I understand why people with IBD fear they’ll never find love – because I’d feel exactly the same

Over the past couple of days there’s been quite some backlash over a couple of articles from people who suffer with Inflammatory bowel disease – and because of their diagnosis, fear they’ll never find love.

Now, this backlash has come from other sufferers of IBD, who feel that IBD should not be a defining point as to whether someone finds you attractive or not.

Both opinions are totally valid – and both should be accepted as such.

But, while you may not feel IBD should be a defining factor as to whether you find love, you have to accept that there are some people with the diagnosis that will feel the opposite way. Because that’s just life.

And, I have to admit, I totally understand where these people fearing their love-lives will be affected are coming from.

When I was first diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis after having emergency surgery, I was scared. Even though I had my boyfriend beside me, I was terrified that he would look at me differently. That he’d act differently around me – or whether he’d just not want me at all.

I was scared that my IBD wouldn’t just affect me, but him too – and in some cases it did.  Not the IBD, but having to watch me suffer, it killed him.

And I thought all of this while actually having a boyfriend – so I can only imagine what goes through a single person’s head when going through the same thing.

The diagnosis of Crohn’s or Ulcerative colitis can dramatically affect your confidence.

Because there are so many symptoms that can be incredibly debilitating, including the frequent need for the toilet and awful fatigue – before any surgeries – a person can only fear that this may be too much for someone else to cope with.

Also, most people with IBD are not worried about the ‘attractive factor’ but whether they’ll be a burden on another person with all of these symptoms that come alongside the diagnosis.

While many IBD sufferers, including myself, have proved this wrong – with loving partners who don’t just see past the IBD but don’t even count it as a factor of your personality, you have to remember that when you’re dealing with symptoms and surgery alone, a whole heap of negative thoughts run through your mind.

Yes, it is very important for people to know that IBD will not affect your love-life.

Because unless they’re total arseholes, nobody is going to judge you on your illness. For most people, it’s not going to be the first thing they look at. The first thing a person who is interested in you will see, is you. They will see how beautiful you are, how funny you are. They’ll pick up on your cute little habits and comment on the things they love about you.

IBD will just be a small factor that perhaps sometimes will rely on them giving you some much needed attention and a hot-water bottle.

Sure, they may have to miss out on a few dates or even decide on staying in if you simply don’t feel like getting out of the house – but don’t crucify those who don’t yet have these experiences and therefore fear the worst.

Words by Hattie Gladwell

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