When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness many topics were covered; how I’d need to adjust my diet, the importance of sleep, medication options etc., not one specialist ever brought up how this could affect my love life, and quite honestly at the time I wasn’t thinking about it either. ¬†Since I was already in a committed relationship when I was diagnosed, I can only speak to my own experiences. However, to get the perspective of someone who is single and dealing with an IBD, I had to outsource.

To Share or Not to Share

I found the worry that stands out the most with my single IBD friends, is if and when to share the fact that they have a chronic illness to those they are dating. Should they be up front right away? Do they wait until they’ve been dating awhile? Or do they wait until the relationship moves onto a more intimate level? One of my IBD girlfriends said the best advice she can give, is share and share early on. If the person you are dating is someone who truly wants to pursue a relationship with you, this won’t change how they feel. Several of my friends who waited until the relationship was more serious to share the fact they have a chronic illness, wound up being dumped and very hurt. They said it could have saved them a lot of energy and heartache if they had put it out their sooner.

Not Tonight Dear, I have a Headache

If ONLY a headache was the least of my worries when I’ve had to say no to my husband! Stomach cramps, back pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea these are not sexy, to say the least. I am extremely fortunate in that my husband is very supportive of me, in sickness and in health. He’s seen me at my very best and my very worst, and his love has never faltered. For us, our marriage is built on more than sex being the only intimate part of our relationship. Cuddling, kissing and even just holding hands can be intimate as well.

Talk, Talk And Talk Some More

I’ve found, that when dealing with a chronic illness and intimacy, communication is key. Honesty about how I’m feeling is a must. If you’re with someone who really loves you and is committed to you, they will be willing to work with you so you’re both happy in the end. Bring your significant other to your GI appointments, have them listen in on what is happening with your body and let them ask questions. Real love should be patient, kind and understanding. If it’s anything but, there’s no shame in asking for help in the form of a counselor to help moderate understanding.

Read More from Sheri:

Getting Diagnosed

When Things are Not as They Appear to Be

IBD: The Gift that Keeps on Giving


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