An Interview with an IBS Sufferer’s Partner
As IBS sufferers, we tend to talk a lot about our own experience with the illness. But for this article, I wanted to take a slightly different approach. After all, the people who live with us on a daily basis get impacted as well!
I wanted to take the point of view of a person who has been with me through it all. Who knew me years before I got IBS, was there when I was diagnosed, all throughout my struggles to manage symptoms and up until now, when I’m more or less okay.
So, let’s talk about living with IBS from my boyfriend’s point of view.
What was the beginning of my IBS journey like for you, what did you think was going on?
I thought that you were too stressed and that your problems were due to you worrying too much. I also assumed that it was related to the fact that you had a new job, and that it would get better as you got used to the job. Overall, I didn’t think that it was necessary to take it seriously.
What was difficult is that you didn’t at first find ways to make it better, so it was hard to deal with. At that time, I was a bit annoyed that it had such a big impact on you because I was sure that it would just pass.
How did you come to understand that it was a real condition?
It was very progressive and it took me a long time. There were more and more things in our daily lives that became impacted by it. At first, we couldn’t go to restaurants anymore, then it impacted our activities. It really annoyed me at first, and then I just adapted to these changes.
The fact that it was invisible made it really hard to understand that it was a real condition. I don’t think that you can understand the condition unless you have it. It’s more about accepting the consequences and realizing that it can’t be changed.
For the longest time, I thought that it was purely psychological. It took me years to see that while it was certainly influenced by stress, it wasn’t just “in your head.” And I still don’t understand all the aspects, like how you can feel bad in the mornings. It’s more about acceptance than understanding unless you’ve been through the same things.
What were your thoughts when you realized that it would never go away?
Oh no (haha). I was a bit annoyed because I realized that there were certain things that I couldn’t do with you, and I would have to find other people to do them with. Even though you always tried really hard to find compromises that work.
Then again, it’s not that bad because you can find these compromises. You can adapt your travel schedules to not leave in the mornings, avoid going to restaurants that often, etc. The important thing is to adapt your expectations so you’re not constantly disappointed.
Why did you decide to be supportive?
Because I wanted to find a way to make it work! After all, it didn’t really change that much once you had adapted your diet etc.
The difficult thing was the beginning because it changed your mood so much. But once you started to find solutions for the illness and started actually living with it, it didn’t really impact our relationship that much anymore.
Now, it doesn’t really influence our daily life. There are certain days when I’m reminded of your IBS, especially when we have to leave the house early, but otherwise, it wouldn’t change anything if you didn’t have the illness.
What bothers you most about my IBS?
Nothing specific, it’s more that I would be happy if you didn’t have the condition. Maybe the fact that you feel bad in the mornings because you have to get up earlier when we have to leave in the morning. But it’s also okay because I find that you adapted quite well to this.
What was, in your eyes, the most important step I took in managing the illness?
When we moved and you started working from home. I’m glad that you convinced me to make the change in our lifestyle because I don’t think that things would have worked out otherwise. And I’m very happy with our new life as well.
How did IBS change our relationship and what impact did it have on you?
I had to accept the adjustments that I already mentioned before.
As for the impact on me, it showed me that I just need to accept certain things and find ways to help you, even if these things don’t seem logical to me.
Overall, I think that it may be even changed our relationship for the better because it taught me to be more understanding. It also showed us that we can get through difficult times together and that’s pretty great.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.