My ears were ringing.....so I knew someone was talking about me. As every day goes by I learn a little more about myself, and try to always gain a little knowledge. Having an ostomy (that I never wanted or expected) has sent me down a path, both physically and mentally, that you're on now. I'm a few years ahead of you, so I'll let you know what's in store for you. In the beginning, let's face it......we're all a mess, both physically and emotionally. Then there's a number of years I call "adaptation". You learn to live with the new you, and it can be pretty frustrating, as the learning curve is steep. I've had my shitbag about 6 1/2 years now, and I'd say about 6 months ago I finally started liking myself again, as I had a good grasp of what all my new physical limitations now were, had confidence in my bag staying stuck to me and finally stopped obsessing over this whole "ostomy makes me a freak" thing. So in my mind I've now finished my "adaptation " phase and have moved into the "just shut-up and get on with life" phase. In this new phase I'm getting into dating, and just not letting my ostomy define me any more.
Dating is interesting. My advice to you is not to think you have to find a partner who has an ostomy to be loved and understood. Don't preclude those folks, but don't think they are your only hope of finding your last best friend. There are lots of folks out there who couldn't care less if you have an ostomy, 2 heads or 12 fingers. That's not to say there aren't gals out there who will take one look at your shitbag and run screaming into the night....never to be seen again.....because there are. But mature folks know none of us get out of this game of life alive, and may have some battle scars of their own. There's been discussions on here about when to tell someone you're dating that you have an ostomy.......and as you can guess the answers run the full gamut......but what I've found is that most gals make a decision about your ostomy based primarily on how you deal with it and present it. By that I mean if the first thing you tell them is "Hi, I'm Joe and I have a shitbag, and it stops me from doing x,y and z.....and I won't eat this or that"......and you present it as something that's a big negative......they'll probably bolt for the door before the waitress even brings the appetizers. If instead you bring it up later in the relationship, after she's gotten to know you a bit and knows your a good guy (who isn't obsessing over it, and using it as an excuse not to be fun)......she's not going to care. If it's not a big deal to you.....it won't be a big deal to her.
What I'm trying to say is it's much easier (for both of you) to not date until you're fully comfortable with and accepting of your ostomy.....and not still in the "adaptation" phase. I was out with a gal the other night that I dated twice before. I never mentioned my ostomy. When we got to a little hugging and physical contact she felt my bag and asked me what it was. Without making a big deal, or even stopping what I was doing, I softly said "oh that?.....it's just an ostomy.....but it's just temporary". She said "yeah?" And I said "yeah, it's just there until I croak", which went right over her head because I wasn't making a big deal of it and her attention was on other things. Again, if it's just a minor thing to you.....she'll not dwell on it and it won't affect her feelings for you. Your mileage may vary......and not every gal will react that way......but what have you got to lose? There's millions of women out there and they're making more every day! Just make sure you love yourself before you go looking for someone else to love you. As they say, my friend....timing is everything!