A male and a female hold hands across a table with their chins resting on their other hands, a candle between them has a heart shaped flame, the man has a speech bubble coming from his mouth of cheese with an x over it, they are sitting on heart shaped chairs and hearts are floating around them

How to Date With IBS

There is some serious faux pas to bring up on a date. Ex-girlfriends, living with my parents, and how I poop. These are just a few of many ill-advised topics to bring up when getting back into the dating pool. It can be so uncomfortable sharing everything about you, I would know.

Being an IBS advocate

Being an IBS advocate comes with several perks and responsibilities. Like, I love sharing my bowel story with you. It is an honor to do so. But, there IS certain anonymity that comes from writing for an audience. I get to hide behind a screen and publish my work. There is some distance! It's another thing to bring up your bowel situation in the real world with a cute person.

Date conversations about IBS

I have found that breaching IBS can be a little more elegant than that, so here are a few tricks that I found super helpful!

If you must, start a conversation about food. Everybody can relate to foods they love and ones they do not. It's such a universal base interest that it is a great way to leverage into what your triggers are.

"I love myself some cabbage, but cheese just doesn't agree with me."

"Too much milk hurts!"

"Apples actually don't keep the doctor away because it makes my gut not so happy!"

Humor is my remedy

The use of soft, deflecting, and/or humorous language, I have found, is a great way to begin implanting food triggers into a conversation organically. Blaming foods keeps us out of harm's way, implying that food is the nasty goblin who's doing us dirty.

Plus, dietary restrictions and hypersensitivities are super common nowadays. I have so many friends that are dairy-intolerant, gluten-intolerant, to the point where it is wild if the food does not affect you in some sort of negative way.

What to keep in mind with IBS on a date

Do not talk about how the food leaves your body.

That is until you gauge someone's diet, or sense of humor, talking about green wet storms of butt-splosions will absolutely need to take a back burner. This leads me to my next point.

Do not let IBS define you.

Flare-ups are some of the worst pain I have ever faced, but at this point, when I'm trying to flirt or figure out who my best self is, I won't bring it up until it's time. We all have caveats and insecurities that we do not want to be revealed into the world. If you wait until this person has gotten to know you, you may find that it's not as big of an issue for them as it is for you.

Being more charming than your IBS is upsetting. I am so much more than how my body negatively reacts to food. Yes, it's super embarrassing and lingers with me every single day, but I have so many more qualities that outshine that. Once we have met and get to know each other, that truth will come. But by then, maybe it is not a red flag. Perhaps it is just a reminder that we are all doing our best. That we are only human, looking to smooch. They probably have just as many demons as you are willing to accept. You won't know unless you try!

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