When to disclose my condition while dating?

Oct 29, 2011 4:50 am

Hi to everyone on the site (this is my first post) a newbie so to speak.
Never done this before and feeling a bit indifferent doing it, although needs must I suppose, and you guys know the issues and have been through similar, and hopefully have some good suggestions.
I have not properly dated since I was diagnosed and subsequently had my surgery. I am now three years post-op and even though to date I have not been too bothered, I am really starting to miss the comforts of having someone close to share my life's ups and downs with.
It is so frustrating that my confidence is at an all-time low and how and when should I approach the subject of my condition? I am not unwell and do not class myself as anything other than fit and healthy. But the problem exists nevertheless.
I have joined a dating site and had some success in terms of dates until I mention my condition... So when should I tell them? Date 1, 2, 3? I have tried all but still single..
I have joined this site to seek advice and maybe more, but I am still unsure it will work out.
Any advice will be gratefully received.

Oct 29, 2011 8:49 am

I am no expert, but I just look at it as when do you need to tell the other that you have false teeth? It is no real difference, but before the relationship gets too far, or you would look like you were hiding it.

You need to tell your partner at the right time, if there ever is one, but after you have undressed in front of your lover it is a bit late then to bring up the subject.

You need to work it out for yourself, no need to talk about it on your first date but as you start to reveal other feelings and hopes, it should come around then.

You have not chosen the wrong time to tell these others, they have not been people that could handle the bag no matter when you told them. Reading a few posts here you will see how many long-time partners have run after a bag was introduced into the relationship. There are a lot of success stories as well, one young couple even meeting on here and look like continuing a more personal relationship.

Finding a partner that has no problem with your bag is the same as finding one if you are bald, some will be repulsed by your lack of hair most will not care. Sure, many people will find the bag itself bad, but still respect and accept the wearer.

If after you tell a prospective partner about your bag, if they run, good, you found out early that they were not right for you, if they don't run, then you can start to build a relationship. Just don't build too much of a relationship before you do tell, that could be much harder on you.
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Oct 29, 2011 8:50 am
Hello Malcie67,

This topic has come up many times in previous posts and all the advice seems sound.  I have not commented before but maybe it's time I threw in my twopennyworth.

It seems to me that there is no 'right time' in the creation of a relationship to disclose a personal condition. Much will depend upon the individuals concerned and the circumstances surrounding the relationship.

I would feel that if I spoke about my condition early in the relationship it would be like defining myself as the condition.    Personally, I feel that this condition is just an unwanted minor part of me that does not in any way define who I am, who I was or who I will become.   Physically I cannot escape it but simply manage it the best way that I can. Therefore it would not become an issue unless and until the relationship became physical.

There are a number of things about myself that I do not particularly like and would rather other people did not know about, so I keep them to myself.  It is my belief that everyone has these types of things - sometimes they don't even recognise their own dislikeable facets.    Looking at this from another perspective.  How long does it take for the person that you meet to tell you all the things about themselves that they would rather you did not know until the relationship was strong enough for it not to matter.

I tend to be basically 'honest' about these things, so if the conversation swings around to negatives in life, I would say something along the lines that I would prefer not to 'share' some  things until I really get to know someone better.  This implies that I 'would' like to get to know them better; it also implies that the process is a reciprocal one of 'sharing' rather than offloading.  I also have a blueprint, a plan, and a philosopy for all my relationships which I have called my 'Aims for today'. This I readily share with anyone who might be in the least bit interested and I would certainly share it with anyone who I was seriously interested in.  The 'Aims for today' have little or nothing to do with physical things but are to do with the formation and mantaining of good relationships.   They were formulated from my studies of people's relationships with their pets (dogs in particular).  However, they are particularly pertinent when it comes to people-people relationships because many humans seem to be pretty useless when it comes to relating to their own species.  I'll blog my aims for today so that you can contemplate if that's the sort of relationship that appeals to you. ( I did blog a poem some time back on the same theme so you are welcome to go back over the old blogs)

Relationships do not need to be rushed and the more you put into them the more you are likely to get in return. Not least, for me they should be 'fun' - at least some of the time.

I do rabbit on a bit so I'll finish there and  hope that this will be useful to you in your deliberations.

Best wishes

Oct 30, 2011 3:50 pm

Hey Malcie,
I think there is no right time, it's a hard subject to raise. But I am pretty sure I wouldn't be raising it initially. After all, if you were seeing a lady who told you she had, say, constipation on the first date, what would you do? I know what I'd be doing, looking for the exit. Like what has been said previously, I am not my stoma. I am a person with a stoma, which is only an alternative to using a bottom, really. I find the idea of dating with a stoma difficult. All kinds of scenarios come to mind and put me off, but I will do one of these days. I have seen a stoma called a jerk meter. It's a great way to measure someone's worth. If they are put off, who wants them in your life? I'd rather be alone the rest of my life than have someone who is put off by a bit of poo. If they are worth having, surely they would see the stoma is what keeps you well and for some of us, the thing that stopped us from dying. That makes it a magnificent appliance in my opinion. Anyway, I am waffling. Keep smiling. I firmly believe there is someone for all of us. He/she is out there for you too.

Oct 30, 2011 6:41 pm

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Past Member
Oct 30, 2011 7:16 pm

There is no right or wrong way, just what you think is right.
I had my ileostomy when I was 19. There may have been a few occasions where there wasn't time to say I had one *blushes* lol.
Some will run when you mention an ostomy, but there are a lot more that won't.
It's normal, with or without an ostomy, to see someone once or twice or speak to them and you don't want to see/hear from them again. So, was it the ostomy that put them off you or they just thought you weren't the right one for them?

Oct 31, 2011 2:47 pm

I am sure (well, not really) but will get there, that someone is out there and searching for me.
As for whether it was me or the colostomy, I'm afraid the latter, as everything was fine until I mentioned it. And I did this because things were moving on well and I do not want them to feel like I was leading them a merry dance or telling a lie.
I do look at the colostomy as my lifesaver, and although it was not the easiest time I have had and never will regret having it.
Maybe I should draw smiley faces on it.....

Oct 31, 2011 3:04 pm
Beautifully spoken, Bill.    And very wise   Darla
Oct 31, 2011 7:25 pm

I had my ostomy shortly after college, so my entire "serious" dating life was post-ostomy. I found that at some point, a conversation would center around why I had such a positive attitude, why I felt lucky, etc., and that was my opportunity to say that at one point, I had been very, very ill. Then, fortunately, a surgery was done that saved my life. It now means that I have an ostomy bag—which is actually very cool because you can't smell my farts, and I don't have to spend much time in the bathroom! Then it would unfold from there.

As you said, it is a great way to "weed out the losers" quickly in the dating process. Those people just weren't for you, and they missed out on a great thing. Hang in there!!! I have been married twice (one divorce), so there must be someone out there for you.

Often, people will adopt the attitude you have towards your illness/stoma, so a lot depends on your attitude and how you handle it.

Best of luck!!!!!

Past Member
Oct 31, 2011 7:34 pm

You'll meet someone when the time's right, just be careful online and on here. Some will declare their undying love for you when they never have any intention of ever meeting you, just a sad sick game they play with people. I've seen it happen to a few people.

Oct 31, 2011 8:50 pm

Lol @ Three

48 and losing it
Oct 31, 2011 11:47 pm
Hi, I'm not sure what type of support I can give you as I'm 1 year into my surgeries and I'm not well. I'm married to a wonderful man, someone who has been my best friend for approximately 25 years. We have 4 girls. I just want you to know that being single is most likely more difficult, however, please understand that being married and dealing with intimacy issues is also difficult. Any woman who cares for you will understand, everyone has baggage, only we carry ours in plain view! Good luck to you, I wish you a lot of support and admire your courage! Be well and good luck.
Nov 01, 2011 5:56 am

I stick by what I have said a few times regarding this issue. If someone is going to dump you because you have a stoma, you are going to be dumped later, I am sure.

It is the type of person you are involved with, and if they dump you early because of this issue, it will also occur later as they have an issue with your ailment which poses questions about them and not you.

Nov 10, 2011 1:14 am

I'm only 18 and have been dreading this from the day my ex dumped me for having a permanent ileostomy! I look at it as having saved my life and when it does get me down, I just try to think that at least with it, I can usually tell who the good ones are before things get serious and it stops me from getting my heart broken again. But it is hard for anyone! People can be so ignorant about stuff like this, and finding someone who's been in a similar situation is usually the best thing.
I did have a situation where I was talking about scars and my surgery with a guy, and he asked to see my scar. So when I showed him and he saw the bag itself, I explained it all and he seemed fine about it. He actually said it was "cute" that I'd worried about telling people about it. So it's just a case of telling someone when you feel comfortable about it, and if they can't accept it, then they're not worth it!

Nov 10, 2011 5:10 am

Let's hope you always remain comfortable in your own skin. You will always radiate grandeur.

Nov 10, 2011 5:24 pm

I have tried both the upfront reveal and the waiting game, and both are honest in my opinion. This is what I've learned over the past 40+ years living with my ostomy. I find that almost all people, male and female, are capable of quick and irrational judgment when faced with the upfront idea that a potential mate has an ostomy, even those that might be more open-minded when given adequate time to become emotionally invested. I advocate allowing some time to pass before discussing your condition. As has been stated above, getting to know someone a little better is a good idea. I've learned the personality types, in women, that are going to be more accepting of my condition, and I can usually tell, with a little time, which ones will or won't bolt when the big reveal happens! Online dating is the same, wait until you've met the person face to face and gotten to know them as live people and not some distant implied concept with the internet and distance between you. On the net, you can be anyone you want to be................it's much harder in person.

When the time comes, confidence is the key! Both men and women respond better to a confident person than the shy, timid, and reserved! The more they feel that your ostomy doesn't matter to you, the more it will not matter to them as well. If your ostomy is the constant focus of your time and attention, it will be for those around you. This is especially true during intimacy. It's difficult, but forget that it's even there and don't worry about it!

Nov 16, 2011 9:38 pm

Like Franicca, I was only seventeen when I had my colostomy. That was the early 70's, and although I agree with most of the comments, you can't help but feel hurt. Like the others said, if someone can't accept your stoma, they are not worth knowing you.

Past Member
Nov 16, 2011 10:57 pm

Hi there. Firstly, may I introduce myself. I'm Natasha, a 36-year-old from the UK. I would like to share my story with you.
I met a wonderful, gorgeous man on the internet 3 months ago. We instantly clicked - the same personality, same sense of humor, same outlook on life.
I was made aware from the beginning that he had Crohn's severely. This wasn't an issue at all. After talking for a month and getting on so well (we still hadn't met in person), he told me he had something to tell me regarding his health that may have a massive impact on how I felt about him. But he couldn't speak to me but would send me a text when we hang up. I felt physically sick as I was fearing the worst. My phone bleeped and he told me he had an ileostomy. I felt nothing but relief as I feared the worst. I sent him a text immediately saying, "Is that it? Thank God. I was so worried you were going to tell me you had AIDS or something else really bad." So to me, the ileostomy is a small price to have saved his life. I now have a wonderful boyfriend, confidante, soulmate, rock, and lover. My wonderful man had been single for 3 years after being rejected by shallow, superficial women who ran a mile as soon as he told them about the ileostomy. Their loss and definitely my gain. Just proves waiting for the right woman is best waiting for. I truly hope you find a genuine woman as there are some out there who can see past a bag. It's the person inside, and I feel like a very lucky lady to have found such a beautiful, caring, loyal man. I'm very happy xxx Good luck xx

Nov 27, 2011 2:49 am


Well said and sadly, so true.

Nov 27, 2011 4:50 am
Mega dittoes, X!
Dec 01, 2011 12:45 am

Hello there,
I've been in 3 relationships since having my ileostomy 28 years ago. My husband stayed on until 12 years ago.

It's a hard topic to bring up. I waited until they got to know the person, then introduced the topic. I started by saying I had a body image problem ... actually it was other people who had the problem. Decent people can see past the appliance.
Best of luck, Possum

Dec 31, 2011 7:05 pm

I had my surgery 2 years ago, and decided to try to date again. I did the online thing. Right away, I met someone very nice and very attentive. Once I told him about my ileostomy, he just couldn't handle it. He was extremely apologetic and knows he should be able to get past it. But he just couldn't. Anyway, it really hurt. It brought back all the feelings of being "not normal". I feel like I took 10 steps backward in my recovery. I won't go through that again. I'm back to watching movies alone at home on a Friday night. It sounds like I'm having a pity party, but I guess I can't take this kind of rejection.

Past Member
Dec 31, 2011 7:31 pm

I don't know when it would be good to tell. Most everyone I know already knows about my 'pouch' - someone said the word pouch is easier than the term bag or appliance. The word appliance is my hangup. Reminds me of toasters and blenders and electric toothbrushes.

I find myself wondering if anyone ever 'shows' it first. It seems the idea of a pouch or a bag is worse than the reality of one. People that have seen mine usually say something like - "is that all it is"? .... Then it is a non-issue.

I can imagine myself saying, "can I show you something about me?" Then maybe, "it's a little bit personal I wouldn't want to embarrass you" - then maybe the top of the pouch.

Or maybe just ... "I had surgery a few years ago, it saved my life, my poo comes out a different place now". "I wouldn't want that to stand in the way of our getting to know each other better". "I sometimes make noises also".

I have had a couple of interesting experiences ... Close friends who want to see, frequently want to see the bare stoma - without any covering - and sometimes want to see it work. I tell them I can't 'make' it perform on demand. We laugh. Most say, "is that your gut (the stoma)"? Desensitization works wonders.


Past Member
Dec 31, 2011 7:55 pm

I'm so-o-o sorry, Emeraldeyes, but don't let one bad apple ruin the whole bunch!!! I've had a relationship (1 ostomate and the other "normal" as you call it) and they're the same.....Neither relationship ended because of my disease or ostomy. One ended over as "simple" a thing as "POLITICS", can't get more shallow than that, huh?.... UGH! I hope that when your pain and disappointment lightens, you'll see he actually did you a favor. His honesty saved you both so much time and energy. Hey, it's his loss...................Tomorrow's a "New Year" and the possibilities are endless. You've already proven that you're smart, strong, and determined, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING !!!!

In closing, let me say, I'm in a new relationship with an "adult" man who only wants to be with me. He thinks I'm the best thing since ice cream and makes me feel (and "lets me know") that I'm 100% woman............... Don't close your heart or eyes, and never let someone make you feel less than you are. You are "EMERALDEYES" and there's no one else in the world like you..... remember?

Your Buddy, BEG

Past Member
Dec 31, 2011 8:10 pm

Brown eyes
Good comments. Relationships end all the time - sometimes over serious things, other times over trivial things. It is almost always more than what it seems on the surface to be.

Relationships are complicated and difficult - under any conditions. It is seldom as simple as eye color, appearance, a sixth toe, or a bag/pouch. And when those things are issues, we don't need that in our lives. And it is a favor to us when they walk away and, it's a loss to them.

A very dear friend once said to me, "Oh no, I would never expose him to my fat body." My first thought was, "Why would you want to be with anyone who can't be allowed to see the real you - with its beauty and its imperfections?" She was fat and, you didn't need to see her without clothes to know that ... and she was exceptionally beautiful. She had trouble seeing and accepting her own beauty.

Past Member
Dec 31, 2011 8:55 pm

You're a very wise woman...my dear Dawneagle. Self-confidence, self-esteem (or lack thereof) along with fear and insecurity are vicious culprits. It's important to remember that we all have them. A "perfect" human being remains to be created, and even the (so-called) "Beautiful People" are affected, they just wear a better mask.

Jan 01, 2012 4:50 pm


Well, you just ruined my day. I thought I was the perfect individual all these years.... LOL. Happy New Year!


Past Member
Jan 01, 2012 11:51 pm
You're close, buddy... very close... LOL, BEG
Jan 02, 2012 1:53 am

I am humbled, BEG. I hope your guy realizes how fortunate he is. (Somehow, I think he does).


Past Member
Jan 02, 2012 3:01 am

Awwwwwwww...thank you buddy.........................BEG