When and how to disclose a colostomy while dating?

Past Member
Jun 02, 2018 11:26 am

Hi. I have a question for you single ostomates out there who have tried the dating thing. I haven't gotten up the courage to do that since my colostomy and I'm not sure I ever will. Could sure use some input on the subject. When do you tell a prospective date about it? My gut tells me to put my cards on the table and tell them immediately, thus giving them plenty of time to head for the hills. But if you do that, you'll never meet anyone. Should you wait until the first date and then tell them? Still plenty of time for them to back out with no hard feelings. How about 2 or 3 dates down the road? Maybe you'd have a chance to get to know and like someone and vice-versa, but hurt feelings would ensue when they can't handle it. I'd love to hear some of your experiences, both good and bad, and tips on how you deal or have dealt with such a thing. I'd love to date a guy who also has a colostomy, but on this site they all live a thousand miles away...so that's not gonna work. Any advice from anyone on any of it?

Past Member
Jun 02, 2018 6:50 pm

There's no right or wrong way to tell them just what you feel is the right thing to do. Just get on living your life, going out with family and friends, and when the time's right, you will meet someone. And you will be surprised, the ones who run when you tell them are few and far between. And if they do run, they're not good enough for you, with or without a colostomy. Now get out there, have fun, and enjoy life.

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Past Member
Jun 02, 2018 7:59 pm

Easier said than done, Panther, but I'll try. Thanks for the good words!

Jun 03, 2018 6:23 am

I agree with Panther. Get out there and enjoy yourself. There are very few people who have not got something that they would rather not have about themselves and most of them do not share these personal things immediately with potential partners. I feel that what matters most in long-term relationships is not the outward and the physical but those inner things that we only get to know about as we interact with other individuals. Confidence and positivity usually help but if you want a really good relationship, take a look at the techniques adopted by pet animals. They seem to have few problems in winning friends and infuencing people.  

Best of luck


Jun 03, 2018 7:01 am

For a totally "left field" perspective, I was dumped by a bag wearer, the minute she found out my surgery had rendered me impotent.

So I guess there is no right or wrong answer to your original question.

Good luck.

V. J.

How to Manage Emotions with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Past Member
Jun 03, 2018 11:36 am

Thanks for the advice... It helps to put things in perspective. That's what I need. Some perspective. This is all new and I haven't got a clue about it. Maybe what I'll do is just try to enjoy myself and not deal with the dating thing. If it's meant to be, it will be. It does get lonely though. Family and friends are one thing and a relationship with a special guy is another thing. Oh well....guess I'll just not worry about it and try to accept things as they are. Thanks everybody.

Past Member
Jun 03, 2018 4:38 pm

Hello... I, myself, have pondered this question of dating and how soon to tell. I haven't started dating yet. I'm ready, dragging my feet. My surgery was last November. My own opinion is I'm going to chat with them, get them to know me, not my ostomy. I'm not announcing it up front. If on a dating site, offline, I will tell them before meeting. It will save us both time. I fear getting rejected or hurt down the road. Not fair to both of us. Good luck. :)

Past Member
Jun 03, 2018 5:03 pm

I became impotent. I have been since ileostomy in 2005. Fortunately, I rarely dated, so it is what it is.

I'm Dave, BTW.

Past Member
Jun 03, 2018 5:08 pm

I became impotent. I have been since ileostomy in 2005. Fortunately, I rarely dated, so it is what it is. I do get lonely, but I will not put myself out there. A bag and impotent! Two for one deal!

I'm Dave, BTW. Originally from SD...!

Jun 03, 2018 5:47 pm

Hi, I'm in the same boat. I've been too chicken to date. I'm mad at myself for this, but I just can't get over the hurdle. It is extremely upsetting when I'm approached. I have to shut it down because I just can't do it.

Jun 03, 2018 8:58 pm

Please everyone, don't be chicken or afraid. You are all wonderful people as you are, with or without an ostomy!

It does not define you, you are YOU, and you have come through some pretty hair-raising surgery to have a stoma, be so proud to have survived. I am single and only had my ileostomy 6 months, but my male friends (and more) all know, and it doesn't faze them at all. They are just thankful I'm still alive as they've seen what a hard journey I've had post-op. If I meet anyone new I will tell them early on, but anyone who is worthy of you will not be bothered by it. Good luck and my best to you.

Marilyn Flowers
Jun 03, 2018 10:00 pm

I've had my ostomy for 54 years -- I was 15. About dating -- several episodes. My first love was in high school and I told him as we were getting towards intimacy. Did not seem to be a problem. I'm on my second marriage and had limited dating in between. Turns out the type of person I was attracted to was not repulsed by my being an ostomate. I was never one to enter a relationship quickly, so took the time to get to know the person and was able to discuss this with him before I fell in love (or vice versa!). I wish you well.

Past Member
Jun 04, 2018 12:01 am

Thanks everybody. I see I'm not alone in the "chicken" thing. You've all expressed my fears and reservations. It's a tough one, isn't it? Thanks for all the good wishes. I wish you all the best too!

Jun 04, 2018 2:53 am

Anyone who rejects you simply because you have a bag isn't worth your time anyway. I was 37 and a single mom when I had my op. Once I was recovered and ready to start dating, it was scary having to tell a new man. But once I did, they weren't even slightly bothered. It was more me being embarrassed. They didn't care at all. So don't be afraid. You couldn't have a relationship before if you were too sick, so this is much better overall. I am so lucky I have a kind, loving man now who is just grateful I am well and healthy. Sometimes I ask him if it bothers him at all, and he just says he never even thinks about it. There are really great people out there, just give them a chance!!

Past Member
Jun 04, 2018 9:16 am

I know there are great people out there...it's finding them that's difficult. I guess. I'm glad you have the kind of guy whom it doesn't bother. I know it wouldn't have bothered my husband either. I wish he were still here. When you mentioned it was more you being embarrassed than it bothering the guy, that hit home. I think it's that way with me too. Even if I found the right person who could accept the colostomy, I'm not sure that I could handle it because of the embarrassment. That's something I need to work on. How did you get over that?

Past Member
Jun 04, 2018 9:18 am

I know what you mean. I have the same problem and I can't seem to get over it either. I know some people have, but I don't know how they did it. I'm working on it. Not sure how that will go.

Past Member
Jun 04, 2018 9:22 am

Your thoughts are identical to mine. I wish you luck too.

Jun 04, 2018 10:30 am

Hi, I have had my ileostomy for over 50+ years. Since I was a teen of 15. So I dated back then and had to face all the same questions and feelings then. But at the time, I was more embarrassed by what had happened to my body (scars, stretched-out skin, etc.) than I was about the ileostomy. Many of the people I was friends with knew about my condition, but I also told new people/guys relatively soon. It made friendships that could lead to more easier. I dated, married (a man with an ileostomy), and we had two sons together. Having the ostomy wasn't enough to keep us together, and after 25 years of marriage, we divorced. I've been dating the last 20+ years, and if I think I like the guy enough, I tell him relatively soon... after a first or second date. Some care, most do not. These days, it's the same as the past. My body size (overweight), shape, and scars are more embarrassing to me than the ileostomy. Some things don't change. But I'm seeing someone now who is very accepting and understanding and just wants me to be comfortable in my own skin. To those men out there who may be impotent due to medical/surgical intervention, don't shy away from looking for a caring female. There are many ways to please another person, and making love is more than just having a working penis. My friend survived two strokes and a bout of prostate cancer. He still is a sports fan, still plays golf, and is a wonderful lover. We work together, or should I say "play" together, to satisfy each other's needs. But to do that, you have to take a chance and put yourself out there. You don't know what is possible until you try. Best of luck to all, Marsha

Jun 04, 2018 2:24 pm

Well now - at 69 and single again, this is a very difficult situation for me - my husband of 28 years decided I wasn't worth the effort, so here I am. He was with me throughout my multiple surgeries, but the marriage ended badly and I am alone and fragile. I recently met a couple of men - one was only interested in sex, but he knew about my surgery, and he was way too pushy. Then I found out he had a live-in girlfriend - bye-bye. Now I am seeing a man whose lifestyle is something I am not interested in - life in a remote area and off the grid. I am just too old to do the chop wood, haul water life. He doesn't know, and seems to be content to be friends for now. I panic when thinking of being intimate with anyone right now. My ex and I have been separated for almost 7 years, and I have moved away from him to start over. That was two years ago - left the town and the state!

Jun 05, 2018 7:48 am

Appreciate your words of encouragement, Marsha, but I prefer to live in the real world.

And I can tell you from painful, firsthand experience that it's not only non-ostomates who are shallow.

Good luck to all us "altered plumbing" folk; I say... we could do with it.


Jun 05, 2018 8:47 am

Hi. It is not an easy thing to get over being embarrassed. Everybody has things about them they would rather keep hidden, and this is no different. Normally, of course, we are wearing clothes that can hide the bag well and no one need know. For a long time, I was too embarrassed to get changed in front of my partner. I would turn my back, or hide behind the cupboard door, or wait until the lights were off. But then I saw that was actually silly. He had seen me with a bad cold, with the stomach flu, and very bad hair days!! And he was still here! So I got up the courage to just act naturally, and gradually the embarrassment faded the more I did that.

Remember, we all have body image issues of some sort - too fat, too skinny, stretch marks, saggy parts, etc. Ours is just a bit more unique. We are special :)

Webmaster Mike
Jun 06, 2018 1:49 am

Well, I had my transverse colostomy in December 2009 and by January 2010, the stoma prolapsed, leaving me to cover a 5-6 inch stoma by wearing a stomach binder when going out. I love to dance and enjoy being out at the marina bars, dance clubs, and casino. My work as a web developer and product photographer puts me in touch with a lot of what most call hotties, and I've yet to press any for sex. Heck, I lived on and off with one figure model and never forced or empowered her with sex, and she knew all about my prolapsed stoma. Now I'm getting some hints that my dance partner wants more than a goodnight kiss. I'm afraid to blurt out my stoma/bag and get rejected, hoping they'll fall in love with my kindness and generosity and otherwise a good-looking older guy who they can rely upon. I haven't felt the need to pressure sex on them and sure know I'm normal in every way outside the prolapsed stoma. I'm looking into surgery to correct the prolapse and/or reverse the colostomy. I hate going through all that if the end result is I no longer feel like sex. I'd rather just look for a life companion and let nature take its course as the relationship demands more than goodnight kisses. I'm an optimist and feel there is a good-looking gal out there who wants all of me regardless of some physical damage that saved my life from a totally blocked colon. With the stomach brace on, I look like a 165 lb man in good shape... Should I tell up front when I'm enamored or... just have sex with the stomach brace on and let them get to know the stoma/bag is just not a game killer when it comes to bedtime romance.

Past Member
Jun 06, 2018 10:18 am

Good question, Mike. Pretty much my original question when I started this post. I've gotten a lot of feedback from both sides of the issue. I guess it comes down to playing it by ear. Everybody is different and takes things differently. No right or wrong answer to it. That's what I've gotten out of it anyway. Good luck to you with it. I'm sure it will work out one way or another for you...and for me.

Jun 07, 2018 3:16 am


You sound like a great guy. That's their loss. People shouldn't be so judgmental, but unfortunately we live in that kind of society. Wishing you the best.


Jul 11, 2018 6:38 pm

Hello, get on dating sites and have some fun! I have been on 4. I have a permanent colostomy and have dated at least 30 women! I have not been turned down because of my stoma! I am 67 years young! I am having the best intimacy of my life! For you guys with ED, try Trimix compound! It is a wonder drug! I also have a prolapsed stoma!

Jul 11, 2018 6:47 pm

Hello, get on dating sites and have some fun! I have been on 4. I have a permanent colostomy and have dated at least 30 women! I have not been turned down because of my stoma! I am 67 years young! I am having the best intimacy of my life! For you guys with ED, try Trimix compound! It is a wonder drug!

Jul 11, 2018 6:56 pm

Try Trimix compound for ED!

Sep 14, 2018 5:54 am

Panther... Can you read my post at the top of the page... Thanks

Sep 14, 2018 5:56 am

Can you message me please

Nov 17, 2018 7:47 pm

I really like your posts...you are so down to earth and realistic. OK, widowed for 17 years, in the last year I've had two dates--no more because I don't like losers. However, I never told either of them I had a baggie. That's like telling a date you're having your 'ladies days'. Not their business. In my opinion, as you get to know someone you will know how they will react...my late husband would have been more involved than I in making our sex and love life the absolute best (he was an alpha male). My feeling on this is when you approach intimacy, the subject should come up. For me, this takes a while, a long while, so I really know what to expect, as reactions, to many different issues, not just my ostomy.

I am totally against 'laying your cards on the table'--not their business. I don't know about you and everyone reading this, but I do not date with the expectation of sex (sorry, guys...). In my brief marriage of nine years, I came to understand true love--I was so cherished, pampered and adored I don't know why women put up with anything less. I'm no trophy wife, (OK, I was, but have you seen the wives of brilliant PE's?) a beauty, or anything else this superficial world thinks of as 'desirable'. My advice--meet loads of men, keep sex out of the equation, and the ones who keep coming back for you will have no problems with your new body.