Dealing With IBS In A New Relationship
As someone with irritable bowel syndrome, I am so grateful to finally be settled in a long-term relationship with somebody who knows all about my problems. Being in the handful of other, mini relationships I had before was a nightmare. Spending regular time with someone, sleeping at someone else’s home, and having meals with someone when you don’t want to tell them about your IBS because you do want to appear graceful and perfect is a challenge to say the least. I don’t miss those days at all. But when you have irritable bowel syndrome, dating is just a bit harder. Your own routine is very important to managing symptoms, but when you throw a new person into the mix, you’re suddenly mixing and matching routines. It throws things off. Here are realities anyone with IBS in a new relationship understands.
Lying about going to the gym
You pretend to go to the gym, but you actually just go use the bathroom at the gym. You can’t really find another natural way to just disappear for 45 minutes to an hour, which is about how much time you need to be on the toilet.
Sending the guy on errands
When you feel an urgent situation coming on quickly, you make up an errand to send your guy on. You need tampons. You need aspirin. You need him to move his car for street cleaning that does not exist. You just need him out of there so you can use the bathroom.
Never staying for breakfast
Mornings are a sensitive time for those with irritable bowel syndrome. We usually have a very specific routine, complete with a short list of foods or liquids we can have, and a very precise time we need to be in the bathroom. So we can’t really stay for a leisurely breakfast at a new guy’s place.
Playing the midnight laxative game
If I spent days on end with someone, things just got out of whack. So I turned to laxatives. These would often wake me up with a sharp stomach pain in the middle of the night. So I’d kill an hour in the bathroom while my partner was sleeping, and then pretend to wake up the next morning refreshed when I was anything but.
Appearing picky about food
I just allowed other men to believe I was one of those picky women who would only eat certain things due to vanity. It was actually due to flatulence.
Having a lot of travel questions
If a guy wanted to take me on a trip, I had to appear playful and excited while I asked strange questions that I was really just asking to determine what the bathroom access would be like.
Going on special walks
Sometimes I’d just say I wanted to go for a walk by myself, to “think”, when I was really just gassy. I must have come off as a little insane.
Faking morning errands
If guys slept at my place, I couldn’t exactly tell them they had to leave (so I could use the bathroom). So I pretended I had to go somewhere, and went through the whole charade of getting dressed, getting in my car, and driving around the block until the guy was gone. Then I went home and used the bathroom.
Bathroom distraction antics
Sometimes, the unfortunate event would occur that a boyfriend wanted to use my boyfriend just after I’d, um, done a number on it. And I had to pull all sorts of antics to keep him out of it, including just jumping his bones.
Letting him think you’re high maintenance
I let some guys think I was just very high maintenance and did my hair and makeup for an hour in the bathroom. It was better than telling them the truth.
Running the shower
Shamefully, I’d often run the shower to cover up sounds. I know it was a terrible waste of water. Then I’d have to hop in for one second when I was done using the toilet to look as if I’d showered.
Him thinking it’s sexy shower time
Of course, my boyfriend at the time might think it was a good time for sexy shower time and might try to join me, so I learned to lock the door.
Sneaking into the roommate’s bathroom
If I dated someone with a roommate who had his own bathroom, I’d sneak in there when the roommate wasn’t home. Sometimes I got caught and that was very uncomfortable for everyone.
Telling your friends to keep quiet
I had to shush several friends who tried to crack jokes about my IBS in front of guys I was dating. They didn’t know I hadn’t told them yet.
Finally exploding and telling all
Eventually, I’d just get so tired of the charade. I’d explode and say, “That’s it! I have IBS and it’s really embarrassing and I need to go in the bathroom for like 45 minutes so can you just take a walk?”