Romantic Relationships and IBS
Last updated: October 2023
Being in a relationship is a full-time job. Being in a relationship with IBS, is like Princess Diana described her marriage to the now King of the United Kingdom: "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.".
This unwanted guest is always hiding somewhere, and it can put your relationship under a lot of pressure.
Life is hard enough nowadays. Between the recession, random viruses that threaten our lives, and the usual stuff, we have enough. But when IBS is around, it makes everything even tougher.
Accepting what comes with IBS
We are always going thru something. The role of both parties in a relationship is to comfort, support, listen, and respect the other's thoughts, will, and issues. I'm lucky that I have a companion that listens to me. He respects my "bad days". He can accept how, sometimes, I'm not in the best mood.
It takes time for us with IBS to learn how to deal with our health, new routines, and foods. It takes even more patience for those that are with us and has to accept that the relationship needs to mold around this issue.
It's hard to admit, but it takes a good amount of understanding, both from a physical and a mental perspective.
In sickness and in health
I've felt bad because I've said no to many opportunities, dinners, nice outfits, and experiences. Sometimes, I wonder if it is too much to carry for someone that didn't really sign up for such an annoying life/wife.
But then I make up my mind when I realize, that I would do anything for my partner. "In sickness and in health", they say. Therefore, all I can do is make the best out of the good days. Making myself more open, ready to try new adventures, take him to that restaurant he loves so much, that I usually tend to avoid.
I'm the one who is in charge of not letting IBS run my/our lives. Some days are harder, some days are easier. I wonder if all we need is to balance those out.
Communication is key
It might sound rhetorical, but good communication is the key to a happy and healthy relationship. Even with our own selves.
Back in the day, a woman wasn't allowed to speak about certain topics, let alone those that had to do with periods and bowel-related issues. I grew up with an old-style mum, I never heard her talking about something that private.
Forcing myself to grow out of her teaching has been a challenge, but now I'm open with my fiancé. I see that he really appreciates my openness about IBS. How I try to do my best not to be annoying and whiny in this whole situation.
I went thru a path of acceptance and honestly, my IBS improved. Actually, I even managed to eat 2 asparagus and not die due to cramps! This is a win for me!
Eventually, it is our duty to accept ourselves with pros and flaws and love our bodies. Ultimately, we are the only person we will have to deal with for the rest of our lives. Once we have that, the other people will follow.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?