Starting a new relationship

You might feel discouraged from making new relationships when you have IBD. Deciding whether, when and what to say to a new partner is not easy. You may be wondering how much they really need to know. Do you tell them before you begin to get close, or wait until the relationship is more established? What if they can’t cope with the news of your IBD, due to their own fears, inhibitions or embarrassment?

When you are attracted to someone and hope to develop a relationship with them, try to feel comfortable about yourself. Feeling good about yourself improves your self-confidence which others pick up on. This in turn gives a more positive impression. Try and be clear and concise in your explanations of your illness and to avoid being apologetic. Being lovable and having self-worth doesn’t depend on a body part.

Talking about your IBD to a new partner may be difficult, but it might be better done earlier on in a relationship, as soon as you feel you would like your partner to know this key fact about you. This is likely to relieve your anxiety, and if there is a negative response, the let down should be less of a blow than it might be later on in the relationship.

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, you may feel that telling your partner about your IBD is as challenging as coming out about your sexual orientation or gender identity. But this could mean that you already have a set of experiences to help you - if you are already out about your sexual or gender identity, you can use the same techniques to tell your partner about your IBD.

If someone does react badly and makes you feel unwanted because you have IBD, consider whether they are really the sort of person you want to spend time with. Finally, remember that, even if there are times when you feel overwhelmed and embarrassed by your IBD, it is only one part of who you are. You, as a person, have very many other facets, and your best relationships will be those that involve you as a complete and unique individual.