Dating for ostomates
I was about 1.5 weeks out from my ostomy surgery, a little sore and tired, but finally out of the hospital and looking forward to starting my sophomore year of college.The nurse had been asking me about school and my friends, and then she leaned across the table, reached her hands out towards mine, lowered her voice and said, “And you know, you can still have a boyfriend and stuff.”I remember smirking at her, nodding along, but the thought had been far from my mind.A day or so after the event, he sent me an email asking me to dinner.Because I am incredibly naïve, I at first thought he was inviting me along to dinner with our mutual friend, but gently replied that he was in fact hoping to have dinner alone.I recently met a mom of a girl who has Crohn’s and an ostomy, who is around my age in her early 20’s.This woman’s daughter is not completely comfortable with her ostomy, and she looked at me – her eyes squinted but slightly desperate – and asked if I’d had any experiences with boys or if I was nervous about it.How can you choose one or two people in a room based entirely on their dress or the way they look?It is half the reason single dating individuals become so frustrated.
I had met him before and he was very sweet, but did not know him well.My point is that we forget the complexities of dating and that it’s not just about finding another person, but finding the right person, and that is tricky ... Of course it complicates matters to have to bring up serious medical realities in the early stages of getting to know someone, especially when our peer group may not have had the same intimate interactions with the medical world as we have.And all of this was theory and conjecture watching from the sidelines until this past May.In trying to do some ‘research’ on the subject, I once asked several of my close guy friends what they would think if they were dating someone who had an ostomy.Most of them replied that it wouldn’t matter (truth: it doesn’t matter), but one friend replied that it would make him “hesitate.” At first, his response frustrated me – hesitate, I thought, why would you hesitate? Ultimately I decided that not every person will fully get it, and their hesitation is a reflection on them, not my worthiness of being in a relationship.
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I hadn’t been thinking of dating and first kisses when I had decided to have surgery, and to be perfectly honest, had not thought twice about it.