Romance after Ostomy: How to Share My Story?

Aug 15, 2009 3:52 pm
Hey there,
I'm new to the whole forum thing, but I've been reading through others' posts. The one about meeting another ostomate sparked a question of my own. So here it is: what about romance/love with anyone since your surgery? I have had Crohn's since I was 6. Most people don't know I'm sick at all, only my close friends and family. But I'm good at hiding it. I noticed when I was younger, as soon as someone found out how sick I was, they would treat me differently and look at me with sympathy, even though they didn't always mean to. I never let this affect my love life though. I was always lucky to find men who understood and knew me for who I am, not what I have. But sadly for me, that has all changed. For the first time in my life, I'm extremely self-conscious, so much that I don't even let a guy get close enough to ask me out. I've put up this wall. I recently moved to Ontario, and not a soul here knows I'm sick or have an ostomy. To tell a romantic interest about it terrifies me. I was lucky enough to get pregnant just after my surgery (a friend who knows me, I didn't need to tell him). He wasn't ready to be a dad, but I got the love of my life from him, so I threw myself into being a mom, and it's been awesome. I started my own business this year, so I keep busy. But this thought inside my head asks me every day if I'll ever find someone again, someone to share my days with who cares about me, because I know I have lots of love to give. Anyways, that is by far the most personal information I've ever shared, but I thought this might be a place where others have felt the same. So back to my question, if you found someone post-ostomy, how did you tell them, or did it scare you as well?
Hope everyone is well....
Aug 15, 2009 4:16 pm

Hi, there are quite a lot of posts on this very subject - have a look at 'Why So Shy?' under the headline 'Dating'. Keep well, Rachel x

Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate

Why Join MeetAnOstoMate?

First off, this is a pretty cool site with 35,000 members who truly understand you.

It's not all about ostomy. We talk about everything.

Many come here for advice or to give advice, others have found good friends, and some have even found love. Most importantly, people here are honest and genuinely care.

🛑 Privacy is very important - we have many features that are only visible to members, ensuring a safe and secure environment for you to share and connect.

Create an account and you will be amazed by the warmth of this community.

Past Member
Aug 15, 2009 9:50 pm
Dear MysticAngel:

There is sex and intimacy after ostomy surgery!!! I've been an ostomate for almost 23 years now (November 1986), and 10 years after in 1996, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who is now 12 and a half years old.

I had also married 4 years after my surgery as well. My husband never had an issue with my ostomy. When to tell someone about your ostomy is really a personal decision. I really don't remember when I told my husband, I believe it was rather early on when we started dating because I had to have a procedure and he took the day off from work to bring me to the hospital and stayed with me the whole time.

As for the 'right' time for telling a potential boyfriend, I've always debated when to say something myself. For the most part, I've waited just long enough to see if there's a connection or not and then I've explained in the simplest of terms that I have an ostomy. I've had both positive and negative reactions to this approach.

I have found myself to be a single full-time parent for the last 3 years, and that is my first and most important concern, being the best parent I can be to my son. Should I meet someone nowadays, I have no trouble telling them I'm an ostomate, and if they can't handle it, they aren't worth my effort. So with that being said.....someday you will meet someone who's perfect for you and won't care in the least about your ostomy!

Good luck with everything, stay in touch, and welcome to the website!
Past Member
Aug 17, 2009 6:05 pm
Dear MysticAngel,
I have had Crohn's Disease for 18 years. No one understood really what it was when I was diagnosed. I went to many doctors who told me it was in my head. When people found out I was sick, they thought I was looking for attention or special treatment. Most people would say to me, "But you look so good". The one giveaway was my weight. At one point, I was 95 pounds at 5'6". I hid it well and was a police officer for 12 years. I was out sick a lot. I had many hospital stays and I am on my second resection surgery, first ileostomy back in May. The police dept. retired me on disability several years ago. Although I loved my job, I could not keep up with the physical demands of it. Plus, it was a lot easier when I was 21.
I met a man through a mutual friend. We briefly saw each other from a distance and had our mutual friend exchange our phone numbers. Before we even went on a date, we talked on the phone several times. I told him about my illness before I ever met him. I told him exactly what it was and gave him the option of whether he wanted to get involved with someone who had a lifelong illness. That was almost 12 years ago. We have been together ever since. We married in 2002 and in 2003 had our first of 3 children. It has not been a fairy tale marriage and we had a lot of ups and downs. After seeing someone on a daily basis sick all the time and feel helpless because you cannot help them takes its toll. He has had to take on more than his share in our relationship and our household. He has been great with the ostomy thing, he even did the emptying of it for me after surgery. Surgery hit me hard and I am still trying to recuperate. It is taking me longer than I expected and I guess I am the one who is not handling it well. I have had other problems after surgery and I feel that I am never going to heal...but that is another story.
I think you should lay it out there if someone is special to you. If they cannot handle it, better to find out early on in the relationship than fall in love with him and he walks away because of it. I cannot see anyone walking away from a beautiful person like yourself. If someone did, would you really want to be with him in the first place?
Good Luck,

Past Member
Aug 17, 2009 7:19 pm
I have enjoyed dating and romance since my ileostomy 10 years ago. I was 25 back then. In the balance of things, I have enjoyed more relationships and romance post-operation. I have had a mix of experiences, but nothing malicious and nothing nasty. I may be lucky in that I am a guy, so thus these liaisons have been with girls. I would debate that overall, females show greater apathy and are more emotionally sensitive (guys don't shoot me down, I know it does not apply to you, etc., etc., but just my own opinion from my own experiences!). After a number of girlfriends, I dated and subsequently married a work colleague. Alas, we are now divorced, although the whole bag thing never fazed her. What did was when 2 years into marriage, I got a parastomal hernia out of the blue and required quite a lengthy emergency operation. She stood by until I was fit around 5 weeks later, and then she was never herself, very shell-shocked. I think the bag issue was never an issue. However, as a young woman, she was very paranoid that she would be left alone. However, I have subsequently dated since then and enjoyed anything from a week to a year relationships, and again, nothing adverse. I do actually believe that the internet has made research by "man in the street" far easier and has done much to raise awareness or at least dispel some myth, urban legend, etc., from those who want to learn more about a prospective partner. In life, I have found that women have always wanted to learn more, blokes take the pee. I think there is someone for everyone, although I have learned enough about myself to respond when I am being my own worst enemy by having negative thoughts or pre-empting or pre-judging other people's opinion of me. This site is very good, having a big membership. A previous site I have been on died a death as most members lurked and did not come forward. I think most people here seek the same thing, and we are all very much among friends that understand, share the same concerns, and have experienced similar life-changing challenges in life and have thought the same things. However, I have dated, I have enjoyed romance, and I know that I will date until I find the girl to marry again.
How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Past Member
Aug 17, 2009 10:24 pm

OOPS! Empathy not Apathy!!

Past Member
Aug 18, 2009 6:23 am

Hi! There most definitely is sex and romance after ostomy and illness and I love hearing about everyone's stories. I always try to encourage everyone to never give up and to always pursue whatever it is they want from life. Now, when a few of my friends read this I will no doubt hear from them stating something like "practice what you preach WD" lol because I, too, have those hard times every once in a while in dealing with the ostomy issues and relationships....or possible future I understand. New relationships TERRIFY me....yet I long for one very much.

Yup...we're all in this together my friends. It is good we have each other. Never give up on finding a partner or lover in life, no matter if you have an ostomy, are missing a leg, or have an extra eyeball in the center of your forehead like a Cyclops...we all stumble through life. We fall, we pick each other up, etc. Crap happens, and it always will. Life can be hard, but it's worse if you stumble along your path alone with no one to pick you up when you fall or fall with you.

Be happy everyone! Much love from your WD

bernie taupin
Aug 18, 2009 9:36 am

Hello all. This is my first posting. Anyway. I struggled with this question for almost 2 years. What I decided to do was join some various dating sites, and clear the decks straight away by telling of my situation delicately but openly on my profile description of myself. And in this way anyone contacting me was okay with it, no fear of rejection at all. It helped me gain a great deal of confidence back without any real fear of rejection. Bernie.

Past Member
Aug 18, 2009 5:35 pm

I think the only way to go on and meet someone is to just be yourself. That's what attracts the opposite sex, and I know from personal experience that the ones who care about you and want to get involved are the ones who hang about. The ones who treat you like dirt and dismiss you once you've explained your situation are well rid!

I've been at both ends of the spectrum with guys in the last year, before and after the op, and all the problems I experienced were nothing to do with an ostomy. I've been able to go on dates and be confident about it. When it gets to the intimate stage, just be as sexy as possible. You don't have to take all your clothes off; a long top can conceal. Also, for the girls, just keep your panties on and move them along a bit. This doesn't take away from the moment. A worry is that you may leak in the night, and that would be a huge embarrassment, but men are deep sleepers. By the time you sort stuff out, they may not have even woken up ;)xx

Past Member
Aug 18, 2009 7:24 pm

How to Impress a Woman

Compliment her, cuddle her, kiss her, caress her, love her, stroke her, comfort her, protect her, hug her, wine and dine her, buy gifts for her, listen to her, respect her, stand by her, support her, go to the ends of the earth for her.

How to Impress a Man

Arrive naked ... with beer.

Past Member
Aug 19, 2009 6:06 am
Oh, that's funny... LOL... you goof.
Aug 27, 2009 5:36 am

Let's experience both sides of the coin. Everyone show up naked with beer and... cuddle, candles, candy. What a coming out party?

Past Member
Aug 27, 2009 12:13 pm
Perhaps we should do the beer first, for those of us a bit modest. I must be very careful with
alcohol....after a few beers I begin to feel it...after a few more...well I let everyone else feel it!!!     LOL... Let the record show.....just kidding
Past Member
Aug 28, 2009 12:12 am
Naked? Beer? Okay, where did you learn how to speak guy? Great, now I can't concentrate on anything else!
Past Member
Aug 28, 2009 1:10 am

Be careful, I tried cybersex the other day, managed to pick up a virus.

The joys of alcohol, allows me to state for the record that while I have never been to bed with an ugly conquest, I have woken up to a few!

However, back to the party at "faith4Today"........

Past Member
Aug 28, 2009 11:09 am
Did you forget to put a condom on your keyboard??? I hate when that happens!!!
Past Member
Aug 28, 2009 6:30 pm
Did you forget to put a condom on your keyboard??? I hate when that happens!!!        

Actually, I am so selfish I even wear ribbed condoms inside out!

...........( . Y . )
............ ) . (
............( v )
Aug 31, 2009 11:58 pm

Hello out there,

I feel as though it is very tough to make any friends whatsoever! I am in a time in my life where it seems as though everything I say is the wrong thing. I would like to make some friends, and from there see where it goes? 59rabbit

Sep 02, 2009 7:35 pm

Hey Art. Don't worry mate, we all go through it. I think my Mrs is going through the "Grumpy Old Woman phase". Everything I say is wrong... even when I know I'm right... well, I think I am. Hang on, I'll just go ask her................

Nov 06, 2011 1:17 am



is so difficult

if not impossible

for anyone to understand

what being

an ostomate
, I think this

is the main reason

of being a member

of this wonderful




a hope


one day

find the person

in your life

with your own

, then we speak

the same language.


have not lost hope

of finding

my soul mate


Nov 06, 2011 3:34 pm

I don't like condoms—I can't stand the smell of burning rubber!!!

Nov 06, 2011 5:31 pm

I hear you, Pete.

Nov 06, 2011 6:39 pm

Hi there, Art... Glad you are still around... Hope all is well with you. Hope the desert is still treating you well???

Past Member
Nov 06, 2011 9:21 pm
...And do you practice safe fax? I use two cover sheets!
Jun 02, 2022 10:26 pm

I've read some comments and I have to say the answers about how to become confident, secure, with high self-esteem, have intimacy without any issues, meet women, or men. All this, I'm afraid, is part of a large dynamic that occurs to some individuals who share perhaps some characteristics, people whose disposition already befits them for this situation.

The dynamic includes, out of so many but the ones that are crucial and indispensable:

Deep knowledge of your ostomy situation, medically, physically. You have to make up for some parts now and need to know exactly what is happening. Deep knowledge is indispensable.

A great appliance, easy to use, and clean, and secure enough.

A willingness to change your diet and habits. I eat only healthy stuff now, and very little; the healthiest I've been ever.

A great attitude.

Great confidence in that you come ahead of this and set the rules as to who you will date and how much you will share, etc. I personally do not allow anyone to intrude into my health situation, I take care of myself exceptionally well. The day I cannot do it, there are specialized nurses I will afford for this. Those are my rules. I am sensitive, caring, loyal, and loving, and know my way around the bedroom. If they want a classy, intelligent, sophisticated, funny, sensitive male with dreams and goals I pursue as we speak; trying to make time for hobbies, but writing is a hobby. Well, they can choose and decide the quality of relationship they want, they accept my rules, deal, otherwise, move on, too many beautiful honest loyal fish in the water to suffer for anyone.

Have hobbies, dreams, something that will interest the other, connect through solid things you can share and touch with them.

Know lovemaking. If a woman, must know a man and his reactions and where this or that to the T, same goes for a man, if you don't know at this age what buttons to push, then that's a problem, but can be corrected, tons of information online.

Again, attitude, the feeling you have a sense of a healthy dose of being worth it, that you have something to offer that will entice the other person.

Having some charisma does not hurt but it is not necessary, honesty carries the day, always. There is someone for everyone out there, being able to be comfortable in your skin is important.

It's a whole dynamic that occurs for the people that rise above it. It can be done, takes work, anyone can do it. Following a plan and having an honest approach and attitude is everything. Defense never works, must seize the moment. Find support, a therapist helps, if just for that warm shoulder to rely on for a few hours a month.

Having a sense of humor is essential, you have to laugh about this and at this, makes the time go by more merrily.