Dating Someone with Chrohns

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/11/2008 9:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I've recently started to date someone who has Chrohn's Disease.  I know that I am going to get electronically abused for saying this, but I kind of felt like it was too early to tell me.  We had JUST started to date, and we really weren't at the point where were disclosing very personal information.  After dating for about a week, we got on the subject of death.  He indicated that he can't take the medication that he's on because forever, because it may give him cancer.  And death is not something that he is afraid of. 
Our conversations scare me a little, because I don't understand the disease (although I'm doing research), but eacg if of our conversations end with Chrohns...and then uncomfortable silence.  Any tips for me.  Am I being a jerk?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 8/11/2008 9:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Obviously he needs to work on his sense of smooth...LOL

Granted I tell people up front, because I do not have my disease under control and so I get poopie pants at least once a week. I swear I am like a poorly potty trained tottler sometimes. (but at least I think it is funny, but that is a defense against the pain and embassment of having poopie pants, believe me no one wants poopie pants) So if I sprint out of the room or puke in a trashcan they know it is just my disease kicking in. Usually I mention something about Ben Stiller in "Along came Polly" and that gets a laugh out of folks, but he had IBS, not IBD.

Perhaps he is newly diagonsed and still feeling kinda morbid about it. I assume he is on one of the biologics or MTX while they may give you cancer, it is not a garentee that you will get cancer. As for lack of fear about death is the machismo of youth speaking, obviously he feels the need to say that because he is feeling verable about his disease. (although please don't say anything to him about vernerablity he will not admit it)

If he has active disease then it is alot like having a chronic case of the stomach flu. (remember how you felt the last time you had something like that?) There are many different manifastations of this disease and it is more a wait and see what he does and how he does...

Do not feel the need to fill the uncomfortable silences he may be trying to figure this out too. Silence isn't always a bad thing.
As for tips, just let him talk...

I do want to caveat this with I have not seriously dated since before my diagonsis, because trying to find someone that can handle this is difficult.  There are many different degrees of this illness and I am rather severe case.

But as Marilyn Monroe said, "If you can't handle me at my worse, you don't deserve me at my best." But of course Marilyn Monroe could say that...LOL


Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease
We will find a way, or make one.-Hannibal (crossing the Alps in the 15th Century on war elephants) 
Make sure your suffering has meaning...-?
All suggestions/options/opinions are caveated with please consult with your local health care provider...

Post Edited (MMMNAVY) : 8/11/2008 10:02:18 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 8/11/2008 10:22 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't think you're being a jerk. You can't relate, so it's hard to understand. It's a complicated disease, and can also be frightening.

He probably told you early on about it because it has a huge impact on his life. If it's something you're not comfortable with you definitely need to let him know. Making a list of specific questions you may have will help and may even help you feel more comfortable when you understand what he's going through, and more specifically what it means. And it's ok to ask him to leave out details. My boyfriend can't handle details, but he's done a lot of research and ordered a free book online so that he understand and help me if I need it.

I think it's also OK to tell him, since it's early in the relationship - that you're trying to understand and be comfortable but it would help if the topic didn't come up every time you were together. He may have Crohn's but that doesn't define you or your potential relationship, you should be able to focus on each other and other aspects you each could bring to it.

You can also ask us more specific questions or concerns too. This site is really helpful and the people are really friendly.

25 yrs - female : diagnosed with Crohn's 11/29/07

"i believe - you can keep going long after you can't"

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 8/11/2008 10:28 AM (GMT -6)   
At least you are being honest, which I can apperciate. I don't blame you for having second thoughts about dating someone with a disease, it can be scary.

I think there is really no good time to tell another person you are dating you have a disease. You can see it two ways. Either they told you to early or they tell you to late after you are involved with them.

As far as the cancer, how I see it, anyone of us with or with out Crohn's can get cancer.

It is good for you to read up on Crohn's, but be careful every case is different. My fiance was reading about it and started to freak out that I was going to die. I had to talk him down and help him understand a few things.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 8/11/2008 10:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Crohns (or any other chronic medical condition) may be something you HAVE but it is not what or who are ARE unless you choose to live that way. It's only one factor in your relationship . . . frankly if every conversation keeps coming back to that it may be that he is feeling insecure about your relationship. Maybe tell him yuo see more in him than his bowel condition and see where it goes from there . . .

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1202
   Posted 8/11/2008 10:48 AM (GMT -6)   

Having Crohn's has changed my life -- in some really positive ways and in some more difficult ways.  But, having to deal with a chronic illness has allowed me to grow in ways that I hadn't.  It allows me to appreciate life in a way that I took for granted as a totally healthy, active person.  It is not the end of the world, it's just something to deal with along the way.  Another responsibility, if I can put it that way.

When I meet people I tend to tell them rather quickly...  about a week sounds right.  I take meds and other things that I'd rather have explained up front.  If someone can't handle the "weight" of this responsibility of mine, I just move on.  I met one guy that admitted he was a "fair-weather dater".  I was happy to move on.  Life is not always pretty and being able to handle the ups as well as the downs is a strength.  Any long term relationship has got to be able to support the "ugly" side of life too.  Otherwise we may as well grow old alone... 

Just my perspective...  which is always slightly skewed!  ;-)

--40 year old female, dx as UC in '04 (1st symptoms in '03), switched to Crohn's in '05, 1 fistula, crohn's colitis, limited to large intestine
--rejected (reaction/didn't work): Asacol, AZA, 6-MP, MTX, Remicade, Humira, prednisone
--methylpred - finally off 6/15/08, tried Prochymal in Phase III study (can't wait til it's approved!)
--started Tysabri 3/21/08, started Xifanan 5/24/08 
--single mom to 10-yr-old girl

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 589
   Posted 8/11/2008 3:23 PM (GMT -6)   
If it comes up in conversation, I tell complete strangers about my Crohn's. For better or for worse, its a HUGE part of my life, and much of what I do revolves around it in some way or another. So I don't think he's wrong about telling you right away, because otherwise some of the things he might have to do would seem pretty crazy.

I don't think you're being a jerk, after all, you're here, aren't you? You're making an attempt to learn more and understand him, which is FAR more than most people do.

I know what you mean about all conversations ending with Crohn's, it happens to me often with people I know well enough to want to talk to, but not well enough to know what to talk about except the most obvious stuff... like why I can't have caffeine, or why I can't work. I'd think that as you get to know each other, this should slowly go away.

All that being said, I think he needs to chill a bit on the cancer thing. Everyone is at risk for cancer, just some of our medications increase that chance by miniscule amounts.
20, Male, diagnosed over Christmas Break of my Junior year in High School. BEST CHRISTMAS EVAR LOL

(not really)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 8/11/2008 3:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I like to bring it up right away because it reduces my anxiety about having to use the restroom a lot. I'd rather have a new person know that I just need to go rather than thinking I am being rude or worse yet, doing drugs or throwing up in the bathroom.
26 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 8/11/2008 5:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I brought it up first thing to whoever I went out with. I learned the hard way. My first husband couldn't deal with me being sick so he
cheated on me and I showed him the door. I decided from there on out if someone wanted to be with me, they were going to know
what was wrong with me up front. They either like me for who I am or there's the door. My now husband knew on our first date. I
educated him and answered his questions and reassured him I wasn't going to die from this.
I think thats great that your learning what you can about it. If you truely like this guy, then don't let this disease stand in the way.
Yes he isn't going to feel well at times and may have times that he is really sick. But loving someone is being there for them no matter what
is wrong with them. What if you don't stay with him and go on to someone else. That person may be perfect now, but as they get older
they too could have issues with something or another. Does that mean your going to leave them too later in life??

In my book, everyone in this world has something wrong with them rather its now or later. Hope this makes sense.
Living with Crohn's Disease since Jan./2000 but had a few years prior
I'm a true Crohnie with IBS and Arthrities too
Meds I have tried:  Too many to list- LOL
Meds currently on:  Prednisone 15mg tapering
                           Methotrexate injections once a week 25mg
                           Folic Acid 5mg once a week
                           Wellbutrin twice a day
No Surgeries

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/11/2008 6:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all of your comments. They have been extremely helpful to me!

Glad Bag
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 699
   Posted 8/11/2008 6:26 PM (GMT -6)   
hi Relationshipbound...

I saw one of those motivational pictures framed and hanging in our office that says, "First seek to understand, then to be understood"

In your situation, it would appear this principle works both ways. Your boyfriend might also benefit from the idea. The good news is, it seems that's what you are doing, by asking us our thoughts. I would be happy if I were your new boyfriend, to find out after talking about it with you, that you went out on your own to do some research, and learn more about Crohn's.

Since you are obviously seeking to understand, all I can say along that line if thinking is, to suggest you wait a bit before sharing your discomfort with him. While he may like you enough, and/or be secure enough to handle your discomfort with the situation, you may also find that the longer you think about it, and the more you learn about Crohn's, the less the whole thing bothers you.

I don't want to discount your uneasiness with his timing, but I also want to implore you to think about the situation from his perspective. I agree with the others above, who suggested that the reason he shared this issue with you is that it affects him very profoundly. While you were not sure how to react to things, some people might feel it would be equally upsetting for him not to have mentioned it at all.

I myself, have had this condition for over 16 years. I now have an ostomy (that's a pouch to hold my waste, stuff). As a result, I tell girls that I date as soon as I possibly can. I have several reasons for this approach. The first being, the last thing I want is to start making out and have her touch my torso area and be surprised with what she finds. another reason, I feel strongly that if the person I am interested in can't handle knowing the real issues that affect my life, what's the point of continuing. I do admit however, that every relationship is different, and so, my timing is different every time I meet someone new. So far, I have had to cross this hurdle about three or four times with girls I became interested in, after breaking things off with my girlfriend of 8 years about a year and a half ago.

With all that said, it's not like that first hurdle is the first one we face. Just this weekend, I had my brother, tell me again, how he believes all illnesses are caused by our tendency to bottling emotions and contain "bad energy" in ourselves. He was pretty angry at me when he said it, so I was not as upset with his statement as I could have been, but frankly it still upset me enough to comment back to him about it hours later.

The reality is, I believe firmly that I am more emotionally balanced and well off than I was as a teenager, before I was diagnosed. I think the insight and empathy I have learned is a direct result of the struggles I have faced with this disease. I also think the longer anyone copes succesfully with this disease, the better they get at understanding others turmoils as well. This may prove true with your b-friend, only time will tell. Perhaps you have landed a better catch than you realize.

I'll end that with another couple quotes:

"what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" - cliche, but true.

"Take into account that great love and great achievements, require great risk" - Dalai Lama (i think)

"To discover new oceans, you must first...lose sight of the shore"

Thanks for asking us what we all think and have a good day

One love - Nat aka Gladbag
"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together!" - The Beatles

doesn't that just sound cool when you sing it?

frank j
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 341
   Posted 8/11/2008 9:19 PM (GMT -6)   
did you consider that he told you in an effort to be up front and honest and to give you a chance, early on, to decide if this is something YOU want to deal with? From his perspective, he may have just been being appropriately honest and letting you know about something that may be a bigger deal to some people in order to give you the chance to decide whether or not to move forward b/f it was too long. some people might have gotten angry if something that that was not mentioned early in the relationship. i know i would appreciate knowing that about someone early on.

could it be that the diagnosis scares you and you are looking for an excuse to break things off? "Oh, he's great, but he told me about something personal too early, so I'll have to break it off. I'm a good person, though, so it's not about his disease."

I'm NOT saying this is what it's about, just trying to explore all possibilities and play devil's advocate. after all, there's nothing wrong with cutting bait. better he find out know and move on to someone else. you know? feel free to tell me to fly a kite.

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20552
   Posted 8/11/2008 9:49 PM (GMT -6)   
You are not being a jerk...everyone handles things differently, those who give the news and those who recieve it...there is nothing written when it comes to either, some people are put off from others being candid about a condition they have and some don't, there really is no right or wrong, just perspective is all.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it!  LOL  :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 8/11/2008 9:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Honey, I'm married, and I admit to having a lot of negative thoughts about my marriage after his crohn's diagnosis. Any chronic illness which when you read about sounds so horrible (both in the treatments available) and after experiencing my husband's 2 month hospital stay, has made me an emotional mess, and I completely understand how you're feeling.

But, I'll tell you this - I've got a new appreciation for the good days in life - for sunshine, for walks in the park, for just holding my husband's had and sharing a quiet moment, of watching a movie together. It's been wonderful to have my husband back on his feet again, and giving me a hug.

I love my husband, I always will. Remember this - there's no guarantee that the person you end up with will live a life free of a chronic illness. Most of us develop one when he grow old anyway. For me, my husband was a man who was a perfectly healthy person - took care of himself, ate healthy, exercised, and was very fit. Well, despite his best efforts, he's sick with Crohn's. Life has a way of throwing curve balls at you. Don't be afraid of illness - just because a person is healthy today, does not mean that's how he'll remain. Don't make illness stop you from seeing a person for who he is. If you like him, don't make the illness a reason to not follow your heart, because life is unpredictable. You may skip this guy, and marry a perfectly healthy guy, and still end up with a partner who has a chronic disease. Illness happens to all of us, focus on the person, not the illness. If you like him, make him understand that you are ok with his illness, that you'd like to get to know other things about him.

That's my perspective. Hope it helps.
Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff
Home now after being in hospital for 45 days
Canasa, Lialda, Vancomycin, Flagyl, Colestipol, Pred 80 mgs, Remicade (3rd infusion due 5/22/08), VSL#3, FloraStor
Still having problems, hoping for a remicade miracle
Need to get off the pred ASAP

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