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Finding love with IBS

Hello everyone. I'm 23 years old and haven't had a relationship yet. Mostly because I can't imagine trying to date someone while dealing with IBS...

I can't eat out at restaurants, during flare-ups I can't leave my apartment and sometimes when being somewhere else I have to go back home due to sudden stomach pain and diarrhea. I can totally understand that this might be annoying and/or difficult for healthy people (or people who are not dealing with this illness). Also how are you going to have your first date? Plus it's kind of awkward (to me) to tell someone you just get to know that you have digestive issues...

So what I'm trying to ask is, how can you find love while having IBS?

  1. - Thanks for posting! While we wait for others to chime in, I thought I'd share a couple of articles with you about dating & IBS: https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/dates & https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/dating. Hope this helps! - Chris, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

    1. Thank you! Those articles are quite interesting. Thanks for sharing them with me.

  2. I have no idea if there are IBS dating sites around. But IBS isn't a rare illness. Apparently quite a lot of people have it to one degree or another. I can't help thinking that if you met someone who also had IBS, you would find instant understanding, and vice-versa. There are some really lovely interesting kind and loving single people who must feel very isolated because of IBS. Good luck!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I thought about that too, finding someone who also has IBS might be better due to understanding each other. I just feel like there is no one in my age with similar issues, they're all quite healthy and adventurous and want to be young and free (which is understandable) but for me it's quite difficult to be that way. But still thank you for your message 😀

      1. first off thank you for opening up about this topic. Difficulty finding healthy relationships is not usually a common topic when talking about IBS, but it affects nearly every single one of us dealing with the illness. Dating with IBS can be a frustrating experience, but it is totally doable when you find the right person. As mentioned there are actually quite a lot of people (at least in the US to my knowledge) that struggle with digestive issues to one degree or another.


        I felt the same way you did for a long time when I was younger until I met my eventual spouse. As you mentioned in your post, I too would find it difficult to go out to a restaurant to eat, only to feel nauseous most of the time and super anxious that I might have a flare-up in the middle of the date. My conversations were nearly non existent (I’m a big introvert too) and I would normally just force down a few bites here and there. I dated a few individuals over the course of a year and never mentioned anything about my digestive issues because in my mind I felt embarrassed about it. I couldn’t go on any adventures with friends or the people I was dating because I thought I always needed to be 10 feet away from a bathroom 24 hours a day. I met my wife when I was 18 (didn’t start dating until I was 17) and in my prime dating years. I finally gathered up the courage to tell her about my IBS issues on our third date, and I was nervous as hell! As soon as I told her she looked at me and said “Oh really? Yeah my dad has that too.” My mind was blown in that moment since at that time I had never even met another person who had IBS or openly talked about it. She proceeded to make light of the situation and I instantly felt comfortable with her, and we’ve now been together for the past 15 years. It was a complete shock to me to be able to find someone that I could openly discuss my bowel movements with, but later on in life I learned that everyone is dealing with their own issues, and I mean everyone. It may take some time to find the right person, but when you do, lock them down (figuratively of course).


        You’ll grow and learn with each new person you date, but I promise you there are people out there who will be compassionate and sympathetic to your situation. If the person you are dating is not accommodating for your IBS issues, then they are not worth your time. Be open and honest about some of the limitations you have with activities and food choices (maybe even on the first date to test the waters early) and those who respect your list of do’s and don’ts will be well worth the life experience.

      2. Thank you! That's a lot of good advice 😀 I really try to open up about my issues early to know how they react, but it is tough sometimes. I'm really nervous before want to tell them and that makes my IBS worse, but I know it's better to tell them than trying to keep it a secret. Again thank you for your comment 😀

    2. I had really bad IBS all through college (and still do) so I sympathize. Not being able to eat out like everybody else or even leave your house some days is so demoralizing :/ I've gone through the same thing. I've been with my wife for 4 years now (married 3 months) and she is a big part of what makes my IBS manageable. Dates and day outings are planned around bathroom access and such. She is such a source of strength. I told her about my IBS a month or so after we started dating and she took it in stride. While it may be harder to find somebody willing to accept/deal with these life limitations, when you do find that person it just makes it that much better! 😀 Most people are sympathetic to health conditions they cannot control. My two cents is to keep dating and when the time is right to tell somebody about your IBS you'll know, and if they care about you enough to take the relationship the distance they will be more than happy to work with you on accommodating the tummy trouble.

      1. Hi, your comment is very uplifting. Thank you! I try to keep dating until I find the right person, but sometimes it stresses me out and worsens my symptoms. I'm being patient though 😀

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