any relationship between two people. As for having Crohn’s Disease, in a nutshell, I want to be comfortable enough with someone that I can fart in front of them. If I have to go to the bathroom when were out, or have a potty emergency while driving I want them to be able to put the gas pedal to the floor and get me to the bathroom! I don’t want to have to hide that, and you shouldn’t either. I want to be able to laugh with someone about the embarrassments I’ve had in the past. Of course this might be tough or uncomfortable at first but as the relationship grows if you allow yourself to be open about it, it will be 1,000,000 times easier. Allow that person to be your best friend. Because if they truly want to be with you for you, they will deal with it. They will voice their concern and help you get through the hard times. One experience I will never forget was probably the most embarrassing thing yet. I had a boyfriend who I was really comfortable with but we had never had the conversation of my stomach and the humiliating things that come along with it. I was over his house and he was in the shower, I got the sudden urge… I had to #2. I didn’t know what to do because he was in the bathroom and I freaked out. I grabbed my keys to leave, but it was too late. I yelled at his mom asking where the other bathroom was downstairs, but it was again too late. I had in fact, yes, pooed my pants. I instantly started crying. Thankfully I had my emergency kit in my car (extra pair of pants, underwear, wipes, toilet paper, wash cloth, soap, and then some). I cleaned myself up and bolted for the door. I left in tears and a pit in my stomach without even saying bye. I thought it was over, I was so embarrassed I wouldn’t answer his calls or texts. I couldn’t even imagine what he was thinking. I was gross, disgusting, all of the above. I got home and ran up to my bathroom to take a bath and continued to cry my eyes out. I was 18 years old, who does that at 18 years old? Someone with Crohn’s disease, that’s who. I was unbelievably surprised by him showing up at my door. He had contacted my mom asking what he should do he felt awful and came over. I knew he didn’t know exactly what happened but he obviously had an idea. But in the end, he was there for me, and that was all that mattered. He just held me and told me it was okay. That day I knew there were people out there that could deal with someone having this awful disease.
All in all, don’t settle. If your significant other is complaining about starting a life with you along with the obstacles having Crohn’s Disease gives then either make them more aware of what you need or get out of that relationship. Stress is a huge trigger for flare ups. Dealing with the disease is enough stress as it is, we don’t need someone to add to that. You will find someone that can in fact make dealing with this easier. I promise you, there is a person for everyone. And as I have inked on my body “If it’s meant to be, it will find its way”. Don’t give up on finding that special someone. Let someone come into your life and help you fight this battle.
happy couple

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