Dating with an ostomy: Share your experiences!

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If you've been on the dating scene since undergoing your ostomy surgery, what kind of dating experiences have you had when you told a prospective romantic partner about your ostomy? How and when did you choose to disclose? What was their reaction and how did it affect you?

I think it would be interesting and helpful to have a dedicated thread for real life dating with an ostomy stories. If it's positive it gives others hope and inspiration, if it's negative we can encourage and uplift each other and perhaps give some helpful advice.

Please chime in with your story!


I have an ostomy myself for the last 18 years. It's had its issues of course, but I always disclosed this on the first meeting. Sort of a cut to the chase thing. And I continue to educate people that know nothing about the disease. Some are curious, but some of course, think it's too icky to discuss. The reactions were varied, but a few women had no issue at all.
I have since met someone for whom it was not an issue, and we have been together for 6 years now. Be honest and open, and you will find the right person. I am sure of that. Good luck. Rick

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I have just started dating and I did not disclose all of the information in reference to my ostomy. After a couple of dates, I dreaded telling him but decided that if I was to continue seeing him, he needed to know especially before we became intimate. I brought up the conversation of having ulcerative colitis. Then I began to tell him about all the medications that I had tried and then I just went into telling him about "Oscar" my ostomy. He was okay about it, interested and wanted to know all about it. We have been intimate and he was concerned about hurting me but all was good. Be honest, don't wait too long after you know that you would like to continue the relationship. Good luck.


Hi there, well I was with my second husband when I first had an operation that resulted in a colostomy, then another that ended with an ileostomy. He wasn't very affectionate anyway, and I felt complete rejection. I used to self-harm and attempted suicide. I have since left/divorced when I hit complete rock-bottom and nearly died with anorexia and another major flare-up, and have since had a 16-month relationship with a guy who I told about my condition before we started dating, as I already knew him, and he saw me wearing a wig when my hair fell out, and when I went down to 6 stone with anorexia and a major flare. We used to dance together, and I told him I'd had a life-saving op that resulted in a colostomy at the time, he knew about my second op too. It never did bother him, even though he thought I would have tubes coming out of my anus lol! I covered my bag with a pretty black wrap, and he never glimpsed it, not until I had a fit in the bathroom one day. It never affected our sex life, as the way he behaved gave me some much-needed confidence and self-esteem, and I felt more feminine than I ever did before. I ended it a little while ago, as I felt we were becoming on different wavelengths, but I owe a lot to him. I'm now with a man who has been my best friend for 7 years, we plan to live together/marry in the future, he understands everything and it has never been an issue for him. So even those who have had bad experiences or have little self-esteem, there is a light at the end. Losing a body part is a bereavement of sorts, and it takes time and support to get your head round it and to start living again x


I usually don't post anything on here, but really wanted to share my experiences on this particular subject. I've had my ileostomy for 3 years this coming Christmas Eve, and it's taken me a while to feel normal with it, but experiences along the way have greatly helped me.
When I was taken ill, I'd been with my then boyfriend for a matter of weeks. The operation made no difference to how he felt about me, in fact it just made him more protective and he said he was so proud of how well I dealt with it all. Absolutely no problems in the bedroom on his part either, to be honest it was me turning him down a lot because I just wasn't feeling as attractive as I used to feel. Understandable, but looking back now I wish I just went for it!! We broke up about 18 months later purely because we'd drifted apart.
I've since told two men about it, both very positive experiences. I was SO worried about telling the first guy. I saw him three or four times and then plucked up the courage to send a long text telling him what had happened to me. He replied almost instantly saying it didn't change a thing and what a wonderful person he thought I was. When I saw him afterwards, I told him how worried I had been. His reply was simply 'Why?!' I decided to break things off with him after a couple of months, purely because my feelings for him had changed.
I recently decided to break up with my most recent boyfriend because I didn't feel the same about him (I hope this isn't turning into a recurring theme with me, hopefully I'll find the right one soon!!!). His reaction on the third or fourth date was pretty much the same as the guy before. This time, I told him to his face. He already knew I'd had major surgery for Crohn's, so when we were at his, it just kind of came up in conversation. I told him I was 'diverted' right now while my colon rested. He didn't really know what to say, not in a bad way, he just had never heard of it before. After I left, he sent me a message to say that he was touched that I chose to confide in him, and if anything it had made him like me more because he just wanted to look after me. I remember chatting about it to him in the pub after we'd been together a couple of months, and he'd said 'I don't know why you were so worried about telling me. It's no big deal - at all.' We had absolutely no problems in the bedroom, it was amazing in fact!! I just wore a little strappy top rolled down, or this great little boob tube stomach thing for people with our operation, I got it on prescription which was a bonus! But yeah, after about five months I broke things off with him.
Before all this, when I'd just split with the guy it all happened with, I'd read horror stories from people in my position, and I look back at them now and wish I hadn't taken any notice, because my experiences have been nothing but positive - more than positive in fact. It's just taught me that it's only a big deal to YOU, no one else. So if you feel worried, or negative - just try and change your mindset.
My advice to people about to start dating is to take it slow, and maybe wait 3 or so dates until you tell everything. After all, you need to figure out whether you like the person enough to possibly begin a relationship with them!! This gives them a while to get to know you too, before you start telling them your medical history haha. I'm sure there are different ways to go about things, this is just what I've found works for me. What I've found on the last two occasions is that it makes them confide in you about a certain health issue they, their friend, or member of their family have got. Everyone's got something to deal with, an ostomy is just our 'something'.
I'm sure people will have other experiences, these are just mine. I wanted to share to help someone who's just had the op and worried about dating, to let them know that it's going to be okay!! Sorry about the essay!!!
How to Manage Emotions with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Hi there

I have had a stoma of some description for 13 years now and have been in various relationship/dating situations since then. My boyfriend of 6 years had no issue with it but we had been together before so he knew me both ways and never really minded, we split because he didn't want to grow up.

It became a lot bumpier from there, a couple of flings but both times I could tell the guys were not really comfortable.

After that I moved to Saudi Arabia and met someone there who made me believe he was cool with it but once again immaturity struck and I could feel it was an issue for him.

Finally, I vowed never to date someone younger than 28 again (I'm now 30) and actually met someone a little older than me and a lot more mature than previous exes although still a complete commitment phobe (MEN!! huh).

So I told this last guy by BBM message that there was something different about me and explained what it was and that if it was likely to be a problem then he should tell me then. His response was to start researching and then help me with dietary advice (LOL).

He has never once made me feel like I am any different to anyone else or any less attractive if anything I am more hung up on it than him, my sex life has been the best I have ever had despite a few awkward bag moments, unfortunately this relationship has no future so I have to face the fact that I will once again (at least) one day have to go through the awful conversation situation again and all I can say is every person is different and takes it differently.

In the big scheme of things all of us have been sick, some of us I guess mortally unwell so we have to just take every day for what is a chance to live another day and those people who deserve to be in your life will be.



One more thing, I didn't wait to divulge....I got it out of the way by the second or third date. After that, I progressed to laying it out there on the table (not literally) on the first date. I see it like this....if I were to meet someone who couldn't handle it, I'm way better off knowing right away. I don't have time, emotions, or energy to waste on someone who's not good with it. I don't want or need anyone in my life who has any negative attitudes about it, that goes for friends and family too.


Before meeting my husband in 2010, I'd never actually told anyone about my bags... Well not face to face anyway! The creep I was with before meeting my husband seemed like a perfect gentleman at first. We met through a singles directory, it was the first time I'd done anything like that. I had my first ever date when I was 23 years old. That's when I had my first kiss too. I was a late bloomer due to my lack of trust towards other people. After 6 weeks with the 'creep' from that dating agency, I chickened out of telling him myself so I asked my mother (Sheila) if she would tell him for me. She did. Keep in mind that until this creep found out I had bags, he thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world, that I was smart, practically perfect! As soon as he knew about my bags, he changed. Over the next 19 months, he said and did unspeakable/unthinkable things to me...


I just joined the site (yesterday) not because I have an ostomy, but my infant daughter (20 months) will have one for life. I want to be able to offer educated advice about her social life when the time comes, so reading your posts is really helpful. Thank you all for your sharing and know that besides the help you offer a community of people with relatively shared condition, you are making this guy in particular a better educated father who won't have all the answers, but more than he would when the time comes.

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