Struggling with Dating After Surgery - Feeling Hopeless and Alone

About this topic
This forum discussion is about individuals sharing their experiences and offering support to someone who is struggling with self-esteem and dating after surgery.


I haven't dated since my surgery a year and a half ago. I just can't imagine any woman would or could be interested in me now. I'll just have to accept being alone for the rest of my life. It will be very lonely, but at least no one will worry about me when I fly into a fit of rage about my predicament, which happens a lot now. I don't want any sympathy. I don't need anybody's inspiring words. I'm posting this to rant and keep from breaking things or hurting myself for at least while I'm typing. I hate my life too bad I can't change things.

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I have dated since my ostomy (but only with another ostomate). It's the person that matters, not "having a bag". You have to be happy with yourself first, then other people will be happy with you. After all, it's only a bit of "altered plumbing".

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No words of inspiration or sympathy, as you asked my friend.

Only thing I have to say is ....YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN ANYONE ELSE ON THIS SITE. We all deserved better, but have to play with the cards we were dealt. There are some MUCH younger and sicker than you or I. We all feel your pain, frustration, and fear. You haven't cornered the market on self-pity either.
If you're alone or isolated, change it. You can't change what's happened to your body,
BUT......... YOU CAN CHANGE HOW YOU LIVE WITH IT. It's the one thing that you DO have complete control over, buddy.
No one understands more than we do. We're here to listen and I'm personally honored when someone feels safe enough to share their feelings with me. I too was afraid and lonely when I accidentally found this site looking for supplies. I'm still amazed by the sheer numbers of us around the world. It gave me hope, assured me that I had the right to look forward instead of backwards, consider all the possibilities, but more than that, I had to accept that I lost my colon not my brain or heart future is MY responsibility.

I'm so glad you decided to rant today, makes me feel better just knowing you remembered we were here.......YOU ARE NEVER ALONE...there's an army of us!!!!

Your ostomy sister, BEG


Browneyedgirl - you said it all and said it beautifully. Thank you. I needed to hear it also.

Death, to you ... and to each and all of us. I hope you keep reading. There are amazing stories of dating, relationships, love, and acceptance.

Carol, 'dawneagle'


I know how you feel. I was married when I had my cancer surgery and lost my bladder, prostate, and most of all, my manhood. Then she left me and we divorced. I was forced into being single again, tried to date but it didn't work out. I had to deal with rejection. Then I had a lady on this site tell me if they can't see past the bag, they aren't worth having. I've come to realize that when the right one comes along, I will jump in head first. Keep your head up, keep looking. Don't let life get you down, I've been there and it's hell. But like the song says, "If you're going through hell, keep on going" and maybe you can get through before the devil will know you're there. Okay, I'm done. If you want to talk, let me know.


Other than being really bitter about your situation, you didn't go into what your
prognosis is. Will you be able to have a reversal? Do you have friends that are
empathetic towards you?

I hear this a lot from souls concerned about dating. It seems to
me that while reading between the lines, most mates who are complaining
about being an ostomate are concerned about their date finding out about the bag and them rejecting them. There are only two ways your date is going to find out about the bag: 1. You tell them...which seems silly to me, or 2. They find out another way, which usually consists of a sexual encounter. It is possible to have a dating experience without even mentioning the fact that you have "the bag".
I'm probably a lot older than you, but I understand the "date" thing. Time to "man up"
and if you are sincere, date without baring your soul or another part of your anatomy.


Dawneagle, I totally agree with your sentiments. Beg put it perfectly. We all need some reassurance every now and again about where we're going. And being a daily reader of the forums and blogs on this site always inspires me. I've spent many sleepless nights recently worrying about what lies ahead for me, but knowing there are kindred spirits out there helps so much and more importantly being able to talk about it with someone makes the difference. I've been through the "mill" of divorce some 12 years ago and spent so long doubting myself that life was passing me by and this whole new chapter of my life has changed my perspective. But I feel it's changed me for the better. Don't be one of those who Mark Twain talks about when he said "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do." Get out there and make some new friends! Take care, Colm


Hi mate. Shortly after my surgery, my wife left me. My world was over. No woman could fancy a man with a colostomy, I thought. I became depressed and miserable. One day, I joined this site, and people gave me hope. I joined another dating site, and before long, I had met a lovely woman who only lived a mile away. She hasn't got an ostomy, but fully accepts me having one. We are now buying a property in the Welsh hills, and life couldn't be better. So you just have to believe that things can get better, and will. Good luck.


"That's the way there Welshman, OUTSTANDING!!!" I couldn't be happier for you. I can honestly say that I have never loved nor been loved more than now. Just further proof that you never give up. Be the kind of person that you want to be with, and it's amazing how things can change.....



Death, I'd love to share some sympathetic words with you, but will refrain. I'd love to be able to rant, but if I allow myself to start spewing out my rage, I'm afraid of never being able to stop. Had an ileo in 2009. Husband died in 2010. My dog kept me going when my husband died. For months, I only got out of bed to feed him and let him out. He's my best bud, I talk to him all throughout the day as if he's a person (which he is) and wouldn't be surprised if one day he started to talk back. He's my first dog and we've been together over 8 years. Last week the vet told me he'd be thrilled if the dog was still around a year from now. I believe that if I'm ever going to lose it, it will be if my dog goes first. I'm close to my family but don't see anyone more than once or twice a year, max. Don't know why it works this way, but without increasing your rage, I feel like you've taken some of mine out of me, so I hope you don't mind me just saying thanks.

BEG, I've been seeing a lot of your posts lately, agree with everything of yours that I've read and feel both inspired by and envious of your serenity and acceptance of your situation. You seem to know just what to say, regardless of the topic. I'm a few years older than you, but going by how you sound, I'd guess your ostomy age is older than my 2 1/2 years. You're one of the people on this site I want to be as my ostomy grows up if I don't get a reversal and don't lose my sanity. Thank you for your words and your wisdom.


Thanks Browneyedgirl. Never give up. It's onward and upward, to infinity and beyond for me and you.


Not going to offer words of wisdom, or tell you what to do or how you should deal and or feel about your self-esteem. Just simply going to say....I can relate. Sometimes just knowing someone else can relate is enough.


Um, anyone notice Death didn't reply? I sure wouldn't date someone who wants to smash everything up... And yes, I can relate too... If he stayed, he might have met a lady friend in here. DUHHHHH! Like yeah, I jumped off a bridge just 'cause I could (bungee) rope in tow. Hahahah, but that's not 'cause I had my ostomy. Life I thought was over 'cause I was turning 30. LOLOL.


I for one, would like to know what happened to him. However, he pulled the rest of us into a great discussion. I hope he checks in again and tells us a few things. I do wish him well.


My self will never look at others the same. The extra look at the lump in my side, the vertical scan as I try to figure it out. Not easy to deal with, so I work harder at accepting others and to see who they really are. We've all been on one end or the other of the spectrum. My focus is on generating good karma. Maybe it will come back to me - certainly can't hurt.


Hey, you are a handsome man. I hate my new body, too... but I have been dating. I haven't wanted to have sex with anyone, but I have old-fashioned moral values... most of the time. This protects me from getting my heart broken. Anyway, the last guy I dated didn't mind that I had a bag, and he wanted me, but I said no. I broke it off because he is still married to his ex-wife and in love with his ex-girlfriend... so... not the best choice.

I do believe you should ignore the ostomy more. It is hard, but get out, get social, and forget the bag. Be normal. You never have to tell someone about the bag until you think the relationship is heading towards sex. Save sex for later... when you've developed a great rapport. Hug, kiss, and adore a woman, if you want, but wait until you know you want to trust her before you reveal the bag. I am sure someone who loves you will not mind it at all.

Love yourself. Know that you are lovable.

If I were your age, and lived in your city, I'd love to date you. And I'm picky. So if I would, I know many other women would, too. And... all it takes is one, you know. You just need to meet one.

Good luck. You are worth loving. Know that! And find someone you want to give love to. There are other lonely people, you know. Someone out there needs to be loved. Find her.


What the hell happened to For Better or For Worse? I can't believe that someone would divorce their husband or wife because of a bag. I must have married a saint because he has supported me all through this and even helped me search for the type of pouch I needed. And it's not like they have to see the contents of the bag. They have pouch covers you can wear over them. And for you ladies out there, there is a site called My Heart Ties. They make beautiful heart-shaped pouch covers you can wear over your pouch for intimate times.


I was in a serious relationship of 4 years, planning to get married, when I found out I had cancer and got my colostomy. She left me pretty quickly. I had a hell of a tough time dealing with things mentally and emotionally, but eventually I decided to get on with my life and live it. I ended up meeting the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life. She is so freaking hot that it is crazy. Not only is she hot, but she is nice, caring, romantic, and gentle...a dream come true. She's ten years younger than me and she doesn't have an ostomy or any other slight imperfection. We got married, it's been the best four years of my life, and now we have our first child. She tells me all the time she married me because I have a colostomy. She says the fact that I get on with my life and haven't let it slow me down, that I don't complain about all the accidents and frustrations of an ostomy shows a strength of character that none of those other guys out there can ever match. And while she says that to me...there is some truth in it. People who have been through the mill, but come out stronger and wiser for it, are so much more "manly" in the case of men, than those little poser boys who don't know up from down. Same for women...a woman who is mature, strong, and wise is the personification of hotness, regardless of what is stuck to her belly. And to drive the point home, it is really all the shallow people who are truly ugly and undesirable.


Doesn't get better than that!!!!!


Thank you to all for your comments. I have Crohn's, psoriasis, and now arthritis throughout my body. It's an extremely tough pill to swallow being that I once could run for miles laughing, and now all I can do is take painkillers and veg out!


I understand.

I too, along with many others here, struggle with Crohn's (and other disease processes) and the lovely flares. Arthritis joint involvement is just an associated sidekick along with the occasional unexplainable seizure-type episodes, numbness, tingling sensations, and swelling, compounded by fatigue, pain, and nausea. Thanks to steroids, I have an inoperable bleeding heart valve, hypertension, and recurring shingles. Like you, I've succumbed to total frustration and depression at times.

Just want you to know that what you're feeling is "normal," and no one is judging you. I just don't want it to keep you down too long, okay? There is "life" before, during, and after illness. You may not "Power Walk" today, but never underestimate what tomorrow may bring...........

On your side, I promise....BEG


Dear Death - and others,

I am wallowing around in my own stuff today - self-pity. I have my list of issues as do we all. Speaking only for myself, my stoma stuff is so far down my list that it has almost no significance. It is almost equal to a stubbed toe - really irritating - nothing more.

MS is probably my most accurate current diagnosis. And I really don't care what they call it. Pain and misery are unrelenting. Every cell of my body is in pain all the time. I took pain pills all week to be able to be with visiting family, pretending to be 'fine', and now I am off everything again - second day with nothing more than Excedrin. Difficulties seem overwhelming. They are not, it just feels that way.

I just talked with a friend and she reminded me that we essentially have two options. We can change the situation or change ourselves. The situation for most of us isn't changeable. So that leaves one option. We change ourselves. We accommodate the situation. I change ME.

Some days I change 'me' into an upbeat positive person like others on this site. Just now I am wallowing in my misery. I will tire of that and will return to the better option of positive forward thinking before too long. I hate all the things I can't do.

I hate giving up my small RV and my freedom to travel because I can't even manage that anymore. I hate requiring help. But I love doing my small art projects and writing my stories. I am working on the things I love and pushing the things I hate back to some distant place in my mind and feelings. I am working to remember the things I can do and focus less on what I can't do.

Thank you all for being here to listen and share. I know none of my issues are worse than any of yours. It is all just a bit heavy today. But getting lighter by the minute as I recreate my space and me. I am posting a couple of new art zentangles on my profile. Silence.


Dawneagle... I wish you strength during your struggle, buddy. And may it be a comfort to know that I'm thinking of you.
Feel better soon, BEG


BEG, you are a comfort daily. Carol 'dawneagle'


I feel your pain as well. So sorry.


Carol, you're in my thoughts.


Texas is a 'boot strap' place. "Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps". Cowboy boots have small inside straps for a finger in each boot to help pull those tight-fitting boots onto your foot. Boots are for riding horses and walking in deep sh__ , or boot scooting - country dancing, or kicking something. We in Texas have a tendency to think bootstrap therapy is all that is required for any life difficulty. Just pull yourself out by those bootstraps.

I went to the bootstrap metaphor after listening to a political commentary about our Gov Perry. One in five Texans lives in poverty. Many more problems. Solution.... "those people just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps". As if I (or anyone) would simply choose poverty and never feel overwhelmed by life.

I am just letting you know that I have a finger in each strap and am getting closer to pulling myself out of my muck. The position is a bit awkward but it is a start. I don't know whether to go for one foot at a time or try with both feet. Seems like I need a stable surface where I can put that freed foot. So just now I am looking for something stable - anything.

Maybe later I will tell you how to get out of those boots. I may not have helped anyone else today but I have given myself a laugh just thinking about Texans, my dad, grandpa, and bootstraps - the answer to everything.


Oh bless you Dawneagle. You really sound like you are at such a low. I appreciate your time when I first made an enquiry here and I hadn't had any other interest. I hope by sharing your pain you can pick up where you stumbled. I know I've had many days of late when all I felt I needed was a big hug but being able to share things here has helped relieve some of the pain. You most definitely are in our thoughts! Take good care, Colm


Dawneagle, you sound like you have a lot of strength and courage. Being diagnosed with MS is a tough pill to swallow. Several of my relatives have it. They don't know if it's hereditary though. I wish you well. Stay strong and keep blogging. You are a good inspiration. Donna


I am sending thanks to all of you, Donna, Colm, BEG, LALU, Death, Ed, and all the rest. Yes, I have courage, skills, and all that stuff... and things are getting so very much worse. I have a very ill grandson and some other issues - health and more, that are just about to put me under. Those bootstraps are not serving me very well. I think I can't handle one more thing, but there is no other option at this moment. Still, they keep coming one by one.

I know I have to hold on and put forth the positive face with family, and I am so very glad I have you on this site to back me. That is one thing we do well here - right. Support... I will let you know when things change. Hold sacred space for me - however you do that. My mantra... "this too shall pass." It will be okay again at some point. We all know what it is to go through and come out the other side. I know that most of you have been here and worse. Thanks to the site and all of you, it helps. Carol

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