How to disclose ileostomy to potential lover?

Sep 30, 2022 4:05 pm

I just do not think I can bring myself to tell a potential lover that I am preparing to get an ileostomy. I know it is my own insecurities, and no matter how I try to think of it in a positive way, I end up with tears in my eyes, embarrassed and don't know what to say. I think if I was rejected, it would be devastating to me. Yes, I know it means I dodged a bullet, but I do not know how to tell this man. I almost think I should forget that part of my life and stop any further interaction with him. I do not want an ostomy, but I need one. Anyone go through this? I am an older woman and men are so much more visual and sex-oriented. I am having difficulties enough with the idea of living with an ileostomy and all the issues that could arise, but bringing a new person into my life seems almost insurmountable to me.

Sep 30, 2022 4:16 pm

I'm no good on the lover/relationship part of your issue since I'm all alone, but I'd be more upset if I got deeper into a relationship and then found out about your stoma than you just being upfront. Because, like you said, the sex part is gonna come up, and if you're always avoiding it, that would lead to a problem eventually. Not the part of you not wanting to have sex (if that's the case), but the part of you avoiding the issue and then the guy wondering why it's not progressing any farther. So, older guys are really more visual and sex-oriented?

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Sep 30, 2022 4:56 pm

Just think of the worst case scenario and you won't be disappointed. You never know what will happen between now and getting your ileostomy. For all you know, he might have an accident and lose a leg or arm, and I'm sure you would still be there for him if you both love each other. Sorry if this is a bit strong, but sometimes we just need to take one step at a time and be honest, which is a solid foundation for your future. Good luck and let us know how you get on. XX

Sep 30, 2022 4:57 pm
Reply to AlexT

Alex, you are one handsome dude and I honestly don't know why you are not snapped up already. XX

Sep 30, 2022 5:05 pm
Reply to Caz67

Thanks. Everyone is so far away is my biggest problem.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Sep 30, 2022 5:41 pm
Reply to AlexT

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. LOL xx

Sep 30, 2022 5:42 pm
Reply to AlexT

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. LOL xx

Rose Bud 🌹
Sep 30, 2022 5:59 pm
Reply to AlexT

I'm sure if a few of us would be closer to you, you'd be fighting us all off with a stick. Or just taking a few!

Sep 30, 2022 6:19 pm
Reply to AlexT

Well, plus, he plays with trains.   LOL

Sep 30, 2022 6:20 pm

Hello rdt4.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this thorny issue, which, one way or another, has been discussed quite a few times in the past on here.  There is, of course, no right or wrong answer to the question of whether any particular individual would share this sort of news with someone else and this is particularly pertinent when the ‘significant-other’ is a potential partner.

From what you have written in your last sentence, it would seem that you are already doubtful about letting anyone else into your life at present. Preparing yourself to have an ileostomy might be what you need to make up your mind about whether you tell this man the reason behind your contemplation about ending the relationship.

If you don’t want to (or can’t) confront him with how you feel: 
Had you thought about writing your feelings down (as you have already done in your post) and then you don’t have to cogitate on what you might have to say face to face. All you then need to do is decide whether to present him with your written account.

Of course, if it was me in this position, I would probably present the whole dilemma in rhyming verse, as this is my preferred way to work through difficult emotional and social problems. What I have also found is that if I have not already made a definite decision on a particular dilemma, I would write down the many questions that are running through my head and then make some attempts to answer those questions from as many perspectives as I could. This literary method gives me and the potential reader (which is sometimes me-at a later date) a much more comprehensive idea of the background to my thinking. Sometimes I come up with ‘conclusions’, but more often than not I end up with more questions, which remain either unanswered or unsatisfactory.  It is often surprising how useful it is to have written things down like this so that you don’t have to keep rethinking but can re-read your own thoughts on the subject and perhaps add or subtract elements so as to have it try to make more sense in the longer-term.

It may be that your ‘friend’ would appreciate being informed of the situation, so that he can either try to help you during this difficult time, or he might decide that he does not have the ‘stomach’ or the expertise for such an endeavour.  Whatever ‘he’ decides might be what you are looking for in terms of not having to make those sort of decisions for yourself.

As I have said earlier, there are rarely any right or wrong answers, so my comments are just my own ramblings which may or may not be helpful. When this sort of thing arises, I often contemplate the remark made by George Bernard Shaw: “Ninety percent of all the things I ever worried about - never happened!”

Best wishes


Sep 30, 2022 6:24 pm

rdt4:  Here's the bottom line to me.  If a guy is going to dump you just because of an ileostomy, you don't want that guy anyhow.  If the man is attracted to you for who you are, your personal qualities, your brains, your sense of humor, your dimples, whatever, the surgery shouldn't chase him away.  All the more reason to be up front about it from the start, or at least relatively soon after the start, but definitely prior to sex, of course.  My surgery was at age 21, I'm a lot older than that now, and I speak from experience.

Rose Bud 🌹
Sep 30, 2022 6:24 pm

Rdt4....I had some of the same fears as you. I think at some point most of us have been. I got my ileostomy a little over two years ago without having time to process anything. All I was told is there was a possibility I might have one, but nothing right away while I was in the hospital recovering from what was supposed to be an overnight procedure and one thing after another happened.... Which led to an emergency surgery and found out a gallstone ripped apart of my intestine and I was leaking through my JP drain and woke up with one. Since all this happened during the very beginning of Covid, I was talking to a guy, but unable to see him and was scared to tell him what had just happened in fear that it would turn him away even though we knew each other 4 years prior to all this happening. Once I did get the nerve to tell him, I not only had a foot-long midline scar and 10 scars from JP drains and a few scars on my neck from chest tubes, but now I'm in a bag! Needless to say, the only words he ever said was, "But you're okay now?" So if, as hard as it is, if this guy or a potential guy sees you for you and not some sex object, just let them know and if they walk then FCK them. Their loss!!! AND YES I know it's easier said than done. I haven't been intimate yet due to him being overseas right now and it scares me a little but ... like I said, his/their loss.

Sep 30, 2022 6:30 pm

I want so much to believe this. I lost my spleen due to a botched colonoscopy, so now the surgery holds more risks for me. It all just feels so overwhelming. It is really nice to hear others have felt this way and made it over the hill to acceptance and are thriving. Thanks for your comments.

Sep 30, 2022 6:38 pm
Reply to AlexT

Lol. Older men are actually more aggressive than younger men. I found this a bit amusing.

Sep 30, 2022 6:40 pm
Reply to Rose Bud 🌹

You are funny.

Sep 30, 2022 6:41 pm
Reply to rdt4

That's because the old farts are running out of time.

Sep 30, 2022 6:57 pm
Reply to HenryM

I refuse to grow up.

Rose Bud 🌹
Sep 30, 2022 6:59 pm
Reply to rdt4

Get to know AlexT and you'll understand he's such a sweetheart.

Sep 30, 2022 7:53 pm

Just tell them straight and the sooner the better in my view, as they say 'take me as I am or watch me as I go'.

If they run for the hills then just look at it as it wasn't meant to be. Sure we all feel sorry for ourselves for a few days if we get turned down, that's just life, same as without having a stoma. It's just when we have one, we put all the blame down to having a stoma instead of seeing it as a love that wasn't meant to be. I'm sure most of us have been turned down pre-stoma, too. Some of us more than others, lol.

I've had an ileostomy almost all of my adult life. It's never been a problem in one-night stands, lol, or long-term relationships.

Sep 30, 2022 8:39 pm

Hi Rdt4, I know firsthand how rejection hurts. I have been rejected three times since having an ostomy, and only once because of my ostomy (2 are ostomates). But I remember what someone said to me about having an ostomy weeds out the 'rotten' ones. And I also believe in the universe (or whatever you call the divine) guiding me. I am now with a wonderful man who doesn't give a rat's ass about my ostomy. Lol We are having lots of fun getting to know each other. It's so different 'dating' in my 50s...the main focus is not marriage and kids...way more relaxing. Lol

Sending loads of love your way!

Sep 30, 2022 9:34 pm

Hi Rdt4, you say he is a 'potential' lover, and it makes me wonder what the reason or reasons are that he has not already become a lover. Is it just you putting the brakes on, or has it not progressed for some other reason? If the only thing preventing this relationship from happening is your reluctance to tell him about your situation, then you know it's inevitable. You either abandon contact with him and possibly live with regret, never knowing what might have been, or you take a deep breath, find the right time, and tell him what is about to happen to you. Don't you think you owe it to yourself and him to know what the outcome will be? You deserve to be happy, right? Seeing how he reacts to it will definitely tell you all you need to know about what kind of person he really is, and how important a relationship with you is to him. A pretty easy way to weed out someone that you definitely don't want to waste your time with. Go for it! I know, easier said than done, but like many things in life, the harder they are to accomplish, the greater the reward. Best of luck.


Oct 03, 2022 1:43 am
Reply to AlexT

Come visit and see if moving is an option.

Oct 03, 2022 11:26 am

Just come out with it and if he doesn't hang around, you saved yourself some time with the wrong guy. Always be upfront and outspoken.

Oct 03, 2022 11:41 am

That's definitely a tough one and one area I haven't traversed yet as I'm single and solo. However, I think you have to be honest and upfront. If someone can't be there to love you the way you deserve and support you through your procedure, they aren't worth the effort. That may sound harsh but in the end we all deserve love, support, and kindness whether we have stomas or not!
Best of luck to you with your procedure.

Oct 06, 2022 6:50 pm
Reply to Caz67

I like your comment to the person requesting this information. I've been an ostomate for over 40 years, and it never dawned on me that this should make a difference if the two people really love each other. Because the bottom line is, it will take the love of both people to make it through. I would not kid myself; it will take a special person to look past the surgery. I would rather be honest up front and hope he or she is that special person or get it over with to make room for that special person because he or she is out there if you are not wasting time with people that require you to jump through hoops to win their affection when they may not be that special person. Because you have to see yourself as worth it before somebody else can see that. Thanks.

Oct 15, 2022 9:52 am
Reply to 5285news

Hi 5285 News.

Thanks for liking my comment. I'm not sure if some people think I was being harsh, but I certainly didn't intend it to be. I was just trying to say that we, as in us with stomas, have enough to deal with without the added anxiety we put ourselves through for the opposite sex to hopefully gain their love and support. Nobody is perfect, and life is too short to "what if" and "would they could they" for months on end. Be open, honest, and upfront from the start, and then you can see if you're meant to be together. XX